Chinese GP - Sunday - Race Notes

Hamilton dominates Chinese GP

Lewis Hamilton, Chinese GP 2008

Lewis Hamilton, Chinese GP 2008 

 © The Cahier Archive

Lewis Hamilton won the Chinese Grand Prix, in Shanghai, in his McLaren-Mercedes in dominant style, only relinquishing the lead during the pit stops. Felipe Massa finished second in his Ferrari, 14.9 seconds behind, followed by his team mate Kimi Raikkonen, 16.4 seconds behind in third place.

The win is Hamilton's Hamilton with 94 points now leads the Drivers' Championship by seven points over Massa with 87 points. Kubica is now out of the title chase with 75 points over Raikkonen with 69. In the Constructors Championship Ferrari now leads McLaren-Mercedes by 11 points, 156 to 145, with BMW Sauber in third on 135 points and Renault with 82 points.

Fernando Alonso had another strong race to finish in fourth place in his Renault, followed by Nick Heidfeld in the BMW Sauber in fifth, his team mate Robert Kubica in sixth, Timo Glock in the Toyota in seventh place, and Nelson Piquet in the second Renault finishing in the final points paying position.

Before the start Mark Webber was penalised for an engine change and dropped from 6th to 16th on the grid, while Heidfeld dropped 3 spots and will start in 9th on the grid. A slight chance of rain possible mid-way through the race. Most drivers starting on the harder option tyre - the two Ferraris on the softer tyre.

On the grid Heikki Kovalainen's car was smoking, and at the start, Hamilton led into the first corner from pole, ahead of Raikkonen and Massa, Kovalainen getting past Alonso - the two battled on the first lap but Alonso repassed him on the second lap. At the first corner Jarno Trulli and Sebastien Bourdais touched, both spinning off but both rejoining - Trulli then pitting for a new nose.

On lap 3 Trulli slowed, and returned to the pits to retire.

Hamilton, at the front, put in a number of fast laps to edge out a lead over Raikkonen.

At lap 5 Hamilton led Raikkonen by 3.1s seconds, followed by Massa (5.4s), Alonso (7.4s), Kovalainen (12.3s), Heidfeld (13.4s), Sebastian Vettel (14.9s), Kubica (17.7s), Piquet (19.5s) and Rubens Barrichello (20.7s) in tenth place.

On lap 7 Webber passed Barrichello for 10th, rapidly making up places after his grid penalty.

On lap 10 Webber battled with Piquet for ninth, getting by the Brazilian on the final corner.

On lap 13 Webber was the first driver to make a pitstop, running the first stint on a light fuel-load, switching to the softer tyre, dropping back to 18th place.

On lap 14 Piquet jumps the inside kerb on the final corner and the runs wide, but continues.

On lap 15 Massa and Alonso both make their first stops from third and fourth, Massa again on the softer tyre, followed by race leader Hamilton and Raikkonen on the next lap, Raikkonen switching to the harder tyre - Kovalainen taking over the lead. While out on the circuit Adrian Sutil's Force India is stranded at the side of the track.

On lap 17 Nico Rosberg pits, followed by Heidfeld the next lap, followed by Kovalainen from the lead and Vettel from fourth on lap 19, and Barrichello on lap 20.

At lap 20, Hamilton led Raikkonen by 6.9 seconds followed by Kubica (10.4s) yet to make his first stop, Massa (14.1s), Piquet (16.0s), Alonso (18.7s), Kovalainen (24.7s), Heidfeld (28.2s), Glock (29.8s) and Coulthard (32.0s) in tenth place.

On lap 23 Button made his first pitstop, Bourdais on the next lap, Piquet on lap 25.

On lap 26 Kubica makes his first stop from third place - rejoining on the same set of tyres in ninth place.

On lap 29 Coulthard and Giancarlo Fisichella make their first stop - Glock and Kazuki Nakajime not yet pitting.

At lap 30, Hamilton continued to lead Raikkonen by 7.5 seconds, followed by Massa (14.6s), Alonso (21.7s), Kovalainen (29.7s), Heidfeld (33.9s), Glock (35.6s), Kubica (41.0s), Piquet (47.8s) and Vettel (54.1s) in tenth place.

On lap 32 Nakajima makes his first stop, while Webber is the first to make his second stop. Glock the final driver to stop on the next lap.

On lap 35 Kovalainen in fifth place suffers a right front tyre puncture and limps back to the pits and resumes in 16th place, 1 lap down.

On lap 37 Alonso, in fourth, makes his final stop, rejoining in sixth place. The next lap Massa pits from third place, switching to the harder tyre for his final stint.

On lap 39 Hamilton and Raikkonen both pit, both switching to the softer tyre, Piquet pitting as well. Heidfeld pitting the next lap from second place.

Massa closes on Raikkonen, looking to keep his Championship hopes alive.

On lap 41 Kubica pits from fourth place while Barrichello pits as well, all the front-runners having made their final stops. Vettel pitting the next lap.

At lap 41, Hamilton leads Raikkonen by 12.2 seconds, followed by Massa (14.8s), Alonso (25.3s), Heidfeld (35.5s), Vettel (41.4s), Kubica (43.7s), Glock (48.2s), Piquet (56.7s) and Coulthard (68.5s) in tenth place.

On lap 44 Button makes his final pitstop.

On lap 50 Raikkonen backs off and hands second place over to Massa, helping his team mate close the gap in the World Championship. Kovalainen pits and retires.

At lap 50 Hamilton leads Massa by 16.6 seconds, followed by Raikkonen (20.4s), Alonso (27.7s), Heidfeld (36.4s), Kubica (42.3s), Glock (49.2s), Piquet (62.8s), Vettel (69.8s) and Coulthard (76.8s) in tenth place.

The order remained the same to the chequered flag on lap 56.

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