What a race! Australia and Bahrain were intriguing without the drama so much, China however delivered on all fronts.
Nico Rosberg converted pole to victory, while everyone else was playing bumper cars. An innocent casualty of the mayhem behind was Dan Ricciardo. His puncture early on paved the way for Rosberg to control the race. Rosberg would probably have got past at some point in the race, but his progress would have been delayed and could possibly have caused the German some issues around pit-stops.
They say bad luck comes in three’s. It’s now three races littered with bad luck and unfortunate events for Lewis Hamilton. It also came in three’s in China with the gearbox change and subsequent penalty, then the engine problem in qualifying and finally the collision with Nasr, who was trying to avoid the recovering Kimi Raikkonen. 7th place is a reasonable recovery, given the chaos. And with 18 races to go, there’s time for luck to befoul Rosberg.
A major talking point was the coming together of the two Ferrari’s. Sebastian Vettel had Daniil Kvyat charging on the inside for a gap he was perfectly entitled to go for. Raikkonen and Vettel running wide allowed the opportunity to open up. Vettel was unlucky to end up hitting his team mate, but that’s the lottery of a grand prix start and also influenced by the layout of the first corners at Shanghai.
Further through the race, the strategy side of things was reasonably straightforward simply because the super-soft tyres were essentially jelly. That said, the battling through the midfield was intense which is what we want to see. While sport is inherently about being the best, anything that is televised nowadays needs an element of entertainment. F1 is constantly trying to improve the show and usually go about it the wrong way – see the whole qualifying debacle.
On the whole, while the racing was intense, the battle at the front is still a bit one sided. Ferrari haven’t been operationally sound this season. Look at the first three races:
Australia – Raikkonen DNF and lost win for Vettel via poor strategy decisions.
Bahrain – Vettel DNS and Raikkonen poor start but recovers to 2nd place.
China – Kimi and Sebastian collide with each other.
Perhaps we are not far away from battle royale over a weekend between Mercedes and Ferrari. And I look forward to it.
Pole Position – I did predict Hamilton to be fastest (which I got wrong) but stated Rosberg would start the race from pole, which he did. So half-points here?
Race Winner – Nico Rosberg. Winner winner, chicken dinner.
Podium: Rosberg – Hamilton – Ricciardo
1 for 3 here but Ricciardo could/should have been on the podium. The early puncture put paid to that. That said, Daniil Kvyat did put a Red Bull on the podium. Vettel made a great recovery to reach 2nd on the podium.
Force India double points finish – Wrong.
Esteban Gutierrez to finish the race – He did.
Lewis Hamilton to make a good start. He did, the he came across a recovering Raikkonen and Felipe Nasr trying to avoid the Ferrari.