Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2017

Vettel’s flying Ferrari can’t keep Hamilton from fifth China win

2017 Chinese Grand Prix reviewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Two races in and it’s one win apiece for Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. It’s game on in the world championship.

The bare statistics show that Hamilton led every lap from pole position and set fastest lap on his way to victory. But this was no crushing win in the manner of his many triumphs for the team over the past three years.

Hamilton holds his lead

Start, Shanghai International Circuit, 2017
Sainz got away slowly on his slicks
The track was damp, but perhaps more importantly it was cold. After a warm day of running on Saturday and a wet day of virtually no running on Friday, the start of the Chinese Grand Prix was a leap into the unknown for everyone.

The upside was that wasn’t as wet as it could’ve been. The vast band of rain which passed across Shanghai stayed just to the south of the circuit, sparing it the full dousing which had been forecast earlier. The initial predictions had been so grim some had even suggested the race should be brought forward to Saturday.

So 19 cars lined up on the grid with all on intermediate tyres apart from the gutsy Carlos Sainz Jnr, who opted for super-softs. Having seen his gamble Jolyon Palmer decided it was the way to go, and dashed into the pits for slicks of his own.

Up at the front Hamilton started from pole position and if he felt Vettel was closer to him than usual it was because the Ferrari driver had lined up well to the left of the normal starting position. It made no difference, however: Hamilton and Vettel led Valtteri Bottas to turn one in grid order while behind them Daniel Ricciardo manoeuvred around the outside of Kimi Raikkonen for fourth.

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The other Red Bull made even more startling progress. From 16th on the grid Verstappen ended the first lap just three places behind his team mate. “I had a good start but I got a bit blocked because the two cars in front of me went into the middle so I had to back off, but still I gained one or two positions,” he explained.

Through the opening corners Verstappen nosed his Red Bull into every available gap. “In turn one I got another car, then inside turn two, another car, outside turn three there was
space.”

“Yeah, nine cars is quite a lot on one lap but of course very happy that it worked,” he grinned afterwards.

Vettel gambles on VSC

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2017
2017 Chinese Grand Prix in pictures
At the end of lap one Nico Hulkenberg became the next driver to plump for dry-weather tyres. While Sainz and Palmer took super-softs, Hulkenberg went all-in on his gamble and fitted a set of softs, giving him a potential shot at completing the race distance without pitting again. But the gamble was doomed to fail almost immediately.

Halfway around the first lap Lance Stroll had aimed at the apex of turn ten as if Sergio Perez’s Force India was already alongside him. The contact fired the Williams into a gravel trap and out of the race, and the Virtual Safety Car was needed for its recovery.

This was a disaster for Hulkenberg. “In damp conditions if you can’t push you lose all the tyre temperature,” he explained. “I lost all grip. It was like driving on ice and I spun a few times.”

“The VSC pretty much ruined our strategy and so the race,” he rued. But others spied an opportunity, including Ferrari, who brought Vettel in for softs. Daniil Kvyat followed suit as did the the Haas, Force India, Sauber and McLaren drivers.

As the VSC period ended, Mercedes were now running first and second. But a pit stop under green flag running would inevitably drop them back behind Vettel. So it was to their considerable relief when Antonio Giovinazzi crashed at the final corner for the second time in five laps.

With debris spread across the pit straight the Safety Car was summoned to guide the pack through the pits. The remaining drivers on intermediates wasted no time in coming into to take on slicks including Hamilton, who kept his lead.

Team mate Valtteri Bottas was not so fortunate, however. A slow pit stop cost him ten seconds, dropping him to sixth behind Ricciardo, Raikkonen and Verstappen.

He exacerbated that with an error of his own. While limbering up for the restart and trying to scrub heat into his front tyres, the W08 snapped into a spin on the straight approaching turn 11. Seven more cars passed the Mercedes, the first of which was Vettel, no doubt grateful that what could have been a major obstacle had removed itself from contention.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2017
Bottas spun and was held up in the pits
Bottas was only the most visible example of a problem all the drivers were dealing with. Getting any heat into the tyres with track temperature around 14C was proving immensely difficult. Those like Bottas on the soft tyres were finding it hardest of all.

Hamilton, with the benefit of clean air ahead of him, coped well. Ricciardo behind him was feeling the benefit of super-soft tyres but he would soon struggle as well. Raikkonen behind him on softs could only look on as Verstappen drove around the outside of him at turn seven. He also complained of poor delivery from his power unit at turn 12.

Vettel spent the next 11 laps queued behind his team mate. To begin with he wasn’t losing any time to the race leader, but that soon changed.

On lap 11 Verstappen dived past Ricciardo for second. “A fair move” was how Christian Horner described it, suggesting this hadn’t been orchestrated by the Red Bull pit wall. Hamilton soon lowered his pace in response to Verstappen and by lap 19 he was pulling clear.

Vettel had lost over nine seconds to the race leader by now and took action to ensure he lost no more, taking Raikkonen at turn six. This spot, outside of the two DRS zones, again proved a good spot for overtaking. Vettel’s next pass there was one to savour.

On lap 21 he appeared on Ricciardo’s tale, obliging the Red Bull driver to defend, and made for the outside line. Ricciardo left him little more than a few millimetres but it was enough for Vettel to emerge having captured the inside line for the next corner. The pair touched wheels briefly but it was a parting gesture as Vettel put a lock on third place.

Now the complexion of the race changed. Vettel had only Verstappen between him and the race leader. Hamilton, taking no chances, put his foot down and lowered his pace by more than six-tenths of a second. Thoughts of making it to the end of the race without a further stop were abandoned.

Vettel, now matching Hamilton’s pace, took second with ease when Verstappen locked a wheel at turn 14. Now it was between the Mercedes and the Ferrari for the victory. But unlike in Australia Hamilton had a ten-second advantage most of which had come not from the Safety Car period but the time Vettel lost behind Raikkonen.

Raikkonen surrenders to the inevitable

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Shanghai International Circuit, 2017
An unhappy Raikkonen fell to fifth
Verstappen was the first to commit to a second stop following his lock-up. Ricciardo did the same four laps later and took a turn of front wing which vastly improved his car’s handling. Vettel and Hamilton then did the same.

This restored Raikkonen to second place and his team were confident he could finish in third place without making a further pit stop. Similar tactics served him well in Spain last year, but this time Raikkonen wasn’t having any of it.

On the 37th lap his time took a turn for the worse, suddenly over half a second slower than before. This tipped the balance on the Ferrari pit wall and Raikkonen was brought in for a set of super-softs. He easily dispensed with Sainz but ran out of time to catch the Red Bulls, even as a rejuvenated Ricciardo applied increasing pressure to his team mate.

Sainz also lost sixth to Bottas, who had been delayed again on his second visit to the pits when he was dropped from the jacks too early. The Toro Rosso was the only non-Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull to finish the race on the lead lap. “Without the Safety Cars, I think he would’ve achieved an even better result,” said team principal Franz Tost. “He certainly would have deserved it.”

Kevin Magnussen took eight ahead of Sergio Perez, the Force India driver catching him at four seconds per lap at the end following a late stop for fresh rubber. Esteban Ocon again contributed one point to Force India’s tally.

Despite making up eight places over the course of the race, Romain Grosjean left China point-less and thoroughly disgruntled. But even that paled in comparison to Fernando Alonso.

The McLaren driver had once again done a first-rate job with third-rate equipment. He briefly held sixth at one stage and although the ever-drying conditions increasingly exposed the McLaren’s weaknesses, he was on course for a points finish until a drive shaft failed.

Alonso made sure the whole world got the picture by telling his team he was the “fastest in the corners” and scoffing at the fact Bottas had fallen behind him at one stage. He couldn’t have made his point with any less subtlety had he added a ‘driver for hire’ sticker on the side of his MCL32.

Hamilton home first

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Shanghai International Circuit, 2017
Hamilton and Vettel share the championship lead
Through the final stint Vettel pressed on in pursuit of Hamilton, but the gap between the two was more than enough for the Mercedes driver to stay ahead.

“The last ten or 12 laps he was doing a 35.6 and I was doing a 35.8,” said Hamilton, “and it was very hard to get to where he was.” But not impossible: with two laps to go Hamilton set the race’s fastest lap, a mere 0.045 seconds quicker than Vettel was capable of.

Still Vettel took heart, telling his team on the radio “we were quicker”. Could he have won the race without the Safety Car?

“I think Lewis was quick, full stop,” he said “Today we finished second, very happy with that, we take it, good points.”

“More than that, and much more valuable than that, it was an entertaining and fun race for me. I had some overtaking. It was difficult to get close to the car, like last race you felt the effect but here I think it’s a better track to overtake and yeah, it’s the way it should be in my opinion: you need to make it stick so it shouldn’t come for free. You shouldn’t just open the flap and sail past. It was good fun. I can’t complain.”

There was a surprising degree of bonhomie between the top three on the podium. All had reasons to be cheerful: Hamilton had won a race on a day when his closest rival was potentially quicker; Vettel has good cause to believe he will win several more races this year; and Verstappen again underlined his status as F1’s ‘coming man’.

As in Australia, it all bodes rather well for the rest of the season.

105 comments on “Vettel’s flying Ferrari can’t keep Hamilton from fifth China win”

  1. Bad decision making at Ferrari’s also helped Hamilton immensely. Not issuing team orders to let faster Vettel pass slow Kimi was a big mistake. Vettel was bottled up being his own teammate for nearly 10 laps before he managed to get past him and after then playing catch up was always a worthless. Ferrari’s will be losing another championship due to these stupid mistakes even if the car is actually decent.

    1. This early in the year, I am not willing to call that a mistake; and as Vettel indicated, maybe he too would have staid stuck behind Ricciardo for several laps. I do agree that Kimi clearly is a weak spot there, he seems to have very little racecraft, even if he can be occasionally fast.

      1. The decision to put Vettel when he first stopped was good… it was pure misfortune that brought the SC out on the next lap or so.

        I’ll also add, that it was nice to see Hamilton laughing and congratulating both Vettel and Verstappen on he podium after the race. I’m not a Hamilton fan, but, credit where it is due.

    2. Vettel said in a post-race interview in one of the media pens that “they asked me if I was faster, I said yes but also that Kimi can also go faster,” so he indicated that Ferrari would have issued team orders but Vettel refused.

      1. Well, good on Vettel for saying that.

        1. One of the reasons that I have massive respect for Vettel and Hamilton. Alonso, on the other hand, not so much.

    3. Dude, Hamilton was nursing that car to the finish. Even if better got by all of those guys he still finishes second. You guys are acting like Mercedes has a dud of a car and driver.

      1. Hamilton was nursing his car to the end until vettel got past and Bonnie got into the radio and said “vettel has upped his pace”. Then he started charging.

        1. Yes and they he just proceeded to just match the times Seb was setting.

          1. sunny stivala
            10th April 2017, 12:05

            Giovinazzi qualifying+Giovinazzi race+VSC+SC=happens….we missed a real fight between Gina and number 44.

    4. Yeezy918 (@offdutyrockstar)
      10th April 2017, 12:10

      Exaggerating a little perhaps? Mercedes and Hamilton made the wrong call in the first race, they ended up second. 2 weeks on Ferrari and Vettel did the same. And both should ALWAYS have to race their teammates, you are so off the mark with that one.

      1. They should race them at least for now because we’re only 2 races in to the new season. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Ferrari threw all their weight behind Seb as early as Barcelona.

        Ferrari have been much more clear about team orders and have no qualms about crushing the second driver’s title hopes. By the looks of it, Kimi isn’t particularly interested in fighting for the championship either.

        It will be interesting to see what goes on at Mercedes. Wolff has been really coy on team orders, and has always said that they want both drivers to race. But, if Ferrari are going to maximise the WDC hopes by having a clear #1 driver, I expect Mercedes will follow their lead as well.

        Honestly, I think both Ferrari and Mercedes have hired Kimi and Bottas because they aren’t tier 1 drivers with inflated egos, so it’s just a matter of when they make those drivers a pure support function.

        1. I think Hamilton is in a good place precisely because of the form shown by Ferrari.

          Unlike previous years, Mercedes can’t afford to pick and choose which of their drivers gets the win. The Mercedes garage can not afford to be anything less than 100 percent behind Hamilton. This all bodes well.

          Expect fewer ‘poor starts’ and fewer ‘engine mishaps’ this year from Hamiliton. Now we’ll get to see what he and Mercedes are made of.

  2. It does indeed bode well.
    I haven’t been this enthused by formula one for a long time.
    Looks like the rules changes have bought it back from the brink, taken away some of the artificially introduced “show” and given the fans their sport back. DRS wasn’t overly effective, just seemed to help people close up. Perfect.

    Please, please, please leave it alone. It’s going to be a great year.

  3. Good race. Not wishing to pick on Vettel, he drove well enough for second, but why was he allowed to go unpenalized for being so far out of the grid slot? It didn’t seem accidental given he’d pointed the car towards Hamilton too. If everyone does exactly the same next race, what then? I mean, apart from looking like a tricycle park at a kindergarten.

    1. You only get a penalty if you are in front of the lines. He was not.

    2. The majority of the car needs to be in the box. I think this requirement was just about satisfied. Vettel did this to avoid the rubber laid down by other cars, which is very slippy in the wet.

      1. If everyone does exactly the same next race, what then?

        Nothing (apart from looking like a tricycle park at a kindergarten) :p

      2. I really don’t see how Vettel wanting to avoid a disadvantage shared by others too exempts him from not following the regulations.

        1. He followed the regulations.

          If something can be said about Vettel is that he knows very well the regulations. Remember the pass at the pitlane?

  4. How can Vettel not be penalized for starting outside of his grid position?
    2017 FORMULA ONE SPORTING REGULATIONS
    36.9 When the cars come back to the grid at the end of the formation lap (or laps, see Article
    39.16), they will stop within their respective grid positions, keeping their engines running.
    (emphasis added)

    It seems that if they don’y penalize him for not being within his respective grid position that anyone in any future race can line up outside their grid position. That’s messed up. Then again, so is F1.

    1. I guess Vettel correctly anticipated that they wouldn’t dare affect the race between the top two drivers/teams at the start of this year by penalizing what viewers would see as a triviality. Formula 1 needs to be about racing, not parking. But the very fact he seemed to clearly make that calculation seems provocative. A 5-place grid penalty for the next race seems reasonable and would ensure it doesn’t become a parking free for all on the grid.

    2. Because RIC and VES did the same in the past and Withing clarification was that if the majority of the car is inside there is no rpoblem

      1. Vettel’s car was not even close to being inside. He was totally outside his grid box. That said, it’s a dark area in rules since they used the word “within” instead of “inside”

        1. “Vettel’s car was not even close to being inside. He was totally outside his grid box”

          https://i.redd.it/x7xkbt2pxgqy.jpg

          1. That’s some Michael Schumacher stuff in the making right there!

          2. Hamilton too appears to be at least a tyre width to his left of his grid box. So strictly speaking if Vettel was at fault so was Hamilton and a few others. I think they’re just avoiding the slippery longitudinal white lines rather than trying to crowd another driver.

          3. If anybody was out of position, then it was the guy waving the green flag ;)
            @oletros

      2. @ Oletros

        The only difference with what Ric did in Suzuka and Seb today, was Ric was starting on slick tires and there was a damp patch on his slot, today Seb started on the tires that matched the conditions.

        Also what’s being overlooked with regards to Charlie, is what he said to Hamilton when he asked if he could position his car outside of the wet patch on his grid slot. Charlie told him that it was against the rules, when someone from Mercedes asked him after the race why was Ric allowed to do it, he replied, “it was the common sense thing to do”

        Check out Pedro De La Rosa’s tweet about it.

        1. For one, I’m happy no one got a penalty, but I think Charlie has never been consistent when it comes to such matters.

        2. “The only difference with what Ric did in Suzuka and Seb today, was Ric was starting on slick tires and there was a damp patch on his slot,”

          The rules doens’t talk about tires or wet patches, it says what it says

        3. “Check out Pedro De La Rosa’s tweet about it”

          What tweet? The hyperbolic one?

    3. Unfortunately they said within but not inside. Within could mean in parallel, not in front and not back, inside means inside the white box.

      1. “Within could mean in parallel”

        In what language? Certainly not English.

        within
        PREPOSITION

        1. Inside (something)
        ‘the spread of fire within the building’
        More example sentencesSynonyms
        1.1 Inside the range of (an area or boundary)
        ‘property located within the green belt’
        More example sentencesSynonyms
        1.2 Inside the range of (a specified action or perception)
        ‘we were within sight of the finish’
        More example sentences
        1.3 Inside the bounds set by (a concept, argument, etc.)
        ‘full cooperation within the terms of the treaty’
        More example sentences
        2. Not further off than (used with distances)
        ‘he lives within a few miles of Oxford’
        More example sentences
        3. Occurring inside (a particular period of time)
        ‘tickets were sold out within two hours’
        ‘33 per cent offended again within two years of being released’

        Whiting goofed and this is what I hate about F1, instead of admitting they make mistakes and it’s not allowed and it can’t happen in the future, they always try to massage the rules and pretend they never make mistakes and we end up with all sorts of stupid unofficial by-laws.

        1. All I was hoping for this year really is that they learnt from last year that inconsistency with regards to the rules is the worst thing for any serious competition.

          They haven’t got off to a great start because it’s not as if they can consistently ignore people starting wherever they want on the grid.

    4. The question that we should be asking is: Did he get an advantage? I don’t think he did, so let the guys race instead of penalising them for meaningless stuff.

      The stewards so far this year, have my vote of approval.

      1. Not that I want to see a penalty handed out now, but I would say that being closer to the left hand side of the track, which is where they position the car for T1, is an advantage. That being said, nobody seems to park wholly within the painted lines. So, I guess that provided they stick to this unwritten rule (although it’d be preferable if it was written down) that you’re alright as long as you’re at least half-in your slot (laterally), I don’t see it being a problem.

        I’ll also give a +1 to stewards for their lighter touch, thus far.

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        10th April 2017, 13:19

        @johnmilk no, penalties are not based on whether he gained the advantage – if your car has an illegal part, they will penalize you even if you finish last on the grid.

        The intent is obvious there and Vettel should have known better than to do that. He’s a 4 time champion, not some rookie. He should have expected to be punished for doing that and the fact that he is not suggests an issue with F1. I can’t see the stewards questioning any grid positioning after this – as long as 2 wheels are in the box, it’s fine…

        You can’t compromise someone else’s race when you have blatantly noted it and accepted it for Vettel.

        1. @freelittlebirds so you would prefer that the stewards gave him a penalty for something that had no effect on the race, and it isn’t clear from the rule book if it is illegal or not?

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            10th April 2017, 14:13

            @johnmilk A picture is worth a thousand words – what isn’t clear from that picture? If Vettel had passed Hamilton or caused a collision ending Hamilton’s race (the attacker usually survives), how could the stewards have made that up to Hamilton?

            In fact, they should NOT have allowed the race to start that way. It was completely under their control and Charlie could see it. He has to be held accountable for allowing the violation just as much as Vettel needs to be held accountable.

            All the other cars are in a single line – that’s how every gp starts! Now everyone can choose to close their care up to 50% towards the other car. The worst thing the FIA can do is clarify the rules after allowing Vettel to challenge them or penalize another driver for the same transgression.

          2. @freelittlebirds 7 WDC between them, and you think that a collision in the first corner would be down to the placement of the cars on the grid? And if there was a collision it is immediately the fault of the driver that had his car miss-placed?

            He is still behind Hamilton, the exact same distance, what if he had passed him?

            and you don’t want the FIA to clarify the rule? It is better to punish a driver for something that it is not clear? Or you like to have these pointless discussions?

            The picture has nothing to do with the rule book, if drivers can take advantage of unclear rules they will.

            Remember FIA states that regardless of the situation common-sens must prevail.

          3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            10th April 2017, 14:46

            @johnmilk

            Common sense? I’m pretty sure the way that Vettel had positioned his car was not common sense. Look at all the other cars and if not, then the last 100 Gran Prix to find a car in the same position.

            But obviously that is pointless because 100×21 = 2,100 cars and obviously all those drivers were complete idiots (including Vettel) and you and Vettel are right!

          4. @freelittlebirds amazing how you managed to avoid everything that I said/asked, and the little things that you didn’t you took them off context to suit whatever it is that you are trying to say. So you do like pointless discussions?!

            I will consider myself warned, thank you.

        2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          11th April 2017, 12:35

          @johnmilk I think you are right – I was just pointing the mistake of every driver over the course of the past decade. 2,100 cars got it wrong and Vettel also made the same mistake in 180 out of 181 Gran Prix.

          He finally got it right this weekend! It was obvious from the picture!

    5. When you think about it though, I think giving a reprimand should be ok for it (combined with a warning that next time he WILL get an in race penalty).
      If anything, they maybe should have called for an aborted start and another installation lap to allow Vettel to put the car in the right place. Afterwards it really would not have done any good anymore.

      Vettel did not seem to impede anyone and just imagine that instead of having Vettel try to fight for podium/victory he got a penalty and dropped to somewhere in the field like Bottas. Would that have been more satisfactory for the fans? Would it even have been fairer.

      1. The cars are arranged in a grid pattern for a reason. It takes a certain amount of time to cover a certain distance. Which means, had Vettel made a good start, he could easily have blocked Hamilton much faster than if he was within his slot.
        So he gained an advantage, irrespective of the condition of the track.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          10th April 2017, 13:14

          @Ooliver
          Indeed, he gained an advantage. If you look at the image shared above Vettel’s car is the only one that’s not aligned.

          They have to punish him and it has to be a meaningful punishment – points or position. Disqualification would not be out of line either.

          1. @freelittlebirds No they don’t ‘have to’, based on the fact that they didn’t. He obviously did nothing illegal, and simply did something that he thought of and tried that others did not. PDLR’s tweet is rather far fetched by showing Vettel in the middle of the track, which obviously would never be allowed. I suggest that this was a one-off due to the conditions and that almost always the drivers will want to be within the box and at most just have their car angled a bit if they have a certain strategy in mind off the start.

          2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            10th April 2017, 14:17

            @Robbie the fact that they didn’t means absolutely nothing. It’s a well known in F1 that the stewards possess the brain of a peanut or act so. Their rulings are usually more exciting than the racing because the color green somehow has a massive purple taint and therefore must be maroon or blue or any other hue the stewards deemed to be the intended color of choice for the casual observer or any vision impaired observer that particular day or night.

            Good luck violating the last sentence :-)

          3. @freelittlebirds Ah, no…the fact that they didn’t means exactly that they didn’t.

          4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            10th April 2017, 14:49

            @Robbie I didn’t think there was a penalty in the game between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid but I didn’t watch the match. Does that mean there was no penalty in the game because I say so? Granted, Einstein wasn’t relatively bright compared to some brighter people but in the end who shone brightest, right? Einstein did, not me! So I can take my claim (regardless of its legitimacy) and stick it in my drawer…

          5. @freelittlebirds Yup, stick it there with the others.

          6. You’re surely joking, isn’t?

  5. Ferrari, Seb fan
    9th April 2017, 18:57

    Ferrari need to issue team orders, Vettel could have had a chance to win.
    The early pitstop wasn’t the pit walls fault, nobody knew that Giovinazzi would have crashed.
    As it looks, Hamilton and vettel are equal, bottas a good bit behind, kimi needs to do something or ferrari might show him the door before the season ends

    1. Ferrari won’t show Kimi the door, or was that a joke? Who would you replace him with?

      1. Kimi is a former WDC and he was in his prime a great driver, sad to say that he now has passed his shelf life date and these days he seems to be no more than an adequate No.2 to Seb and unless he up’s his game Ferrari need to replace him for 2018.

        On another driver issue, it was sad to see Felipe retire at the end of 2016 but it is even sadder to see him struggle so badly in the Williams, the team must be regretting their decision to let Valtteri join Mercedes.

        1. Valterri went from 5th to 12th under the dafety car in a Mercedes with more grip. Imagine how far back he would have dropped if he was driving the Williams with less ability to recover

      2. Ferrari, Seb fan
        10th April 2017, 8:35

        @josh
        If the relationship between Max and Dan gets ruined, I could see one of them going to ferrari. Alonso might go (I’m dreaming). Otherwise Hulk, Romaine, Perez, Leclerc and Giovinazzi are possible, though the last two are unlikely.
        Ferrari will show Kimi the door mid-seasononly I’d he doesn’t perform better.

        1. Ferrari, Seb fan
          10th April 2017, 8:36

          *mid-season only

    2. Post race Vettel said it was he who told the team ” Let Kimi keep attacking, don’t make him slow down for me to pass” something along the lines of that.

      So in conclusion, Ferrari is listening to more of what the drivers want , specifically what Seb wants. So no use blaming them for this race.

  6. LuffieldOfDreams
    9th April 2017, 19:28

    Can I just say how much I’ve enjoyed the added ‘joy’ there’s been in the first two races of this season?

    Maybe it’s Liberty or the new rules or just drivers all taking chill pills over the winter, but everyone just seems to be enjoying themselves so much more than over the last couple of seasons.

    Hamilton and Vettel laughing and joking on the podium, Chinese fans being in great voice all weekend despite the fog-out on Friday – even Kimi cracked a smile in the press conference! It’s just really nice to see everyone just enjoying being a part of Formula 1 again.

    I have felt that over the last few years a kind of cynical shadow has begun to creep into the sport and I’ve noticed it especially online on Twitter and Facebook and popular F1 YouTubers doing rage videos and then we have had podiums with all three drivers looking really sad and frustrated about different things and it just really doesn’t feel right.

    But after a race like today we have so many good vibe stories and I’m just so happy to see that joy back into my favourite sport.

    So yeah, I hope you all enjoyed that race as much as I did and are looking forward to Bahrain as much as I am!

    1. Racerdude77730
      9th April 2017, 19:56

      I really really hope it stays this way because it’s awesome to see everyone happy. This is the part where F1 needs to leave everything be and not try and change the show. If it keeps up this way all year who knows we may see ratings and attendance go back up. I’m looking forward to Monza if Ferrari can keep this up because the fans will be full on crazy like the schumacher days. Also for the good of the sport in Europe I’d love to see Germany draw a huge crowd this year! If I was a track running a race I know I need to recover the money but I’d bet on lowering my prices and drawing more people rather then high prices hoping enough well off people will come

      1. I’d love to see Germany draw a huge crowd this year!

        It’ll be a toughie, what with there being no German GP, unfortunately.

        1. It’ll be a toughie, what with there being no German GP, unfortunately.

          Don’t be so defeatist!

    2. I love and share your good vibes, I haven’t enjoyed F1 so much since I started watching in 2007. The drivers seem like super heroes again and the crowds so far have been unbelievable in both Melbourne and Shanghai. What a direction this sport is going. Hamilton can Vettel and throw in a couple Red Bulls, gonna be an old fashioned dog fight till Dubai.

    3. Really well said and I totally agree. It just seems more fun, more authentic and more exciting.

  7. sunny stivala
    9th April 2017, 20:19

    The FERRARI strategy was the right and correct one at the time, if it wasn’t for the Antonio Giovinazzi safety car which most probably cost Vettel his race win, Vettel would have ended at least five seconds in front of the others.

    1. Like Mercedes’ undercut was the correct one last race if it wasn’t for Verstappen was difficult to pass..

      It was a gamble and the tendency for Ferrari to give up track position and hoping for the best is not good IMO.

      It was early in the race and Vettel lost a lot of places, there was no guarantee they would all be coming next lap(s) to give him free way, so going off the line to pass was very risky, he could easily have lost time going off and worse. With the new cars also more difficult to pass, there’s no guarantee the undercut would have worked at all as I see it, rather the opposite. A SC period was certainly not unlikely at all with people early on slicks in the second race of the new year, I think no one was surprised when it happened.

      To me the leaders should really play the percentages. Gambling is for lower down the field which Brundle also pointed out. Yet another strategic mistake by Ferrari, and they blundered again with Raikkonen later. Strategy is really costing them, might be the championship should it be close.

  8. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    9th April 2017, 21:54

    Just curious, why wasn’t Vettel penalized for the way he position the car at the grid? That car looked totally out of line with the other cars. We’ve seen drivers point the car inward before but this was really crazy.

    Does that mean that drivers can now start anywhere they like on the grid?

    1. Your final sentence…ridiculous. Given the conditions, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if SV clarified something with Whiting that morning wrt starting positions. Something made him comfortable doing what he did. If he thought he was going to risk being penalized I doubt he would have found enough advantage in it to make that risk pay off. He had to have had permission. I didn’t catch any of the post-race commentary. Were there a lot of complaints and questions about it? Did the drivers think SV gained an unfair advantage? Haven’t seen any headlines here about any big controversy…just comments from fans. Did LH complain?

      1. @robbie in answer for your last 3 questions: No. No. No.

        Horner asked for clarification today.

        1. @johnmilk Yeah I had a busy weekend so I didn’t catch a lot of post race stuff so I googled a short time ago and saw that CH is asking for clarification. Not complaining so much as asking clarification as you say.

  9. I was really positively surprised by Hamiltons attitude at the moment. But thinking about it there is one thing bothering me about it: Hamilton kinda acts like “All of a sudden there is competition again, its exiting again,…” well,.. wasn’t he just beaten to the title? Its kind of disrespectful to rosberg isn’t it? Why was there no ‘How awesome is this, close fight, jada jada jada’ with ROS?
    Sorry, didn’t mean to hate, just struck me a few minutes ago reading all this. What do others think?

    1. Hamilton’s not a person who throws random comments out there anymore. He’s a lot more in control of the story, everything is calculated and thought through. Everytime an interviewer brought up Rosberg, Hamilton knew he could try and play the game, try and get in his head. That doesn’t work against a different team because he doesn’t know what there doing.

    2. Two reasons – one, even with Nico winning the title there really wasn’t competition, since it was the same team and it was sort of getting a little boring, esp for the fans. And two, Nico wasn’t really much competition for Hamilton, truth be told. How many times did Hamilton make up huge points deficits to Nico, only to be scuppered by car failures, fall far behind, and then make up that deficit once more? Even in the same car, Nico was never competition for Hamilton – take out all the non-driver-related car issues and Nico would have had as much chance of winning the title against Hamilton as he did before 2016.

      1. @rantingmrp How was there no competition? the title went down to the wire 2/3 years of merc dominance, we had 2 major crashes between the very drivers competing for the WDC in 2016 alone, the finale was an absolute nailbiter to the very last corner,… The glorified Senna Prost clinge might even have a hard time compared to that. I mean what else could they have done? And all this without the tedious “But x had the better car that year” that inevitably ensues when its between different teams. Rosberg even managed the underdog-esque feat noone thought possible and managed to snatch the title from the teammate everyone rates way higher. And people discounting this like that feels weird to me.

    3. The people things complain about, honestly! Why does he have to behave to YOUR standards? Who are you?

    4. @mrboerns Why do you even care FFS, you are no Rosberg fan so why asking ?. I’m tired of people like you always moaning about Hamilton about how he does, walk, talk or whatever nonsense you clowns come up with. Support your own driver you follow FFS instead of looking what Hamilton does.

      1. @patienceandtime not moaning. i find it rather odd that after him being rather sulky when beaten over the last few years he now does all this cherishing the competition thing is all.

        1. Hamiton has been consistent in wanting other teams to be more competitive. Now that he gets his wish and other teams are competitive you find it odd that he is excited??? Why is it that some people have to find some hidden agenda behind everything Hamilton says.

      2. @patienceandtime

        Why do you even care FFS, you are no Rosberg fan so why asking ?

        Support your own driver you follow FFS instead of looking what Hamilton does.

        Is it a problem that LOTS of non-Brits care about the members of the House of Windsor? Do I not have a right to state an opinion on the Falklands or Gibraltar simply because I’m Indonesian, and does @mrboerns not have a right to about the former Dutch New Guinea or East Timor simply because he’s not?

        I’m tired of people like you always moaning about Hamilton about how he does, walk, talk or whatever nonsense you clowns come up with.

        I’m tired of people like you moaning about others comment, wonder, get curious, get amazed, get slightly impressed, or get slightly unimpressed about Hamilton, or whatever nonsense you come up with – every driver get that sort of reaction from everybody at least sometimes :)

        @mrboerns As others have said, to be fair this year is the first time in a few years that Mercedes is competing somewhat on-par with another team.

        1. Well I’m complaining that there doesn’t seem to be enough to complain about…..

    5. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      10th April 2017, 2:37

      @mrboerns what close fight? 2016 will be regarded as one of Hamilton’s best years and Nico Rosberg’s driving will have little to do with it. People will say that Nico was one of the luckiest champions in the history of the sport – luck was shining all year long. As Toto said “how is that possible that another driver can be so unlucky?”

      1. The “People” in your statement must mean Hamilton fans.
        Luck is present every year in equal amounts to anyone willing to believe such nonsense exists.
        2016 was one of Rosberg’s best years.

    6. @mrboerns I don’t know if it is a genuine question, or you just tried to trigger all the comments that came after. Either way, thank you.

      IMO I think he is referring to battles between teams (just in case it was a serious question ahah!)

      1. @johnmilk Yeah it was kinda serious. It just struck me as really odd. It’s not like we had three boring CHAMPIONSHIPS in the turbo era after all. And yeah i knida feel he acts a bit too much like the undefeated dominator for someone who is not the riegning WDC. (They will kill me now won’t they? XD )

        1. Most likely, it was a pleasure

        2. I don’t know, I think they were pretty boring. All three were two-horse races with motorway passing and cheese tyres; 2015 was a non-starter and 2014 & 16 were only enlivened by the better driver suffering more due to external factors. Plus, it seems (and rightly so IMO) that HAM sees himself in a class of three with VET and ALO and wants to fight and beat them, rather than a driver he would consider of a lower calibre i.e. ROS. I’d also like to apologise on behalf of my fellow HAM fans for those few (or, as it seems, more than a few) that seem unable to even see a question about him with going off on one :P

    7. Yeezy918 (@offdutyrockstar)
      10th April 2017, 12:27

      Because quite simply there was no competition or wheel to wheel racing apart from maybe 5 races across 3 years. We all hoped and wished for a Bahrain 2014 in every race, instead we got Hamilton putting it on pole and romping away only to have bad reliability and start a few races from the back of the grid. Then an engine blowup that decided the championship, it wasn’t remotely interesting to watch.

    8. @mrboerns I think it could be a combination of things. I think the drivers are genuinely enjoying these cars much more. There is the fact that Ferrari is putting up a fight, as has been mentioned. He probably also feels far less threatened by VB as a newbie to the team whose never been in a race-win capable car. And in terms of comparing his demeanour to last year, last year he spent throwing his own team under the bus for favouring Nico, so he probably, in his own mind, has written off last year as one not where he was bested by Nico, but one where the team ensured the WDC for Nico. Let’s see how cheery and stoked he is about this new format and new competition if SV takes a hold of the Championship after a number of races and/or if VB starts to be a thorn in his side.

  10. That pass between Vettel and Ricciardo.. My goodness! That was something else. If you see carefully, it was setup right from turn 1 where Vettel took the wider line, forcing Ricciardo to position his car in the middle of the track at turn 3, compromising his run-up to turn 6 just a little bit. This compromise allowed Vettel a half-chance of going around the outside. I doubt I have enjoyed any pass so much last couple of years!

    1. That is classic Vettel right there distablizes your corner entry so you are slow on exit!

  11. “Safety car keeps flying Ferrari from China win”

    1. @blik Ferrari 3rd Driver keeps Ferrari from Shanghai win

      1. @davidnotcoulthard Both more accurate than the headline ;-)

  12. Fun-to-watch scrimmages in the midfield too. Perez did a couple of determined passes and recovered points from a poor start; interesting strategies and VSC / SC antics spiced things up. battle’s on in the midfield!
    Seems you CAN follow, and you can overtake.

  13. So its legal to not have your car properly in its grid box the way Vettel had his at the start?

    1. Yes, the regulations say “within the box”, instead of “inside the box”, so that gives some room to play with.

      1. I expect this to be a frequent occurrence from now on then.

    2. The stewards have become quite lax this year. Almost no lap 1 incident is being investigated. Also, I like the new nomenclature change where they say “incident noted” and “incident under investigation”. Its just a cosmetic change, but for the new viewers, I am sure reading “noted” will sound better than every little thing showing up as “investigation”.

  14. This Ferrari performance all but confirmed how close they are to Merc in the power stakes. The onboards suggested a Ferrari that was a smidge more driveable than the Merc. It also struck me that the Ferraris and Red Bulls weren’t too adversely affected by close pursuit in the lower downforce (compared to Melbourne) configuration. Mercs seemed to follow other cars slightly better than was the case in Melbourne, but they are probably worst of the three in this regard. The Merc seems to sport the most complex aero package of the three and might be more susceptible to the influence of “dirty air”.

    What I liked best about Shanghai was the manifestation of what I consider the proper purpose of DRS, namely to put the driver in the best position to to execute a natural, non-DRS-aided pass.

  15. I wonder how far Vettel’s unorthodox grid positioning will be pushed (if at all) before the FIA will have to clarify/institute a new rule. Reminds me of the Rosberg double yellow pole lap they allowed but later amended (rule) for obvious reasons.

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