Review how each driver got on below and vote for who impressed you the most during the last race weekend.
Chinese Grand Prix driver-by-driver
Sebastian Vettel – Opting not to set a time in Q3 and start the race on medium tyres was a striking deviation from Red Bull’s usual tactics. It almost paid off at a track where the RB9 lacked its usual edge. Vettel picked his fights carefully during the race but when it came to the crunch a slip-up at turn 11 on the final lap cost him a clear chance to take a podium finish.
Mark Webber – If Webber was owed a karmic debt after Sepang it certainly didn’t come in Shanghai. He ran out of fuel in qualifying and an improperly fitted wheel ended his race. While problems beyond his control wrecked this event for him an error of his own making – an optimistic move on Vergne at turn six – saw him collect a grid penalty for the next round.
Fernando Alonso – Laughed off questions about Massa out-qualifying him for four races in a row then put a stop to it on Saturday, claiming third on the grid. After his usual good start he put a straightforward DRS pass on Hamilton to take the lead. His driving in the second stint won him the race, quickly working his way through traffic to minimise the strain on his tyres.
Felipe Massa – Disappointed to miss out on the top three in qualifying, but the first round of pit stops really spoiled his race. Left to do another lap on worn softs, he dropped back into the midfield where he struggled with tyre degradation and finished sixth.
Jenson Button – As in Malaysia he took the best that the MP4-28 had to offer. But this time there was no pit lane slip-up to deprive him of the reward for his efforts. Ekeing the tyres out for two pit stops asked a lot of his self-control: “I had to cruise when I’d normally fight the others. It’s not the most exciting way to go racing, but we got ten points today because we did it.”
Sergio Perez – Another driver who found himself mired in the pack and struggling to make his tyres last. He persevered with his two-stop strategy to the end but finished out of the points. He was clouted by Raikkonen on the way: the Lotus driver claimed Perez had pushed him off the track but the McLaren hadn’t deviated from the racing line and no penalty was forthcoming.
Kimi Raikkonen – Qualified on the front row for the first time since Monaco four years ago. But a problem with his start settings saw him get away poorly. This was the first blow to his victory chances: the second came when he hit Perez’s McLaren. Despite front wing and nose damage estimated to have cost him a quarter of a second per lap he soldiered on and jump Hamilton at the final round of pit stops to take second.
Romain Grosjean – Grosjean had the same problem as Massa when it came to timing his first pit stop, but his lap times suffered even more and he emerged even further back in the midfield. From there he salvaged ninth, passing Hulkenberg in the closing stages.
Nico Rosberg – An error at the final corner on his flying lap in Q3 probably cost him a place on the front row. He followed his team mate into the pits on lap five but didn’t lose too much time. However a fault was detected with his rear anti-roll bar after his second pit stop and that ended his race.
Lewis Hamilton – A clean sweep in qualifying including a brilliant Q3 lap produced his first pole position for his new employers. But his lead only lasted four laps, after which he was unable to hold off the Ferraris. He struggled with understeer in the middle of the race but it cleared up later on, suggesting rubber debris had become stuck in his wing and then been dislodged. But it was too late to claim second place back from Raikkonen.
Nico Hulkenberg – Reached Q3 for the first time this year but decided against doing a lap. He started on medium tyres and passed Button and Vettel on lap four. That handed him the lead of the race three laps later, but by the end of the race he’d fallen to tenth. Having used the soft tyres for his third stint it was his return to medium tyres in the final stint that really hurt him and he was passed by Ricciardo and Grosjean.
Esteban Gutierrez – Eliminated in Q1. Five laps into the race he missed his braking point at the hairpin and slammed Sutil out of the race, earning himself a five-place penalty for the next round.
Paul di Resta – Missed the top ten shootout by 0.026s. Paid a high price for getting too close to his team mate on the first lap, running wide and losing several places. Although he recovered to finish seventh his team believed he could have finished ahead of Button. His stints on the medium tyres were impressively consistent.
Adrian Sutil – Having been out-qualified by Di Resta, his race had barely begun before he was taken out by Gutierrez.
Pastor Maldonado – “We didn’t have a chance to fight for any higher positions,” was Maldonado’s glum assessment after coming home with just the Marussias and Caterhams behind him.
Valtteri Bottas – Used his soft tyres at the end which helped him pass his team mate but couldn’t offer any opposition to the faster cars.
Daniel Ricciardo – Qualified an excellent seventh and eventually came home in the same position having out-raced Grosjean but lost out to Vettel.
Charles Pic – Ma Qing Hua drove his car in first practice and Pic lost furthe time in second practice with a suspected hydraulics problem. In the race he got rid of his soft tyres early which jumped him to the head of the Marussia/Caterham battle. He lost out to Bianchi on their final stops but stuck with his rival until the end, which perhaps explained his reluctance to let Hamilton and Vettel past.. He reckoned that was “almost as good as we could have hoped for with our current performance levels”.
Giedo van der Garde – Said he was struggling to understand the tyres and made a mistake in Q1 but was little slower than his team mate. However in the race his tyre trouble told and he was over a minute behind Pic at the flag.
Jules Bianchi – Came out on top of the ‘back four’ cars, using the undercut to jump Pic at the final round of pit stops.
Max Chilton – Closer to his team mate than Van der Garde was but was warned about obeying blue flags several times in the race.
Qualifying and race results summary
|Driver||Started||Gap to team mate||Laps leading team mate||Pitted||Finished||Gap to team mate|
|Paul di Resta||11th||-0.118s||1/5||3||8th|
|Giedo van der Garde||22nd||+0.046s||7/55||3||18th||+67.119s|
Review the race data
- 2013 Chinese Grand Prix lap charts
- 2013 Chinese Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops
- 2013 Chinese Grand Prix lap times and fastest laps
Vote for your driver of the weekend
Which driver do you think did the best job this weekend?
Cast your vote below and explain your choice in the comments.
Who was the best driver of the 2013 Chinese Grand Prix weekend?
- Max Chilton (0%)
- Jules Bianchi (0%)
- Giedo van der Garde (0%)
- Charles Pic (0%)
- Daniel Ricciardo (18%)
- Jean-Eric Vergne (0%)
- Valtteri Bottas (0%)
- Pastor Maldonado (0%)
- Adrian Sutil (0%)
- Paul di Resta (0%)
- Esteban Gutierrez (0%)
- Nico Hulkenberg (1%)
- Lewis Hamilton (5%)
- Nico Rosberg (0%)
- Romain Grosjean (0%)
- Kimi Raikkonen (16%)
- Sergio Perez (0%)
- Jenson Button (6%)
- Felipe Massa (1%)
- Fernando Alonso (47%)
- Mark Webber (0%)
- Sebastian Vettel (5%)
Total Voters: 725
2013 Chinese Grand Prix
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Images © Daimler/Hoch Zwei, Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Daimler/Hoch Zwei, Red Bull/Getty