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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hamilton breaks through for victory in China

Lewis Hamilton broke Sebastian Vettel's string of victories, reeling the Red Bull in on the 52nd lap to take McLaren's first win of the season Sunday in Shanghai.

Red Bull's gamble on a two-stop strategy proved to be its undoing as Vettel's fading rubber made it impossible to hold Hamilton off.

Mark Webber drove a stunning race from 18th on the grid to finish third.

Jenson Button and Hamilton took Vettel at the start, but an odd mistake from Button in the first round of pit stops, when he pulled into the Red Bull pit box, proved costly and allowed Vettel to get out ahead.

Button would finish fourth.

Pirelli made the race interesting, and it was clearly going to come down to tire strategy. Tire degradation was what was asked for this year by the supplier, and it delivered some exciting racing.

For a while it looked as if Nico Rosberg was going to be able to pull out a Shanghai surprise for Mercedes, but fuel concerns forced him to dial it back. He finished fifth ahead of the two-stopping Massa and Alonso, sixth and seventh respectively, cementing three stops was the way to go in this contest.

Of note further back,
Heikki Kovalainen finished 16th in the Lotus in what he hailed as the team's “best ever performance,” as the squad was able to stay in touch with the rest of the field.

The lone retirement was STR's Jaime Alguersuari, who lost a wheel shortly after pitting. Toro Rosso were fined 10,000 euros for the mistake.

Vettel and Red Bull still lead the standings, but McLaren should make it a contest. What a difference from the end of winter testing, when McLaren was really on its back foot. It should be interesting to see what new bits become available as the circus moves to Europe in three week's time.

Result

  1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1h 36m 58.226s
  2. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull +00:05.198
  3. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull 00:07.555
  4. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 00:10.000
  5. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 00:13.448
  6. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 00:15.840
  7. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 00:30.622
  8. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 00:31.026
  9. Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Renault 00:57.404
  10. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber 01:03.273
  11. Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 01:08.757
  12. Nick Heidfeld (Germany) Renault 01:12.739
  13. Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Williams 01:30.189
  14. Sebastien Buemi (Switzerland) Toro Rosso 01:30.671
  15. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India 1 lap
  16. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Lotus 1 lap
  17. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber 1 lap
  18. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 1 lap
  19. Jarno Trulli (Italy) Lotus 1 lap
  20. Jerome d'Ambrosio (Belgium) Virgin 2 laps
  21. Timo Glock (Germany) Virgin 2 laps
  22. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Italy) HRT 2 laps
  23. Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT 2 laps
  • Jaime Alguersuari (Spain) Toro Rosso 47 laps


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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think Webber's drive was the best I've seen since Michael Schumacher came from the back at Monaco.
Chris

SpeedRead said...

Agreed. Exciting race all around.

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