2018 Chinese Grand Prix.

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Swami, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    One week after Bahrain, F1 heads to the Shanghai International Circuit, not the most interesting circuit on the calendar, although occasionally rain can spice things up a bit.

    Swami
     
  2. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Lewis Hamilton dominates first practice
    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer



    [​IMG]
    Second practice is live on 5 live sports extra and the BBC Sport website
    Lewis Hamilton dominated first practice at the Chinese Grand Prix as he seeks to bounce back from losing the first two races of the season.

    Despite a spin in Turn 10, it was the best possible start to the weekend for Hamilton, who was in scintillating form on a track where he has often excelled.

    The world champion ended the session 0.359 seconds quicker than Kimi Raikkonen, despite using harder tyres.


    Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas was third, 0.458secs off the Briton.

    Hamilton was the quickest man every time he hit the track, from his first flying lap, which was more than a second quicker than anyone else at the time.

    He was on course for an even faster lap midway through the session, after Bottas closed the gap to under half a second for the first time, but lost control negotiating the complex before the long main straight.

    Neither Mercedes driver used the fastest ultra-soft tyre, which all other leading drivers used to set their fastest time, preferring to stick with the slower 'soft'.

    The Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were fourth and fifth quickest, the Dutchman setting his time just 0.131secs off the Australian despite tyres damaged in a spin and trip through the gravel trap at the last corner.

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    The Shanghai Tower is the second tallest building in the world, standing at 2,073 feet / 632 metres, but well below the Burj Khalifa in Dubai which stands at 2,717 feet / 828 metres
    Haas were best of the rest, with Kevin Magnussen seventh and Romain Grosjean ninth split by Renault's Carlos Sainz, whose team-mate Nico Hulkenberg was 10th.

    And Toro Rosso were again ahead of McLaren, Pierre Gasly, so impressive on his way to fourth in Bahrain last weekend, 11th fastest, 0.007secs quicker than McLaren's Fernando Alonso.

    Their team-mates had a difficult session. Brendon Hartley in the second Toro Rosso was 0.678secs off Gasly and Stoffel Vandoorne had a spin and visit to the gravel on his way to 18th fastest, 0.712secs off Alonso.

    Swami
     
  3. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Lewis Hamilton edges Kimi Raikkonen in Chinese Grand Prix practice
    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer



    [​IMG]
    Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix is live on 5 live and the BBC Sport website
    Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton edged Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari by just 0.007secs in second practice at the Chinese GP.

    Hamilton made a couple of small errors on his fastest lap but the times suggest another close battle between Mercedes and Ferrari for the race win.

    There was just 0.108secs between Hamilton and title rival Sebastian Vettel in fourth, with Valtteri Bottas' Mercedes third.


    Hamilton is 17 points behind Vettel, who has won the first two races.

    The world champion has said he cannot afford to lose any more ground to the German in the title race.

    Hamilton was highly impressive in setting the fastest time in the first session on Friday, but the frontrunners closed in the second.

    The Mercedes perhaps still has a small advantage, as Raikkonen set his fastest time a little later in the session when the track grip levels would have improved.

    "It has been a good day," said Hamilton. "Ferrari were quick and Red Bull looked really fast on the long run. It's good to see all the times so close, but it means that we really need to bring our A game."

    "It is not yet there where I want to be," said Vettel. "We are still looking. It is difficult to find the sweet spot but if you do then you can unleash the pace."

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    Sparky bum time? Verstappen has been told by his team not to make another mistake
    Even Red Bull could get involved
    There seems almost nothing to choose between the top two teams on pure pace, with Red Bull a little off on one-lap performance but much closer on race pace.

    Max Verstappen was fifth quickest, 0.341secs off Hamilton, and has been told by his team he needs to have a clean weekend after driving errors and incidents have affected his chances in the first two races of the season.

    Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was only ninth fastest after making errors on his flying lap on the fastest ultra-soft tyres.

    Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was seventh quickest, split from team-mate Carlos Sainz in ninth by Kevin Magnussen, again impressing in the Haas after his strong start to the season.

    McLaren's Fernando Alonso completed the top 10 ahead of the Force India of Sergio Perez and Pierre Gasly's Toro Rosso.

    A late rain shower meant the session effectively ended 10 minutes early, although some drivers went out on intermediate tyres to get a feel for the track in slippery conditions.

    Another unsafe pit stop release
    McLaren were fined 5,000 euros (£4,324) by governing body the FIA after Stoffel Vandoorne, 14th fastest, had to stop on the track with a loose wheel.

    It was another pit error, after a Ferrari mechanic suffered a broken leg in Bahrain last Sunday when the system gave Raikkonen a green light before the left rear had been removed.

    Raikkonen had also had a problem in second practice in Bahrain, when sent out on to the track with a loose wheel.

    Team boss Maurizio Arrivabene said the pit-stop system had been altered to avoid the errors that led to the injury happening again.

    "We had a mishandling of the rear left," said Arrivabene. "It was not perfectly read by the electronic device that gives the green light. We went through all the procedure together with the FIA, making sure that this thing doesn't happen again, and it's in our interest, because we care about our people, before anything else."

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    Alonso made the top 10, but the McLaren was one of the slowest cars in the straight-line speed traps on the circuit

    Swami
     
  4. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Lewis Hamilton struggles as Sebastian Vettel on pole in China
    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer



    [​IMG]
    Sebastian Vettel snatched a last-gasp Chinese Grand Prix pole position from Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen as Lewis Hamilton struggled.

    Raikkonen was the quicker Ferrari going into the final runs but a scrappy final sector and a superb one from Vettel gave the German pole by 0.087 seconds.

    Mercedes lacked performance - Hamilton was 0.58secs off pole and fourth behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas.


    Hamilton now must prevent losing more ground to Vettel in the championship.

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    Give it the finger: Vettel prepares his usual 'number 1' salute after securing Ferrari's first pole in China since Rubens Barrichello back in 2004
    Vettel saves best until last
    Raikkonen had looked set for his first pole position since Monaco last year.

    The Finn was 0.161secs ahead of Vettel on the first runs in the final session of qualifying and set fastest sector times in both the first two parts of the lap.

    But he failed to improve on in the last few corners, and that gave Vettel the opportunity to steal pole and put himself in a strong position for a third consecutive race win that would give him a stranglehold on the championship battle.

    What happened to Mercedes?
    [​IMG]
    Hamilton warned on arrival in China that Ferrari would be hard to beat, saying they had an engine power advantage that could prove difficult to overturn on the track with the longest straight in F1.

    Vettel was indeed fastest through two of the three speed traps but it was in the corners where Mercedes were found lacking.

    Bottas admitted that Mercedes simply could not find the grip Ferrari did, and the silver cars appeared to be struggling to generate the correct tyre temperatures in the cool conditions in Shanghai.

    They will be hoping that the warmer conditions predicted for the race, in addition to the fact that the ultra-soft tyres used in qualifying will likely not be seen in the race - because all four top cars will start on the 'soft' after using them to set their fastest times in Q2 - could turn the race towards them.

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    Seasoned F1 fans have seen an awful lot over the years in the paddock. But never, ever, a scarf
    Red Bull rescue it after another set back
    Red Bull were strong on the race runs in Friday practice but were unable to compete for one-lap pace.

    Max Verstappen was fifth, 0.701secs off pole and 0.152secs quicker than team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

    It was a good effort by the Australian, though, and particularly his team after he suffered a major engine failure in the closing minutes of final practice, which mean he missed his qualifying simulation run.

    That meant Red Bull had a race against time to get the car ready for qualifying and Ricciardo had only one lap in the first session to progress into Q2.

    In the circumstances, to be faster than Verstappen in the second session and not far behind in the final shoot-out was a decent performance.

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    Ricciardo was visibly aggressive - and impressive - out on track, in his attempts to claw back the time lost following an engine failure
    Another emergency debrief for McLaren?
    Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was seventh, ahead of Force India's Sergio Perez, the second Renault of Carlos Sainz and Romain Grosjean's Haas, the Frenchman's team-mate Kevin Magnussen surprisingly missing out on Q3 and taking 11th despite continuing his strong start to the season until it mattered.

    McLaren ended up down in 13th and 14th, Fernando Alonso ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne as usual, and were again lacking pace. The positions are the same as they achieved in Bahrain last weekend, which at the time prompted what the team referred to as an "emergency debrief" to divine what had gone wrong.

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    Once, twice, three times going crazy: Alonso had to settle for a third average qualifying result in the McLaren
    'Ferrari turned it up'

    "Difficult day," said Hamilton afterwards. "Today just went away from us, Ferrari upped their pace throughout the weekend, probably not showing their true pace yesterday.

    "The car doesn't feel much different so I think they have just turned it up. Tomorrow is a completely different day, it is going to be hot tomorrow so it is going to be interesting to see how it works out for us - we have not experienced that temperature so far this weekend."

    "They are rapid at the moment, that is a challenge but we will give it everything we've got."

    Vettel said: "I was happy with the whole lap, not just the last sector. The lap was amazing, it just kept getting better.

    "The first lap I made a few mistakes, lost the rear in Turn Three and again in Turn Six. I was beating myself up but I knew if I had a better lap I could do it."

    Swami
     
  5. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Warrior

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    Daniel Ricciardo wins Chinese GP after series of overtakes
    [​IMG]
    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer



    [​IMG]
    Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo took a sensational victory in the Chinese Grand Prix as a chaotic final 20 laps threw the championship wide open.

    Ricciardo drove beautifully to pass five cars after Red Bull chose to pit for fresh tyres in a safety-car period.

    Team-mate Max Verstappen stopped at the same time - but threw away his chances with two errors caused by over-optimistic driving.


    Lewis Hamilton finished a frustrated fifth, but was promoted back ahead of Verstappen, who was penalised for causing a collision with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

    The result means Vettel's lead over Hamilton in the championship has been cut to nine points.

    Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, who finished second, is only five behind the Briton, and Ricciardo a further three behind the Finn.

    How did Ricciardo do it?
    Bottas appeared on course for an excellent victory over Vettel before the safety-car period, having jumped Ferrari during their pit stops.

    There will be a post-mortem at Ferrari as to how they let that happen, given Vettel was leading by more than three seconds before Bottas' stop on lap 19 of 56. Vettel stopped a lap later.

    But the safety car threw in a curve ball and Red Bull grabbed their chance.

    It was introduced so marshals could clear debris from the hairpin after a collision between Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly and Brendon Harley.

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    Ricciardo was visibly aggressive - and impressive - on track, in his attempts to claw back the time lost following an engine failure in qualifying. He thanked his mechanics for rebuilding his car after the race
    At the time, Bottas was leading from Vettel, Verstappen, Hamilton, Ricciardo and the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, whose race had been sacrificed to try in vain to help Vettel earlier in his fight with Bottas.

    Mercedes and Ferrari chose to leave their cars on medium-compound tyres that by then were about 10 laps old, but Red Bull decided to switch to fresh softs and that gave them a decisive pace advantage.

    Verstappen was at this stage favourite to win, as the lead Red Bull driver, but he tried a move around the outside of Hamilton at the fast Turn Seven from too far back on lap 39 and ran off the road, letting Ricciardo past.

    The Australian, who had already passed Raikkonen, then picked off Hamilton, Vettel and Bottas to clinch a stunning win.

    The moves on Hamilton and Bottas were made in his trademark style - making a hugely committed dive down the inside from a long way back, but always in total control on the edge of adhesion. Ricciardo does it repeatedly, but it is something no other driver is consistently able to match.

    "Sometimes you just have to lick the stamp and send it," Ricciardo said. "I don't seem to win boring races. They are all pretty fun but that was unexpected."

    Bad moves by the top two
    As the Red Bulls charged, Hamilton pointed out to his team in the pits that they had been caught out by not stopping to change what was the slowest tyre which already had significant life on it.

    It was not the first time Mercedes had been caught out on strategy this season - Hamilton lost the win in the first race in Australia because of a miscalculation in the pits.

    In Mercedes' defence, Ferrari also chose not to pit Raikkonen, but both teams suffered as a result. Bottas and Vettel had already passed the pit entry when the safety car was deployed so could not have pitted.

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    Vettel missed the chance to win the first three races of the season - no driver has failed to win a title after winning the first three races
    More mistakes from Verstappen
    Vettel said he was anticipating an attack on lap 43 and left a little room on the inside in case Verstappen misjudged the corner "but obviously he misjudged more than I thought".

    Verstappen was too far back to try a realistic move but he threw his car down the inside at the apex, locked his rear wheels and slid into Vettel, earning a 10-second penalty from the stewards for causing a collision. He apologised to Vettel afterwards.

    Before the race Verstappen's team had reminded him of the importance of a clean weekend following a series of incidents in the first two races of the season.

    Vettel dropped back to seventh - a position he then lost to McLaren's Fernando Alonso with two laps to go when the Spaniard passed him around the outside of Turn One and into Turn Two.

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    With Ricciardo now untouchable, Raikkonen began to pressure Bottas for second, but the younger Finn held on.

    A frustrated Hamilton was passed by Verstappen with eight laps to go but the Red Bull driver did not manage to pull out enough of a lead over the Mercedes to keep the place once his penalty was applied.

    Behind him, Renault's Nico Hulkenberg drove a solid race for sixth, ahead of Alonso and an angry Vettel.

    Driver of the day
    [​IMG]
    No contest this - Ricciardo was stunning in the closing laps. He had a tyre advantage, yes, but he made a series of brilliant overtaking moves, and gave Verstappen a lesson in how to balance aggression with judgement
    What happens next?
    There is a two-week break before the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where the long, long straight is likely to leave Red Bull breathless and make Ferrari favourites. But Ricciardo won in a harum-scarum race last year, so anything could happen.

    What they said
    Ricciardo at the post-race press conference: "Once I was aware we had the pace I wasn't going to let it slip. I feel every win I have had has been in similar circumstances. It was crazy, a lot of fun. After yesterday I thought I was starting the race at the back. The team were rewarded for getting out in qualy but this is the best reward."

    Hamilton said: "I was in no man's land today. I had no pace and was just trying to hold on for whatever I had.

    "We have been underperforming. Yesterday and today was a disaster on my side. I have got to rectify that and get back into normal performance mode otherwise more points will be lost. (We were) thankful for a few incidents ahead that kept us in the battle."

    Vettel on his crash with Verstappen: "I didn't see him until late and left a bit of room. I was expecting him to come earlier. I had no intention of resisting, there was no point in doing so they were too fast. I didn't want to compromise my race.

    "He did a mistake and locked up which happens. He misjudged it and compromised both of our results.

    "He is not young anymore he has had enough races but that can happen when you have done 300 races."

    Raikkonen, who finished third: "I think we made a good start, got blocked a bit and got passed in the first corner. We stayed out very long and got a little luck on the safety car.

    "In the end we would have needed the soft tyres to really go for it. Once you get close it is so difficult to follow people."

    Bottas, who finished second: "The race was going pretty well for us and we were looking strong until the safety car. We were in trouble then really and it is disappointing. It felt like we deserved victory but not today

    "This is racing, these things happen."

    Swami
     

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