Lewis Hamilton cruising to victory has been the story of the early season so far in Formula 1 and that narrative continued in Shanghai today when Hamilton strolled to his third race win on end at the Chinese Grand Prix.
It also says something of Mercedes AMG’s dominance over the field when a comparatively bumbling Nico Rosberg, driving a car unable to transmit its telemetry back to the pit wall, was able to recover from a poor start to take an easy second place, making it the third Mercedes 1–2 in succession.
Fernando Alonso extended his reputation for delivering more than his car can give by finishing third, able to hold off a late charge from Daniel Ricciardo who came home fourth. The young Aussie once again ruffled the feathers of four-time world champ Sebastian Vettel, who finished fifth.
Around mid-race distance Ricciardo was on a two-stop strategy and at the time Vettel was planning to three-stop. With fresher tyres Daniel was closing in quickly on his more credentialled teammate and for the second race in a row an order from the team came through asking Vettel to let Ricciardo past.
Vettel’s initial response over the radio, after establishing both men were on the same tyres, was, “Tough luck!” Although, on the next lap Vettel opened the door for Daniel and the impressive youngster went through. To rub further salt into Vettel’s wound the team later switched him to a two-stop strategy.
After the excitement of Bahrain, this was not a race for the ages. The only incidents of any note came during the early stages of the opening lap when Felipe Massa and Alonso clunked wheels. Almost immediately afterwards, in a separate incident, Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas interlocked wheels. It was a stroke of good fortune for all four drivers that no damage was done and all managed to finish the race uninhibited.
That said, Felipe Massa’s chance at a stronger points haul was ruined when his Williams crew completely botched his first pit stop. To call it a comedy of errors would have been kind. In the end the Brazilian resumed the race in last place and did well to fight back to finish P9.
Reliability improved across the field, too, with only two drivers failing to finish the race. Adrian Sutil retired early with an engine problem, while the Lotus of Romain Grosjean succumbed to a gearbox failure.
Trivia buffs will be keen to note an oddity to the final result thanks to the chequered flag first being shown to Lewis Hamilton on lap 55 of the 56 lap race. That mistake meant the final classified result reverted back to the positions on lap 54.
You can see the full lap 54 positions after the break, along woth updated championship tables.
There will be a delay in our F1 in pictures gallery for this race. We expect to have the images ready for you by next weekend, or hopefully before.
2014 Chinese Grand Prix final placings*
- Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG – 54 Laps (25 pts)
- Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG – +18.0 secs (18 pts)
- Fernando Alonso Ferrari – +23.6 secs (15 pts)
- Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing – +27.1 secs (12 pts)
- Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing – +47.8 secs (10 pts)
- Nico Hulkenberg Force India – +54.3 secs (8 pts)
- Valtteri Bottas Williams – +55.7 secs (6 pts)
- Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari – +76.3 secs (4 pts)
- Sergio Perez Force India – +82.6 secs (2 pts)
- Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso – +1 Lap (1 pt)
- Jenson Button McLaren – +1 Lap
- Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso – +1 Lap
- Kevin Magnussen McLaren – +1 Lap
- Pastor Maldonado Lotus – +1 Lap
- Felipe Massa Williams – +1 Lap
- Esteban Gutierrez Sauber – +1 Lap
- Jules Bianchi Marussia – +1 Lap
- Kamui Kobayashi Caterham – +1 Lap
- Max Chilton Marussia – +2 Laps
- Marcus Ericsson Caterham – +2 Laps
Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault – Lap 28 (Gearbox)
Adrian Sutil Sauber Lap 5 (Engine)
Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG – 1:40.402 (Lap 39)
*Result declared at end of Lap 54/56, in accordance with Article 43.2 of sporting regulations (chequered flag was shown to leader at end of Lap 55).
2014 F1 world championship – Drivers (Top 10)
- Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG – 79
- Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG – 75
- Fernando Alonso Ferrari – 41
- Nico Hulkenberg Force India – 36
- Sebastian Vettel Red Bull – 33
- Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull – 24
- Valtteri Bottas Williams – 24
- Jenson Button McLaren – 23
- Kevin Magnussen McLaren – 20
- Sergio Perez Force India – 18
2014 F1 world championship – Constructors
- Mercedes – 154
- Red Bull Racing – 57
- Force India-Mercedes – 54
- Ferrari – 52
- McLaren-Mercedes – 43
- Williams-Mercedes – 36
- STR-Renault – 8