Before the Chinese GP weekend the FIA officially confirmed that the unpopular elimination-style qualifying format used in Australia and Bahrain will be dropped for the rest of the season, reverting to the system used the year before. The teams, drivers and fans alike were anticipating such news. The highlight of the qualifying was Hamilton’s issue with the power unit. Due to a fault with the ERS system the Briton was unable to set a lap time in Q1, and his qualifying was over.
This time Ferrari’s and Mercedes’ pace was quite evenly matched, but despite the fact neither one of the red-suited drivers managed to snatch the pole! The pole was within Kimi’s reach in the first two sectors, but in sector 3 the Iceman made a mistake at the hairpin, having to settle for P3. Rosberg stormed on pole finishing half a second up on Red Bull´s Ricciardo, who sprung a surprise to keep the Ferraris off the front row, leaving Sebastian in P4.
More drama was to come in the race. When the lights went out, Ricciardo flew from P2 to the lead. The first corner was a worst case scenario for the Ferrari duo; Kimi had a minor lock-up coming into Turn 1, and Sebastian tried to go past his teammate. What Sebastian didn’t expect was Daniil Kvyat in his RB12 to storm to the inside of Sebastian, where the German had left too much space.
The situation caused a collision between the Ferrari teammates! Both of them were able to continue the race, but Kimi had to pit for a new nose, whereas Sebastian dropped down several positions. What a catastrophic start to the race! It seemed that Sebastian felt extremely guilty for the collision as he explained the incident to his team on the radio several times. It’s obvious that he had absolutely no intention to hit his teammate, but this is how racing sometimes goes...
Another dramatic turn took place in the lead. Suddenly Ricciardo’s left-rear tyre exploded and the Australian had to limp into the pits. Luckily the puncture took place near the pit entry, and the incident didn’t ruin Ricciardo’s entire race. There was a lot of debris on the track due to the first-lap collisions; Hamilton, too, had damaged his front wing when he collided with Sauber’s Nasr. Safety car was deployed, and almost everyone pitted for a fresh set of tyres.
Everything went according to plan for Rosberg, who had the dominant lead in the race. Behind the German there were many staggering overtaking moves, as both Sebastian and Kimi made their way through the pack. One of the highlights of the race was definitely the moment when Kimi made a move on Hamilton, and the Briton had no chance but to surrender! Obviously there was something wrong with Hamilton’s car, but seeing a Ferrari overtaking a Mercedes on track is always heart-warming.
Nobody had any chance to challenge Rosberg for victory, which was his sixth consecutive win, making it the third one of the season. Sebastian finished 2nd, which was a superb achievement after the horrific opening lap! Red Bull’s Kvyat completed the podium with his teammate Ricciardo finishing 4th.
It’s quite refreshing to see Red Bull so competitive again. Kimi finished 5th, which was an impressive result after the first-lap incident. Williams’ Massa finished 6th, and Hamilton had to settle for P7. Rosberg holds a firm lead in the drivers’ championship standings; he has the maximum of 75 points to Hamilton’s 39. Ricciardo is third with 36 points, Sebastian -fourth with 33, and Kimi - fifth with 28 points.
Sebastian has humbly apologized both to Kimi and the team for the unfortunate collision, which is a sign of well-working team spirit. They will learn from this and take the battle to Mercedes in Russia in a fortnight! Forza Kimi! Forza Sebastian! Forza Ferrari!
With passion for racing red,