Fernando Alonso wins the 2013 Chinese Grand Prix

2013 Chinese Grand Prix summary

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Shanghai, 2013Fernando Alonso became the third different driver to win at the start of 2013 with victory in the Chinese Grand Prix.

Alonso passed pole sitter Lewis Hamilton on lap five shortly be they pitted to replace the soft tyres they started on. That dropped them back into the pack but Alonso always stayed in front of those on the same strategy as them.

Nico Hulkenberg passed Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel early on. All three had started on mediums so when the leading drivers got rid of their soft tyres, the Sauber driver took the lead.

Vettel caught up to Hulkenberg but was unable to make a move on him. They came in for their pit stop together but Red Bull’s superior pit work got Vettel out ahead while the Sauber crew struggled with Hulkenberg’s right-rear tyre.

Alonso and Hamilton picked their way through traffic but Kimi Raikkonen hit trouble when he tried to pass Sergio Perez on the outside of turn six. He damaged his front wing and nose as he clipped the McLaren and ran wide.

But Raikkonen persevered and caught Hamilton during the race, jumping the Mercedes during the final round of pit stops. But by now Alonso was on his way to victory, and far from catching Raikkonen came under attack from Hamilton again in the closing stages.

Vettel joined their battle as the last lap began having postponed his compulsory switch to soft tyres as late as he dared. He caught them at a terrific pace – 13 seconds in four laps – but only had one chance to pass Hamilton on the final tour. A lock-up at turn 11 as he homed in the Mercedes put paid to that.

Hamilton then locked his tyres at the final turn but Vettel was unable to capitalise and crossed the line two-tenths of a second behind the Mercedes.

Jenson Button brought his McLaren home in fifth, the highest driver on a two-stop strategy and the only points-scoring driver to make just two visits to the pits.

Hulkenberg came home tenth after his combative drive early in the race, trailling Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo, Paul di Resta and Romain Grosjean.

However several drivers were caught out by the FIA’s continuing inability to control the Drag Reduction Systems, a problem which has persisted since the first round of the season. Vettel, Button, Rakkonen, Grosjean, Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas, Mark Webber and Max Chilton are all being investigated for allegedly using DRS while the yellow flags were out.

All bar one of the drivers finished the race. The exception was Webber, whose race had already been scuppered by a collision with Jean-Eric Vergne when he lost a wheel following a pit stop.

That collision is also under investigation, as is Adrian Sutil’s early retirement from the race when he was hit by an out-of-control Esteban Gutierrez at the hairpin.

2013 Chinese Grand Prix

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75 comments on Fernando Alonso wins the 2013 Chinese Grand Prix

  1. I was surprised by how many drivers are under investigation and indeed why they were all postponed until after the race, but provided the penalty is 20 seconds it won’t affect Vettel’s finishing position anyway.

    They all seemed to be for the same violation though, which led me to wonder was this something the FIA haven’t clarified?

    • tandrews (@tomand95) said on 14th April 2013, 10:42

      I have a feeling the FIA telemetry problems might be to blame and the FIA can manually close the driver’s DRS during a yellow flag. Plus the yellow flags lights don’t show up on the steering wheel as well.

      • @tomand95 – I think so too: it would be unjust for the FIA to punish the drivers for an error on their part, unless the knowingly violated the rules.

        • Jake (@jleigh) said on 14th April 2013, 10:59

          @vettel1 but there were some drivers who stuck to rules, so why should those who didn’t be allowed to get away with it. Would a driver get away with speeding in the pit lane if the pit limiter broke. I doubt it.

          • @jleigh

            Would a driver get away with speeding in the pit lane if the pit limiter broke

            That’s hardly comparable, considering that would be an isolated fault on one car and this is an FIA system failure.

            You say there were some drivers who stuck to the rules, but in order to violate them they would’ve had to have been within DRS range at the time of the yellow flags, which I highly doubt the whole field was.

            If the FIA’s yellow flag system and DRS deactivation system failed, that is there problem the way I see it. The drivers could just simply argue “we didn’t realise it was forbidden”.

          • Jake (@jleigh) said on 14th April 2013, 11:22

            @vettel1 I don’t know about the rest, but I was watching both Hamilton and Alonso at the time and both of them were within 1 second of others in the DRS zone but obviously didn’t use it (although I could have sworn I saw Alonso’s open.

          • @jleigh – I think that just goes to show even we as spectators, with the benefit of the timing and flag alerts, can’t say for sure whether certain drivers violated the rules or not – why should we then expect the drivers to know?!

            I think the whole situation needs clearing up first of all, but I would be surprised if the drivers received penalties (unless it was blatantly obvious they intentionally broke the rules).

          • SeaHorse (@seahorse) said on 14th April 2013, 13:01

            @vettel1 & @jleigh

            Wasn’t Vettel a clever enough driver to miss a flag let alone a yellow colored one? Remember Brazilian GP 2012 anyone? By no means I wish to isolate Vettel here though.

    • Ilanin (@ilanin) said on 14th April 2013, 11:17

      Given that the stewards delayed investigating until after the race (even in the case of Button where there would have been plenty of time to conclude an investigation), the penalty seems far more likely to be a grid drop than a time penalty.

    • Joshua Mesh (@joshua-mesh) said on 14th April 2013, 11:20

      @vettel1

      Its the FIA’s job to enforce the rules through penalties, not prevent rules from being broken in real time.

      Automated DRS locking/unlocking should be seen as nice-to-have’s, and not the FIA’s responsibility.

      • @joshua-mesh – I beg to differ: the FIA’s job is to ensure the safety of the competitors, the stewards and the spectators. Therefore, if their own telemetry breaks hence preventing them from being able to effectively enforce the use of DRS and they don’t make it expressly clear to the drivers that it’s use is forbidden at times during the race then that is firmly their responsibility.

        • Joshua Mesh (@joshua-mesh) said on 14th April 2013, 11:43

          They never prevented anything. They obviously warned the teams and the drivers in the driving briefings for the past three races, as it has not worked all season. Everyone knew about it, even us the fans.

          The drivers are in complete control over the use of DRS, as it is not automatically turned on. The teams make drivers fully aware of yellow frags, and the drivers can see both the flashing yellow lights and waving flags. Additionally, teams are informed in real time as soon as the DRS is disabled, and then have every opportunity to inform their drivers well in advance.

          I see no reason why the driver requires an automated system, when all the information is readily available.

          It is not the FIA’s responsibility to control DRS during a yellow flag zone in the same way it is not their responsibility to automatically limit the top speed of an F1 car during a yellow flag zone (for your safety reasons).

          If it were in fact the FIA’s job, then they would not be issuing penalties, and all drivers would have openly used DRS when it was disabled or not allowed. Instead, only a tiny number of drivers used it where they were not allowed.

          • @joshua-mesh

            the drivers can see both the flashing yellow lights and waving flags.

            The onboard lights are also broken.

            teams are informed in real time as soon as the DRS is disabled, and then have every opportunity to inform their drivers well in advance.

            I’m really not so sure, otherwise I couldn’t possibly see why 11 drivers would be under investigation.

            It is not the FIA’s responsibility to control DRS during a yellow flag zone

            Absolutely it is: they should have complete control of when DRS is used but they don’t because of a system failure. Therefore, it is their responsibility to ensure the measures are in place otherwise, which I’m not convinced they were, to give the drivers a clear indication of when they are allowed to use DRS or not.

            Instead, only a tiny number of drivers used it where they were not allowed.

            11 drivers is half the grid – hardly a tiny number. Those who did can only possibly include those drivers who were within a second of somebody else, which would not even have been the whole grid. So realistically, what you are suggesting is that more than half of the drivers in the situation knowingly violated the rules? Please.

          • Why that all suddenly turned bold I don’t know! The second half should read as:

            It is not the FIA’s responsibility to control DRS during a yellow flag zone

            Absolutely it is: they should have complete control of when DRS is used but they don’t because of a system failure. Therefore, it is their responsibility to ensure the measures are in place otherwise, which I’m not convinced they were, to give the drivers a clear indication of when they are allowed to use DRS or not.

            Instead, only a tiny number of drivers used it where they were not allowed.

            11 drivers is half the grid – hardly a tiny number. Those who did can only possibly include those drivers who were within a second of somebody else, which would not even have been the whole grid. So realistically, what you are suggesting is that more than half of the drivers in the situation knowingly violated the rules? Please.

          • SeaHorse (@seahorse) said on 14th April 2013, 13:06

            The onboard lights are also broken.

            @vettel1 I do not think @joshua-mesh was referring to the on board lights.

  2. tandrews (@tomand95) said on 14th April 2013, 10:40

    Great job by Ricciardo! Almost got massa and had to change his front nose in one of the pits. Hopefully he’ll be in a Red Bull in 2014!

  3. Nomore (@nomore) said on 14th April 2013, 10:47

    Let apart what Alonso is doing, But i’m interested in what Massa is doing… he have to LEARN to drive intelligent and not only focus to a good quali (quali are useless)…he have to use Alonso’s data, and Help Alonso by giving hard time to Vettel

    Massa have to learn (yes even at 31 years old he can learn) to drive like Alonso and fast, and focus in the race rather than quali performance.
    I was rooting for him all the race and i want to see him fighting with fernando and not with Di Resta, hope he change in the upcoming races

    • Gabriel (@naylamp) said on 14th April 2013, 10:55

      I was rooting for him too. His start was quite impressive, maybe the first pit stop was a little bit late. But from that point it was his job to put decent times. And he failed miserably.

    • Boaddill said on 14th April 2013, 11:15

      Massa is just conpetitive when he’s heading Alonso , let be honest !! there ‘re at least 12 or 14 pilots on the grid that can performance much better than massa driving a Ferrari.

    • Qualifying is extremely important because it raises your chance of winning dramatically. Alonso won the race because he started in 3rd and was able to sneak early enough into the front. I would say Alonso focus at least as hard as the other guys in quali performance, but also, drives pretty well when in race conditions. Massa’s driving doesn’t suit this new tire profile, so he probably has to adjust it accordingly.

    • Deb Luhi (@debeluhi) said on 17th April 2013, 7:15

      Before commenting on Massa’s performance, people should put themselves in his position. He finished last year on high, beating Alonso in the last couple of races, and probably had a higher expectations from this year just to be brought down to earth by Ferrari’s preference for Alonso during the first race of the season. He’s not been given the chance to race with Alonso. And that must be the biggest morale destroyer. I don’t want to say that given the change he will beat Alonso but it’s hard to put the effort when you’re not allowed to enjoy the results. Same goes for all no 2 drivers.

  4. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 14th April 2013, 10:49

    Good race for Kimi, though it close to be ruined by Perez, sho drove quite bad. Jenson finished 6th and Perez only 11th. Mclaren were really wrong by placing Perez in their second seat.

  5. Felipe, warrhappen? When I saw him pass Hamilton as quickly as Alonso did I thought, right, this rejuvenated Massa can have a fair fight with Alonso. By the end of the race, there was a decade between them.

    Hats off to Ricciardo, Vet and the Hulk as well. I know he finished 10th but he’s dragging that Sauber around for some points when its a tough thing to handle at this stage of the season.

    • Joshua Mesh (@joshua-mesh) said on 14th April 2013, 11:23

      Maybe he’s sacrificing race pace to get a better qualifying position? Probably liking all the attention he was getting when qualifying ahead of Alonso.

      Or its because Filipe only has a handful of tracks he is good on.

      • Prakhyath said on 14th April 2013, 12:45

        Massa lost few places during his first pit stop! Team called Alonso first for pit stop :(

        • elfman said on 14th April 2013, 14:36

          trying to avoid a “Fernando is faster than you” moment unfortunately as I would rather see Felipe challenge for the title this season than Alonso

    • Jason (@jason12) said on 14th April 2013, 15:10

      The delayed 1st pit killed Massa’s race.

      • @jason12

        That’s a lame excuse to say the least… all of the front runners were in traffic after their first pit stop… Alonso , Hamilton and Kimi were able to clear the traffic while Massa could nt… He drove a terrible race IMO … The car was quick and his start was great… he should’ve finished on the podium…

        • Deb Luhi (@debeluhi) said on 17th April 2013, 7:20

          Before the pitstop he was in front of the front runner you mention. After the pit stop he was behind. It was easy for Alonso to pass Vettel and Hulk because they had a different strategy. Different story for Massa. It’s easy to destry the tires driving behind cars with a similar pace.

      • Gabriel (@naylamp) said on 14th April 2013, 17:17

        After the 1st pit stop he was 7-9 seconds behind the leaders. At the end the gap was massive. Reading some comments from Ferrari’s webpage apparently he was having some graining problems during the race. That could explain the debacle after the 1st stint.

  6. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 14th April 2013, 10:50

    Thank goodness that the GOAT team is back where it belongs, on top with the fastest car.

  7. Eggry (@eggry) said on 14th April 2013, 10:51

    What a strange situation with the yellow flag. It overlayed some part of DRS zone still drivers could use it. Why FIA would force them disable of DRS in yellow flag zone? I don’t think FIA should blame drivers for the fact that they didn’t manually disabled DRS.

    • Joshua Mesh (@joshua-mesh) said on 14th April 2013, 11:24

      Thats like blaming the FIA for not automatically applying the brakes on cars when they cut the corners.

      • @joshua-mesh – hardly, considering the DRS is supposed to be regulated by the FIA. If they just fixed their telemetry we wouldn’t even be discussing this!

        • Joshua Mesh (@joshua-mesh) said on 14th April 2013, 11:46

          I must have missed that in the regulations. Can you quote it for me?

          • @joshua-mesh – it’s not a regulation to my knowledge, it’s simply a system in place with the telemetry that disables DRS when conditions are wet or there’s a yellow flag zone, and only allows DRS to be used when the following car is within DRS detection. That has malfunctioned, which I believe was the stem of this problem.

          • Saul Dula said on 14th April 2013, 16:55

            All the drivers are grown men not babies, men are responsible for their actions. Tell me why none if the top drivers are under investigation?Rules are rules and they broke them. Max stop being an apologist. You must be part of the everyone gets a trophy generation….

  8. Nomore (@nomore) said on 14th April 2013, 11:01

    About Alonso still a little bit disappointed with him in the last two races he SHOULD have won both of them and have 75 points instead of 43. In Australia not opening the DRS and contact in Malaysia cost him costs him 32 points…hope luck get a payback in the 16 upcoming races.

    And hope in Bahrain for a 1-2 finish (with Massa fisrt), from a Ferrari fan

    • LexBlair (@lexblair) said on 14th April 2013, 11:59

      His DQ in Malaysia had nothing to do with being unlucky.

      • @lexblair +1! Alonso crashed into Vettel (his fault) then failed to pit (his fault) – he very much made his own luck.

        Also @nomore

        he SHOULD could have won both of them

        You are implying with that either he had entitlement to the win or it was certain he would be faster than the Red Bulls, which is far from the case. If he had pitted (which is one thing he SHOULD have done) then he could be lets say 15 points up as an ambitious estimate.

        • @lexblair and Vettel1

          I think Alonso was a little bit unlucky with the damage happened to his FW in malaysia considering the contact was nt huge… Kimi had a much bigger impact with Perez’s car today and the damage was not that bad… But not pitting was certainly a mistake from Ferrari and Alonso …

          • @puneethvb – really though, the collision shouldn’t have happened in the first place! I only count a driver as ‘unlucky’ if the collision wasn’t their fault, for example (sticking with Alonso) the infamous Spa collision, or if it’s a racing incident (such as Vettel in Brazil).

          • puneeth Bharath (@puneethvb) said on 15th April 2013, 9:10

            @Vettel1

            You are right… Alonso was at fault because he ran into the back of Vettel’s RB..

            But I was saying Alonso was unlucky for the damage his FW suffered as the contact was actually small … we’ve seen many a times drivers get away with much bigger impacts .. anyway that’s done and dusted…

            looking forward to Bahrain… Redbull and Vettel always seem to be very competitive there and last year Lotus too were very good .. if Ferrari shows the same pace again.. we could be in for a great Vettel-Alonso- Kimi showdown.. and Lewis will be there ar therabouts… and I am expecting Grosjean to be strong as well… he has been poor so far …

  9. ScuderiaVincero (@scuderiavincero) said on 14th April 2013, 11:02

    My support for Alonso being as obvious as it is, let’s just say I’m over the moon :)

  10. brny666 said on 14th April 2013, 11:06

    So first of all I would like to say that I enjoyed the race very much, even though there was no fight for the lead the Hamilton vs Raikkonen battle an Vettel’s late charge at the end kept my heart beating a little harder and faster than it normally does and that’s all I ask of an F1 race really.
    However now after the race I fell a bit empty, like I just watched a well oiled entertainment machine rather than actual real racing. And after reflecting on the race I think that it all comes down to tires and DRS and not just one or the other. Because the new Pirellis require drivers to drive to deltas they rely much more on DRS to overtake. I think DRS is much overused and some compounds are way too vulnerable to degradation, even when compared to last year, when in my opinion the balance was just right. My other major beef with DRS is that it negates any defensive driving seen in the past. And I’m not talking about battles like the HAM RAI one where two cars are on similar pace, I mean when one car is a touch slower than the car behind and the defensive skill of the driver in for make sup for it.

  11. Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 14th April 2013, 11:27

    Its great to see Fernando back on the top step again, its been too long. 10 wins for Ferrari, not many can boast that statistic.

    More than the win, I was impressed in the manner by which he won. Extremely commanding, and did appeared that he had a little bit more in the back pocket if he had required it. Ferrari got everything to a tee today, it all just worked perfectly. I think Kimi was the only realistic challenger to Fernando today, but his fracas with Perez meant it wasnt to be a classic finish.

    Ferrari look solid. Fernando could have been top of the standings if it wasnt for the last race. Hope they can keep the development up through the season, its about time they were ahead for a change.

    Disappointing for Massa. Staying that extra lap really cost him dear. Ferrari should have stacked up like Merc. However, his race pace was far from impressive.

    Bring on Bahrain! Cant wait!!

  12. markyrc (@markyrc) said on 14th April 2013, 12:03

    I enjoyed the race. Alonso today carrying a missile that even without forcing was able to deliver fast laps. Ham and Kimi, good race, but clearly without a car for much more and if Vettel had stopped a lap earlier they could even be a position below.
    What I do not like was to see pilots to care almost only with the lap times rather than actual position on track, like Button asking the team if he should race Hamilton.

    • Jason (@jason12) said on 14th April 2013, 15:30

      He couldn’t really race Lewis from that position, what he mean’t (and said) was fite him…..
      I suppose the fite was just to waste time and tyre for both, in a ‘battle’ that wouldn’t benefit either in the end.

  13. Chiz (@a-flying-toilet) said on 14th April 2013, 12:05

    Somebody in one of the other news stories said the only drivers with a chance to win this race were the two mercedes drivers. NEVER EVER count out the best driver of this generation – Fernando Alonso

  14. Rick (@viscountviktor) said on 14th April 2013, 13:30

    I was extremely dissapointed with Massa’s result, seemed he just couldn’t cope with the medium tyres. Massa needs to improve his racecraft, or he will fail miserably. I feel maybe Ferrari are affecting him as well, as they always call Alonso in first and Massa the next lap, meaning Massa loses time to the people who have pitted. Oh well. I am still a Felipe fan.

  15. paul2013 said on 14th April 2013, 15:29

    It is funny to read argue against Alonso today, some people could ve mistaken the tv channel. The only possible scenario for criticizing Alonso today is to wacht a movie instead the race.

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