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Chinese Grand Prix (2011) RESULT

Sun, 17 Apr 2011

Chinese Grand Prix 2011

We described last week’s Malaysian Grand Prix as not exactly being Lewis Hamilton’s day. What a difference a week makes.

Despite making the grid with just 35 seconds to spare after his car developed a fuel leak in the pit garage, Lewis was on the money from the off, following team mate Jenson Button past pole-sitter Vettel to run in second place, and ahead of Vettel in third.

That’s how it stayed until Button and Vettel pitted at the same time and Button somehow managed to pull in to the Red Bull box by mistake. That cost Button his lead as Vettel came out ahead, and was the end of his tilt at a win.

With Hamilton also losing position, McLaren moved from a two to a three stop strategy which, although it took time to play out, was a masterstroke – at least for Hamilton.

It took until lap 40, when all the pit stops had been played, before there was a real idea of what was happening. Until that point – although the race was hugely entertaining – it seemed a shambles. But by lap 40 Vettel was back in the lead with Massa behind, but the McLarens on fresher rubber were closing fast, as was Webber in the second Red Bull.

Hamilton managed to overwhelm Vettel with some very clever overtaking with just four laps to go. Button seemed secure in third place, but that was reckoning without Webber on a rush.

Despite starting at the arse end of the grid in 18th – and having a lousy first half of the race – Webber came to life in the closing stages and managed to power past Button to take third place with just a lap to go.

In the end, it was honours even between McLaren and Red Bull. Hamilton broke Vettel’s stranglehold on the 2011 season and put down a marker. Button looked a bit foolish, but it was just an off day. And Webber proved that whatever gets thrown at him – by the fates or a team who seem focused on his team mate – he’s just too pig-headed and too talented to be put in a box marked ‘second best’.

It was Hamilton’s victory. But it was Mark Webber who made the biggest statement

By Cars UK