The race in China was anything but simple which for fans was brilliant, for the strategists of formula one though it meant they definitely earned their money today.
The race started in conditions that to my eyes left only the choice between hard or soft tyres to start, even after lap three when the safety car came out and everyone piled in to change to intermediates to me the only sensible option was to stay out like Button, Kubica and a few other drivers did.
Those that changed tyres were only able to make them last for a few laps and then had to pile back into the pits to change again, as they came into the pits Vettel and Hamilton were side by side with Hamilton just getting the edge, as the two left the pits they were released at exactly the same time and proceeded to race down the pit lane with Hamilton very nearly in the pit boxes of the other teams. Vettel was able to get ahead oh Hamilton into the first corner though, the incident has since been investigated and as of this moment there is to be no punishment for either driver. In my opinion though the Mclaren lollypop man and Vettel were both to blame, the lollypop man for letting Hamilton go and Vettel for moving to the left slightly and pushing Hamilton over further than was necessary.
On lap 19 with badly degraded tyres Rosberg was struggling with the car and went off the track allowing Button now in second to close the gap at the start of the back straight, in all reality there was absolutely no way that Rosberg was ever going to fight him off due to lack of tyres as well as the Mclaren F duct and the headwind, the combination of which meant it was pretty much up to Button to decided when he would get passed him.
While all of this was going on Hamilton was starting to charge and hard. He passed Webber, Kovalainen, Sutil, Vettel and Schumacher. In his little charge Hamilton got caught behind Sutil and Vettel who were battling over track position and as the three came up to the hairpin Vettel went wide and was nearly collected by Sutil who looked like he might have had an easier time driving a truck than his Force India as he slid wide leaving the door open for Hamilton to pass both cars in the same corner. As they pulled away from the corner it looked like Vettel might get passed as well but the Mercedes powered Force India at the hands of Sutil in one of his better drives was a good match for the Red Bull.
Not long after Hamilton passed Schumacher though the rain started and pit stops came round again, Though in a lap or two of the pitstops the safety car was deployed as a Toro Rosso deposited part of it’s wing on the track and in the entrance to the pit lane, this bunched all the cars back up. As the safety car went in Button backed up the field a bit too much in the last corner and Hamilton and Webber touched causing the Red Bull driver off the track at the entrance to the first corner.
Hamilton was not put off by the contact and charged on again passing Schumacher before moving on to the Renaults of Petrov and Kubica but all this charging round had cost him grip and cost massive wear to his tyres forcing him to pit. Luckily for Hamilton Rosberg pitted the following lap and let Hamilton free to get on after Button, Lewis went straight back to charging round the track, however by now he was struggling to match Button’s lap times and the pair ended with a 1 ? 2 only about 1 second apart.
Rosberg managed to hold of Alonso and got his Mercedes in third ahead of the Spaniard who had made the best of a bad race having been penalised for jumping the start. His team ? mate Massa had a pretty mediocre race apart from his pass on old team ? mate Schumacher which must have been very satisfying for the Brazillian. Though I wonder if it would have been as easy had Schumacher had some amount of traction.
Away from the front runners Sutil managed only 11th after the early promise he showed and Kovalainen finished 14th despite running 6th at one point although I don’t think anyone really expected that to last. Another big round of applause goes to HRT for getting both cars to the finish something neither Lotus or Virgin managed to do.