Button leads McLaren to one-two in wet race

2010 Chinese Grand Prix review

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

  1. Eastvillboy said on 18th April 2010, 16:26

    Can anyone explain how Sutil fell so far back after dicing with Schumie for 6th near the halfway point and then back to 12th/13th after pit stops????

    Thanks

    • wasiF1 said on 20th April 2010, 7:30

      He was on the wrong tyre for long time so when everybody made their pit stops earlier then hi were faster on track.Secondly his car didn’t had pace on wet track & both Vettel & Hamilton overtook him in couple of laps, as did the Ferrari’s.

  2. Paper Tiger said on 18th April 2010, 17:06

    I think everyone who underestimated Button should eat their hat. Incidentally, that includes me, so I’ll have a sombrero and chips, please.

  3. statix said on 18th April 2010, 17:19

    scandal!!! :) 2nd SC was just a scandal! it was only to close the gap between kub and rest of cars. hamilton should go and kiss the ass of stewards or anyone who kept unnessesary SC on track!

    • wasiF1 said on 20th April 2010, 7:32

      I don’t think it was Scandal,they needed the safety car to clear off the debris from one of the Torro Ross’s car, but they kept the SC for two extra laps for no reason.

  4. DaveW said on 18th April 2010, 17:25

    Let’s first say that Button did a great job.

    But, when one observes how Hamilton made so many amazing passes, leaving the RedBulls and Ferraris bottled up behind slow cars, and how he was running down Button as if the latter were chained to a post at the end, you have to wonder who is the better driver.

    I love that we have now such contrasting and effective styles at the front of the grid in the same team. I am very sorry that the race lacked another 3 laps because a wet track duel on bald intermediates between those two would have been talked about for a generation whatever the outcome.

    What happened to RedBull? Isn’t this so familiar how they show sick speed, then both cars, especially Webber, disappear in the race due to horrendous strategy? Now that they have been caught performance wise by up to three teams, I think its fair to say their championship odds look poor, because we have enough proof that their pit wall is not up to scratch.

  5. schooner said on 18th April 2010, 18:04

    Now that was pretty entertaining stuff! Bravo Button, Hamilton and Rosberg. I hope Schumacher doesn’t have a performance clause in his contract, btw. I’m not ready to give him the sack just yet, but he certainly hasn’t been showing us much so far. 5 or 6 years ago, he would probably have been the class of the field in conditions like this.

    • Alistair said on 18th April 2010, 21:01

      Schumi was much worse in this race, relative to Rosberg, than he has been so far. Schumi claims that the inters and the car behaves very differently in the wet than how it used to in his day. He’s also claiming to have a problem with braking. I think that we should give him a few more races, perhaps even longer, before writing him off.

      • schooner said on 18th April 2010, 23:34

        Back when Schumacher had a stranglehold on wins and championships, I found the whole thing to be pretty darn boring. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Now that he’s arguably an underdog, I find myself pulling for the “old” guy! I’m hoping that he (and his car) can find some more pace in Europe, and add another exciting dimension to what is already looking to be a great season of F1 racing. Like you say, we shouldn’t dismiss him just yet, but his star seems to have faded a bit.

  6. So Hamilton will destroy Button this year….yea right !

    • He won’t destroy him, I said that from the start. I prefer Button to Hamilton although I respect and like almost all drivers equally.

      However, I feel Hamilton will end up ahead. IMO, People that said that Button will get blown away can’t have watched F1 for the last 10 years (or don’t understand F1)

    • Alistair said on 18th April 2010, 18:54

      No world champion in F1 would ‘destroy’ another [recent] world champion. Those people who made such comments were either deluded or fond of hyperbole in showing preference for their favoured driver and his talents.

      If Lewis were to be consistently 0.2 sec per lap faster than Jenson, that would be a great result. You couldn’t really ask for more than that from the 08 champ against the 09 champ. Where Lewis excels is in his race-craft: his prodigious ability to overtake, his defensive driving, his ability to drive around problems and adapt to the car, his consistency, his wet weather driving; and so on. In short, Lewis’s value as an F1 driver isn’t his outright pace: good though it is.

      I long for a dry race. I don’t care if it’s boring! I just want to have a proper measure of the relative performance of the drivers and the teams. All but the first race have been topsy-turvy and nigh impossible to read.

      • wasiF1 said on 20th April 2010, 7:35

        I don’ think he will destroy I still believe that come at the end of the year Hamilton will be ahead of Button,so it’s still early days.

  7. Alistair said on 18th April 2010, 18:37

    Eventful race!

    Well done to Jenson, today: he drove well. The fact of the matter, again, however, is that this win, like that in Australia, owed more to tactics than to driving skill. I am not saying that Jenson lacks driving skill: he’s one of the best out there. Incidentally, this is something that I have always maintained, since his transformation at BAR onwards. Today, ‘tactics’ were crucial, however, as Hamilton and co.’s decision to pit on to inters, and then, quickly, back to slicks, cost them about 50 seconds. That cost them any chance of the victory. Once again, Jenson didn’t have to do much on the track, except maintain reasonable pace and conserve his tyres. Lewis, to the great benefit of the TV audience, was much busier. He put in many, and often superlative, overtaking manoeuvres. And many of these had nothing to do with his F-duct: I’m thinking of those superlative passes around the outside into that corner complex.

    Now, I think that I’m being very generous to Jenson in complimenting him on his ‘tactics’. I do believe that it was, in fact, luck. A driver can only tell you what the track and car are like on the lap on which they are driving. They are not Merlin: they cannot know or assuredly predict the future track conditions or weather: even for the next lap, let alone a whole stint. The best placed people to do this are the teams themselves: McLaren, for example, has a team of technical boffins studying telemetry and weather forecasts and calculating all the things of which a driver cannot be thinking when he’s driving. So, although Lewis has been unfortunate that said boffins have got their calculations wrong, several times, he has the correct approach. It’s the correct approach because it’s largely conservative. If they get the strategy wrong, Lewis only looses a handful of positions. Jenson’s strategy is hero or zero: the win or last. This is not a strategy that a top team can afford to adopt. Sooner, rather than later, Jenson will be caught out. Imagine what would have happened if Jenson had got it wrong at Australia, as it looked like he had, initially: he would have been sent to the back of the pack – and them some.

    Much has been made of Lewis v Jenson. Jenson may have had better results so far on paper and in terms of the championship. There is no doubt in my mind, however, that Lewis has driven better and is the better driver. We have seen it, time and time again, that Lewis is a mighty racer and a great overtaker. Whereas Jenson made little to no progress against the Ferraris at Malaysia, Lewis (on the slower, hard tyre) had already passed them and a chain of cars and was well out of shot. Yet, Jenson didn’t finish far behind and nor did the similarly culpable Massa. F1 doesn’t really reward overtaking: you can sit back, look after your tyres, and make almost as many positions up by waiting for the pit stops and having moderately fresher rubber. As for wet-weather driving, Jenson is quick here, too. But only one man has won a race in the wet by over a minute since Senna: Lewis, of course. Lewis lapped his team-mate in that race, once; and his main championship challenger more than once. So Jenson has some way to go before he should be regarded in Lewis’s league in the wet; also, Jenson had more of a wet-weather setup than Lewis at China, I think.

    So, Lewis is the better driver. But no champion would likely thrash another in todays F1. Senna is, arguably, the greatest F1 driver ever. But he didn’t thrash Prost. He was often beaten by Prost; although, more often than not, Senna prevailed. So Lewis was never going to have a cake-walk against Jenson. He didn’t thrash Alonso, either. As the season progresses, Lewis will pull further away from Jenson.

    Let’s, please, just have a dry race: I really don’t care if it’s boring. I want to know where all the teams are in terms of performance. (I also want to forestall Jenson’s sixth sense!)

    • lol, very good (especially the last brackets). Very accurate assessment, Alistair.

    • See Alistair, the logic in your statement is not sound!
      You want a dry race, perfect condition and a boring one.
      Well life is not predictable, and F1 is a testament to that.
      Saying Lewis is better only to bravado overtaking and merciless usage of his car.
      Well i wonder will he be overtaking into a corner at 280k once he has an accident?
      I think he will become more cautious, stop the antics and calm down.
      I have seen numerous athletes been beaten by guys who’s ability was not on par with them simply by using their head, and Jens is a proof of that!
      What counts are results, not acrobatic manner, compared to a guy who can save tires like no other in history of this sport.
      Saving tires is not as entertaining as overtaking, but it shows that the driver possesses a finesse on driving the car, opposed to an aggressive manner.
      Plus we can see that Jens is more stable in his approach on tactics, he thinks within the helmet, not being dependent on the team always helping him around.
      And this Senna or Schumacher claims are invalid!
      To compare them you need to have them in a same team for a longer period of time, and since we were never given such a treat, we can only contemplate, so give it a rest!

    • kbdavies said on 18th April 2010, 21:50

      @Alistair – I totally agree, but people cal me a Lewis fanboy because i disagree about Jenson’s abilities so far. Jenson is good. That’s where it ends. He is not as good as Lewis, even with the strategic calls, and this will be found out over the course of the race.
      I will be up in arms the same way, if people compared Vettel to Webber, or Alonso to Massa
      Jenson has made 3 strategic calls so far – 2 were luck; of these two, one turned out well, the other did not. However, today, i believe he made the right call, and it was not luck.
      As others have alluded to here, he knows he cannot beat Lewis on speed alone, so he uses tactical nous to make up for the deficit, and kudos to him for that! But we shouldnt get carried away, tactical nous to cover for a lack of outright pace against your team mate can only get you so far. The comparisons between Senna and Prost highlight it well.
      As i said before, Ross Brawn let Jenson go for a 41 yr old coming out of retirement ( And we know how he has performed so far),If Jenson was such a tactical genius, i think Ross would have known that and made a better effort to keep him.

  8. Alistair said on 18th April 2010, 20:50

    ‘See Alistair, the logic in your statement is not sound!’

    How dare you! My Logic is always sound :)

    ‘You want a dry race, perfect condition and a boring one. Well life is not predictable, and F1 is a testament to that.’

    F1 may be ‘IF’ spelt backwards. But rain has been the saving grace in all but the first race. I want a dry race (not necessarily a boring race) simply because it’s otherwise very difficult to see the true, relative performance of the drivers and teams. For example, we still don’t know whether RBR still have the fastest car overall.

    ‘Saying Lewis is better only to bravado overtaking and merciless usage of his car. Well i wonder will he be overtaking into a corner at 280k once he has an accident? I think he will become more cautious, stop the antics and calm down. I have seen numerous athletes been beaten by guys who’s ability was not on par with them simply by using their head, and Jens is a proof of that!’

    I don’t think that Lewis is better simply because of his overtaking. But that is a definite advantage that he has consistently and most effectively displayed; and once which is very important with the absence of re-fueling and the abundance of aerodynamic appendages which make overtaking so difficult.

    Incidentally, Lewis has had far fewer ‘accidents’ than the vast majority of drivers in F1 today (even relative to their years in the sport: one need only look at Vettell’s antics).

    ‘What counts are results, not acrobatic manner, compared to a guy who can save tires like no other in history of this sport’.

    The season is nascent: Jenson hasn’t won the title yet! I suspect that Lewis will have a clear advantage in points as the season progresses and draws to a close.

    If Jenson is so soft on his tyres, why was he pretty much the first to wear his tyres out at Australia: requiring a fresh set on just lap 6? If Jenson is so soft on his tyres, why did he wear out his set of soft tyres at Malaysia on lap 9 and why were his hard tyres so ruined at the end of a race that a terminally damaged Ferrari was crawling all over him? If Jenson is so soft on his tyres, why were his tyres bald (pretty much as bald as Lewis’s) at the end of the Chinese GP? Jenson is not as soft on his tyres as people may believe. The reason why Lewis, Webber, Schumacher, etc., had and have had worn tyres (and perhaps why Jenson wore his tyres out at the beginning in Australia and Malaysia) is that they have been dicing, overtaking, and defending – sometimes, for a race distance. Jenson has won his two races simply through strategy: he has conserved his tyres and had no need to do otherwise.

    ‘Saving tires is not as entertaining as overtaking, but it shows that the driver possesses a finesse on driving the car, opposed to an aggressive manner. Plus we can see that Jens is more stable in his approach on tactics, he thinks within the helmet, not being dependent on the team always helping him around.’

    You’ve got me here: its Jenson’s fabled ‘feel for the conditions’, as Martin Brundell said. Jenson is so good at feeling the conditions that as soon as he gets in the car he knows the grip levels and the weather for his next corner, his next lap, the rest of his stint, the rest of his race, and the rest of everyone else’s race. That’s why he doesn’t bother to consult or heed the advice of an extensive group of PhDs with rows of computers monitoring telemetry and weather forecasts who calculate the best strategy possible. Jenson doesn’t need any of that. He constantly takes risks (of course, it’s only a risk from someone else’s perspective) because he has nothing to lose. He doesn’t need consistent safe, high points finishes. What’s the point? In this championship, wins matter, not points.

    Unfortunately, for Jenson, one of his hero or zero calls is not going to work for him; and sooner, rather than later. Lewis has been unfortunate; but his prudent, conservative strategy will likely reap the greatest reward. You simply can’t guess the conditions correctly every time; e.g., Senna, Spa, 1992.

    ‘And this Senna or Schumacher claims are invalid!
    To compare them you need to have them in a same team for a longer period of time, and since we were never given such a treat, we can only contemplate, so give it a rest!’

    It’s quite possible to compare the achievements of drivers. Lewis has done some remarkable things in an F1 car, such as winning a race in the wet by over a minute, which Senna did, but which no other current F1 driver has done. This is a simple truth.

    • Alistair i falter and give submission, you are the greatest! ;)

      ”Incidentally, Lewis has had far fewer ‘accidents’ than the vast majority of drivers in F1 today (even relative to their years in the sport: one need only look at Vettell’s antics).”

      Well i have to say Lewis entered on a high and blessed note in F1, the privilege not granted to Senna or Schumacher!
      He had a top car since the beginning, and never was in any kind of panic to make forceful results!
      Driving from the front of the pack is less prone to accidents, and that is a fact.

      ”If Jenson is so soft on his tyres, why was he pretty much the first to wear his tyres out at Australia: requiring a fresh set on just lap 6?”
      He didn’t wear them out no car wears them out so quick, it was just that the car was setup differently.
      Getting tires bald is normal, just how much, well, i think Jens got the field won over here!

      ”In this championship, wins matter, not points.”
      Really, what happens if you have a DNF and your teammate has 4th place?

      ”It’s quite possible to compare the achievements of drivers. Lewis has done some remarkable things in an F1 car, such as winning a race in the wet by over a minute, which Senna did, but which no other current F1 driver has done. This is a simple truth.!”

      One race does not prove stature,
      consistency is the name of the game!
      Lewis was never the one to go and build a team from the ground up, Senna and MS were the guys for the job!
      He was given all from the beginning, he cannot appreciate it fully!
      Only hard work, pain and frustration is the ultimate mix to define a Thoroughbred ,Micheal gave up some of his finest years to do so!
      Senna clawed his way from the bottom, Lewis never did, 1min,2 min, 3 min over the competition is a mark of a superior car, but supreme competitors are made of constant pushing towards a greater understanding of car setup,tactics,defining their resolve in the toughest hours.
      Lewis is not sculpted, he is potent and promises much, but to really make me say he is on his way, he must show ability to think during the race, look for a cleaner line!
      You talk of Lewis like he is the one driving smart and Jens the one risking his life, well buddy what can i tell ya, if Jens has his luck taken away he will loose a race, if Lewis has his run out, he can loose his life!

      • kbdavies said on 18th April 2010, 21:58

        Aleksander – Are you not aware that by comparing Lewis to Senna or Schumacher, you are actually confirming his amazing abilities?
        Remember, this is the beginning of his 4th year in F1 for Gods sake!

        And your “one race does not prove stature” comment shows that you are being illogical. Surely, the opinions of Lewis, shared by the fans and the paddock alike are not based on one race!
        Alistair was just giving you another stat on Lewis – amongst many others he could use to justify his point.

        • ”Aleksander – Are you not aware that by comparing Lewis to Senna or Schumacher, you are actually confirming his amazing abilities?”
          What a load of Bs! Racers are compared to one another on a daily basis, it is the way ranking is established!
          kbdavies read the whole thing and only than post remarks!
          ”Alistair was just giving you another stat on Lewis – amongst many others he could use to justify his point.”
          he was not giving stats but opinions! He simply does not know if his tires were worn out or his cars set up not done properly, even i don’t, we are just speculating, like all on this blog.
          What does having seasons under a belt have to do with it, looks like you haven’t read my response, since he is in a superior car most of the time than regular rookies, who have to battle their way to prove a point!
          Take time next time and read and think before you write, you look like a hotheaded Lewis supporter,biased and angry on anyone who says other vise!

  9. Alexi said on 19th April 2010, 1:40

    Nice race. Button is indeed a great strategist, and so are Rosberg or at least his engineers. Awesome race from Hamilton and Alonso, it seems Massa can’t really keep up, no surprises Kubica will likely replace him next year. And Schuma is as bad as Hamilton when comes to burn tyres away, hopefully he can forget the crappy season start and recover to Rosberg levels in the european leg.

    PS.

    Alonso > Hamilton > Kubica > Button > Rosberg > Massa > Vettel > Webber > Schumacher > Kovalainen > Barrichelo > Trulli > Sutil > Liuzzi > Kobayashi > Glock > de la Rosa > Petrov > Hulkenberg > Grassi > Senna > Chandhok = Badoer

    My F1 skill rank right now.

  10. Alexi said on 19th April 2010, 1:41

    I forgot about STR. Alguersuari is right down below Barrichelo and Buemi at de La Rosa level.

  11. wasiF1 said on 19th April 2010, 9:40

    Good race for Button, in this condition you need a driver who is soft & gentle with his car.A deserving victory for him.A bit surprised not to see Vettel on the podium he is another great wet weather driver.Nico again putting on consistent performance.But what wrong with Schumacher??
    He was passed more times by the top drivers then they passed the drivers from the HRT teams.It’s true that Mercedes lacks some pace relatively to the other big teams but if Nico could pull that car on the podium Schumi should stay with him.

  12. wasiF1 said on 19th April 2010, 9:51

    Tell me something people, Did Button took the lead from Nico as he ran wide at turn 11 & Button overtook him in the long back straight before they changed the tyres for the penultimate time? If it’s true then I missed it as Star Sports were busy showing intervals.

  13. Chaz said on 20th April 2010, 18:38

    Rain saves the day yet again and provides us with a wonderful spectacle. Sprinkler petition is in order perhaps for the boring circuits…

  14. Chaz said on 20th April 2010, 18:44

    Thoroughly enjoyable race and well done Jenson…

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