The Mercedes Empire Strikes Back As Hamilton Secures Victory In China
Formula One
Lewis Hamilton curtailed Ferrari’s new found wining ways by securing victory at the Chinese Grand Prix where he led from start to finish. Mercedes team mate, Nico Rosberg finished 2nd with Malaysian GP winner Sebastian Vettel in 3rd while team mate Kimi Raikkonen was 4th. It was made clear in qualifying that both Mercedes drivers had the speed to lock out the front row of the grid but Hamilton had that extra raw speed over his team mate and went unchallenged to notch up his third consecutive pole position in as many races. Hamilton also etched his name into the record books by securing the most poles at a single track joining an elite group of drivers who achieved the same feat at other circuits. These stats are for the record books, what is important is who wins on the day and for Hamilton he had a rather trouble free Grand Prix leading from the start to the finish, rather too easily for his team mate. Chinese-Grand-Prix-2015-Start During the race Nico Rosberg felt Hamilton was driving too slowly and over the radio urged his team to order Hamilton to speed up. Rosberg felt Hamilton was deliberately slowing his pace to feed him to the Ferrari sharks and therefore potentially cost him points. Mercedes did respond to Rosberg’s request and instructed Hamilton to speed up. By doing so it effectively ended the race because Hamilton was able to put enough of a distance between himself and those behind him to ensure he was never challenged again. Mean while the rather processional race did have its moments, Raikkonen starting from 6th on the grid hustled his way past the Williams duo of Massa and Bottas into 4th at the start and put in a strong showing all race long. Raikkonen was putting down a feisty mark of intent for team mate Vettel to ponder about. Chinese-Grand-Prix-2015-Vettel Pastor Maldonado provided the ecstasy and agony moments of the race. When make a scheduled pit stop on lap 34 he entered the pit entry point too fast, missed the apex and under-steered straight ahead. Maldonado had to get the assistance of the nearby marshal’s to push his Lotus back into the direction of the pit lane. embarrassment as much as lost time. A few laps later he then made an unforced error by spinning into turn 7 and coming to a rest on turn 8 before moving on as though nothing happened. By lap 49 of the 56 lap race the two McLaren’s were beginning to challenge Maldonado for 13th. Button assumed the responsibility first with Alonso keeping a watching brief. Chinese-Grand-Prix-2015-Maldonado As both Maldonado and Button headed towards turn one on the next lap it was clear Button was going for the pass but the close encounter ended with Button missing his braking point and hitting Maldonado from behind. Maldonado crashed out Button continued, however the Englishman would later get a penalty from the FIA for causing the accident. The race ended under the safety car after the Renault powered Torro Rosso driven by Max Verstappen suffered an engine failure on the main straight 3 laps from the end. Verstappen had looked strong and fast all race, nailing a number overtakes and thereby underlining his ability at such a young age. Chinese-Grand-Prix-2015-Hamilton But the Renault engine couldn’t match Verstappen’s strength of determination and gave up in a cloud of smoke on lap 53. It also meant another engine failure for Renault, the other victim was Daniel Kvyat in the Red Bull. And so it was that Hamilton’s race ended as easy as he had seemed to approach the entire Chinese GP weekend. The threat of Ferrari was seen more clearly today, yes the Scuderia are strong but Mercedes in the hands of Lewis Hamilton remain the strongest package on the grid right now. Chinese Grand Prix Results:
1 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes 1:39:42.008 25
2 Nico Rosberg GER Mercedes +0.714s 18
3 Sebastian Vettel GER Ferrari +2.988s 15
4 Kimi Räikkönen FIN Ferrari +3.835s 12
5 Felipe Massa BRA Williams +8.544s 10
6 Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams +9.885s 8
7 Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus +19.008s 6
8 Felipe Nasr BRA Sauber +22.625s 4
9 Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull +32.117s 2
10 Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber +1 lap 1
11 Sergio Perez MEX Force India +1 lap 0
12 Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren +1 lap 0
13 Carlos Sainz ESP Toro Rosso +1 lap 0
14 Jenson Button GBR McLaren +1 lap 0
15 Will Stevens GBR Marussia +2 laps 0
16 Roberto Merhi ESP Marussia +2 laps 0
17 Max Verstappen NED Toro Rosso DNF 0
RT Pastor Maldonado VEN Lotus DNF 0
RT Daniil Kvyat RUS Red Bull DNF 0
RT Nico Hulkenberg GER Force India DNF 0
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