Chinese GP: Alonso takes commanding victory for Ferrari

Fernando Alonso gave Ferrari its first victory of the 2013 Formula 1 season as his tactic of starting on soft tyres proved the right one in a strategy-defined Chinese Grand Prix

Chinese GP: Alonso takes commanding victory for Ferrari

Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton used the same strategy to fill the podium, as Sebastian Vettel's tactics could only give him fourth place, just inches behind Hamilton in a thrilling finish.

The race unfolded as two parallel contests between those who started on softs, briefly burst clear and then pitted early and dropped into traffic, and those who started on mediums, emerged up front, but would face soft tyre pain later.

Alonso quickly thrust himself to the front of the first group. A slow start from Raikkonen meant the Ferraris were into second and third by Turn 1, and both Alonso and Felipe Massa overtook Hamilton on lap five as the Mercedes' soft tyres faded quicker.

Massa stayed out one lap longer than most on softs and subsequently faded out of the lead battle, while Alonso's speed at hacking through traffic on alternative strategies once he was on mediums gave him a clear advantage over everyone else on the same strategy.

Vettel left his softs until the final five laps.

But by then, Alonso's strategy already looked better. The Ferrari's shorter stints meant Alonso caught Vettel on track on lap 42 on fresher tyres at a time when both had one more stop to go.

Alonso swiftly passed the Red Bull and cruised away, knowing Vettel would still have to take on softs.

While the Ferrari was out of reach, Vettel still had a shot at Raikkonen's Lotus and Hamilton's Mercedes, which had been battling all race.

The champion caught his two rivals at a rate of three seconds per lap after his late pitstop and started the final lap with Hamilton in sight.

The Mercedes hung on by just 0.2 seconds, with Raikkonen staying just far enough ahead to claim second. The Lotus was sporting a dramatic tear in its nose section after an early brush with the defensive Sergio Perez's McLaren.

Jenson Button pulled off a two-stop strategy in the sister McLaren, allowing him to lead for a spell and finish fifth ahead of Massa.

Daniel Ricciardo converted his impressive qualifying result into seventh for Toro Rosso, despite an early front wing change.

Paul di Resta and Romain Grosjean were eighth and ninth.

Nico Hulkenberg played a major role in the early stages. Running the same strategy as Vettel, he got ahead of the Red Bull early on and led as the pit tactics unfolded.

A slow pitstop meant he lost out to Vettel, and Sauber's choice of a very short middle stint on softs did not pay off, leaving him 10th.

Mark Webber's troubled weekend got even worse in the race. Clearing the soft tyres on lap one and instantly taking mediums gave him a shot at getting up with the leaders, but he smashed his front wing in a tangle with Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso then retired when his right rear wheel fell off after a subsequent pitstop for repairs.

Nico Rosberg was troubled by an apparent suspension problem from the outset and retired his Mercedes soon after his second pitstop.

A host of drivers, including both Red Bull men, will be investigated for alleged DRS breaches after the race, although AUTOSPORT understand that paddock-wide telemetry problems are the cause.

Esteban Gutierrez could face sanction for ploughing into the back of Adrian Sutil early on, ending both their races. Sutil had earlier clashed with Force India team-mate di Resta.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The Chinese Grand Prix Shanghai, China; 56 laps; 305.066km; Weather: Dry. Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Alonso Ferrari 1h36:26.945
2. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 10.168s
3. Hamilton Mercedes + 12.322s
4. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 12.525s
5. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 35.285s
6. Massa Ferrari + 40.827s
7. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 42.691s
8. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 51.084s
9. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 53.423s
10. Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari + 56.598s
11. Perez McLaren-Mercedes + 1m03.860s
12. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1m12.604s
13. Bottas Williams-Renault + 1m33.861s
14. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1m35.453s

15. Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
16. Pic Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
17. Chilton Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
18. van der Garde Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
Fastest lap: Vettel, 1m36.808s Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Rosberg Mercedes 22 Webber Red Bull-Renault 16 Sutil Force India-Mercedes 6 Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 5 World Championship standings, round 3: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Vettel 52 1. Red Bull-Renault 78 2. Raikkonen 49 2. Ferrari 73 3. Alonso 43 3. Lotus-Renault 60 4. Hamilton 40 4. Mercedes 52 5. Massa 30 5. Force India-Mercedes 14 6. Webber 26 6. McLaren-Mercedes 14 7. Button 12 7. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 7 8. Rosberg 12 8. Sauber-Ferrari 5 9. Grosjean 11 10. Di Resta 8 11. Ricciardo 6 12. Sutil 6 13. Hulkenberg 5 14. Perez 2 15. Vergne 1 All timing unofficial

AUTOSPORT Chinese GP coverage:

FP1 FP2 FP3 Qualifying Race Gallery Live commentary Official quotes

shares
comments
Force India seeks clarification on use of physios
Previous article

Force India seeks clarification on use of physios

Next article

Chinese GP: Vettel defends Red Bull tyre strategy

Chinese GP: Vettel defends Red Bull tyre strategy
Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team Plus

Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team

On Tuesday, Red Bull laid out its plans to develop and build a new hypercar - the RB17 - penned by Adrian Newey. As the project itself sates Newey as a creative outlet, it also offers Red Bull's Formula 1 team a number of new and exciting avenues to pursue

What to expect from Mercedes as F1 returns to Silverstone Plus

What to expect from Mercedes as F1 returns to Silverstone

OPINION: The British Grand Prix is a home event for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, with their Mercedes team based just a few miles away too. But there’s another reason why the Silver Arrows squad is eager to arrive at Silverstone this weekend, which may help it fix its remaining problems with its 2022 Formula 1 challenger

The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title Plus

The “solemn promise” that cost quiet hero Brooks an F1 title

After two terrifying crashes, one of the best British racers of the 1950s retired before his career peaked. But that’s why GP Racing’s MAURICE HAMILTON was able to speak to Tony Brooks in 2014. Like his friend Stirling Moss, Brooks was regarded as one of the best drivers never to have won the world championship. Here, as our tribute to Brooks who died last month, is that interview in full

Formula 1
Jun 27, 2022
Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised Plus

Inside the Faenza facility where AlphaTauri’s F1 pragmatic vision is realised

AlphaTauri’s mission in F1 is to sell clothes and train young drivers rather than win the championship – but you still need a cutting-edge factory to do that. Team boss Franz Tost takes GP Racing’s OLEG KARPOV on a guided tour of a facility that’s continuing to grow

Formula 1
Jun 26, 2022
Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons Plus

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons

Gilles Villeneuve's exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari made him a legend to the tifosi, even 40 years after his death. The team's current Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc enjoys a similar status, and recently got behind the wheel of a very special car from the French-Canadian’s career

Formula 1
Jun 24, 2022
How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock Plus

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock

Porpoising has become the key talking point during the 2022 Formula 1 season, as teams battle to come to terms with it. An FIA technical directive ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix and a second stay appearing on the Mercedes cars only served to create a bigger debate and raise tensions further

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2022
Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left? Plus

Does Verstappen have any weaknesses left?

Having extended his Formula 1 points lead with victory in Canada, Max Verstappen has raised his game further following his 2021 title triumph. Even on the days where Red Bull appears to be second best to Ferrari, Verstappen is getting the most out of the car in each race. So, does he have any weaknesses that his title rivals can exploit?

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2022
How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector Plus

How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector

In 2026, Formula 1 plans to make the switch to a fully sustainable fuel, as the greater automotive world considers its own alternative propulsion methods. Biogasoline and e-fuels both have merit as 'drop-in' fuels but, equally, both have their shortcomings...

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022