L2F Race Report - Round 3 - Chinese Grand Prix

Friday practice for theChinese Grand Prix was again dominated by the Brawn GP team with Button and Barrichello second and third fastest respectively in the first free practice session and first and third fastest in the second practice session. Williams driver Nico Rosberg again put in an impressive performance finishing second fastest behind Button in the final practice session.

Full details of the practice times were as follows....

Saturday qualifying saw some one high profile early casualty in Q1 - BMW's Robert Kubica. Another to drop out at this stage was Nelson Piquet who is currently floundering at Renault. It can only be a matter of time before the axe falls there!


In Q2 more of the heavy weights dropped out including the second BMW of Nick Heidfeld, Kovaleinen (McLaren) and Massa (Ferrari) running without KERS.


In Q3 the pole position, Red Bull Racing first, was taken by Sebastian Vettel. Renault's light fueled Alonso took second on the grid with Vettel's team mate Mark Webber in third.


Final qualifying grid positions for the Chinese Grand Prix were as follows -


1.  Vettel           Red Bull

2.  Alonso         Renault

3.  Webber        Red Bull

4.  Barrichello    Brawn

5.  Button          Brawn

6.  Trulli            Toyota

7.  Rosberg         Williams

8.  Raikonnen      Ferrari

9.  Hamilton        McLaren

10. Buemi          Toro Rosso

11. Heidfeld        BMW

12. Kovalainen    McLaren

13. Massa           Ferrari

14. Nakajima      Williams

15. Bourdais       Toro Rosso

16. Piquet           Renault

17. Kubica          BMW

18. Sutil             Force India

19. Glock           Toyota*

20. Fisichella      Force India

* five-place penalty for gearbox change

Sunday race day - due to strong winds and torrential rain the first eight laps of the race were run behind the safety car. This played havoc with the strategies of several front runners including Alonso and Rosberg and compromised their race. Vettel did not put a wheel wrong all race and won by a 10 second margin over his team mate Mark Webber.

Red Bull's first race victory and a one-two finish to put the icing on the cake.

Jenson Button finished third after battling with Vettel for the lead for most of the race. McLaren had a much improved weekend with both cars finishing in the points depsite Hamilton having to recover from several spins. Glock had a solid race - he is always good in the wet - having started from more or less the back of the grid due to a gear box change penalty.

Toro Rosso's Buemi again had a points finish. Not bad for only his third Grand Prix. Ferrari continued their dismal form. Raikkonen could only manage tenth place and Massa's car stopped on track with a technical problem. Reliability seems to have deserted them this season.

The BMW's had a poor showing. Kubica managed to finish the race be it in 13th despite running into the back of Jarno Trulli causing his retirement. The accident was blamed on poor visibility caused by spray.

Sutil was all set to gain Force India's first ever points finish (7th) when he spun out wiping the front off the car.

Final race result -

1.  Vettel           Red Bull

2.  Webber        Red Bull       
3.  Button          Brawn
4.  Barrichello    Brawn       
5.  Kovalainen   McLaren      
6.  Hamilton      McLaren

7.  Glock          Toyota
8.  Buemi         Toro Rosso 
9.  Alonso        Renault

10. Raikkonen  Ferrari

11. Bourdais     Toro Rosso

12. Heidfeld      BMW

13. Kubica        BMW

14. Fisichella     Force India
15. Rosberg      Williams      + 1 lap
16. Piquet         Renault       + 2 laps
R.  Sutil            Force India  + 6 laps (spun off)
R.  Nakajima    Williams      + 13 laps (spun off)

R.  Massa         Ferrari        + 36 laps (techincal problem - stopped on track)

R.  Trulli          Toyota        + 38 laps (accident - collision with Kubica)


Fastest lap: Barrichello 1m52.592s

Weekend heroes -

Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and the Red Bull team. All the drivers who completed the GP in the terrible conditions.

Weekend zeroes -

Nakajima - a poor race. Spent more time off the track than on it. Jake (The Plank) Humphrey - gets more irritating every Grand Prix - BBC please get rid of him NOW!

Conclusion -

An eventful Grand Prix due to the weather and pleasing to see Red Bull finally get to the top step of the podium. Vettel is definitely one to watch for the future.

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