The Chinese GP was a thrilling race with close racing up and down the field right up to the very last lap. A mixture of tyre strategies contributed to the race as drivers were split between two and three stops. Nico Rosberg won his first race after taking his first pole position during qualifying.
My personal highlight of the race happened on lap 55 when Lewis Hamilton finally managed to find a way past Sebastian Vettel. After a long period of time stuck behind Felipe Massa and then Kimi Räikkönen, a number of cars, including Massa, Räikkönen, both McLarens, both Red Bulls and both Williams were close together and battling for second and third positions. When Massa pitted, Räikkönen lead the pack until lap 48 when he went and wide and his tyres dropped off. He went from 2nd to 11th and eventually finished 14th. This set the pack free and Jenson Button set about securing his podium spot. This left Vettel, Hamilton and Mark Webber fighting for third. Vettel was on older tyres and Hamilton remained close to him and eventually took the opportunity to pass. Vettel looked like he might try and take the position back but Hamilton made it stick. This meant he secured his third 3rd place in a row and puts him ahead in the championship.
Tyre wear and pit stop strategy proved to be crucial in this race. Nico Rosberg, for example, only pitted twice but made the strategy work whereas Kimi Räikkönen also pitted twice but with eight laps to go his tyres let go and he dropped from second to 11th and finishing in 14th. Sebastian Vettel is another driver who arguably lost out on positions due to his tyres. However, due to the close nature of the race, were teams right to leave their drivers out in the hopes that they could hang on until the end, or is it unfair as it could interfere in other drivers’ races if they get stuck behind the slower car? If teams pitted their drivers for fresh tyres then they would drop down the order regardless, however, if there’s a chance they could pick up some points you can see why they would want to stay out on track. Another issue to take into consideration is the availability of tyres to the driver if they did choose to pit.
What are your thoughts on today’s race? Share your personal highlights, comments on the pit-stop strategies, or any other incidents in the race.