Hamilton beats Vettel to Chinese Grand Prix victory

2011 Chinese Grand Prix review

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Shanghai, 2011

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Shanghai, 2011

Lewis Hamilton won the Chinese Grand Prix after a thrilling conclusion to the race.

Hamilton passed his own team mate, Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa and race leader Sebastian Vettel on his way to victory.

Mark Webber arrived in an unlikely third place having started 18th on the grid.

Hamilton was briefly under threat of not starting the race as the team discovered a problem with his engine before he left he pits to go to the grid. He made it out with only a few seconds to spare.

Once the lights went out McLaren’s race started to go better. Jenson Button burst past Vettel at the start, followed by Hamilton.

Vettel was left to protect his position from Nico Rosberg, who in turn had the two Ferraris behind him.

The leaders held station in the opening laps with just two seconds covering the top three. Button came in first but lost his lead as he bizarrely tried to stop in the Red Bull pit box where they were waiting for Vettel.

Vettel got out of the pits before Button, and Hamilton lost so much time on his worn soft tyres that he dropped behind Felipe Massa before pitting.

Rosberg made his pit stop early and took the lead after the Ferrari drivers had come in. But while Mercedes and McLaren committed to a three-stop strategy, Ferrari and Vettel would only make one more stop.

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Shanghai, 2011

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Shanghai, 2011

Rosberg and the McLarens made their second stops and quickly began catching the leaders again. Fernando Alonso was particularly slow in his middle stint and all three came past him very easily.

Vettel and Massa made their last stops, leaving Rosberg in the lead once again. But Button dropped off the pace and Hamilton pounced at turn one to take second place.

Their final round of pit stops set up an exciting showdown to the chequered flag with Vettel and Massa nursing their hard tyres and Hamilton closing in.

He made a couple of attempts at passing Rosberg and finally got through when the Mercedes driver was briefly delayed by Pastor Maldonado.

A little over a lap later he was past Massa as well and cutting into the gap to Vettel.

Meanwhile Webber had made an improbable recovery having started 18th. He passed Massa, Rosberg and finally Button to take third place.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Shanghai, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Shanghai, 2011

For almost two laps Vettel and Hamilton battled wheel-to-wheel but Hamilton’s superior pace, and Vettel’s apparent loss of KERS, eventually told. He pressured Vettel using the Drag Reduction System on the long straight, followed him closely around the opening corners, then dived past under braking at turn seven.

Michael Schumacher and Alonso had a length battle during the race and took the chequered flag with Alonso just in front of the Mercedes. At one point Alonso’s DRS was briefly open outside of the designated zone, though it seemed to have little effect on his race.

Vitaly Petrov and Kamui Kobayashi were the remaining points scorers.

Behind them was Paul di Resta, who defended 11th in a wheel-banging moment with Nick Heidfeld.

All bar one of the starters was running at the end. The exception was Jaime Alguersuari, whose Toro Rosso shed a rear wheel following a pit stop.

Hamilton’s win moves him up to second in the championship. Vettel’s winning streak may be over, but he still enjoys a 21-point lead in the drivers’ standings.

Full race analysis to follow on F1 Fanatic.

2011 Chinese Grand Prix

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225 comments on Hamilton beats Vettel to Chinese Grand Prix victory

  1. f199player (@f199player) said on 17th April 2011, 16:53

    This race has made me proud to be a formula one fan. Overtaking and various strategies throughout the race, hats off to all the drivers for a brilliant race.

  2. John H said on 17th April 2011, 17:01

    Great race, and in my opinion not ruined by Legard shouting all over it.. thank you BBC.

  3. Christopher Vissing said on 17th April 2011, 17:44

    1 retirement, 23 to the flag.. that’s a hell lot of finishers!!
    Fantastic race!

  4. Tupac (@tupac) said on 17th April 2011, 17:58

    yep it was a great grand prix and the bbc commentary was enjoyable…. for once!

  5. matthewf1 (@) said on 17th April 2011, 18:08

    Such a good race, so glad I got up this morning. The tyres really made things interesting, and it was great to try and work out where drivers would come out after pit stops and what the final order might be.

    It’s amazing what a difference a week makes. Last week Lewis was nowhere on hard tyres but he seemed the best on them today.

    Webber was superb, he proved me wrong today with a drive I didn’t think he could manage, so credit to him.

    Really pleased to see Nico leading for a while, shame he couldn’t keep the pace up, and Schumi definitely looked more like his old self, some of his overtaking was a treat to watch.

    Lots of discussion on the commentary it seems. I think it is quite poor to be honest. I like DC, but Brundle, well you can actually hear him sweating trying to keep up. They seem to miss a lot every week, like today they took ages to realise that Nico was leading after the first round of pit stops. Last week they forgot Webber had a fourth stop to make even though they said he was on a four-stopper earlier in the race. And Brundle definitely favours Jenson. I think he’s a bit jealous of Lewis’s success, same goes for Schumi, who he also doesn’t seem to like.

    In summary, a super race! Roll on Turkey!

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 17th April 2011, 19:14

      I have to say the TV feed was incredibly poor too. How often was a battle going on for position while the camera was following two drivers doing basically nothin special?

    • Brendanq said on 17th April 2011, 20:19

      yeah schumi drove well i thought. had a great battle with fernando. 2 drivers racing very well wheel to wheel. good to see

    • John H said on 17th April 2011, 21:42

      In a very relative sense, I can’t believe you’re knocking Brundle to be honest.

  6. mr White said on 17th April 2011, 21:06

    I`m POlish, and also a big Kubica`a fan.I really miss this guy, but from today Hamilton is my God. This driver is just awesome. Complete driver. Aggressive when he suppose to be, not losing his head, clever, brilliant overtaker. I`m loving this season even Robert is there, probably any more. Congratulations Brit-People for having HAM.

  7. mr White said on 17th April 2011, 21:07

    I`m loving this season even Robert is not there…….I wanted to say

  8. pSynrg (@psynrg) said on 17th April 2011, 22:12

    Most of the time Keith lets the fans do the talking on f1fanatic and offers his own take on matters without necessarily taking sides. It’s an admirable and engaging approach and is fundamental to a successful blog.

    Today however I can only 100% agree with Keith’s stance against people accusing the BBC commentary duo of having any particular bias for any driver(s).

    All they can be accused of is being out and out fans of F1 and motor racing in general and of course they celebrate their fellow countryman’s success just as much as the ‘next guy’. But never do they fail to see and acknowledge any other notable event by any other driver in a race.

    Brundle’s an absolute legend in my book, Coulthard is still getting used to the role. This race was phenomenal and they both did nothing but convey that.

  9. leeh said on 18th April 2011, 9:51

    One of the best Grand Prix’s i have seen and also one of the best drives i have seen from Hamilton. Even the most hardened Hamilton Haters have to agree that pound for pound he is in the top 3 drivers in F1 (number one in my opinion)

    Great race for Webber aswell, to get podium was just unbelievable. Also have to mention Rosberg. Great drive and if it wasn’t for his critical fuel levels he could of had more influence on the race at the end.

    Overall Fantastic race. PROUD F1 FAN :)

  10. Ravara Mike said on 18th April 2011, 14:28

    This was the best Grand Prix I have watched in 14 consecutive seasons of not missing a single race! Edge of seat stuff all the way. Wall to wall triumphs and disasters. It was so exciting, I buried old enmities. I forgave Fernando, enjoyed Nico’s pace, revelled in Vettel’s energy, loved the commentary for the first time ever and even managed to enjoy DC’s contributions! Lewis was a star, as were Mark Webber, Felipe Massa, Paul Di Resta, Kobayashi, Schumi, Petrov, Perez and Kovalainen. Also felt really sorry about Jenson’s understandable mistake ( his pit box all last year). Can we have lots more races like these – please?

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