Chinese Grand Prix Results – 14th

Source: autosport.com | full report on lotusf1team.com | twitter | photo gallery

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Nico Rosberg finally claimed his maiden Formula 1 race victory, and a first win for the modern incarnation of the factory Mercedes team, with a commanding drive in a thrilling Chinese Grand Prix.

Kimi Raikkonen’s two-stopping Lotus held second going into the closing stages, but trying to do half the race on his third set of tyres proved too optimistic, and he tumbled from second to 14th in just a handful of laps.

Vettel, following a similar strategy, was first to pass Raikkonen, and looked like he might salvage second from his qualifying disaster. He could not hold off the McLarens or Webber with their fresher tyres from a three-stop strategy, with Button getting through five laps from the end and Hamilton and Webber doing likewise amid a thrilling tussle over the last two laps. Webber took fourth despite his first pitstop coming as early as lap six, and two trips off the road – one of which featured a wild flight over the Turn 13 kerbs.

While Raikkonen fell back, his team-mate Romain Grosjean did a two-stop plan with a very long middle stint and was able to battle to sixth, ahead of Williams duo Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado.

Classified: 
Pos--Driver-------Team-----------------------Time
 1.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   1h36:26.929
 2.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +    20.626
 3.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +    26.012
 4.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +    27.924
 5.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           +    30.483
 6.  Grosjean      Lotus-Renault              +    31.491
 7.  Senna         Williams-Renault           +    34.597
 8.  Maldonado     Williams-Renault           +    35.643
 9.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +    37.256
10.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +    38.720
11.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +    41.066
12.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +    42.273
13.  Massa         Ferrari                    +    42.700
14.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              +    50.500
15.  Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes       +    51.200
16.  Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +    51.700
17.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +  1:03.100
18.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
19.  Glock         Marussia-Cosworth          +     1 lap
20.  Pic           Marussia-Cosworth          +     1 lap
21.  De la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth               +     1 lap
22.  Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth               +    2 laps
23.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +    3 laps

Fastest lap: Kobayashi, 1:39.960

Not classified/retirements: 
Driver--------Team--------------------On lap
Schumacher    Mercedes                     16

World Championship standings, round 3: 
Drivers:--------------------Constructors: 
 1.  Hamilton      45        1.  McLaren-Mercedes           88
 2.  Button        43        2.  Red Bull-Renault           64
 3.  Alonso        37        3.  Ferrari                    37
 4.  Webber        36        4.  Sauber-Ferrari             31
 5.  Vettel        28        5.  Mercedes                   26
 6.  Rosberg       25        6.  Lotus-Renault              24
 7.  Perez         22        7.  Williams-Renault           18
 8.  Raikkonen     16        8.  Force India-Mercedes        9
 9.  Senna         14        9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari          6
10.  Kobayashi      9       
11.  Grosjean       8       
12.  Di Resta       7       
13.  Vergne         4       
14.  Maldonado      4       
15.  Ricciardo      2       
16.  Hulkenberg     2       
17.  Schumacher     1

Team Quotes:

Kimi Räikkönen – 14th: “We tried to run two stops as it looked to be the fastest strategy and up until the last ten laps it was looking good, but we ran out of tyre performance at the end. I was stuck behind Felipe (Massa) for quite a while and couldn’t get past as I wasn’t fast enough in the right parts of the track to make a move. Even if I’d got past I don’t think it would have made the greatest amount of difference to the final result. We had good pace in the race, we tried a different strategy and it didn’t pay off today; it’s as simple as that.”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “It is getting more frustrating for us as we are clearly very close to achieving a very good result. Twelve laps before the end of today’s race we had one car in P2 and one car in P5 with no more pit stops to go. Unfortunately, we were a little bit too aggressive with our strategy. As soon as we understood some cars were doing three stops it was clear there was potential for us to finish on the podium, but we were not expecting the tyre wear to be as high as it was. For Romain the strategy worked; for Kimi it did not. The positives from this weekend are that we continue to show good qualifying and race pace with the E20, and we were capable of fighting for a podium finish with Kimi. Also, it was a very good first full race for Romain. One slow stop and one mistake when fighting with Mark (Webber) for position meaning he ran on the marbles cost him two positions. He recovered very well from this and his pace was very consistent.”

Alan Permane, Director of Trackside Operations: “Ten laps before the end of the race, Kimi’s tyres were nearing the end of their life and unfortunately he got on the marbles when Sebastian (Vettel) passed. That was the end of his race effectively as he lost ten places over the course of a lap. We’ll dissect the data and see if a three stop would have been better for us, but everything before the race suggested a two-stop was the way to go, and this approach benefitted Romain. Without the gamble we took with Kimi we wouldn’t have been running in second position so that was the risk we took. I’m happy for Romain to finish his first race of the season. To go from tenth to sixth – racing with the cars of the calibre he was – showed a measured performance so it looks good for the future. We’ve learn a lot this weekend and hopefully we head to Bahrain with an improved car and better understanding of this year’s tyres.”

Videos: Race start, onboard with Kimi, Boullier comments

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4 responses

  1. senthil

    This is one article which i didn’t like to read but could not stop reading

    April 15, 2012 at 9:37 am

  2. ajsic

    Totaly wrong strategy.Kimi should save these 3-4 laps in middle stint and podium should be there.Ok, lection is learned.New parts and new knowledge hopefuly will be ready for Bahrain.

    April 15, 2012 at 9:57 am

  3. rahim5077

    Really upset…The team was no where in the race…still kimi kept it touched to the front…but…i hope they sort these things soon…Bahrain will be better hopefully..

    April 15, 2012 at 10:29 am

  4. Violelin

    I was a sad ending for Kimi today but let’s take the learning & move on :)

    April 15, 2012 at 1:28 pm

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