Massa’s strong drive and Heidfeld’s bad luck (Chinese Grand Prix analysis)

Felipe Massa was on course for a strong result until his retirement

Felipe Massa was on course for a strong result until his retirement

It might have been a bad day for Ferrari in Shanghai but Felipe Massa’s form gives them cause for optimism.

Find out why in the breakdown of the race statistics.

Chinese Grand Prix race history (click to enlarge)

Chinese Grand Prix race history (click to enlarge)

This graph makes it clear how unfortunate the timing of Fernando Alonso’s pit stop was on lap eight (look for the orange line). He came in just as the safety car was being called into the pits, and later admitted they’d expected it to stay out much longer.

Chinese Grand Prix race history - Felipe Massa (click to enlarge)

Chinese Grand Prix race history - Felipe Massa (click to enlarge)

This chart should bring some cheer to Ferrari fans – Felipe Massa was running very well before his retirement on lap 20, climing up to third place. It shows the differences between Massa and all the other drivers, with those above the zero line ahead of him and those below behind.

From a starting point of 20s behind race leader Sebastian Vettel at the beginning of the race, Massa lost little ground to the race leaders while moving ahead of many other cars – some he passed, others pitted or spun off.

Had his race been able to run its full course it’s very likely he’d have beaten the McLarens for fourth and probably would have split the Brawns too (see here for more).

Chinese Grand Prix lap chart (click to enlarge)

Chinese Grand Prix lap chart (click to enlarge)

On the lap chart, look at what happens on lap 51 to Adrian Sutil (sixth) and Nick Heidfeld (eighth). Sutil’s race ends with a crash and Heidfeld suddenly starts losing positions – he had run over debris from Sutil’s wreck, damaging his own car and losing a points finish in the process. That handed eighth place and the final point to Sebastien Buemi.

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82 comments on Massa’s strong drive and Heidfeld’s bad luck (Chinese Grand Prix analysis)

  1. Polak said on 22nd April 2009, 16:56

    Damon, Yes that was Senna’s mentality, but I’m under the impression that he delivered more amazing wet weather performance. I didn’t follow F1 closely during those years so I may be just looking at Senna’s highlights. I’m sure he had his share of spins.

    Patrickl, Thats why I put “mediocre” in quotes. STR was not considered a top car and neither was Red-Bull. Thats why STR’s first win was a wet race in Monza and Red Bulls is a wet race in China. They have not yet proven to be top cars.

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