Fernando Alonso takes Chinese GP victory from third on the grid!

Fernando Alonso took his first victory of 2013 from third on the starting grid with a measured controlled drive ahead of Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen and pole sitter Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.

Alonso jumped Raikkonen off the line as the Finn suffered from secondary wheelspin which dropped him back to fourth place as the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa jumped two places to third ahead of Raikkonen. Meanwhile Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton got a good start but failed to pull away enough to stop Alonso and Massa from gaining DRS after the end of the second lap, by lap 5, both Ferrari’s mugged Hamilton at the end of the second DRS zone as the Briton complained of understeer.

Raikkonen claimed second place despite having a coming together with McLaren’s Sergio Perez on lap 16. The Finn attempted an overtake on the outside of turn 6, Perez didn’t see him and the two came together, Raikkonen damaging his front wing but continued on to claim a podium.

Hamilton simply didn’t have the pace in China, finishing third after starting from pole position, clearly the Mercedes isn’t quite fast enough to be able to take race wins on performance alone. But a second third place finish in a row, added to fifth in Australia isn’t bad for Hamilton and Mercedes, better than the results for the team he left, seems that he did make the right decision afterall!

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, who was in a strategic battle with McLaren’s Jenson Button all race long finished the race in fourth place ahead of Button in fifth place; both drivers starting the race on the medium tyres while the rest of the top 10 starters started on the soft tyres. Vettel definitely made better use of the soft tyres in the closing laps, the German passed Massa, Hulkenberg and Button during the final five laps and almost claimed a podium finishing two tenths behind Hamilton!

The second Ferrari of Felipe Massa finished the race in sixth place after losing a bucket load of time having to complete an extra lap on the soft tyres during the opening laps of the Grand Prix. Ferrari could have possibly had a 1-2 if they double stacked their drivers in the pits instead of having the Brazilian complete another lap while Alonso pitted for medium tyres, but hindsight is always 20/20.

Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo drove a sensible clean race to bring his car home in an excellent seventh place ahead of Paul di Resta who had an eventful race; being nudged off the track by his team mate early on and then getting stuck in traffic and having to make a third stop. But eighth place is still a good result for Force India, it’s just a shame that Sutil was taken out by Gutierrez.

Lotus’ Romain Grosjean, who seems to have lost all the fire and speed of last season finished in ninth place ahead of the Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg who was battling with Vettel for the lead in the first third of the race, which was a net result of the leaders pitting to get rid of the soft tyres.

As mentioned above; Force India’s Adrian Sutil was taken out by Esteban Gutierrez who completely misjudged his braking smashing into the back of the German breaking his rear wing, the net result is both drivers race ended on lap six. The stewards handed Gutierrez a five place grid drop for Bahrain!

Mark Webber had a weekend he’d like to forget in a hurry; Webber started the race from the pitlane after Red Bull under-fuelled his car in qualifying 3, the Australian stopped out on track but still didn’t have the required one litre fuel sample left in the tank, hence the penalty. Then on raceday, he collided with STR’s Jean Eric Vergne on lap 15 and then after a pitstop lost his right rear wheel putting the Aussie out of the race. To compound Webber’s misery, the race stewards handed “Aussie Grit” a three place grid penalty for Bahrain, although the Australian did accept full responsibility.

Top 10 finishing positions for the Chinese Grand Prix:

1. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 1:36:26.945
2. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) +10.100
3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +12.300
4. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) +12.500
5. Jenson Button (McLaren) +35.200
6. Felipe Mass (Ferrari) +40.800
7. Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) +42.600
8. Paul di Resta (Force India) +51.000
9. Romain Grosjean (Lotus) +53.400
10. Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber) +56.500

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