/Hamilton Conquers The Shanghai Rain In China

Hamilton Conquers The Shanghai Rain In China

chinese1 at Hamilton Conquers The Shanghai Rain In China

Although Lewis Hamilton missed the first half hour of Friday’s second practice session in Shanghai, he still proved Mercedes’ strength and pure speed by topping the time sheets.

Now under a new team principal, Marco Mattiacci, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso finished top in the morning session, but after Hamilton suffered suspension problems and complained about under-steer, the Brit eventually switched to soft tyres and made up for lost time in the afternoon by beating the Spaniard.

Daniel Ricciardo once again proved too fast for his teammate and world champion Sebastian Vettel, pipping him to fourth place. Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button all followed the Red Bulls.

chinese2 at Hamilton Conquers The Shanghai Rain In China

Saturday morning saw Ricciardo top the practise sheets, again proving too fast for his world champion teammate. Alonso and both Mercedes didn’t feel the need to set a time, which left Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean and Hulkenberg duking it out at the top.

Qualifying took place in varying wet conditions. Red Bull’s Vettel managed to take an early top spot, only to be out done by Hamilton near the end. Hamilton remained on top, with Hulkenberg second, Vettel third, Rosberg fourth and Alonso sixth.

Cars missing the cut for Q2 included Gutierrez, Kobayashi, Bianchi, Ericsson and Chilton.

In Q2 the weather remained wet enough for intermediate tyres, and the likes of Massa, Alonso and Perez all suffered brief run offs. Hamilton was the main pacesetter throughout the whole session with Vettel in second, Rosberg third, Ricciardo forth and Alonso fifth.

Cars to miss out on Q3 included some fairly big names: Raikkonen, Button, Kvyat, Sutil, Magnussen and Perez.

chinese3 at Hamilton Conquers The Shanghai Rain In China

The rain fell harder during the final Q3 shootout. Vettel produced a solid flying lap to set a benchmark time of 1:54.981 until Hamilton smashed it with a 1:54.348. Red Bull’s Ricciardo looked good for pole in the first sector until Hamilton improved on his own time with a 1:53.860, taking pole position. Although Rosberg spun at Turn 14 and the session was red flagged, the cars finishing their laps kept their times. Both of the Red Bulls managed to prevent another Mercedes front row by splitting them, something fans no doubt appreciated.

Qualifying Top 10:

  1. Lewis Hamilton – (Mercedes)
  2. Daniel Ricciardo – (Red Bull Racing-Renault)
  3. Sebastian Vettel – (Red Bull Racing-Renault)
  4. Nico Rosberg – (Mercedes)
  5. Fernando Alonso – (Ferrari)
  6. Felipe Massa – (Williams-Mercedes)
  7. Valtteri Bottas – (Williams-Mercedes)
  8. Nico Hulkenberg – (Force India)
  9. Jean-Eric Vergne – (Lotus)
  10. Romain Grosjean – (Toro Rosso)

chinese4 at Hamilton Conquers The Shanghai Rain In China

With the weather remaining dry for the start of the Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton and the Red Bulls made a good getaway, with forth-placed Rosberg clashing first with Alonso and then again with Valtteri Bottas, which saw him fall back to seventh. Alonso luckily didn’t take on any damage and made it into third from fifth.

Nico Rosberg managed to snatch a place back from fellow countryman, Nico Hulkenberg whilst teammate Hamilton began to build up an important cushion over Vettel that put him out of the DRS danger zone.

chinese5 at Hamilton Conquers The Shanghai Rain In China

Undeterred, Rosberg continued his charge and passed Massa with DRS, desperate to claw back some time over Hamilton.

As the race settled down, last year’s Chinese GP winner, Alonso filled Vettel’s mirrors with red Ferrari.

Disaster struck for Felipe Massa on Lap 10 as the Williams mechanics struggled with the left rear wheel nut. Frustrated, the little Brazilian flicked up his visor and gesticulated his anger. After a full minute in the pits, Massa eventually rejoined in 21st.

chinese6 at Hamilton Conquers The Shanghai Rain In China

Two laps on and Hulkenberg locked up at the hairpin and pitted for fresh rubber. Alonso and Rosberg followed suit with Rosberg managed to come out in forth at this point of the pit stops.

Race leader Hamilton also stopped, and with over a 30-second lead over Alonso and a swift stop, he managed to rejoin in P1.

chinese7 at Hamilton Conquers The Shanghai Rain In China

After his first pit stop Vettel rejoined in forth with Fernando Alonso still ahead. Meanwhile, Red Bull’s Ricciardo pitted from second for medium tyres.

Sergio Perez managed to make his move on Button stick at the hairpin and moved into 14th.

By Lap 21 Hamilton had built on his gap to Alonso and led by 5.8-seconds. Not far behind, Vettel and Rosberg displayed to the world just how much more exciting the new regulations have made the sport – Vettel battled to hold onto third place, but Rosberg eventually found a way past at Turn 1. Vettel then had to watch out for his teammate, Ricciardo.

Ricciardo managed to catch Vettel and made a few moves on him. Vettel held on well, but to his dismay, he is ordered by Red Bull to let he young Australian through.

chinese8 at Hamilton Conquers The Shanghai Rain In China

At the halfway point, Grosjean left the track and ploughed into the gravel at Turn 11. He rejoined the track but limped back to the pits and ultimately out of the race. Meanwhile, Rosberg ate into Alonso’s lead, the gap down to three seconds.

Alonso pitted on Lap 33, promoting Rosberg up to second, 19-seconds behind his teammate, Hamilton. Whilst both Rosberg and Ricciardo pitted for mediums, Vettel managed to clock the fastest lap.

Although Alonso managed to post his fastest lap and do a good job of fending off Rosberg, the Spaniard finally lost out to the German on lap 41 as the Mercedes used its DRS on the long back straight.

chinese9 at Hamilton Conquers The Shanghai Rain In China

In the closing eight laps, Ricciardo’s race engineer informed him Alonso was catchable. The Spaniard then set a new fastest lap, and a lap on Ricciardo was told he was actually matching Alonso’s lap times.

Lap 54 saw a confident Hamilton cruising towards victory, a massive 17-seconds ahead of teammate Rosberg. It also looked like Alonso had done enough to hold onto the final podium place as Ricciardo failed to make a pass.

Lap 56 did indeed see Hamilton take a much-deserved and dominant win, with Rosberg second and Alonso in third. Both the Red Bulls followed, Ricciardo again proving faster than his world champion teammate.

Despite the Mercedes again showing their dominance, other teams appear to have ironed out some creases, especially Ferrari.

chinese10 at Hamilton Conquers The Shanghai Rain In China

Chinese GP Result

  1. Lewis Hamilton – (Mercedes)
  2. Nico Rosberg – (Mercedes)
  3. Fernando Alonso – (Ferrari)
  4. Daniel Ricciardo – (Red Bull Racing-Renault)
  5. Sebastian Vettel – (Red Bull Racing-Renault)
  6. Nico Hulkenberg – (Force India)
  7. Valtteri Bottas – (Williams-Mercedes)
  8. Kimi Raikkonen – (Ferrari)
  9. Sergio Perez – (Force India)
  10. Daniil Kvyat – (Toro Rosso)
  11. Jenson Button – (McLaren-Mercedes)
  12. Jean-Eric Vergne – (Toro Rosso)
  13. Kevin Magnussen – (McLaren-Mercedes)
  14. Pastor Maldonado – (Lotus)
  15. Massa – (Williams-Mercedes)
  16. E Gutierrez – (Sauber)
  17. K Kobayashi – (Caterham)
  18. J Bianchi – (Marussia)
  19. M Chilton – (Marussia)
  20. M Ericsson – (Caterham)
  21. Romain Grosjean – (Lotus) DNF
  22. A Sutil – (Sauber) DNF


  1. Rosberg – 79 Points
  2. Hamilton – 75
  3. Alonso – 41
  4. Hulkenberg – 36
  5. Vettel – 33
  6. Ricciardo – 24
  7. Bottas – 24
  8. Button – 23
  9. Magnussen – 20
  10. Perez – 18

The F1 entourage now have three weeks until the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya. Can the teams continue to close the gap on the Mercedes, and can home boy Alonso shine in sunny Spain?

(Journalist) – James is a published fiction and article writer from London (UK) with a serious penchant for Ferrari F1, anything with an engine, and English Pointers.