The British duo of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton were the first ones to cross the finish line after 56 laps at the 2010 Chinese Grand Prix. Both World Champions from McLaren secured the team’s first 1-2 victory and Button’s second win of the season after starting the race from fifth and sixth places respectively. Nico Rosberg managed to get onto the podium yet again for Mercedes GP with his third place.
The German was in fact leading the race at the early stages after starting from fourth place. Fourth place went to Fernando Alonso after making up to five pitstops! Kubica was fifth followed by Vettel who started from pole, Renault’s Vitaly Petrov, Webber, Massa and Schumacher. Yet again Schumacher was out-paced by his teammate. Kovalainen came home in 14th place for Lotus, ahead of the new teams. Jarno Trulli retired after suffering from what believed to be a pressure-related problem.
The race was mostly a wet affair although it started with an almost dry track. Alonso made a ‘good’ start and jumped ahead of both the Red Bulls. Unfortunately for him and Ferrari the start was classified as a jump start and the World Champion was ordered to serve a drive through penalty.
Moments later the SLS AMG Safety Car was deployed following a crash that involved Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi on the first lap. He spun after losing the car under braking, collecting both Sebastien Buemi from Toro Rosso and Kamui Kobayashi from Sauber. Rain started to fall and most drivers made their pit stops for intermediate tires. Rosberg wasn’t part of the list hence he went on to lead the race. Conditions got dryer a while later and it was another round through the pits for dry weather tires. Rosberg maintained his lead.
As the positions settled down it was Rosberg leading ahead of Button followed by Kubica and Vitaly Petrov of Renault, Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari and Lotus’ Heikki Kovalainen in sixth. Michael Schumacher, Adrian Sutil, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber made up the rest of the top ten. A couple of laps later Kovalainen dropped to tenth place which did not come as a surprise. Rosberg was the fastest man on track until Hamilton started to clock quicker times.
Rain started to pour again and Rosberg suffered from a spin which allowed Button to take over the lead. All drivers eventually pitted for intermediates and the rain got worse. The Safety Car came out again after Alguersuari left pieces of his front wing on track. As the race restarted it was Button in the lead in front of Rosberg, Kubica, Petrov, Schumacher, Webber, Hamilton, Vettel, Sutil and Alonso. Towards the end of the race most drivers pitted again as their intermediate tires began to give way.
The race was definitely interesting with a couple of incidents apart from the first lap accident and of course the rain. There were quite a few overtaking and nice defensive moves as well and I find that the Chinese GP is the most interesting race thus far in the season. Hamilton also had a go with Schumacher and managed to pass the 7-times World Champion. Other incidents included Hamilton’s and Vettel’s squabble when both entered and exited the pits.
The stewards later revealed that Hamilton’s move will be investigated after the race and he may be slapped with a grid drop penalty at the Spanish GP. Button also made a controversial move when he slowed down the pack tremendously right before the Safety Car came into the pits for the second and last time during the race.
Reigning World Champion Jenson Button now leads the Driver’s Championship with 60 points while Rosberg is second with 50 points. Both Alonso and Hamilton are in third and fourth with 49 points each. Vettel is in fifth with 45 points ahead of Massa with 41 points. McLaren is also ahead in the Constructor’s Championship with 109 points. Ferrari and Red Bull are in second and third with 90 and 73 points respectively. Formula 1 will now a have a 3-week break before the Spanish GP flags off on May 9th.
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