Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

2019 Chinese Grand Prix Star Performers

2019 Chinese Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez were RaceFans’ Star Performers of the Chinese Grand Prix. Here’s why.

Stars

Lewis Hamilton

For the first half of the weekend Hamilton flew under the radar. He didn’t top any of the practice sessions, and was always just behind his team mate who took pole by 23 hundreths of a second. Hamilton has struggled with his starts recently but when the lights went out he got away well and eased ahead of Bottas before they had even reached turn one.

He opened up a comfortable margin of five and a half seconds before Bottas stopped first. Hamilton came in the following lap and emerged onto the track with an advantage just under two seconds. This was as close as his team mate came to challenging him, but he extended the gap and led every lap of the race.

Sergio Perez

Racing Point looked out of shape on Friday but Sergio Perez consistnetly got the best out of the car, out-classing team mate Lance Stroll.

Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019
Ricciardo grabbed his first points for Renault
Perez outclassed his team mate all weekend and was a full second faster in qualifying. He missed out on Q3, but started 12th which gave him free choice of tyres to start the race. In the race, the Racing Point driver was in eighth by the time they reached turn six. He opted for the one-stop strategy, but could never find the pace to challenge Ricciardo, who stayed ahead of him for the whole race.

Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo out-qualified his team mate for the second race in a row by a slim margin of four milliseconds to start at the front of the midfield. On the opening lap he stayed out of trouble and stayed ahead of Hulkenberg.

For the rest of the race Perez stayed in Ricciardo’s mirrors but the Renault driver never let him get close enough to attempt an overtake. He made a one-stop strategy work and finished seventh, and best of the rest.

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Strugglers

Pierre Gasly

Pierre Gasly, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019
Gasly’s fastest lap flattered his lack of pace
The new Red Bull driver continued to struggle to find pace in a car he has labelled, “unpredictable”. Gasly was nowhere near his team mate in the build up to qualifying and ended up nine tenths behind, but still managed to start sixth. In the race he was stuck in no man’s land between the midfield and the frontrunners as he still searches for the pace in a car his team mate used to pressure the Ferraris with.

Daniil Kvyat

Daniil Kvyat failed to make it to Q3 by less than a tenth as the only Toro Rosso driver taking part in the session. A costly first-lap mistake spoiled Kvyat’s race and that of the two, blameless, Mclaren drivers. Leaving too late room for the cars alongside him, Kvyat skidded sideways into Carlos Sainz Jnr and rebounded into Lando Norris. Kvyat was handed a drive through penalty before retiring on lap 41.

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And the rest

Valtteri Bottas, Jean Todt, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019
Bottas took his first pole of 2019
Bottas appeared to be the quicker of the Mercedes drivers until the race. He kept Hamilton very honest indeed, only losing out to Hamilton at the start. This turned his race into more of a procession that saw him easily finish second thanks to Mercedes’ superior pace.

Ferrari didn’t have the pace to challenge Mercedes in qualifying or the race and they locked out the second row. Leclerc lost out to Vettel in qualifying, but overtook him at the start which created a headache for the strategists on the pit wall.

Vettel was staying close to Leclerc, but even with DRS couldn’t make a move. The team ordered them to swap, but then Leclerc stayed close to Vettel indicating that neither driver had a significant advantage. Ferrari opted to put Leclerc on an alternate strategy which created separation between their two drivers but meant that their new driver lost out to Max Verstappen, who undercut him during the second series of stops.

Verstappen came close to spoiling the all-Ferrari second row after the first runs in Q3 but didn’t have the pace to compete with an improved lap from Leclerc. During the first stint he kept up with Ferraris and made up ground whenever they swapped positions.

Verstappen got by Leclerc by using the undercut when Ferrari put him on the alternate strategy, and had one shot to get by Vettel with a late lunge down the inside at the hairpin. He couldn’t make the move stick and failed to get close enough for another attempt for the remainder of the race so he finished fourth.

Kimi Raikkonen managed to score points after starting outside the top ten. He possessed more pace than his team mate Giovinazzi all weekend, but part of this was due to the technical problems that plagued the latter’s car. Giovinazzi made it to the end of the race but only managed 15th, while Raikkonen ended up ninth.

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Alexander Albon, Toro Rosso, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019
Albon bounced back from practice shunt
Albon was a star of the race but almost ruined his weekend with a huge crash in final practice when he ran wide at the final corner. He was unharmed but the damage to the car was so severe that he was forced to sit out of qualifying and start from the pit lane.

From there he drove a brilliant race that saw him score a point on a one-stop strategy. He extracted maximum life from his fresh set of soft tyres at the start, passedseveral of the stragglers and jump past Lance Stroll in the pits. In the final laps he successfully resisted Grosjean to secure a top ten finish.

Haas got both of their drivers into Q3 again, but didn’t have a competitive race pace. Both drivers finished outside the points for the second race in a row.

Lance Stroll again failed to escape Q1. He has a good start from 16th but fell short of the points and was unhappy with his strategy.

Both McLaren drivers’ races were over when Kvyat significantly damaged both of their cars and forced each of them to stop after the first lap. Williams continued to struggle at the back of the pack with Russell quicker than Kubica all weekend yet again.

Video: Every driver’s Chinese Grand Prix weekend reviewed

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Author information

Josh Holland
USA-based Josh joined the RaceFans team in 2018. Josh helps produce our Formula 1 race weekend coverage, assists with our social media activities and...

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28 comments on “2019 Chinese Grand Prix Star Performers”

  1. I think Albon really deserves a place in the star performers, even with the crash he had in FP3.

    1. Maybe in lieu of Ricciardo, who had a good weekend but nothing more that something you expect from him. He “just” reached the place he belongs.

      1. Furthermore, what did Ricciardo do this weekend that Hulk didn’t do last time out, even though he didn’t get Star Performer, whereas Daniel did?

        1. Also Verstappen and Russell had a good weekend and performed arguably better than Ricciardo and maybe even Perez.

        2. Doesn’t make much sense does it? Also the sentence “outqualified his team mate two times in a row” is a bit deceiving, Hulkenberg had problems in Bahrain confirmed by the team. That is one of those that I’m sure Keith won’t count in the head-to-head comparison.

          Agree @coldfly, wouldn’t say better than Perez, but definitely agree with the first part of the sentence. I would put Perez as a star performer as well

          1. charlierdoris
            16th April 2019, 22:30

            @johnmilk
            That is one of those that I’m sure Keith won’t count in the head-to-head comparison. – What makes you sure about that? In fact, he has always included every quali in which both driver did do a quali lap. Even when (one of the) drivers has/have a grid pen, or a technical issue preventing them from doing a full quali session, just like he did last year with RIC-VER.

          2. Guybrush Threepwood
            17th April 2019, 13:41

            Ricciardo also had the same engine issues as Hulkenberg in Bahrain. It was confirmed by Abitofbull in later quotes.

          3. They both had problems. Hulk had mapping problems that stopped him from moving forward into the qualification and Ricciardo had problems with the MGU-K but later on

    2. I don’t agree. Personally I think he should be somewhere in “disappointment” or “blunders” of the weekend, not in “starts” by a mile.

  2. He possessed more pace than his team mate Giovinazzi all weekend, but part of this was due to the technical problems that plagued the latter’s car

    How? How was his technical problems “part” of the reason Kimi being faster? That statement has an assumption that if Giovinazzi hadn’t had his issues then he would’ve been faster.
    He possessed more pace than his team mate Giovinazzi all weekend. The latter couldn’t show his pace because of technical issues.
    This sentence doesn’t assume he would’ve been faster than Kimi if he hadn’t had those issues.

    1. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
      16th April 2019, 14:47

      @sravan-pe in reality, your quotation actually shows the opposite of what you are arguing, in that it infers that Raikkonen still would’ve been ahead of Giovinazzi even if Giovinazzi hadn’t had his issues. That’s why the “part” is there. Not all of the advantage was due to technical problems, only some of it

      1. @leonardodicappucino
        Like I said it’s impossible to compare their pace because of his technical issues. Look carefully at what I said : He possessed more pace than his team mate Giovinazzi all weekend. The latter couldn’t show his pace because of technical issues.
        This directly implies it’s impossible to compare their performances because one of them couldn’t show his pace at all. Who knows who would’ve been faster.
        In contrast:
        “He possessed more pace than his team mate Giovinazzi all weekend, but part of this was due to” is directly giving a potential reason for Raikkonen having more pace than Giovinazzi, which is not really sensible because that has an assumption in it that if he didn’t have those issues then he might have been faster. When in reality it is just impossible to know. No part of Raikkonen’s pace was can be attributed (even partly) to Giovinazzi’s technical issues. Small detail but you ought to get my point.

        1. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
          16th April 2019, 16:51

          @sravan-pe I agree that the sentence infers that Raikkonen is faster, which is something one can debate whether or not it was the case, but one can definitely claim it to be true. Either way, the only part of your comment I was talking about was when you said “That statement has an assumption that if Giovinazzi hadn’t had his issues then he would’ve been faster,” when the quotation you give actually assumes that that if Giovinazzi hadn’t had his issues then Raikkonen still would’ve been faster. Your point that the sentence conveys a bias towards Raikkonen being the quicker one of the two is definitely valid, but keep in mind this bias may have been intentional. Kimi has looked the faster of the two in Bahrain and Australia, and the gap was very big, so it may be understandable that the author assumes that Raikkonen still would’ve beat Giovinazzi even without Gio’s issues. I have no further quarrel with you, good sir.

          1. @leonardodicappucino
            I agree with you that perhaps I should’ve worded my first comment a bit more carefully.
            We’ll leave the rest to the Gods of the English language I guess :)

  3. Can’t understand why Albon is being mentioned as “stars” of the Weekend…
    Destroying a car and finishing way in the last point-scoring place because of one-stop strategy, which always was more than feasible (and Top 3 + 5 switched to 2-stop only because Verstappen caused the domino-effect).

    In my book such weekend should be written off and forgotten, not lauded and celebrated.

    1. Because it isn’t “star of the weekend” it is “star performers of the grand prix”. The race was marginal on tyres so the fact that he pulled off a one stop and was competitive is to be commended. Whatever way you cut it, he put in a great drive.

  4. (Hamilton) was always just behind his team mate who took pole by 23 hundreths of a second.

    Was just 23/1000th!

    1. Perez outclassed his team mate all weekend and was a full second faster in qualifying.

      And here it was ‘just’ 0.266s (we should compare the same session due to track evolution/weather etc.).

  5. Bottas appeared to be the quicker of the Mercedes drivers until the race. He kept Hamilton very honest indeed, only losing out to Hamilton at the start. This turned his race into more of a procession that saw him easily finish second thanks to Mercedes’ superior pace.

    If this were true then Bottas should be a Star instead of Hamilton. I rate a a full qualifying lap more than the dash to the first corner.
    But I don’t think Bottas ‘kept Hamilton very honest’. Hamilton was able to build a 5s gap quite easily, and did it again when he had the worse pit stop strategy.

  6. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
    16th April 2019, 14:50

    I think it’s a bit unfair to put Kvyat in the strugglers almost made Q3, got caught up in a racing incident on lap 1, then got an insane drive-through penalty for it, and later retired. Furthermore, some of these calls are very difficult, because of driver disparity, like did Perez drive an amazing race? I would say yes, but you could also make a case for Stroll having a stinker and Perez having a normal race. The opposite argument can also be made with Verstappen/Gasly. Also think Ricciardo in stars is a bit generous, he’s starting to get past his tough start, but his performance wasn’t anything out of the ordinary

    1. Agree that the drive-thru was insane. A different driver might have got a “racing incident” or at worst a 5 or 10 second penalty to be taken in conjunction with the pitstop or added at the end. Kvyat continues to be too harshly penalised.

  7. I’ve been watching Kvyat’s and the McLarens onboard footage, if we take the perspective of Sainz feels like the stewards were a bit harsh on Kvyat.

    Looking carefully Sainz places the front of his car between the other two, the first contact is actually between him and Norris. Of course Kvyat understeers and his left back makes contact with Sainz’s right front, that touch together with the first one that made Norris oversteer puts Kvyat and Norris into a an unavoidable collision route.

    After looking at this, I would say it is a racing incident, if Sainz’s car wasn’t there, just bit more down the back (a meter probably would have been enough) I think there wouldn’t be any contact whatsoever. Which then wouldn’t make Kvyat a struggler, since that is the argument against him. And definitely is harsh on him

    1. Yes, Norris coming back to the track the way he did isn’t excatly “blameless”.

    2. If one is in a crowd, one should not be sliding the front tires thru the turn. So Kyvat lost control of the car in my opinion; the penalty was deserved.

  8. Stars: LH, SP, and AA.
    Strugglers: Ferrari, PG, LS, and Haas (again).

  9. Ferrari opted to put Leclerc on an alternate strategy which created separation between their two drivers but meant that their new driver lost out to Max Verstappen, who undercut him during the second series of stops.

    Or it might have been the first series of stops.
    It was a boring race and not much happened but a Red Bull did get past a Ferrari in the pitstops. Should have been easy to remember when it happened.

  10. charlierdoris
    16th April 2019, 22:20

    Based on what?

  11. Strugglers: FOM and the world feed

    – Camera work at the start looked like Will Smith or Alonso were back behind the camera rig
    – Didnt show Albon’s drive through the field
    – Replayed the McLaren sandwich 3 times in 20 minutes but not once from Sainz’s perspective which showed how it all went down
    – Didnt show various other action throughout the field including Stroll’s last lap, penultimate corner switchback pass on Magnussen which was actually a very well executed and impressive overtake

    Overall some of the shoddiest world feed coverage in living memory. Ok the race was dull as anything but to not even properly show the little action there was is inexcusable.

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