F1 Features, Sunday Race Day

2013 Chinese Grand Prix: Fernando Alonso Scores A Win

Posted: April 14, 2013 at 9:20 am   /   by   /   comments (6)

In a race that had half the field starting on the preferred medium tyres and the other half on the soft tyres, the 2013 Chinese Grand Prix was a bit of a cracker, albeit in patches. (Read: 2013 Chinese GP Qualifying – Hamilton Claims Expected Pole)

The first patch of crackling action was at the start of the race when Formula1 cars turned into bumper cars! We had Gutierrez take out Adrian Sutil, followed by tangles between Perez – Raikkonen, Vergne – Webber with Webber finally losing a wheel at the end of the long back straight! It would have been some sight had his spinning lose wheel caught up Vettel in the passing! (Read: ‘Chinese GP: A Back Straight And Hair Pin To Rely On’)

The second patch was offered by a chasing Vettel in the closing stages of the race. On a new set of softs, he chased and almost overtook Hamilton for the final place on the podium. Eventually, Alonso, Raikkonen and Hamilton made it to the podium – giving me a 100% in my podium predictions pre-race!

Fernando Alonso In Shanghai (Courtesy: Ferrari)

Also, interestingly, the top five race finishers were the five World Champions, driving for five different Constructors. And we had six different leaders in the race, with the lead changing as many as nine times!

And, last but not the least, the results below are only provisional. The FIA has nearly 50% of the grid being investigated for race incidents. This could also mean that we could have the final race results by tomorrow!

Race Results:

  1. Fernando Alonso – Great drive. Calm. Composed. Alonso-like!
  2. Kimi Raikkonen – Could he have challenged for win had he not damaged his car?
  3. Lewis Hamilton – P1 to P3, do you think Lewis would be happy? And will Mercedes be able to fix their rumoured FRIC leakage issue by Bahrain?
  4. Sebastian Vettel – Thank you for the late charge and adding some excitement to the race. Had to try a different strategy to claim positions and he did. What if he had pitted for soft a lap earlier? Could he have overtaken Hamilton? Or would his tyres have gone off the cliff?
  5. Jenson Button – Only Button could’ve put a struggling Mclaren on a two – stopper this high up the finishing chart! Kudos!
  6. Felipe Massa – An extra lap in his first stint saw him lose most positions early in the race. Couldn’t Ferrari have double pitted their drivers like Mercedes?
  7. Daniel Ricciardo – I was wrong in my post-qualifying predictions. Thought he could go backwards and out of the points. But great pace from the Australian to finish ahead of all other mid-field teams.
  8. Paul Di Resta – Glad to see him finish ahead of Hulkenberg and Grosjean. Good points for Sahara Force India!
  9. Romain Grosjean – Was he even on track? Can’t recollect a single frame of TV coverage for him! Or his sponsors!
  10. Nico Hulkenberg – Drove a good race early on, lost pace in the dying moments.
  11. Sergio Perez – Does he think that Mclaren are a mid-field team?
  12. Jean Eric Vergne
  13. Valtteri Bottas
  14. Pastor Maldonado – Fought off a Bianchi in most parts of the race! What’s with the Williams?
  15. Jules Bianchi – Expected!
  16. Charles Pic
  17. Max Chilton
  18. Giedo Van Der Garde – Ah! Well!

Did Not Finish

  • Nico Rosberg
  • Mark Webber – One driver whose luck I wouldn’t want to inherit!
  • Adrian Sutil – Could he have scored double points for Sahara Force India? He was ahead of Paul Di Resta and given his early race pace, he probably could’ve!
  • Esteban Gutierrez – What was he even thinking! One rookie error, done!

While many would rejoice an Alonso – Ferrari win, I was slightly disappointed during the race as we saw drivers not willing to fight each other and cause more tyre wear to their Pirellis. Opinions are split equally on this, but I certainly feel that raw pace should be the key decider for choosing the eventual winner and not tyre management skills! After all, we are participating in the FIA World Formula1 Championship and not in the Pirelli World Tyre Championships!

And if you are the types who prefers tyre conversation over raw pace, tune into the World Endurance Championships which hosts its opening round today in Silverstone.

Rishi Kapoor and I will be recording our Inside Line F1 Podcast tomorrow. If there are any views or opinions regarding the 2013 Chinese Grand Prix, share them!

Comments (6)

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  • April 19, 2013 at 6:21 am LATESH

    PLEASE THROW SOME LIGHT AND INSIGHTS ON WHAT MADE SFI MAKE SUCH A LATE CALL FOR DI RESTA TO PIT FOR HIS FINAL TYRE CHANGE.HE WAS RUNNING A GOOD 5TH POSITION, AND MAY BE HE WOULD HAVE PITTED A BIT EARLIER THEN, RECOVERY WUD BE EXPECTED IN A BETTER WAY ON FRESH RUBBER.
    COULD HAVE FINISHED BETTER THAN 8TH.

    ALL THIS IS A CONCERN ‘COZ IT WUD HAVE PREVENTD MCLAREN LEVELLING FORCE INDIA IN CONSTRUCTOR STANDINGS, AND SLIPPING OF SFI TO 6TH POS

    Reply
    • April 20, 2013 at 6:16 pm Kunal Shah

      Well, the engineers would’ve had the data to justify the late pitstop. I wouldn’t know for sure but maybe due to the over degradation of the softs was a reason. We’ve got to leave it to their best judgment.

      Reply
  • April 19, 2013 at 6:04 am LATESH

    THE COMMENTS ON PER AND VDG WERE SOMETHING WHICH POPPED ME UP FROM THE CHAIR.
    SERIOUSLY THE ADDRESSING COMMENTS WHICH CAME OUT FROM PER B4 THE START OF 2013 SEASON WERE FULL OF ‘OVER-AMBITIOUS’ FONT- WAY UPTO WINNING CHAMPIONSHIP IN DEBUT WITH MCLAREN,

    BUT ITS DISSAPOINTING 2 SEE HIM NOW HIM AT TAIL END OF POINTS FINISHING, AND SOMETIME EVEN OUT OF IT.

    OR
    MAY BE MCLAREN HAVE LEARNT FROM THEIR PREVIOUS MISTAKES OF MISMANAGEMENT OF STAR-STUDDED DRIVERS( SAY- PROST,SENNA OR ALO,HAM OR HAM,BUT )
    ARE THEY ALLOWING BUTTON TO HEAD ON WAY AHEAD WITH LEADERSHIP AND PEREZ TO FOLLOW ON WAY BACK. ??

    Reply
    • April 20, 2013 at 6:15 pm Kunal Shah

      Thanks Latesh. Promising Perez has disappointed. I feel Mclaren will be patient with him to come through. Given that they don’t have a fast car makes things worse. And when it comes to driver management, Mclaren do it better than most other teams. They did show Alonso the door when he threatened to leave…

      Reply
  • April 14, 2013 at 9:55 am ajit

    About tyre management. All though it is a bit irritating to hear the press go on about tyres, I think we must remember when its all about pace one team does tend to come out on top. This ‘kills’ the season. P1 wins always. Remember Schumi’s dominance drove away fans. And was extremely boring at times when the cars were far apart.

    This new strategy driven approach gives teams that are barely ten-tenths apart a fighting chance.

    Just a couple of seasons ago the scenario of Vettel catching Lewis by 4-5secs per lap in the end wouldn’t have happened.

    All in all, were not losing the 320+KMPH these machines are capable off…neither are we deciding who wins on a Saturday itself.

    Thats got to be good for F1 🙂

    Reply
    • April 14, 2013 at 3:32 pm Kunal Shah

      Hey Ajit,
      Good to see your comment on my blog too.
      I think I posted a reply to this on our F1 group on FB, but here’s one for the readers too. A bit more in detail too.

      I agree that tyre management is crucial and infact is an art racers need to know. But our current scenario relies on this art more than the other (much required) arts of raw pace and overtaking. I mean we had BUT ask if he is supposed to fight HAM and this isn’t what I expect from F1, I would expect this in the WEC and likes!

      And if a control tyre is important for the sport and teams et al, I am sure a balance can be found instead of the currently skewed one. And I don’t mean bringing back re-fueling, because that will (and can) confuse the fans even more so.

      Also, people don’t tune in to see these machines speed over the 300 kmph barrier, they tune in to see how drivers manage these machines at those speeds. And frankly, if you and I were given an F1 car to be driven at that speed in a straightline, we would be able to do so by the end of the first day of testing itself. Mainly a mindset issue and straightline acceleration doesn’t need that level of physical fitness too.

      Back to our problem, I think strategy is needed, like you’ve pointed out too, but not about how slow one needs to go to be able to ‘hold’ the tyres together.

      And somewhere I also disagree that our current grid is bunched up because of the tyre scenario. This is more due to the stability of rules and regulations surrounding the cars since 2009. Of course, I expect the grid order to be shaken up in 2014 with the new rules being introduced.

      Reply
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