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MotorSportsTalk’s predictions: Chinese GP

Apr 12, 2013, 7:24 AM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of China - Previews Getty Images

In a new feature on MotorSportsTalk, the Formula One writers have made some predictions for the race weekend, picking their race winner, surprise result, and the driver who has the most to prove. Of course, this is all hypothetical. Formula One is notorious for producing the unexpected, making no prediction a sure-fire call.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Race winner: Sebastian Vettel. Spurred on by the scandal and Red Bull Racing’s lack of wins there since 2009, I think he comes out even hungrier and dominates this weekend to leave no doubt.

Surprising finish: Jenson Button. McLaren has had a miserable start to the year but since Pirelli’s new softer tires are in play this weekend, and McLaren claims improvements to the car over the break, I think Button can sneak a top-five if his usual tire management skills come into play.

Most to prove: Can I say a tie between the two Mexicans? Perez and Gutierrez have been underwhelming this year, Perez due to equipment and Gutierrez due to Hulkenberg at Sauber. Either of them needs a big weekend.

Christopher Estrada (@estradawriting)

Race winner: Fernando Alonso. He says he doesn’t regret the wing decision that took him out at Malaysia, but Alonso’s got to be champing at the bit going into Shanghai.

Surprising finish: Adrian Sutil. He was undone by a wheelnut issue last time out, but has been decent in race pace and can sneak up again as he did in Australia.

Most to prove: Mark Webber. If an all-out battle has indeed begun between himself and teammate Sebastian Vettel, Webber has no choice but to take the fight to him.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Race winner: Sebastian Vettel. Seb is usually very quick in Shanghai. With the quickest car, it’s hard to look past him for the race win this weekend – without team orders…

Surprising finish: Felipe Massa. The Brazilian is back to his 2008 best it would appear. If he can continue his great qualifying form and not lose out off the start, then he could be in the running for a podium.

Most to prove: Charles Pic. With home favorite Ma Qing Hua replacing him for FP1, and rumors circulating about his future, Pic needs a big weekend to silence any critics. Beating Bianchi will be hard, but it must be his target.

Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)

Race winner: Fernando Alonso will exploit the Ferrari’s promising long-run pace to useful effect.

Surprising finish: Nico Rosberg ahead of Lewis Hamilton (as long as the team don’t get involved again).

Most to prove: Pastor Maldonado needs to assert himself over his promising young team mate and be the first of them to pick up a point in the troublesome FW35.

  1. apexassassin - Apr 12, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    I agree with everyone! All very valid points and possibilities.

    Winner – Vettel
    Biggest surprise – Massa
    Most to Prove – Webber/Alonso, tie

  2. specracer55 - Apr 13, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    Why did Vettel do one lap on the soft tires? To put a heat cycle on the tires …. makes the compound harder and will give a bit more durability for his last stop late in the race to meet the tire requirement. This will work beautifully with his decision to run at least the first 2 stints on the medium tire. Using the mediums to start with will put him clear of the pack including all those from 11th on that choose to start on mediums. Also the front 8 will probably have to contend with a lot of traffic upon reentry after their first ( early) pit stop. That should also help Vettel to increase his lead.

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