What did we learn? Well, the first thing we learned was that the smog in Shanghai was so bad the helicopter couldn’t land on the hospital’s helipad. Cancel practice till the visibility improves. The respiratory ward was full.
Much air-play about how nobody knew how the cars would perform and it would be a lottery. That was just BS to increase the tension. The F1 circus had thousands of km of preseason qualifying plus a full scale meeting in Australia two weeks ago. There was no lottery.
Well deserved winner was Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) with a lights to flag victory, who never looked like relinquishing his lead. He must have drawn the winning lottery ticket!
Second was Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) who’s (slightly) possible challenge was thwarted by his own team mate Kimi Raikkonen who was not going to move over, while he complained loud and long that he was having car troubles and the air was dirty. When Vettel eventually got past, it was too late. A “team” approach would have seen Vettel challenge Hamilton on a straight fight. As it was, Raikkonen finished fifth. Kimi was not a happy chappie, but then he very often comes across as Team Grumpy these days.
Third was the stroppy Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull) who drove very well to come from 17th grid slot to a narrow hold on third, not giving an inch to his team mate Ricciardo who ended up fourth. I predict some tears between these two as each tries to be the team’s alpha driver.
Sixth, with his copy book well and blotted, was Valtteri Bottas (the “other” Mercedes) who managed to spin all by himself while warming up his tyres. More of those and the real powers that be will tear up his one year contract.
The other driver who impressed was Carlos Sainz (Jnr) who came in seventh in the Toro Rosso, and last one on the same lap as Hamilton.
Eighth was Magnussen in the Haas, just by keeping his nose clean, for once!
The final points went to FIndia with Perez and Ocon lucking their way to 9th and 10th with five retirements which otherwise would have beaten them.
Many eyes were on the rookies Giovinazzi (Sauber) and Stroll (Williams). Unfortunately, the Italian managed to crash at the same spot in qualifying and in the race. He won’t have endeared himself to the cash-strapped Sauber management with his Shanghai performance.
And the cash-rich Stroll found himself knocked out of the race on the first lap after a respectable qualifying in 10th position. His team mate is Felipe Massa who finished second last, after being as high as 6th in the early staged of the race. Yes, Felipe, 67 laps is probably just a little too far these days.
What this race did show was that the DRS made precious little difference, so hopefully the FIA will get rid of the contrived “aid” to overtaking. Do it now, before Liberty does it! Overtaking is possible, ask Verstappen.
1 L Hamilton Mercedes
2 S Vettel Ferrari
3 M Verstappen Red Bull
4 D Ricciardo Red Bull
5 K Raikkonen Ferrari
6 V Bottas Mercedes
7 C Sainz Toro Rosso
8 K Magnussen Haas – 55 laps
9 S Perez Force India – 55 laps
10 E Ocon Force India – 55 laps
11 R Grosjean Haas – 55 laps
12 N Hulkenberg Renault – 55 laps
13 J Palmer Renault – 55 laps
14 F Massa Williams – 55 laps
15 M Ericsson Sauber – 55 laps
F Alonso McLaren Driveshaft – 33 laps
D Kvyat Toro Rosso Hydraulics – 18 laps
S Vandoorne McLaren Fuel problem – 17 laps
A Giovinazzi Sauber Accident – 3 laps
L Stroll Williams Accident –