Hamilton holds off Rosberg for victory in China

2015 Chinese Grand Prix summary

Posted on

| Written by

Lewis Hamilton dominated the Chinese Grand Prix to take his second win of the season and his fourth career victory in Shanghai.

It was another Mercedes one-two with Nico Rosberg taking second, but there were suggestions of renewed tension between the team mates after Rosberg

Ferrari kept the Mercedes duo under moderate pressure throughout the race in third and fourth, but Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen were unable to mount a serious challenge on the Silver Arrows for the lead.

At the start, Hamilton arrived into the long first corner with his lead intact, followed by Rosberg close behind as the two Ferraris and two Williams jostled for position.

Valtteri Bottas was able to pass his team mate Felipe Massa at Turn One, but was forced to surrender the position back after Kimi Raikkonen performed a daring late-braking move into Turn Three.

With the front four all on the same tyre strategy, the Mercedes quickly began to control the pace at the front but both Sebastian Vettel in third and Raikkonen in fourth remained in reach of their rivals.

After both Mercedes and Ferraris had pitted for another set of Soft tyres, Rosberg began to eat into his team mate’s lead.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Nico Hulkenberg became the first retirement of the afternoon with gearbox problems, before Daniil Kvyat’s Renault engine provided greater spectacle for the second.

Carlos Sainz Jr suffered a very early spin in the Toro Rosso and later slowed to a crawl complaining of gearbox problems, before resuming at full speed moments later.

Despite being just over two seconds adrift of Hamilton, Rosberg was heard on team radio complaining about the leader’s pace and encouraging his team to hurry the world champion up after concerns over his tyres should he have gotten any closer to his team mate.

Hamilton responded by upping his pace and at the second round of pit stops the leading four cars took the same approach as each other once more with both Mercedes and Ferrari opting for Medium tyres for the final stint.

Having upped his pace significantly just before the final stops, Hamilton resumed comfortably in the lead. For the rest of the race, Rosberg was unable to close the gap to his team mate to within four seconds.

Further back, Pastor Maldonado was dicing with Jenson Button for 13th after the Lotus driver had dropped out of the points following two unforced offs.

A misjudged DRS pass attempt by Button saw the two make contact into Turn One, ultimately putting Maldonado out of the race and earning Button his first ever penalty points.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

With just a handful of laps left, Max Verstappen’s day ended agonisingly close to a points finish when his Toro Rosso ground to a halt on the start/finish straight.

It was a sad end to a great day for the 17-year-old who had performed an array of impressive overtakes throughout the race during a climb to eighth place before a second mechanical retirement in his first three races.

With Verstappen’s stricken Toro Rosso along the pit wall, the Safety Car was deployed – effectively ending the race.

Hamilton cruised around to secure his second win of the season, ahead of team mate Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari – meaning the first three podiums of the year have been made up of the same three drivers.

Raikkonen took fourth for Ferrari, with the two Williams of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas fifth and sixth. Romain Grosjean secured Lotus’ first points of the season with seventh, while the two Saubers were split by the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo to round out the points.

Manor managed to successfully bring two cars to the end of a race, with Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi both finishing two laps down.

Go ad-free for just £1 per month

>> Find out more and sign up

2015 Chinese Grand Prix

Browse all 2015 Chinese Grand Prix articles

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

38 comments on “Hamilton holds off Rosberg for victory in China”

  1. Andre Furtado
    13th April 2015, 1:20

    I’m so used to hearing Maldonado involved in some accident. I’ll somehow will miss that when he is gone.

    1. My brain refused to accept Button could been in the wrong for this. I had a serious case of confirmation bias. I even argued yesterday that Maldonado moved in the braking zone.

      It just seems so wrong that possibly one of the fairest, safest pair of hand on the grid collided with the poster boy of bad driving and was at fault.

      Fair play to Button, he held his hands up fair and square.

      1. @philipgb

        The moment I saw the crash, I knew it was Button’s fault… But I had an inkling that he would admit the mistake.

        Everyone’s allowed infrequent lapses in judgement. Even Alonso et al. are also guilty of such things from time to time.

  2. I struggle to understand how someone as intelligent and experienced as Rosberg falls to keep his cool and is letting Hamilton get under his skin so much. He was visibly agitated in that press conference.

    Hamilton is spot on, his job is to manage his car and get the best result he can for it. In the same situation he would have said thank you very much to Rosberg going slowly and attacked.

    And I remember in Monaco 2013 where we had two ‘silver buses’ leading the race which made it hard for Hamilton to fend off Red Bull in the pit stops and he held his hand up and accepted it was on him.

    You have to wonder if there is something behind the scenes now Ferrari is a threat because Rosberg just continuously looks miffed and defeated. Every time he opens his mouth in a press conference he makes Hamilton look in control.

    1. As it becomes clearer and clearer that Rosberg does not have the speed to answer Lewis dominance on track, he, once again, resorts to attempt to silly mind games, which will only backfire with the team, the fans and Lewis himself.

      The sooner Nico admits to himself that he is an inferior driver, compared to Lewis, the better. Just slap the number 2 on the car and be happy to drive a superior piece of machinery. He will have the best seat on the track to watch Lewis secure his third championship.

      1. the difference i feel this year Ham has not broken down yet, which would give Rosb an advantage over Ham,

        for all the complaining i did not see Rosb challenge Ham with a passing attempt, 1 sec slower would have given Rosb the opportunity to have a go surely,
        if Ham had been second i bet Ham would of bounce at the opportunity to take the lead off Rosb.

        if anything was wrong with the strategy it was with Ferrari planing, they should not have pitted before Merc, having Merc on white tires would have given Ferrari a chance to fight for 15-17laps till they had to change over to white tires.
        oh well we know now that Ferrari are still not close enough and Williams have fallen away,
        RBR are their own worst enemy, McLaren/Honda are not improving one bit.
        sorry state of affairs the whole F1 shambles with the Bernie doing his utmost to ridicule F1.

        1. @lethalnz

          McLaren/Honda are not improving one bit

          Err….They are improving.

        2. McLaren/Honda are not improving one bit.

          Jenson was racing wheel to wheel with a Mercedes-engined car. Yes, it may or may not have had some reliability issue compromising it, but that was racing.

          Fernando was also right there to pick up the pieces when it all went wrong.

    2. The post-race press conference may have been the most entertaining part of the entire weekend.

    3. @philipgb – It seems like the first two race weekends Rosberg was trying to all happy and glad-handing even though he was behind on the track constantly. Someone must have advised him he looked like he was accepting his number two driver position by doing so. So, now he thinks this is a better tactic to not appear to be happy with being a number two? Complain while being beaten handily? He was better off to just keep smiling.

      Rosberg needs to realize that the only way to overcome being perceived as the number two driver on the team is to beat Hamilton. Beat him in qualifying, in the race or both if he can. Whatever tactics he is using off track ends up just make him look like a sore loser. He should keep smiling and keep saying he will beat Hamilton next time. If he starts to believe, maybe it will work. Right now he looks desperately beaten.

    4. Rosberg should really improve his act. Hamilton is on top of his game right now and these words just won’t reach him there.

      Looks like we’ll see Pascal Wehrlein driving a Mercedes in one year or two, and we all know who’ll get the boot.

    5. Britney needs to loose the hair, it is worth 0.1s for high weight distribution, could be on pole.

  3. I don’t recall Lewis really holding off Nico. I Think he had it under control.

    1. I guess “toy around” will look disrespectful in the title.

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        13th April 2015, 4:21

        Let’s be honest, Lewis was just toying with Nico. It was made unbelievably clear just before the pitstops when Nico said his tyres were finished and then Hamilton decided not to hang around by banging in the fastest lap by some margin.

        1. @tophercheese21 – Agreed. He had the luxury of doing that, being ahead in clean air and being on top of his game right now.

          However, the very point that Rosberg is complaining about, excess tire degradation when following close, wouldn’t Vettel have been subjected to the same problem if he had gotten closer to Rosberg? Just wondering…

          1. …. and I think Vettel said something to that effect during the race.

  4. As a Vettel fan and Red Bull fan (independently) I’ll be the first to admit we all needed 2014. However, looking back, it was a bit silly for any of us to rank Nico. The competition in 2014 between the Merc drivers seems as artificial as ever at this point and more of a brilliant exercise in maximum product exposure (the only reason modern F1 exists at all). Hamiltons 1:42’s on ancient tires can only mean 2 things (i’m sorry to be so binary on this but it is true) 1) he’s 3-5x the talent Nico is and therefore the gap to Ferrari is artificial or 2) Merc has 2 completely different cars. Discuss…

  5. I didn’t see this race, but reading the comments in rate the race I have to tell all of you that think these tyres are ok or good, you got the race you deserved, please just look at the logic of my position;
    1. these cars are highly dependent on downforce from the front wing to give the front wheels enough grip to balance the rear-wing downforce* and prevent understeer.

    2. The turbulence from a car ahead greatly diminishes the downforce on the front wheels causing loss of grip**, understeer and lots of sideslip for the driver to correct.

    3. Adding tyres that wear out rapidly if not kept firmly planted can not do anything but make this problem much worse and totally discourage close-up car on car racing.

    This is not a case of an old dog being unable to learn new tricks, nor is it mis-remembering the golden years or seeing them through rose-tinted spectacles, it is simple logic. In order to get drivers to take the race to the driver in front of them they have to be confident that it will not cost them another 28 second pit-stop. The best racing we see with these tyres is when a safety car comes out with about 10 laps to go, everyone pits for new options and they race flat out to the finish because they know the tyres will last to the finish.

    Condidering all of the above it should be obvious that for better racing we need tyres that are more durable, not less.

    * A lot of rear downforce is needed due to the massive low-end torque these PUs develop.
    ** This is what DRS was supposed to compensate for.

    1. @hohum considering you didn’t see the race, point 2 is spot on and relevant for the Chinese GP.

      In terms of your note saying “this is what DRS was supposed to compensate for.” DRS didn’t necessarily compensate for it, as when the cars got within 2secs of the car in front, they started to feel the affects of the unclean air. Then when they come about 1.2secs, this is when it seems to be impossible to follow in sweeping corners.

      I was wondering how VET was able to pass ROS in Malaysia, and the only thing I can think of is, VET was able to gain so much under braking coming into the right hander (2nd last corner), that he was able to get within the slipstream of ROS as they both approached the final left hander. ROS also didn’t fight VET too much for the position either.

      1. I didn’t really see Sepang either but from what I have seen here it appears the Ferrari are fast on the straight so able to take maximum benefit of DRS.@dragoll .

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      13th April 2015, 5:19

      @hohum – SC, options, and race to the finish sounds very much like a sprint race. Why not do that on the Saturday?

      PS – send me a PM if you want some pointers on how to watch any race live from OZ. I for one will never wait >24hrs to get a crap highlights version on OneHD.

      1. “Why not a sprint race on Sat.”?
        “More tyres grumble grumble, more engines expletive expletive, etc.”
        @coldfly, thanks for the offer, I should have an NBN connection next month will try then.
        PS. I’d love a Saturday sprint race.

    3. “hohum” u obviously have never watched F1 for long or at all,
      running tires that last a full race is like watching a merry go round that never stops, this race was close to that.
      but at least the teams to day have a choice when to change tires but in this case Ferrari made theirs before Merc did, so Merc had no reason to do different, hence the reason it was follow the leader.
      if Ferrari had let Merc make the first tire change we may have had a little fight for a few laps at least,
      but i guess Ferrari were hopping to be able attack on whites which didn’t eventuate.

      so Ferrari’s lose Merc’s gain this race.

      1. @lethalnz, I have been watching F1 since before “u” became a word, and I always enjoyed the “going around” part much more than the “stops”

  6. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    13th April 2015, 4:15

    I’ve got to say, I was really annoyed with how rubbish the race marshals were. It took them nearly 15 minutes to move Hulkenberg’s car off the grass.

    They pretty much stood there looking at it for 12 minutes, and then thought: “hmm, we should probably be doing something about that.”

    1. Michael Brown
      13th April 2015, 9:47

      Reminded me of the marshals in the 2013 Korean GP. This isn’t an Asian thing, is it?

  7. Title of this article is misleading… It was Rosberg who has held himself off victory to take second place :)

    Unfortunately it was one of these races when after almost two hours you feel like you’ve just wasted 2 hours of your life.

  8. Hamilton did the same thing in Australia.
    Wether last year he used to just open a gap and keep it to the flag, or build it, on the races he had to pass Rosberg, this year he is keeping smaller gaps and defending himself from every single attempt from Rosberg.

    As he is faster, Rosberg can’t do much and he preserves his tyres and power unit.

    Now, after that “i hope Ferrari get closer, for the fans” in Australia, the invitation for Vettel to take part on one of their meetings, the defeat in Malaysia and now this, he is looking really vulnerable.

    But let’s wait for Monaco. There he will get his spinach and bye bye Hamilton!

    1. if your winning and you slow down then the odds on you are going to loose your position,
      you dont moan about the guy in front slowing down, you take the opportunity to win yourself,
      never heard so much dribble in my life,
      Ham wanted his tires to go those extra few laps to cover Rosb and Vet before he changed to white tires, but that annoyed Rosb not because Vet was catching him but because Rosb thought he might be able to under cut Ham on the last tire change, sorry Rosb your a sore looser and not a chance in hell of catching Ham unless he breaks down.

      1. I thought he wanted to have tyres to attack Hamilton at the end of the race but Hamilton forced him to cover Vettel and therefore end up with older tyres than him in the last stint and that is why he was annoyed. Hamilton just made sure Rosberg couldn’t be a threat at the end of the race(not that he seemed capable to be much of a thread).

  9. ‘Suggestions of renewed tension’ lol. Lewis cannot stand Nico, and hasn’t been able to since Monaco last year. If there was any chance of them making up it went out of the window again in Sepang Q3.

    It’s obvious to me they need to put someone else in the second car, who can handle being beaten without the cheating and histrionics. A young guy on the way up. Shame it can’t be Verstappen, but Wehrlein maybe as @corix said.

  10. Help a stupid. About Pascal Wehrlein. He currently has a super license (being a reserve and everything), but under the new rules, will he keep his license? Being a non-active F1 driver (well he is not racing). At the moment it seems you can be the King of DTM, but no honey for you.

  11. Will be very hard to Ros to beat Ham during the race if starts behind him, the only thing Ros can do is to start in pole position and manage an over 1″ gap at least. Beside that there´s no other way Ros can beat Ham.

  12. I thought Rosberg would step up his game, come back more energised to make up for that near-miss. Now I really feel like those “coaching” restrictions have affected him more than Hamilton. Rosberg has now been outplaced by Hamilton 9 times in the last ten races. In the 12 races before that, it was a more even 6-all.

    1. Does that “6-all” include unreliability? No thing much has changed in the Lewis-Nico equation, the only difference now is that Lewis’ car stopped breaking.

    2. Now I really feel like those “coaching” restrictions have affected him more than Hamilton.

      The FIA doing everything to make the sport more boring, as always …

  13. Expect Rosberg being booed (again) at the podium in Bahrain.

    In the Australian GP post race conference, he said it would be good for F1 if the Ferraris were closer. And Vettel immediately show how hypocritical that statement was. Now, he shows he is afraid of fending a Ferrari off.

    Lewis is right. Nico’s privileged upbringing made him a brat. When he does not have his way, he goes running to mommy, crying. What a bozo.

Comments are closed.