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Fernando Alonso storms to Chinese GP victory

Apr 14, 2013, 4:49 AM EDT

Fernando Alonso has won the Chinese Grand Prix ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton following an excellent display of tire management and sheer pace.

The Spanish driver made a strong start from third, staying on pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton’s tail in the early stages of the race before making a move on the Mercedes into turn one. From there, Alonso didn’t look back, leading by as much as 19 seconds at times, and he eventually claimed the win 10 seconds ahead of Raikkonen.

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There was a great split in strategies throughout the race, but Alonso managed to pit at the right times to stay ahead of Hamilton and Raikkonen. The Lotus driver got the jump on Hamilton at the final round of stops, pitting a few laps early to take advantage of the undercut.

Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button both started on the harder tire, and they got ahead after the soft runners pitted. Button managed to stop just twice, coming home in 5th, whilst Vettel utilized the soft tires late on to come home a close fourth, just 0.2 seconds behind Hamilton. Felipe Massa ran as high as 2nd at one point, but he could not match his teammate’s pace, finishing 6th ahead of Daniel Ricciardo. This was the Toro Rosso driver’s best ever finish in the sport, and he very nearly caught the Ferrari at the end. Paul di Resta also ran strongly to finish 8th after pitting late, whilst Romain Grosjean will be disappointed with 9th after challenging Raikkonen and Hamilton early on. Nico Hulkenberg completed the points, and Sauber’s strategy seemed to cost them after the German driver ran with compatriot Vettel early on.

Nico Rosberg failed to finish after stopping three times, and Mark Webber’s weekend ended in retirement also after his rear-right wheel came off his car. Red Bull are expected to be sanctioned for this, whilst many drivers are under investigation for using DRS under yellow flags.

For Alonso, this win marks his return to form after failing to finish in Malaysia, and he will be pleased to have taken 13 points out of Vettel’s championship lead. After a rather uneventful qualifying, the race turned out to be an excellent display of both tire management and great racing, and Formula One fans will be hoping for more of the same in Bahrain next weekend.

  1. tifosi73 - Apr 14, 2013 at 4:51 AM

    Forza Ferrari! Great drive by Alonso!

  2. unndunn - Apr 14, 2013 at 5:02 AM

    Fantastic race, fantastic finish. Good to see McLaren coming back to form, slowly but surely, but it does look like Lewis made the right decision to jump ship for Mercedes. Say whatever you want about the team dynamics within Red Bull; when it comes down to it, Vettel is an absolute master. If those soft tires had lasted for about 10 more seconds, he would be on that bottom step of the podium, not Lewis.

    • icemanpjn - Apr 14, 2013 at 6:25 AM

      However, Vettel didn’t threaten Lewis by having outdriven him. Vettel got to Lewis’s rear end by making a tire strategy gamble that happened to pay off. It could just as well have been a huge disaster for him because starting out in the middle of the grid is normally a roll of the dice. He could have ended up in a lap-one collision or been held up more, losing valuable track time relative to Lewis.

    • apexassassin - Apr 14, 2013 at 3:42 PM

      That race sucked. The Pirellis are killing this sport. Thank god Vettel had that late push or I’d never have bothered to stay awake.

      • Raggs - Apr 14, 2013 at 5:28 PM

        That’s exactly the problem. It’s not about racing, it’s about tire management. The radio snippets we were fed show the frustration the drivers are going through. Am I supposed to push and and fight or let myself get passed so I can take care of the tires for 2 more laps?

        It’s not about who has the better engine, or even driver…it’s what car is easier on this supply of Pirellis and can hold a little faster pace for a couple of laps more. Tires, and tire strategy have become the main focus of the series. Cars are developed to work with tires, not the other way around.

        These guys used to race on the absolute edge of speed and control…now, it’s managing the race and attacking maybe 5 or 6 laps out of 58.

  3. ezwriter69 - Apr 14, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    So first Red Bull sends Webber out with no fuel for qualifying… then they send him out of the pits without a wheel nut… a week after the complete insubordination and overt whatareyougoingtodoaboutit coup d’etat by Seb and company last week. Might be wise to just retire, Mark, these guys are going to kill you at this rate, and that’s no joke.

    • apexassassin - Apr 14, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      Lol. Yes! Please retire Mark. Looking forward to seeing Kimi race your car. Have fun in V8’s or whatever.

    • techmeister1 - Apr 14, 2013 at 11:44 PM

      Yup, Red Bull is simply unscrupulus. Webber has proven many times that he can be faster than Vettel with the same equipment as he was in Malaysia. Vettel simply can’t deal with this reality. Vettel needs to be driving a Williams car for a season to appreciate the privilege that Newey is giving him. Vettel ain’t as good as he thinks he is.

      Alonso drove a great race and is in top form as he was last season. Massa’s set-up was off a bit as he had tire graining but he still did a good job of finishing 6th considering the tire issues. i hope these two push each other all season as Massa is back in top form and that’s good for the team.

      Rosberg is still suffering from Mercede’s lack of reliability. If that happens to Hamilton and it probably will, he’s going to be very unhappy because that is suppose to be one of the reasons he used for leaving McLaren. Speaking of McLaren Button did a good job with a car that still needs work but that is improving quickly.

  4. purplesectornet - Apr 15, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    Blah Blah Blah it’s the same two so called fans complaining about the same thing…if you hate the sport so much go watch something else…you have obviously never been in a race if you don’t think tire management is part of racing…and once again you are just showing yourself to be a complete moron if you think before these tires all these guys did was go flat out all race…DC, Button, Prost…all racers in the past who were good at preserving tires and used it to their advantage…so tired of reading your pathetic nonsense…if you hate F1 so much then go do something else…seriously, all you two ever to is bitch…

  5. jddre - Apr 17, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    As for the article, F1 needs to do two things:
    1) End the stupid ‘limit’ as to when you can and cannot use DRS, just let everyone use it wherever and whenever they want, and
    2) End stupid ‘sanctions’ over the little stuff. So a wheel comes off a car, it happens, but to sanction anyone for it is just stupid. Do you think the teams WANTED the wheel to come off? No.

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