The mood at Mercedes two weeks ago was dark.
Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel had stunned them with defeat at the Malaysian Grand Prix and they were going to do everything in their power to prevent such a scenario in China. Much to their relief, the W06’s dominance rarely looked threatened throughout the Shanghai weekend and Lewis Hamilton converted yet another pole to another victory.
Vettel and Raikkonen followed behind them for Ferrari, with Massa and Bottas doing the same for Williams.
Even if a bit dull, the Chinese Grand Prix certainly clarified the current running order of Mercedes, Ferrari, Williams….and everyone else.
Red Bull who in the build up to the race said that China would reveal their true pace suffered an engine failure with Kvyat while Ricciardo scrapped home a lowly 9th, sandwiched by the Saubers.
McLaren has finally passed up Manor Marussia for last place, in particular Jenson Button and Pastor Maldonado had a great scrap late in the race till Button literally punted the Lotus off track in an incident which nearly collected his team mate Alonso.
Romain Grosjean finished a strong 7th for Lotus.
A late race heartbreak befell Max Verstappen as his Toro Rosso ground to a halt on the main straight after a massive engine failure.
Instead of throwing the red flag for a race ending showdown the safety car came out and Hamilton cruised to victory under caution. Of interesting note, all three podiums this season have been made up of Vettel and the Mercedes drivers, though it looks like only a matter of time before Raikkonen or Massa break up that anomaly. Worth celebrating was a double finish for Manor Marussia with Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi coming in 15th and 16th.
Perhaps the most important development came in the post race press conference after Hamilton said he had no threat from Nico during the race. At which point a visibly furious Nico Rosberg accused Hamilton of deliberately going slowly to back his team mate up to the Ferrari of Vettel. Hamilton shrugged the accusation off saying,
It’s not my job to look after Nico’s race. My job’s to manage the car and to bring the car home as healthy and as fast as possible.
After looking like a number two driver in Australia and Malaysia could this be the first signs of the more fiery Rosberg of 2014 reemerging, or just an unusual out burst from the usually reserved German? We won’t have to wait long before finding out, the Grand Prix of Bahrain, where Hamilton and Rosberg famously dueled last year, is just a week away.
Chinese Grand Prix Results
- Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
- Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
- Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
- Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
- Felipe Massa, Williams
- Valtteri Bottas, Williams
- Romain Grosjean, Lotus
- Felipe Nasr, Sauber
- Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull
- Marcus Ericsson, Sauber
- Sergio Perez, Force India
- Fernando Alonso, McLaren
- Carlos Sainz Jr., Toro Rosso
- Jenson Button, McLaren
- Will Stevens, Manor
- Roberto Merhi, Manor
- Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, DNF (gearbox)
- Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, DNF (brakes)
- Danil Kvyat, Redbull, DNF (engine)
- Nico Hulkenberg, Force India (gearbox)