Chinese Grand Prix: Hamilton – Bottas – VettelApril 14, 2019
The alignment of forces at the beginning of the season varied from track to track – not only among the teams, but also among the riders of the same team. Melbourne was dominated by Bottas and Mercedes, in Bahrain – Ferrari and Leclaire, but won Hamilton, and in China, Mercedes cars again seemed faster.
Only on Friday morning on the first line was Ferrari racer – Sebastian Vettel led the protocol of the first workout. In the remaining sessions, Valtteri Bottas was the leader, winning and qualifying, 23 thousandths ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
Valtteri Bottas arrived in Shanghai as a world championship leader, one point ahead of Hamilton. Sebastian Vettel ranked fifth in the individual competition, behind the leader already 22 points – and had to recoup.
In Liberty Media, they organized large-scale events on the occasion of the 1000th Grand Prix – they invited past champions, brought historical cars, held a show in the center of Shanghai. Before the start there was a photo session with the participation of representatives of teams and riders.
The company Pirelli brought to Shanghai “middle” top three compositions – as Hard, Medium and Soft the compositions C2, C3 and C4 were used.
The starting field reflected the balance of power on the Chinese track – the first five rows went to Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull Racing, Renault and Haas F1 in full force.
Daniel Kvyat started the 11th. Two did not pass a quick circle in qualifying and were allowed to start by the decision of the stewards. Alexander Elbon crashed the car at the end of the third workout – the team assembled it on another chassis just for the race and the Thai driver started from the pit lane. Antonio Giovinazzi had problems with the electronics of the power plant – he started the race last.
The first five riders held a second qualifying session at the Medium and started on this rubber. Five behind them started the race on Soft tires, providing better grip in the first circles, but quickly wearing out.
Behind the top ten, Giovinazzi and Elbon started the race on Soft, the rest preferred more freedom of choice and started on Medium. On Sunday afternoon the wind increased – this year the cars are very sensitive to it.
Verstappen and Kubica spun on the warm-up lap, but both drivers continued driving.
At the start of Hamilton ahead of Bottas, and Leclaire – Vettel. Kvyat lost three positions, the car slipped – there was contact with Seinz, then with Norris.
Directorate race announced the virtual machine security mode. Sainz and Norris turned into boxes to replace damaged parts. Stewards punished Kvyat free travel to the pit lane.
Top ten in the 2nd round: Hamilton – Bottas – Leclaire – Vettel – Verstappen – Gasli – Riccardo – Perez – Hulkenberg – Grosjean.
In lap 2 riders were allowed to fight. Raikkonen ahead of Magnussen. Quat – Russell, Elbon and Giovinazzi, rising to 14th place.
On the 5th round, Raikkonen was ahead of Grosjean in the fight for 10th place.
On the 8th lap, Quat left the penalty with a drive through the pit lane, and Giovinazzi changed tires.
On the 9th Grosjean spent a pit stop, on the 10th – Magnussen.
On the 10th lap at Ferrari, they told LeCler that he should drive faster or skip Vettel. Charles missed his partner.
Top ten on the 11th lap: Hamilton – Bottas – Vettel – Leclaire – Verstappen – Gasli – Riccardo – Perez – Raikkonen – Hulkenberg.
On lap 12, Hulkenberg replaced the tires.
Vettel several times blocked the rubber on braking and could not tear himself away from Leclair, who complained to the engineer that he was only losing time behind the German, but was also mistaken on braking.
On lap 18, Hulkenberg stopped the car in the pits and dropped out of the fight. Verstappen changed tires. By car Norris broke mount the front wing – he turned into the pits, getting a new nose fairing.
On the 19th lap, Vettel and Riccardo made a pit stop, on the 20th round they went out and Elbon.
Sebastian drove in front of Verstappen. Max rushed to the attack, but the German stayed ahead and was able to break away.
At the 21st lap, Perez and Stroll changed tires, at the 22nd – Bottas, at the 23rd – Hamilton, Leclaire and Russell.
At the 23rd round Grosjean beat Kvyat in the fight for the 10th position.
On the 26th lap Raikkonen and Kvyat changed tires. Raikkonen ahead of Magnussen, Elbon overtook Giovinazzi.
Top ten at the 26th round: Hamilton – Bottas – Vettel – Verstappen – Leclaire – Extinguished – Riccardo – Perez – Grosjean – Raikkonen.
On lap 28, Kubica made a pit stop.
On lap 29, Raikkonen outstripped Grosjean, rising to ninth place. At the 30th Elbon ahead of Magnussen in the fight for 11th place.
At the 32nd Giovinazzi replaced the rubber. Kvyat received a new nose cone and a set of tires Soft – a pit stop turned out to be long.
On lap 35, Magnussen and Verstappen made a pit stop. On the 36th – Vettel, Norris and Grosjean, on the 37th – Hamilton and Bottas – in Mercedes in a row served two riders. Lewis retained the lead in the race.
On lap 38, Sainz changed tires. On lap 39, Bottas attacked Leclair several times on fresh rubber. Charles on worn tires repelled several attacks, but on the straight Valtteri stepped forward.
On lap 40, he went out and pit-stop.
On lap 42, Vettel beat his partner on the straight and Leclaire turned into the pits.
Top ten on lap 43: Hamilton – Bottas – Vettel – Verstappen – Leclaire – Extinguished – Riccardo – Perez – Raikkonen – Elbon
On the 46th lap Stroll changed tires, on the 52nd – Russell.
At the 53rd lap, Norris stopped the car in the pits and fizzled out.
On lap 54, he turned off in the pits for fresh tires and took an extra point for the best lap of the race.
Lewis Hamilton won the Grand Prix of China, scoring the second win of the season and the 75th in his career, leading a personal standings. Valtteri Bottas finished the race second – in the first three Grand Prix at Mercedes three victorious doubles.
Sebastian Vettel climbed to the third step of the podium.
Daniel Riccardo earned his first points with Renault. Alex Elbon earned a point for Toro Rosso after starting from the pit lane – and was recognized as “Racer of the day.” Roman Grosjean for the first time in the season reached the finish line.
In two weeks, the struggle will continue in a spectacular race in Baku!