Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2017

Hamilton hits back with victory at damp Shanghai

2017 Chinese Grand Prix summary

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Lewis Hamilton won the Chinese Grand Prix thanks to a well-judged strategic call in a race which started on a wet track.

Hamilton held the lead from the start and avoided the temptation to make an early pit stop for slick tyres during a Virtual Safety Car period. It paid off a few laps later when as crash for Antonio Giovinazzi caused a full Safety Car deployment.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2017
2017 Chinese Grand Prix in pictures
Most of Hamilton’s rivals including second-placed Sebastian Vettel pitted under the early VSC. That meant Hamilton’s later pit stop enabled him to keep the lead. Despite returning for a second visit to the pits later on, the Mercedes driver was never headed.

Vettel regained second place, passing his team mate and Daniel Ricciardo along the way. He picked up another place from Max Verstappen when the Red Bull driver ran wide at the hairpin. Verstappen had sensationally leapt ninth places to seventh on the first lap of the race.

Verstappen held Ricciardo off for third ahead of Raikkonen. Valtteri Bottas took sixth after slipping up during the Safety Car period.

A bold gamble by Carlos Sainz Jnr – he was the only driver to start the race on slick tyres – was rewarded with seventh place. He was passed by Raikkonen and Bottas in the closing stages but unable to defend.

Kevin Magnussen took eighth place for Haas ahead of the two Force India drivers. Sergio Perez make a late extra pit stop but was unable to take advantage of his fresher tyres to gain any further places.

Neither McLaren finished after further technical trouble for the Honda-powered cars. Fernando Alonso was running in the points when he dropped out.

Along with Giovinazzi, who crashed at the same corner where he wrecked his Sauber in qualifying, Lance Stroll failed to complete the first lap following contact with Sergio Perez. Daniil Kvyat was the only other retirement.

2017 Chinese Grand Prix reaction

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Keith Collantine
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135 comments on “Hamilton hits back with victory at damp Shanghai”

  1. Just my opinion, I guess HAM was out of reach today even without a SC. BOT disappointed however, spinning behind the SC

    1. I don’t think so, the second safety car with the mandatory pit lane pass was crucial for the outcome of this race.

      1. I think Ham still had enough time to go via pit lane and come out in front. Yes, Vet would be closer but I kind of sense Ham was only really pushing about 5 laps in the whole GP. The rest was either careful driving or saving engine/tires.

        1. Wanna know how much pace Lewis had, check laps 31 & 32

          Lap 31
          HAM 1.38:538
          SEB 1.37:854

          Lap 32
          HAM 1.36:711
          SEB 1.38:225

          I’d say he had plenty in hand.

      2. The speed traps could be of an indication of whether HAM needed to go flat out or not and i believe he was just cruising this whole race/ He’s not even within the first 10 fastest in speed traps, not even within 10km/h of BOT.

        1. I wouldn’t take speed traps as pace indicators. Lewis didn’t have to pass anyone on track, he just lapped cars.
          If you have DRS + slipstream it’s logical to have better straightline speed compared to running in clean air the whole race.

        2. He never had to deploy DRS or overtake anyone, that’s why he’s 10 kph down on Bottas…definitely not an indication of a potential pace advantage as we saw in FP3 that Vettel had the edge on pure pace. Giovinazzi’s crash and the second safety car was the key to his victory.

          1. Bio, I thought that I saw Hamilton using his DRS whilst lapping Ericsson – I do agree that the top speed is likely to be a poor indication of how hard he was pushing though.

          2. Once lap charts come out, it should show dips in laptime. As I remember it every time he set the fastest lap it was after few steady laps.

    2. Ham would’ve come in behind vettel if there was no safety car. I don’t think he would’ve won. Somebody should start “hasgiovinazzicrashedtoday.com”

    3. MG421982 (@)
      9th April 2017, 11:00

      Do not think so, SC periods made it easy for HAM without doubt.

  2. Did Vettel do a second pit stop?

    1. @oni, he made one stop under the VSC, followed by a second stop under green flag conditions – is the latter stop what you are thinking of?

  3. Come on Kimi can you just sprint for one day…

    1. He complained that there was a problem with his engine, and I guess he knows the car better than most of us.

      1. MG421982 (@)
        9th April 2017, 11:07

        His on-track performance did not show any (significant) problem. I think some drivers just got used to complaining to cover their subpar results. Look at VER too, he complained about GRO lap after lap, although GRO was like 2-3 seconds ahead. He didn’t seem to have that kind of “problem” when he passed many cars in his way to 3rd place! I think we all know who would have got the blame in case RIC would have passed him: Grosjean.

        1. Well KIM with Ferrari power couldn’t overtake RIC is showing some sort of problem.

          VER had a lot of trouble with his front. Left tyre was going off very quickly. Thats why he locked up heavy during mid
          race. The dirty air of GRO was not doing very well he said. I think every driver would have complaint in that situation.

          1. MG421982 (@)
            9th April 2017, 15:31

            I hardly believe that. Kimi’s performances in the same machinery as ALO and VET since 2014… make me think twice before taking for good what he’s saying… although he seems a trustworthy guy. For a driver with a car problem, VET did look like he had some hard time getting past him. You can say what you want, but VET’s move was kinda desperate/extreme.

            I think you miss something more important here: RAI and VET were on Softs, while RIC and VER were on SuperSofts ( = faster tyre than Softs), so I think this was the main problem Ferrari had problems passing the RIC (VET actually managed to do it in the end) in the 1st stint rather than engine problems!

      2. @drycrust

        His second message about that clarified that he had to manually hit a button to activate the ERS when coming to the straight after turn 10 (but not for the other straights). I don’t know if that got resolved later, but to me it seems either a setting or a software-issue rather than engine itself, though it obviously felt like an engine-problem the first time it appeared.

  4. Lovely podium, great race, enjoyed the respect of the drivers afterwards. Gonna be a great season.

  5. So disappointed by Kimi, I wish he had retired already. Last seasons the car wasn’t there but now it’s a waste of a seat.
    Similar disappointment with Bottas really but I’d give him at least 2 more races before wishing he be replaced.

    1. Kimi was f’d in the A by his team today. His poor result was mostly down to that imho.

      1. um, he had just as much of a shot at Ric as Vet. Instead he let Vet overtake him and could do nothing with Ric.
        The last stop was delayed… sure… but that was probably Ferrari using Kimi to play against Ham in favour of Vettel.
        I really cannot blame Ferrari for picking their top horse at this early stage in the season, after today.

        1. Give me a break. Ferrari got 2 calls wrong today, so you definitely CAN blame the team. SV shouldn’t have pitted when he did (1st time) and they should have pitted Kimi 5 laps earlier – when he first started complaining about it. The team makes the worst calls.

          1. The first call was not wrong. Unfortunately there was a SC

          2. @sjzelli, at the time, most believed that Ferrari had made the correct decision to pit Vettel under the VSC and Mercedes had made a mistake – if the full safety car hadn’t come out a few laps later, the drivers ahead would have had to stop under green flag conditions and probably would have dropped behind Vettel. They took an understandable decision that, in other circumstances, would have paid off, so I wouldn’t say it was a bad call.

          3. Kimi pitting too late maybe, but disappointing that you can’t see that that the first call was absolutely fine at the time. You definitely CAN’T blame the team for that one, sorry.

            Anyway, Kimi should simply qualify higher up the grid. When was the last time he was on the front row even?

          4. Thinking there WOULDN’T be a safety car was the error. It was obvious the track was in terrible shape and it was just a matter of time.

      2. Jeffrey How?? It was so much going on I could not keep up?

        1. Hamilton and both Ferrari’s were on the yellow soft tyres after the VSC and full safetycar, both Redbulls were on the red striped supersofts. The theory at that point was that the yellow softs would go to the end and the super softs wouldn’t.

          As the race went on it became clear that neither tyre would last and Kimi was the first to report this over the radio saying “are you sure these tyres go to the end? Because I don’t think so”.

          Yet, as Hamilton and Vettel pitted Ferrari let Raikkonen out to dry on his old tyres for 6 more laps. He lost over 2seconds per lap on Verstappen at one point. All the while Kimi was getting angrier and angrier that the team wasn’t calling him in because he knew this was hurting his race.

          Then, when they finally called him in they put him on used supersofts (they’d put Vettel on fresh softs earlier) so he only had a few laps of tyre advantage.

          In the end he finished within 1 second from the Ricciardo and Verstappen fight….

          Kimi would have clearly been on the podium if it hadn’t been for Ferrari leaving him out way too long.

          1. Kimi was left out because he had no sufficient gap to anyone at all, which would have meant bringing him in sooner ended him outside of P10, needing him to charge through the field. Since he didn’t even attempt to pass RIC, I heavily doubt that a charge like that was going to occur.

    2. He was complaining about loss of torque and he had to convince the team to let him stop. I give him the benefit of the doubt this time.

      1. yeah, sure… look at his lap times. Nothing to suggest his car wasn’t healthy. I think he was just complaining because he needs to save face somehow.

        1. I don’t think you reading lap times of a chart is a good indication of how kimi’s car is working. You don’t have the data, so I have no idea how you can come to a sensible conclusion.

          1. MG421982 (@)
            9th April 2017, 15:39

            ’cause he set some (temporary) FL after the last pit-stop??!

    3. Ever since moving out of Lotus he has been a constant disappointment. He has caused more serious crashes than Maldonado ever since he went to Ferrari.

  6. Verstappen’s first lap onboard looked like from an F1 video game actually.

    1. Vet and Ric had great races, still think they are the strongest pairing in F1

      1. VER and RIC, you mean?

      2. I’d have to agree. Bottas + Hamilton is the only other pair that might prove stronger over a season. But it really depends on how well Bottas ups his game. He’s not quite there at the moment.

        I still haven’t quite figured out who’s better between Ric and Verstappen, though. I want it to be Ric, but I think there’s a good chance this year will show it to be Verstappen.

        1. Verstappen:
          19 years old
          43 races in F1
          1 year in junior formula before F1

          27 years old
          111 races in F1
          6 years in junior Formula before F1

          At the moment Verstappen seems to be right on Ric’s level in terms of race pace. He’s ahead of DaniRic in the wet and I still think he’s slightly behind Ric in qualifying pace. From here Verstappen will only get better with experience. I recon that before this season is over we will have seen some major battling and a soured relationship between the two (which seems to be very good atm). One of them will leave RBR after this season I think, either to Ferrari to replace Kimi or to Mercedes to replace Bottas.

          1. MG421982 (@)
            9th April 2017, 15:46

            I think there’s some (unspoken) tension betweeb them already. The glory VER got since Brazil 2016, now China 2017… more than sure made RIC think twice. Dunno about RIC yet, but VER already looks like champ material. At the end of his carreer he should be next to ALO, HAM, VET in my opinion.

          2. @corrado-dub From the RBR youtube video’s during the off season and what not I get the feeling they genuinely like eachother. It’s even got a bit of a big brother – small brother dynamic to it to me.

            But then again, I’m not there so all I know is what I see and even that is just my intrepertation. As the season(s) go on they will get into big on-track fights together and so it’s inevitable imho that their relation will sour at some point.

        2. Mike. I think Max put Danny to sleep with this race.

          1. Redbull have the best lineup they can get.

            If there was no Max, Dani would be the obvious leader, but Max is clearly more relaxed and outclassing Dani.

            Dream team would be Lewis & Max in a dominant car allowed to race. It’ll be close between those two.

  7. Great to see Ferrari and Redbull on the podium. Hope we see all 3 up there throughout the year.

    This could be one of the closest rounds since 2007/8

    1. How was it close? Top 2 were over 30sec ahead. The only reason Red Bulls were in the mix was due to some drivers quality.

      1. And wet conditions. RB was a lot slower when the track dried

      2. Abt 40+ sec away…..on SS, they can be on podium only if mec or ferrari get a DNF.

      3. MG421982 (@)
        9th April 2017, 11:18

        And thanks to being equipped with SS while Ferrari were on S. It helped a lot having the faster tyre in keeping them behind for more than 10 laps.

  8. Stunning race with lots of drama!! Lewis NEEDED this win and got it. Order is resumed for the moment, but with the way he’s qualifying he will be tough.

  9. I think I’ve heard Bottas race engineer calling him “Nico !” when he was 5s behind Kimi after the last pit stop. Can anyone confirm ?

    1. Yeah me too LOL

    2. @tifoso1989 – yes he did, and the C4 commentators also picked up on that slip-up. Nice heat-of-the-moment mistake.

    3. Yes @tifoso1989 that happened, guess it shows Bottas isn’t quite where he wants to be with the team!

    4. @phylyp,@bosyber
      Thanks for the confirmation. This is quite telling !

      1. @tifoso1989 Come on now…. This is not ‘telling’ at all.

        It’s simply just Bono (the engineer), who has worked with Nico Rosberg since 2010 (that’s 6 years you know), in the heat of the moment making a little mistake.

        1. @jeffreyj Rosberg’s engineer was Toni Ross, not Bonnington.

          1. @subhashs Ah sorry, you’re right it was Toni Ross and it was also Toni who mixed up Valtteri with Nico. How ironic that I mixed up him with Bono…haha.

            Anyway, my point stays the same. It’s not ‘telling’ anything about Valtteri’s standing within the team, it’s just a simple understandable mix up of names by Ross.

  10. ThisNoNameID2 (@patienceandtime)
    9th April 2017, 9:09

    Get in there Lewis, good race.

    TF did Bottas do ?, smh.

    1. nelson piquet
      9th April 2017, 9:13

      he’s doing a kovalainen, i already miss rosberg

    2. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      9th April 2017, 15:48

      Meh Hamilton wasn’t challenged today after the vsc and sc periods. Vettel was far more impressive.

  11. Unlucky for Ferrari the pit under VSC with others missing out would have put him in the lead as VSC finished on his 1st lap out. Ironic the Ferrari 3rd driver ruined it by crashing and bringing out a full safety car putting Vettel 6th but ifs and buts dont count, thats racing and a good race. Great we have another race in 7 days where it shoult me a straight fight without mickey mouse weather.

  12. If there wasn’t a problem on Kimi’s Ferrari, he once again disappointed today. If there was, then it’s stupid of Ferrari not to ask him to move aside for Vettel.

    Don’t get me wrong I loved their battle, especially the pass made by Vettel. But keeping a good car behind a damaged one is just unwise.

    1. The car wasn’t damaged at all .It’s quite embarrassing for a 4 time WDC to struggle against his teammate on a damaged car. I don’t think that even Seb will agree with the team if they have asked Kimi to get out of the way.
      It’s always nice to see on track action with 2 WDCs involved. It will a nonsense at this stage of the season for Ferrari to do otherwise.

      1. @tifoso1989 You just cannot resist taking a stab at Vettel whenever you can, can you? Kimi clearly said on the radio he had problems coming out of T12 when he wasn’t pushing a certain button. Logically he pushed that button every time hence no real issues. If anything it’s Kimi that should be embarrassed by todays performance. Everyone is expecting him to be behind Vettel surely, but by this margin,…

        1. @xtwl
          First of all, just look at my avatar and read the whole comment ! What I meant is that if the car was damaged and Seb was struggling to pass kimi with a damaged car (which was not the case) and asks the team to do it for him (which was not the case as well) then it would be embarrassing for him (which was not the case).
          I was arguing @ducpham2708 about Ferrari’s decision to let its drivers fight was the right thing to do.
          I hope you cool down.
          Herzliche Grüße

          1. @tifoso1989 I did, and I misunderstood it. My apologies.

            Either way I feel Ferrari should’ve let Vettel by, he would’ve been able to clear Ricciardo quicker and not loose all those seconds to Hamilton. How long has Vettel been stuck behind them, some 10-15 laps?

          2. @xtwl
            The thing is Ferrari’s maximum today would have been second in normal circumstances and that was already known after the safety car come up at the worst possible moment for Vettel (right after he pitted under the VSC). Vettel was already 10s behind Hamilton, Bottas was already out and there were the 2 Red bulls on SS tyres and Kimi in front of Vettel. The second place was never in question for Vettel once he got passed Kimi because his pace was great in this race.
            Even if Ferrari let Vettel passed and let’s suppose that he overtook both Ric and Ver quickly, he would not have caught Hamilton. In race conditions, Ferrari is as fast as Mercedes with a better tyre management, so in order for Vettel to beat Hamilton he must be just right behind him. As for the period in which Seb was catching, Lewis was just administrating the advantage. He responded with quicker lap times after that.

  13. Lewis continuing his run of seasons with at least one win to 11!

    1. Thats a shock

    2. @ninjenius He’s had a car capable of winning at least multiple races every single year.

      1. @mashiat

        You do remember 2009, do you not?

        1. @ninjenius Was largely bad, but was still capable of race wins at the back end of the season. Even Heikki got podiums with that car.

          1. wrong. Kovalainen didn’t get any podiums. Hamilton won twice and had 3 further podiums.

  14. Stupendous first lap by Max. Honestly it was as if he was in a supercar and everyone else was driving chunky SUVs. I respect and appreciate his talents more and more. Daniel Ricciardo has a titanic fight on his hands. No wonder RIC was miffed at the end of the race there.

    Congrats to Lewis, he always excels in changing conditions. Seems he’s sorted his starts and he was simply untroubled today. Bottas… Not a good day at the office. If he is to have a chance against Lewis he can’t afford to have too many off days like today, particularly when Lewis is leading.

    Apart from the SC catching out Vettel after his stop, I don’t think Ferrari and Vettel had Merc’s race pace today. Good race, well worth getting up for.

    1. SummerNever
      9th April 2017, 10:01

      I agree, Max his skills are becoming legendary. And to think he is still only 19 years young pffffff

      Put Verstappen in a Merc vs Lewis and then we get some real excitement

  15. Sooo… No penalty for Vettel after starting way out of position? There was a message on screen that they were investigating it but nothing was heard about it after that. Weird.

    One driver should abandon the warm-up lap and park the car to the first corner. You could easily snatch the lead that way since stewards don’t seem to mind starting away from your grid slot.

    1. He wasn’t ahead of his box, or wrong box. Not sure if regulations cover scenarios like these but I didn’t think there was an advantage gained so good they didn’t penalise him.

    2. @huhhii There was a message not so long after the investigation message saying no action warranted. Why would they, he was hardly a meter to the side. Would’ve been as dull as the reprimand given to Perez and Ricciardo for not attending the anthem ceremony.

      1. @xtwl I think one meter can make a huge difference when positioning your car towards 1st corner. What if drivers where acting like this in, say, Monaco? Would cause havoc, that’s for sure.

        Anyway it looks like the rulebook allows this, so stewards did the right thing. As odd as it is.

    3. The sporting regulatoins says “35.4 The grid will be in a staggered 1 x 1 formation and the rows on the grid will be separated by 16 meters.” but later says “36.9 When the cars come back to the grid at the end of the formation lap (or laps, see Article 39.16), they will stop within their respective grid positions, keeping their engines running.” So the question is what is “within” referring to. If it is the def. in 35.4 I`d say he is within the regulations.

      1. @geirskjo Cars going four wheels outside the white lines are also still ‘within’ the track so,.. I guess the FIA has a struggle with the word ‘within’.

    4. Thanks for bringing up the rule Geir S; I would’ve thought that the sporting regulations would strictly enforced that they have to be within a set x and y position in the grid.

      Does this mean whoever is on the dirty side of the grid could move a few spaces closer to the clean side in future race starts?

      1. Yeah thanks @geirskjo!
        I also thought it’s a strict rule. It’s rather bizarre that this is allowed and it’s also weird that it’s allowed but drivers basically never use this loophole to their advantage.

    5. @huhhii Oh yes, I had totally forgotten about that already! It was weird, wasn’t it? I don’t think it was worth a penalty but I think Charlie will adress it during the next driver briefing in Bahrain.

    6. VER and RIC did the same in the past, Mercedes asked for clarification and Withing explanation was that common sense should be use, if the majority of the car is within the lines it is OK.

      If VER and RIC were not penalised, VET should not be penalised

    7. @huhhii nitpicking, but there was no investigation. They “noted” the incident and decided not to investigate it:

    8. if the stewards decided to penalise him that would spoil the race IMO. It’d be another story if Vettel gained something from that. Also I could see that in his defense lewis was a bit unnecessarily slow getting to his grid if I remember correctly and that it caused confusion for the driver behind him

  16. Ferrari, Seb fan
    9th April 2017, 9:29

    Good race. Hamilton did well today. Vettel in my opinion could have been a lot closer if he hadn’t pited during VSC, still did some great moves. Verstappen was amazing, he showed that the drivers can overtake. Bottas had a bad day, he needs to get his act back together. Even though I like kimi, he is wasting a ferrari seat, whether the team made a mistake or not.
    It looks like a close season, hope Vettel and ferrari can beat Hamilton and mercades

  17. Hulkenberg screwed by his team again (: would’ve got points in Australia if they’d one stopped him, and was on for points before they messed up his strategy. Would like to actually see the onboards of him overtaking under the SC (ffs FOM, didn’t show us any replays of that, or of Magnussen going slowly or anything like that).

    1. ispookie666
      9th April 2017, 9:46

      Hulk seems to be always given the benefit of doubt – if he is that top class, surely one of the top teams would have scooped him up. He’s looking like an overrated driver – Every one has good days and bad days; there are others scoring consistent points than Hulk.

      1. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
        9th April 2017, 11:55

        He was Mercedes’ first pick with Alonso to replace Rosberg.

        1. @come-on-kubica, Mercedes did reportedly make enquiries with Renault about his contractual situation, but then again they did that with several other drivers (there were claims that they contacted McLaren about Alonso’s contract, as well as Red Bull over Sainz Jr’s contract). He might have been one of the drivers under consideration, but I wouldn’t be completely sure he was their first choice to replace Rosberg.

    2. Hulk screwed his team by picking up two penalties but yeah don’t mention that ;)

      1. Like I say, I’d like to see a video of it before I judge it. You can’t purposely overtake 2 people in the same race under safety car conditions

  18. nelson piquet
    9th April 2017, 9:42

    sack the finns already

    1. ispookie666
      9th April 2017, 9:47

      they can only drive in Blizzards!

  19. Ferrari always seem to forget Kimi is racing and do strange strategies. They always seem to leave him out too long or just have no strategy for him.
    Funny their simulation was predicting a podium while regular eyesight was predicting 6th of no actions was taken.

  20. “Hamilton hits back with victory at damp Shanghai”

    Perfect way to sum up…

    Last race Vettel was slightly better, now Hamilton was a slight bit better.

    Hamiltom and Mercedes did a perfect job..

    Vettel and Ferrari tried to undercut with dry tire.. And failed on a resonable gamble. It was only ever gonna go this way after that.

    Both star drivers are at a stage in their careers when they are at their peak. Hamilton raised his hame substantially after last year, nolonger a primadona, that many of us criticized him for last year. He is focused and on it. Excellent form.

    Then there is Vettel, charging through like a shark who smelled blood in the wa

    1. @jureo I believe had GIO not crashed Vettel would’ve been ahead once Hamilton pitted, and then Vettel most likely would’ve done what Hamilton did today.

      1. @xtwl I agree Vettel lost more in that whole situation than the 7 seconds he finished behind Lewis. It would at the very least have given Seb a real chance.

    2. The only thing Hamilton “raised” this year is that Mercedes fixed their start system and that his car doesn’t keep having technical issues (for now), but then neither of those are things he can really do anything about. If his car was working he was taking pole and winning races last year too. Prima donna or not.

      He was lucky that Ferrari made strategical mistakes with Vettel and even more so with Raikkonen. Otherwise their car is faster in the race and Vettel would more likely have won the race.

      1. It’s only your claim that Ferrari is faster until proved. As i recall he was behind HAM for many many laps but still he couldn’t manage to lower the gap. If his car was faster he would have pushed HAM for a mistake, possibly. But that was never the case.

    3. Hamilton really didn’t need to do anything other than drive around on his own compared to anyone else. A blessing under these mixed conditions too.

  21. “Hamilton hits back with victory at damp Shanghai”

    Perfect way to sum up…

    Last race Vettel was slightly better, now Hamilton was a slight bit better.

    Hamiltom and Mercedes did a perfect job..

    Vettel and Ferrari tried to undercut with dry tire.. And failed on a resonable gamble. It was only ever gonna go this way after that.

    Both star drivers are at a stage in their careers when they are at their peak. Hamilton raised his hame substantially after last year, nolonger a primadona, that many of us criticized him for last year. He is focused and on it. Excellent form.

    Then there is Vettel, charging through like a shark who smelled blood in the wa

    1. (sry) water. Charging through bouncing off riciardo destroying 3 very good drivers, Kimi, Riciardo and Verstappen. Properly Ace. He is Hungry and they are tied on points.

      A loot to look forward for. Ferrari vs Mercedes, can the champions hold on? Who will win the development race? Is Quali advantage enough? Will drivers make the difference?

      Bottas and Kimi lead plenty of question marks. What will happen if they continue to underperform. Maybe they just lack talent to match Hamilton and Vettel.

      If Ferrari win constructors, will Mercedes draft in Alonso?

      1. nelson piquet
        9th April 2017, 10:28

        alonso and hamilton will never happen again, sainz would be more realistic. he’s damn fast

      2. MG421982 (@)
        9th April 2017, 15:51

        Ferrari to win the WCC with RAI in the 2nd car?!?!! Aaaaahahahahaaaaaaaa!

        1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
          9th April 2017, 16:28

          @corrado-dub While it sounds so dreamy now, let’s not forget the difference right now is just one point. And strange things have happened before. Also Kimi tends to be stronger in Europe.

          1. @omarr-pepper @corrado-dub Kimi has been strong in Europe but also always been strong at Bahrain, Japan and Brazil. He sucks at Canada though

  22. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    9th April 2017, 10:58

    So is Hamilton running 2 helmet designs this year? He seems to have been alternating the 2 all through testing and now in the 2 races. I kind of wish Rosberg was still there to make it a 3 way championship and also so the 2 Merc drivers would take points off each other. I feel without that Hamilton and Mercedes will be slightly too strong for Seb but you never know. I’m loving this new season, shame about cars struggling to follow each other but it doesn’t seem that much worse than last season.

    1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      9th April 2017, 11:15

      I also feel like I’m watching something spectacular again which is great. Haven’t felt like that since 2008.

  23. Why was Seb not penalised for lining up so far outside his grid box?

    1. @kgn11 This. It had me thinking as well cause other drivers have been punished for it i believe.

    2. Because it’s a loophole. Not against rules and regulations. Hamilton’s head quite a few weird grid positionings as well. Good for both if they know how to get away with it.

    3. Accordig to Wurz, after Hamilton did so in Suzuka last year there was a clarifying talk in a drivers meeting where Whiting orally confirmed it is ok to go outside the grid box in a sideway-direction.

    4. That is discussed race by race in the. drivers’ meeting depening on track conditions. Very likely there was a puddle VET wanted to not start on.

  24. I wonder if it was vettels call to pit that lap or the team’s, cuz the driver is the one who feels the track.

    Like Button always excelled to do this choices at the right time in the past.

    1. Ed, the comments Vettel made after the race (where he mentioned that the intermediates were degrading rapidly given how dry the track was) suggest that he might have made the call to the team to change to the slick tyres.

    2. That wasn’t exactly a wrong call in any case. At least from a driver’s point of view, because they certainly cannot account for safety cars. The team might have cautioned against that perhaps, but they didn’t, and well… It could have gone very differently had the Italian not spun on the straight anyway.

      1. Agreed, Vettel was just unlucky that the the full safetycar came out a lap later. Otherwise Hamilton would have ended up behind Vettel after he made his stop.

  25. We finally have what we have wished for. Eventhough Hamilton won, Ferrari were equally strong on numerous occasions.
    – First we saw Ferrari/Vettel making a mistake witht aht pit-stop. It should’ve been when the safety car was out just like Hamilton did. This way he could’ve prevented him being stuck behind Kimi who was suffering from powerlosses… Afterwards those amazing overtakes, he was 12 seconds behind Hamilton I think.
    – Secondly, Vettel sliced 4 seconds out of the 12 seconds. Hamilton was a bit surprised as he didn’t knew how Vettel was 4 seconds quicker then him.
    -Thidly, after the last pit stops, Vettel was 8-10 seconds behind. When the race finished they were 6 seconds seperated from eachother.

    In fact, I’m beginning to think Ferrari really are quicker then mercedes… Not only could Vettel keep up with Hamilton, he was quicker for most of the time IMO. They were constantly matching and fighting all over the place for the fastest lap…

    I’m verry pleased with this year. We finally have a fight with cars and tyres which are waaay better then last year!

    1. Hamilton is an awesome driver as well ofcourse. No offence towards Hamilton but it’s just that it gets boring if he wins everytime. I think he feels as well as he enjoys the fight. Mercedes are enjoying this fight as well. Finally someone can step up with a fight towards them…

  26. What happens if at the end of the year, after 20 races, Vettel has 10 Wins to Hams ten wins
    and 10 second places each?

    Who wins the championship?

  27. Kimi has strong at Bahrain the past few years. If he’s slow there next week then he really will struggle this year with that innate understeer in his set-up.

  28. one thing i have noticed is that how good ver is in the beginning laps and how ric struggles yet at the end of the gp ric really likes the low weight and comes into is own at the end of races. not just this year but last year as well. does is heavier body weight become a factor earlier on??

  29. Brilliant job from Lewis. That was the special weekend.

  30. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    9th April 2017, 16:31

    The best 2 drivers of the decade tied on points. Can Barhain come any faster?
    Max is showing that he is the best of the following decade. If Red Bull starts improving fast as last year, it can even turn out to be a 3-way battle for the championship. And I say 3 because it seems to me Daniel is not going to be able to handle Max.

  31. @omarr-pepper

    it seems to me Daniel is not going to be able to handle Max.

    I agree Max will be better than Daniel a little further down the line but I’m not convinced he’ll be head and shoulders above him during this season already. I think it’s to soon to say at this point in the season but it sure makes for an enticing prospect!

  32. I expected Vettel to make up some places when they came through the pitlane under SC.
    The cars ahead of him stopped to change tyres, he had already changed them so would surely roll straight past?
    But he came out of the pitlane in the same position he went in.

    1. As the crash was on start-finish straight, all drivers had to go through pitlane and adhere to the lower pitlane speed limit. Hence, the penalty of stopping under safety car became even lower. And hence, everyone (top 5) pit and still came out ahead of Vettel.
      Had the SC come out anywhere else on the track, The top 5 would have gone in pits, Vettel would have been able to driver slightly faster on the start-finish straight (not racing speed, but not as slow as the pit lane speed limit either), and I think he would have come out 2nd or 3rd.

  33. Ferrari have proved their form is no flash in the pan. I strongly believe they have been aided by Merc’s and Red Bull’s having to shelve their next-step suspensions. Further, there seems to be a measure of truth to the rumour that Merc were burning off oil as a path to a power boost through combustion.

    It is widely reported that HAM had his engine turned down when he realised he couldn’t catch VET in Melbourne and I wonder whether Merc did something similar when they reached the point at which VET couldn’t catch HAM (in Shanghai).

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