Chinese GP - Sunday - Race Notes

Hamilton cruises to another Mercedes 1-2

Lewis Hamilton, Chinese GP 2014

Lewis Hamilton, Chinese GP 2014 

 © Active Pictures


Lewis Hamilton won the Chinese GP flag-to-flag, his third win in a row, in his Mercedes GP, followed by his team mate Nico Rosberg in second place, 18.6 seconds behind.

Hard charging Fernando Alonso finished on the podium in third place in his Ferrari, 25,7 seconds behind Hamilton and just edging out Daniel Ricciardo (26.9s) in his Red Bull-Renault in fourth place.

Sebastian Vettel (51.0s), in the second Red Bull, finished once again behind his young team mate in fifth place, followed by Nico Hulkenberg (57.5s) in the Force India-Mercedes in sixth place, Valtteri Bottas (58.1s) in the Williams-Nercedes in seventh, Kimi Raikkonen (1m23.9s) in his Ferrari in eighth, Sergio Perez (21m26.4) in the second Force India in ninth and Daniil Kvyat (1 lap down) in the Toro Rosso Renault took the final points paying position in tenth.

It is the first time that a team has had three consecutive 1-2 finishes since 2004 with the Ferrari’s of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. With Rosberg’s win in Australia, Mercedes GP have won all four races of the season so far. Lewis Hamilton has won three consecutive wins for the first time in his career, and now has 25 career victories tying Jim Clark and Niki Lauda on the all-time win list.

Dry weather looking likely for today’s race with perhaps a 20% chance of rain - either way, once again Mercedes GP is on the pole with Hamilton starting first. The Red Bull-Renault’s of Ricciardo and Vettel start second and third with a twenty kph disadvantage at the speed trap on the back straight from the Mercedes.

Hamilton is starting on pole for the third time this season (34th of his career) while his team mate Rosberg only managed fourth on the grid. As qualifying was run on wet tyres, drivers have the choice of starting on either the white-sidewalled medium tyre and the yellow-sidewalled soft tyre. Look for most to start on softs, and then finishing off with two stints on the medium tyres. Everyone but Magnussen is starting on the soft tyres.

Hamilton leads the field back to the grid with a few drops of rain in the air. The lights go out and the race starts with Hamilton takes the lead over Vettel. Alonso and Felipe Massa touch, but Alonso follows Vettel through followed by Ricciardo. Rosberg and Bottas make contact - all continue.

At the end of lap 1, Hamilton leads Vettel, Alonso, Ricciardo, Massa, Rosberg, Hulkenberg, Romain Grosjean, Raikkonen and Bottas in tenth.

On lap 2 Hamilton sets fast lap at 1m42.553. Rosberg and Hulkenberg battle for sixth place. Kevin Magnussen complains that he thinks he has front wing damage.

On lap 3 Jenson Button passes Jean-Eric Vergne for 13th place. Rosberg closes on Massa in fifth place.

On lap 5 Rosberg passes Massa for fifth place. Alonso closes to within DRS range of Vettel ahead of him.

On lap 6 Adrian Sutil pulls into the pits and retires in his garage. Mercedes GP is not receiving telemetry data from Rosberg’s car. Alonso complains that his left-front tyre is graining. Hamilton says he has graining as well, but is okay - he leads Vettel by almost 7 seconds.

On lap 7 Rosberg closes on Ricciardo in fourth place.

On lap 8 Button pits and switches to medium tyres and rejoins in 15th. Romain Grosjean pits from 10th.

At lap 10 Hamilton leads Vettel by 10.4 seconds, followed by Alonso (1.4s), Ricciardo (2.0s), Rosberg (1.4s), Hulkenberg (4.0s), Bottas (0.7s) in seventh. Massa, Raikkonen, Perez, and Marcus Ericsson all pits

A very slow stop for Massa - a problem with the left-rear tyre - he loses around a minute.

Alonso pits the next lap from third and switches to medium tyres. Hulkenberg pits as well.

On lap 12 Kamui Kobayashi, Pastor Maldonado and Jules Bianchi all pit. Vettel pits the next lap, along with Bottas. Vettel rejoins in sixth behind Alonso.

On lap 14 Rosberg pits and switches to medium tyres. Hamilton leads Riccciardo by17.1 seconds. Kvyat pits along with Esteban Guterriez.

Vettel follows closely behind Alonso in third place. Hamilton and Ricciardo yet to pit.

On lap 15 Perez passes Button for 14th place at the hairpin.

On lap 16 Ricciardo pits from second place for medium tyres. Rosberg in fifth sets fast lap at 1m42.231s. Raikkonen closes on Magnussen and passes him for ninth place.

Hamilton tells the team that his front tyres are “surprisingly good”.

Grosjean passes Magnussen.

On lap 17 Hamilton pits from the lead and switches to medium tyres and rejoins still in the lead ahead of Alonso in second place. Magnussen makes his first stop as well switching to soft tyres.

On lap 18 Rosberg reads out his fuel figures to the engineers manually, and he is told that he is ahead on his fuel figures.

On lap 19 Magnussen passes Kobayashi for 16th, then passes Maldonado for 15th place.

At lap 20 Hamilton leads Alonso by 5.4 seconds followed by Vettel 3.5s further behind, Rosberg (1.5s), Ricciardo (3.1s), Hulkenberg (7.4s), Bottas (2.0s), Raikkonen (8.4s), Grosjean (4.3s) and Perez (0.7s) in tenth place.

Ricciardo is told that only the Mercedes is running faster than him.

On lap 22 Rosberg closes on Vettel and passes the world champion out of the hairpin for third place. Vettel tries to fight back, but can’t hold the Mercedes up.

On lap 23 Ricciardo closes up on Vettel. The team radios Vettel to let Ricciardo through. Vettel asks what tyres is he on, and they reply that he is on primes but pitted much later than Vettel. Vettel replies “tough luck”.

On lap 26 Ricciardo, on fresher tyres, closes in the DRS zone - Vettel defends but can’t hold his yound team mate off.

On lap 27 Vettel is told that Ricciardo is stopping twice. Magnussen passes Gutierrez for 14th place at the first corner.

On lap 28 Grosjean is told by the team that he has a problem with fourth gear, and that he should use it as little as possible. Vettel is looking to pit, and the team tells him “Sebastian please stay out - it helps us”. Gutierrez pits.

On lap 29 Grosjean goes off track and through the gravel trap - he comes around and pits.

At lap 30 Hamilton leads Alonso by 13.8 seconds followed by Rosberg (2.2s), Ricciardo (7.3s), Vettel (3.5s), Hulkenberg (8.2s), Bottas (1.8s), Raikkonnen (12.6s), Perez (11.9s) who pits and Kvyat (6.8s) in tenth place.

On lap 32 Hulkenberg, Bottas and Raikkonen all pit for the second time, all staying on medium tyres. Magnussen and Kvyat pit as well.

On lap 33 Massa pits as well, while Rosberg closes to a seconds of Alonso. Perez sets fast lap at 1m42.228. Maldonado and Vergne pit.

Mercedes urges Rosberg to find a way past Alonso.

On lap 34 Alonso pits for more medium tyres. Vettel complains that Kobayashi has passed him on new tyres and now is holding him up.

On lap 35 Vettel pits and takes more medium tyres, rejoining in fifth.

On lap 38 Rosberg and Ricciardo both pit from 2nd and 3rd, both taking medium tyres. Rosberg rejoins 5 seconds behind Alono. Vettel sets fastest lap at 1m42.169s.

Hamilton pits the next lap and takes more medium tyres, rejoining still in the lead.

On lap 38 Rosberg sets fastest lap at 1m40.492 - the German is closing at two seconds a lap faster than Alonso.

At lap 40 Hamilton leads Alonso by Alonso by 13.8 seconds, followed by Rosberg (2.1s), Ricciardo (6.0s), Vettel (7.3s), Hulkenberg (6.1s), Bottas (2.8s), Raikkonen (12.9s), Perez (3.5s) and Kvyat (22.1s) in tenth place.

On lap 41 Rosberg closes right behind Alonso and passes him easily in the DRS zone into the hairpin to take over seconds place behind his Mercedes team mate. Ricciardo closes to 6.6 seconds behind Alonso.

On lap 44 Mercedes tells Hamilton, with a 15.2 second lead to “Manage the pace and look after these tyres in case odf a late safety car”.

On lap 45 Alonso is upping his pace, but Ricciardo has closes to 5.4 seconds behind the Ferrari. Rosberg is told by the team that his fuel figures are doing fine.

On lap 46 Kobayashi passes Chilton for 18th place.

Red Bull urges Ricciardo to catch Alonso.

On lap 49 Alonso continues to lead Ricciardo by 4.9 seconds.

On lap 50 Chilton pits for a third time and switches to soft tyres.

On lap 53 with 3 laps left, Alonso holds a 3.7 second lead over Ricciardo.

With one lap to go Ricciardo is 2.8 seconds behind Alonso. The order remains the same and Lewis Hamilton takes his third win (and third Mercedes one-two finish) of the 2014 season.

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