Post-China Analysis

Sorry that I’ve failed to keep up with things, so time to catch up.

For Rosberg and Mercedes things finally came good, the former-Brawn squad had two disappointing seasons after their championship year, but a first pole and win for the German driver provided a glimpse of what they can deliver. The cooler temperatures in Shanghai meant the Anglo-German car did not suffer from its usual issue of high tyre degradation, and this combined with the inherent stability their double-DRS system gives the car allowed them to show impressive form all weekend. The manner of victory was crushing with Rosberg finishing 20 seconds ahead of the McLarens and ran the whole race untroubled by anyone. A stellar weekend for the Brackley-based team was only let down by a costly pit error that led to Schumacher leaving the pits with only three wheels secured to his wagon.

Behind the imperious Rosberg came a gaggle of cars in quick succession, a train of cars (a la Trulli) had been triggered by Massa due to his two-stop strategy, and was then headed by Raikkonen after the Brazilian pitted. Kimi looked to be comfortable until his tyres dropped off the proverbial cliff on lap 49 relegating him from second to tenth in one lap and costing him another two places on the subsequent lap. The Finn eventually finished in 14th and was less than happy with his team’s poor strategy.

McLaren proved themselves to be consistently quick for the third race running with a second double podium leaving Hamilton and Button first and second in the drivers’ championship and the team topping the constructors’, but the squad may be slightly worried that they have gone from the dominant force in Australia to twenty seconds off the lead only two races later. Just like the Mercedes appears to prefer cooler temperatures, the McLaren prefers warmer climes. In the Red Bull camp; Webber finished his customary fourth, despite a spectacular wheelie, and Vettel followed his teammate in fifth. The world champion ran the original spec floor and exhaust combination on his RB8, while his colleague ran the upgrade used in the previous races; Vettel seemed more comfortable, but not quite as fast as Webber.

Alonso and the Sauber drivers came down to Earth with a bit of a bump. The Spaniard was still trying to maximise points in the uncompetitive F2012 for these flyaway races, but with only two points from this race, it dropped him to third in the championship, although his car looked like it was unlikely to deliver much more. Sauber got both drivers into Q3 with Kobayashi lining up on the second row, but their pace in the race left them tenth and eleventh, Perez going from a podium to outwit the points paying positions in one race.

Massa failed to score yet again, and never really looked like he would, Grosjean on the other hand managed to survive the race and scored the first points of his F1 career. The Williams duo gave Sir Frank his 70th birthday present a day early by both finishing in the points with Senna leading home Maldonado in seventh and eighth, finishing within 36 seconds of the winner, which was a good performance for the team. In fact, the top 17 cars finished on the first lap, the only drivers to fail to do so came from the “new” teams, as they continued to disappoint.

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