After an engine problem in qualifying and consequently qualifying last, Sunday was always going to be a difficult afternoon for the reigning World Champion. Hamilton’s task got harder still as he made contact in turn one with Felipe Nasr who was desperately trying to avoid the two Ferrari drivers. This contact left Hamilton with damage to his suspension, side pods and floor which resulted in him comparing the handling of his Mercedes to a ‘four poster bed’.
In total Hamilton came through the pits five times as he and his team looked for the best strategy to minimise the potential point loss to his team mate, however with a damaged car the best he could manage was P7.
With Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne in attendance for the first time this season, Sebastian Vettel arguably chose the worst possible moment to make contact with his team mate. Vettel was quick to try and attribute blame away from himself and chose to put all of the blame on Kvyat. Vettel’s argument was that Kvyat took the first corner too fast and that if he did not turn out of the corner he would have made contact with the young Russian. The avoiding action led to Vettel hitting Raikkonen which relegated him to the back of the grid, whilst the contact put Vettel back to fifth.
The damage to Ferrari’s championship chances was minimised as both men drove well with Vettel overtaking Kvyat on track to claim second whilst Raikkonen fought back to P5 by the chequered flag.
Ultimately the slightly risky move from Kvyat paid dividends as he was able to register Red Bull’s first podium of the year. Despite finishing behind his team mate, Daniel Ricciardo enjoyed one of the strongest races of his career. After a brilliant start he found himself in the lead going into the first corner and maintained this throughout the opening laps. Unfortunately his podium chances were ended when he picked up a puncture on his left-rear tyre whilst leading meaning he was forced to crawl back to the pits but recovered to P4.
Felipe Massa put in a great defensive drive to keep Lewis Hamilton behind him during the closing laps. Despite the performance from Massa it will be concerning for Williams that they do not appear to have the pace to match Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull.
The Toro Rosso pair of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz came home in P8 and P9 with Verstappen finishing the race right on the back of Lewis Hamilton. Valtteri Bottas finished P10 in his Williams to complete the top ten.
Chinese GP results:
1. N. Rosberg, Mercedes, 56 laps
2. S. Vettel, Ferrari, +37.8s
3. D. Kvyat, Red Bull, +45.9s
4. D. Ricciardo, Red Bull, +52.7s
5. K. Raikkonen, Ferrari, +65.9s
6. F. Massa, Williams, +75.5s
7. L. Hamilton, Mercedes, +78.2s
8. M. Verstappen, Toro Rosso, +79.3s
9. C. Sainz, Toro Rosso, +84.1s
10. V. Bottas, Williams, +86.2s
11. S. Perez, Force India, +94.3s
12. F. Alonso, McLaren, +97.2s
13. J. Button, McLaren, +102s
14. E. Gutierrez, Haas, +1 lap
15. N. Hulkenberg, Force India, +1 lap
16. M. Ericsson, Sauber, +1 lap
17. K. Magnussen, Renault, +1 lap
18. P. Wehrlein, Manor, + 1 lap
19. R. Grosjean, Haas, +1 lap
20. F. Nasr, Sauber, +1 lap
21. R. Haryanto, Manor, + 1 lap
22. J. Palmer, Renault, +1 lap