Button leads McLaren to one-two in wet race

2010 Chinese Grand Prix reviewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Button celebrates his win with the McLaren team
Button celebrates his win with the McLaren team

Jenson Button scored his second win of 2010 in a rain-hit Chinese Grand Prix.

Button hit the front after wisely choosing not to make an early switch to intermediate tyres – a decision which cost several of his rivals dearly.

Despite making an early change to intermediate tyres Lewis Hamilton fought back to finish second and was closing in on Button at the chequered flag.

Nico Rosberg finished third having led in the early stages before being passed by Button. Hamilton later passed him via the pits, but Fernando Alonso was unable to overhaul the Mercedes driver in the closing stages and finished fourth.

Alonso might have finished higher however, had he not been handed a drive-through penalty for jumping the start. His early getaway initially put him in the lead ahead of the Red Bulls.

Robert Kubica took fifth place for Renault ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel was passed by Mark Webber at the start and both lost ground by making the early change to intermediate tyres which, like several other drivers, they then had to correct with another stop to change back to slicks.

He made quick progress through the field aided, like the other drivers who pitted early, by a safety car period to recover debris from Jaime Alguersuari’s car.

Vettel was briefly delayed by Adrian Sutil which allowed the recovering Hamilton past. Hamilton and Vettel had already had an encounter in the pit lane.

Vitaly Petrov scored his first F1 points with seventh despite a spin. The Renault driver took care of his tyres at the end of the race and passed Michael Schumacher in the closing stages, plus Webber who was struggling for grip at the end.

Felipe Massa also got past Schumacher to finish ninth, while the Mercedes driver ended the race in tenth.

Sutil might have got by Schumacher for the final point had the race gone on for another lap, but the Force India driver ended the day without a point.

Rubens Barrichello took 12th ahead of Alguersuari, who lost several places towards the end of the race.

Heikki Kovalainen became the first driver for a new team to beat a driver from the established teams. It helped that he made only two pits stops while Nico H???lkenberg came in six times.

Behind them were the two HRTs of Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok, the latter suffering a spin in the wet conditions.

It was another double-DNF for Virgin and Sauber. The latter lost Kamui Kobayashi in a first-lap collision which, for the second time this year, also involved Sebastien Buemi. The pair were hit by Vitantonio Liuzzi’s out-of-control Force India.

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119 comments on “Button leads McLaren to one-two in wet race”

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  1. Go Heikki :) Good drive from Petrov, too.

  2. Feels like the stewards are doing Hamilton a favor.

    1. Or just taking a better / more thoughtful approach to dishing out penalties this year…

  3. I would describe Schumaher this year as Kovalainen last year, only not as good in qualifying.

  4. Brilliant Hamilton, great Alonso, and I’m starting to give up the idea of seeing Kobayashi race. I was looking forward to it after the last year’s two races.

    And good Button too, leaving Rosberg behind and quietly making a hard race easy.

    1. Thats the 3rd epic comeback from Alonso in a row.

      3 very unlucky races finding himself WAY down the field and fought his way back up to the front.

      Kudos to him if he ends up winning the title.

      1. I think his overtake on Massa was almost sheer desperation as he’s been stuck behind him so much in recent races!

        1. Surely cutting the pit lane entry is illegal.

          Alonso and Hamilton should both have been penalised for this.

          1. @ Jonathan

            The rules don’t stop them to overtake in the pit entry, & secondly it also stated no penalty for the driver crossing the white line while they are entering the pit, so I think they may not be punished.

      2. wouldn’t say he was unlucky this race, lucky if anything. He jumped the start and was penalised (bit too little for my liking) and gradually pulled his way back up with a nice SC to help him out

      3. apart from alonso wasn’t unlucky during this race. he jumped the start! and got lucky because of the safety car! good drive though.

  5. After Q Mclaren was looking bad, but race…

    1. They were looking golden all weekend before Q3 too though.

      The fact that Hamilton (and Button to a lesser extent) mess up their qualifying doesn’t negate all that.

  6. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the second SC was completely pointless.

    1. I said the same during the race, but im not sure now.

      I mean, don’t get me wrong, im mad as it mostly penalized Renault drivers who made a brilliant decision to stay out and earned 40-second gap this way, which was reduced to nothing thanks to the 2nd SC.

      But still, we weren’t there. You can’t say for sure there was nothing left on track by Algersuari, so i guess its up to them to decide.

      1. Sure, we cannot be sure. But why on earth was the yellow flag not used? It was only a front wing… They wasted 4 laps, which, if I recall correctly, was exactly how long they needed to remove three cars right after the start.

        One cannot lose a 30+ sec advantage, it is physically impossible, unless the cars are in a different league and malfunctioning. Moreover, it annulled Alonso’s penalty and everyone’s wrong tyre decision.

        There, alas, is not one single argument that supports the second SC in my opinion.

        1. Agree totally!!!

        2. even worse, it took them 2 laps to even go out and pick the bits up. terrible call, was waiting for them to show a replay of a big incident or something.

        3. i think it was out for so long because the SC had to wait for the whole field to reform behind it. and because of the massive field spread, it took a while.

        4. Well the carbon fibre was on the racing line, it looked like, as opposed to other instances where waved yellows were used to remove debris from off the racing line. Also I think the reason the SC was out so long was that due to the conditions, it took a while for a) Button to catch the SC and b) for everyone else to catch up with the train.

        5. Absolutely.
          These “over-reaction” induced safty-car moments are very annoying.
          What is the point of building up a good advantage if everything is reduced to nothing by the SC ?

          Think of the 2 renault drivers.
          SC should be exceptionnal: we get to see it all too often.

          1. This is why I don’t like IndyCar and part of the reason I don’t like NASCAR. All the full course cautions/yellows make the races artificially close.

        6. I think the one single argument you’re looking for is entertainment.

          Maybe F1 is about taking a gamble on tyres then having a 90 minute procession where slower cars are out of reach courtesy of strategy calls – personally I quick like overtaking.

    2. marius van list
      18th April 2010, 11:04

      Right… I was surprised… very, very surprised.

    3. Totally agree. Even if they argue that removing minor carbon fibre required the SC for marshall safety, how long does that take? The SC was out there for way too long.

      1. However much I wanted the safety car to close the race back up I have no idea why the did it. Seemed like a very NASCAR thing to do.

        1. It did feel very artificial, it improved the racing no end, without that SC this race could still have been good but definatley a lot less track action.

    4. To add a (slightly) dissenting point of view, it’s not that long ago that Ralf Schumacher had a very serious accident caused by debris on the track. We don’t want that sort of thing happening again.

      I agree, it is a bit NASCAR-esque to throw out the safety car because of debris alone. That said, particularly because certain cars this weekend had shown a tendency to throw bits of themselves at the walls and into the crowd at the slightest encouragement, it was probably best on this occasion to be cautious.

      1. Mark Hitchcock
        18th April 2010, 20:00

        Yeah, at the time I said it seemed like the sort of phantom debris flags NASCAR put out to keep the racing close.

        But thinking about it a bit more, in recent races we’ve seen the drivers failing to respect the yellow flags a little too regularly. Suzuka last year, qualifying in a number of races since then etc. so maybe Charlie (or whoever scrambles the SC) thought it was better to be safe than sorry. Especially given the conditions.

  7. Wasn’t the pit lane entry covered in sharp pieces of carbon fiber. Very dangerous to send out marshals just around the corner of a blind pit entry corner under green.

    1. I guess a lot of people were pitting too…

  8. If you were also listening to BBC 5 Live you’d hear Anthony Davidson (an F1 racer himself) that even though both Vettel and Lewis were released at the same time (kind of) the German later tried to push Lewis into other teams’ pits which should be frowned upon by the stewards too, given the unsafe nature of such move. Besides it was slippery there.

    Great race from Hamilton!!! Overtaking is alive thanks to that guy (and Schuma’s slower pace :)) Great job from Petrov and Well done Mr Button!

  9. Wow Jens is a complete driver, head and ability, he has my deepest respect, been a fan since BAR, plus a humble personality to boot, Jens for president!

    1. I guess he doesn’t have the serbian nationality though…

    2. In Button’s country the term is “Prime Minister”, but anyone other than G. Brown would be a good candidate :P

  10. I feel sorry for Sauber, both cars out through no fault of their own, particularly PDLR as he was running high when his engine fizzled out

  11. SC was a scandal. The probable final order was distorted in an unfair way. Period.

    1. Who do you support/how did they lose out?

  12. Younger Hamilton
    18th April 2010, 11:09

    one word, STUNNING!!!

  13. great race, but i am concerned that out of the four races so far, three have been rain affected. not sure if the racing spectacle will be the same once we head in to the dry races.
    that said, 2010 has proven to be a real treat so far. three week wait till we hit the proper circuits ;)

    1. I personnally don’t rate Barcelona or Monaco higher than Melbourne/Sepang.
      But I feel pretty sure it’s over with rain races for quite a while.

    2. @ easy_south

      “three have been rain affected” isn’t that it rained only in two race.

  14. Jhonnie Siggie
    18th April 2010, 11:33

    Mclaren is the only team to have had both racers finish in the points in every race. The reliability of that car is incredible and that alone might see them grab the constructor’s title.

  15. Those unanimous stewards become more controversial than Hamilton himself. I don’t enjoy these GPs so much now.

    Hamilton did see he had no room to be ahead of Vettel, he should stay back, becasue he crossed the safey line in the pits. This line is painted for a reason. But no, he continued, what’s the problem, right? I don’t know why the stewards allowed him to continue untroubled. Let’s see what the punishment will be.

    1. yes but he didnt and wouldn’t overtake Vettel (who would do that in the pit lane)… and then Vettel steered to the right and endangered Lewis and Williams’ mechanics in those slippery conditions

      1. What Vettel did was unacceptable either. But I can’t understand why Hamilton felt fine to continue despite he was on the wrong side of the safety line. It’s unacceptable.

        1. because there’s easily enough room for 2 cars down the pit lane road.

          1. “easily” is not the correct word.
            Not sure Ham had the right to overtake Vet BEFORE entering the pit lane, in that little portion…

          2. Rubbish Dave
            18th April 2010, 16:52

            “Not sure Ham had the right to overtake Vet BEFORE entering the pit lane, in that little portion”

            That’d be fine, were it not for the fact that it was Vettel behind as they came towards the pits, and so Vettel trying to overtake Hamilton.

  16. McLaren is looking like the team in 2007, really good! When the car is very good you notice the teammates’s times get very close. You notice this in McLaren and Red Bull.

    I think the championship will be a fight between McLarens Red bulls and Alonso.

  17. “The 2008 world champion made four pit stops throughout the grand prix in comparison Button’s two, but still managed to fight back and pick up a vital 18 points.”



    1. “BEFORE THE START OF THE PIT LANE” before the start- not in the pit lane. Nothing wrong with it in my view. He was …not so clever at the start :P

      1. yup.. and that’s legal

    2. Sorry Metalhead – but who cares that Alonso *supposedly* jumped the start? He got pinged for it, so move on.

      And the move at pitlane was after Hamilton had done the exact same thing to Vettel. So if Hamilton gets away with it, then so too should Alonso.

    3. 1. He got penalised appropriately
      2. The pass was legit


  18. I doubt Alonso jumped the start deliberately as he had nothing to gain as you can’t get away with it.

    Did anyone else see what happened to Algusuari just after the second round of pit stops (early pitters returning to slicks), because he was running high, in the top 6 somewhere and then disappeared off the timing sheets for about two laps and turned up waay down in about 14th

  19. The second SC was a joke. Totally ruinned KUB’s race and saved ALO’s.
    Brilliant drives by BUT and ROS. I also liked PET today.
    At this rate, we would need a marshal’s team to deal with HAM’s issues. He should calm down.
    BTW another ferrari engine broken today (PDLR), MCL might win this one based on realibility.

  20. This was a great race, but two things spoiled the fun for me. First, the second safety car period. I’m not to judge if it was pointless or not (maybe the debris in the pitlane required cleaning or something), but it definately lasted fot too long. I mean, come on, 4 laps to remove the scraps of a single front wing?
    The second thing was Hamilton’s driving. He doesn’t deserve today’s podium because of his behaviour on track. Don’t get me wrong, he is a brilliant racing driver, but he also goes overboard more often than not. I counted 4(!) situations in which he potentially deserved a penalty, yet he didn’t get a single one. Let’s see:
    1)He crossed the pitlane entrance line on one of his first pitstops
    2)He crossed the pitlane entrance line again while racing Vettel (incidentally Alonso did the same thing with Massa)
    3)The whole racing thing with Vettel on the pitlane
    4)He pushed Webber off track (although this is debatable)
    I do understand drivers not getting a penalty because the show could be ruined, but come on, this is just ridiculous…

    1. 1/2) I thought there was only an issue crossing the line on the exit?
      3) We’ll see what happens
      4) He was pushed into Webber by Vettel, not much he could do there

      Maybe 1 potential penalty that he may still be penalised for. I’m not even a fan of Hamilton and I’m defending him today :|

    2. 1) and 2) is not illegal

      3) they got the wrists slapped yet you can’t be racing at a limited speed…

      4) he had nowhere else to go (Vettel was on the right and there were cars behind him)

      every time Webber is in a situation, you can’t blame those around him

      1. 1) They all did, I watched the race again later, I thought it was just one or two drivers but they all did it.

        2) its not illegal

        3) agree with Metalhead

        4) again, agree with Metalhead

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