Another Grand Prix weekend has come and gone and Nico Rosberg has once again won. Although the race leader had a relatively easy race the same cannot be said for lower down the pack. Despite all the action all 22 cars finished the race meaning it is only the sixth F1 Grand Prix in history to have no retirements.
Lewis Hamilton started the race stone cold last due to a penalty and being unable to set a lap time during qualifying. It meant he had to work his way up through the field but after he picked up damage at the start of the race the car felt like a “four poster bed”. The first lot of damage came from when his front wing was knocked of, it subsequently made its way under his car causing damage that couldn’t be fixed during the race. With what seemed like a strange strategy, Hamilton boxed multiple times which meant each time he came back out he had to make his way through the field again.
As the lights went out Rosberg suffered from a poor start as Daniel Ricciardo gained quickly and overtook him before the first corner. Ricciardo remained in the lead until he gained a puncture, leaving debris across the track and meaning Rosberg could easily overtake. Ricciardo dropped down the field rapidly and after qualifying P2 he finished the race in P4.
At the start of the race, during all the chaos, Sebastian Vettel felt forced to collide with his team mate Kimi Raikkonen after Daniil Kvyat came up behind him like a “mad man”. The collision could have been catastrophic for Raikkonen, but he somehow managed to battle back through and picked up some valuable points for the team by finishing fifth. Vettel and Kvyat both finished on the podium in second and third respectively. Despite the good finish for Vettel he refused to let the incident go and had a heated discussion with Kvyat in the driver’s room after the race, it came up again on the podium during the interviews (as you can read at the end of the report).
Due to all the debris from various wings being damaged and a substantial amount of tyre debris on the circuit the safety car was called out which meant Felipe Nasr could unlap himself and all the cars falling further behind could catch up.
During most of the race the Renaults were near the bottom of the pack, a contrast to where Jolyon Palmer was in Australia (1 place away from the points). Palmer finished in last place and Kevin Magnussen finish P17. It seems like a dismal performance from the team, hopefully as upgrades come they can improve their performance.
Romain Grosjean finished P19 in this weekend, quite a shock after his great performances at the previous two Grand Prix. He apparently struggled with the car all weekend, especially during the Grand Prix. The set up obviously failed him this time.
Nico Rosberg: Ni hao, hello China. Yeah, the start was not quite good enough, Daniel got a good one. But then I had a really quick car today, so I was feeling great, I attacked him straight away and I managed to pull a great gap after that.
We’re going to party now in the garage. That’s going to great fun, because everybody in the team deserves it so much and then straight back home to my family, can’t wait to see them.
Sebastian Vettel: Yeah, well, obviously it’s difficult to judge how it looked from his point of view, but my start wasn’t so great, so I was a bit on the back foot into turn one and then I think Kimi locked up, went a bit wide, I wanted to go on the inside to overtake him. I think Daniil was trying to do the same thing with me, but then Kimi came back and I had to sort of be in the middle. He was coming with a lot of speed into that gap. I was very surprised, so I had to steer some sort of left. At the same time Kimi was coming across and there was no way, so we made contact, which is a shame because you don’t want the same cars, same colour touching each other. In the end we were lucky – I could continue, he could continue, but surely not the best result for the team, so sorry for that. But after, it was a very entertaining race, a lot of cars that I had to overtake; it was good fun. I think the car was great this afternoon, so a big thanks to all the team, and all the Chinese fans. I think they have been fantastic once again, great support for all of us, you feel really, really special when you come here with so much attention, so Xièxie, thank you.
Daniil Kvyat: Well, yeah, I mean, vice versa to Seb I had a really good start. You see the gap, you go for it on the inside, you see one car, usually it’s hard to see both cars… yeah, it was a risky move of course, I agree with Seb, but these kind of moves can bring you a podium, so I’m on the podium, he’s on the podium, it’s fine. I will keep on risking like this and everyone should expect that!