Formula 1 – From Bahrain to Spain pt.2

Formula 1 – From Bahrain to Spain pt.2

China

The Chinese Grand Prix on the 14th April saw a dominant and smooth performance from Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso to gain victory, having led from lap five, to take his first victory of the season and his 31st of his career.

Whilst Ferrari shone, Red Bull, their nearest rivals had a mixed day with Mark Webber retiring and Sebastian Vettel unable to improve upon 4th despite a fierce battle for a podium place with Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages. Kimi Raikkonen added to his championship challenge with a convincing second place, in both the race and his championship standings.

The Grand Prix saw a four way fight, between Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel. Vettel made his challenge all the more difficult with a disappointing qualifying on Saturday making it to only 9th on the grid, whereas his teammate Mark Webber lost fuel pressure in qualifying and started from the back of the grid.

Mercedes showed the dominance they have had all season in qualifying by scoring pole position with Lewis Hamilton, with Fernando Alonso posed to pounce behind in third.

The start saw another fantastic display of skill form Fernando Alonso who shot past Kimi Raikkonen for 2nd, and hunted down Lewis Hamilton for the lead which inevitably came as DRS enhanced his straight line speed on lap 5. From then on Alonso smooth and calmly led the race with no real question of being usurped if remaining problem free.

Kimi Raikkonen suffered from a technical glitch upon the start of which he was apologised to by the team, he moved from second to third as the Ferrari’s swept past him.

Drama, however, emerged further down the field as the Force India teammates of Adrian Sutil and Paul Di Resta. Sutil’s day went from bad to worse as merely four laps later as a collision with Gutierrez in the Sauber caused substantial rear wing damage.

During his corrective pit stop Sutil’s brakes caught fire and he was forced to retire, creating another unfortunate weekend for the Force India driver. Not all bad news for Force India however, as Paul Di Resta was able to finish a positive 8th for the team.

The collisions continued with Mark Webber and Jean Eric Vergne coming together on lap 15, causing a damaged front wing for Webber. After having pitted for the damage, Webber’s right rear tyre detached from his car and rolled dangerously across the track ending his weekend.

During this lap Raikkonen and Perez contacted as Perez cautiously used the brakes to protect his position, slight damages occurred to Raikkonens nose but he was able to pass to gain fourth position.

Yet another problematic pit stop caused Nico Roseberg to have to retire his Mercedes on lap 21, ending a promising weekend for Mercedes.

Amidst the collision chaos Sebastian Vettel was steadily making his way up the field from 8th after his pit stop, by lap 37 he had made his way past Felipe Massa, Hulkenberg and Jenson Button to lead the race as Alonso had pitted. Two laps after his pit stop Alonso smoothly regained the lead with a move down the inside of Vettel.

With the lead of the race safely assured the focused came to battle for the remaining podium places. After their respective pit stops Raikkonen and Hamilton were fighting tooth and nail for 2nd place with Vettel on fresher tyres gaining seven tenths a second upon Hamilton for third place after a late pit stop.

Raikkonen managed to secure his second place as Hamilton came under fire from Vettel, with a golden opportunity to pass being squandered on the final lap as Vettel ran wide just before the DRS zone allowing Hamilton to hold onto 3rd place by the skin of his teeth.

The dominant win for Fernando Alonso placed him 3rd in the championship after the retirement in Malaysia had hampered his championship standings. Raikkonen finished 2nd in the race to secure 2nd place in the overall standings, with Vettel’s 4th place finish extending his championship lead.

Hamilton secured a fantastic podium finish for Mercedes who have shown difficulty in transferring the form they have in qualifying to results on race day. Overall it was a flawless race from the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso.

Continued…

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  1. Formula 1 – From Bahrain to Spain | InQuire Live
    June 11, 2023

    […] Continued… […]

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