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Chinese Grand Prix – Brilliant ! Brilliant!! Brilliant!!!

by F1Fan on April 25, 2011

The Chinese Grand Prix started off the weekend looking like it was going to be a repeat of the first couple of Formula 1 races of the 2011 season, but ended up being one of the best Formula 1 races this decade.

It had everything, tons of overtaking, 6 different drivers in lead, 9 lead changes, complete unpredictability and one of the best drives of all time.

Qualifying was closely fought between Red Bull and McLaren and while Vettel managed to claim Pole Position on the last lap yet again, McLaren has made significant gains in the performance of their MP4-26 with both Button and Hamilton closely behind Vettel claiming 2nd and third places on the grid.

Chinese Grand Prix Qualifying Grid Position

Grid PositionDriver/TeamGrid PositionDriver/Team
1Vettel/Red Bull Racing2Button/McLaren
3Hamilton/McLaren4Rosberg/Mercedes GP
5Alonso/Ferrari6Massa/Ferrari
7Alguersuari/Toro Rosso8Di Resta/Force India
9Buemi/Toro Rosso10Petrov/Lotus Renault GP
11Sutil/Force India12Perez/Sauber F1
13Kobayashi/Sauber F114Schumacher/Mercedes GP
15Barrichello/Williams16Heidfeld/Lotus Renault GP
17Maldonado/Williams18Webber/Red Bull Racing
19Kovalainen/Team Lotus20Trulli/Team Lotus
21D'Ambrosia/Marussia Virgin Racing22Glock/Marussia Virgin Racing
23Liuzzi/ HRT F1 Team24Karthikeyan/HRT F1 Team
2011 Formula One Season, Round 3, Shanghai International Circuit



Yet again Red Bulls second driver MArk Webber had a terrible start to the race weekend suffering from the same intermittent KERS problems that plagued his car in Malaysia and for the first time in a long while Webber failed to get out of Q1 and ended up starting the Chines Grand Prix in 18th.

So what made the Chinese Grand Prix such a great race, the start certainly helped when both Button and Hamilton managed to get by Vettel by the first corner, preventing Vettel from heading off into the distance never to be seen again, but that was not the whole story.

What really made it an exciting nail biting race was in great part the new for 2011, Pirelli Tires. These tires have been engineered to be less durable than the Bridgestones used last season and while their are problems with the tires not rubbering up the surface of the track, increasing grip as the race weekend and Grand Prix progresses, it is their rapid decline in grip once the tires have exceeded their performance window that in the Chinese Grand Prix led more overtaking throughout a Formula one race than we have seen in many seasons.

Tire Management and Tire strategy was key for a good result with every team in the Grand Prix. This point that was dramatically illustrated by the Red Bull Team Mates. Vetel ended up in Second position and was the only driver in the top ten that was on a two stop strategey an decision that probably cost him the race when.

Chinese Grand Prix Results (Top Ten)

PositionDriver
Nationality
DriverTeamChampionship
Points Earned
1GBLewis HamiltonMcLaren25
2GermanySebastian VettelRed Bull Racing18
3AustraliaMark WebberRed Bull Racing15
4GBJenson ButtonMcLaren12
5GermanyNico RosbergMercedes GP
10
6BrazilFelipe MassaFerrari8
7SpainFernando AlonsoFerrari6
8GermanyMichael SchumacherMercedes GP4
9Vitaly PetrovLotus Renault GP2
10JapanKamui KobayashiSauber F11
Shanghai International Circuit
Sunday April 17th, 2011

Animated flag images by 3DFlags.com

While Vettels team mate Mark Webber having failed to qualify out of Q1 was able to start on the “Prime” hard compound tires and because he hadn’t participated during Q2 & Q3 had more sets of unused softer compound “Option Tires” to use during the race.
Webber opted for a three stop strategy, pitting early to get on the softer higher performance tires he drove an absolutely fantastic race, racing from 18th to the third place podium finish, all with a severely compromised car without a working KERS system which must have made overtaking even more difficult.

At one point it looked like Vettel may win his third Grand Prix this season but with his tires going off he was unable to fend off Hamilton, who drove a great three stop race securing his first race win of the season and becoming the first Formula One two time winner at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Once Hamilton got by Vettel with just 5 laps to go it looked as though it was going to be a Mclaren first and third with Vettel in second, but Webber was rocketing through the field on fresher soft option tires and overhauled Jenson Button with only two laps left, button became another casualty of tire strategy & management.

All in all a really, really great race, while Hamilton was rightfully over the moon with his win in my book the race that Mark Webber drove must rate as one of the best Formula one drives of all time.

Absolutely Brilliant!!

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