F1 diary GP China 2015

F1 diary GP China 2015
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M al very honestly. The GP China is at the top of the personal shit list for every one of us Formula 1 journalists. It starts with the visa. Even if it has become a lot easier now than in the first few years. But the paperwork just sucks. And you always have to deal with two passports because we are still in Australia and Malaysia a short time before. The passport cannot be in your luggage and on the embassy at the same time.

In Shanghai you are also always dependent on others. Taxi drivers, shuttle drivers, buses, trains. Driving yourself is not an option in China. Traveling to China is also expensive. Hotel, transport to the hotel, internet along the way. The Chinese hold out their hands for everything. No wonder that the press center high above the home straight is as empty as nowhere else.

Eating Japanese in China

The only bright spot for us. A Japanese restaurant around the corner from the hotel. Great food at affordable prices. It's just a shame that it always closes at 10 p.m. For us it's always a race against time on Friday and Saturday. We don't leave the track before 8.30 a.m. And the shuttle driver needs at least 45 minutes to get to the hotel.

For years, colleague Grüner avoided it and allowed others to travel to Shanghai, but this time he has to come with us. He is so enthusiastic that he arrives on Wednesday morning to deliver the first photos of the paddock and the pit lane on the same day. Coming from Munich, I first float in at Pudong Airport in the metropolis. The plane is surprisingly Formula 1-free. Only a few people from Sky are on board.

That's why I meet the Formula 1 caravan again in the entry hall at the airport. Machines from London, Dubai and Doha arrive almost simultaneously. In the huge queue, representatives of all teams stand with legs to each other. Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez are also among them. Far behind me. At least when queuing, communism still works.

Kimi fans wait in vain

Hundreds of fans are waiting outside the baggage claim. Most of them on Kimi. But that's not there. By the way, before the race, the Iceman leaves his fans out in the rain. While all the other pilots greet the driver parade from the bus, the Finn ignores the blue and white fan club in the main stand. Why the fans still admire him so much is one of usRiddle.

In China we all still live from the euphoria of the Ferrari victory in Malaysia. In the end it won't be a single-handed Mercedes. I meet Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles on Thursday morning and want to know what went wrong in Malaysia. He tells me the dilemma from a Mercedes point of view and warns that Ferrari could strike again in hot races and on tracks that put stress on the rear tires. But not this time. It stays cool. Mercedes is home alone again.

But first of all, Mercedes hears the fleas coughing. The panic of Ferrari is going on. The strategy meeting on Sunday lasts one hour. Longer than ever before. In the end it was a strategically easy race. 'All possible and impossible scenarios were played out,' says team boss Toto Wolff with amusement.

Niki Lauda shakes her head: 'I never know my way around. They are afraid of doing something wrong, they are for everything This is the best prerequisite for something to go wrong. ' In the end, the Chinese GP is a clear one for Hamilton and Rosberg. 'We were able to keep up on the soft tires. The Mercedes unpacked the hammer with the hard soles', admits Sebastian Vettel.

Shanghai keeps growing

Before the race day, the GP China script set the daily transfer from the hotel to the track and back. Our Swiss Blick colleague Roger Benoit is very proud of it because he also organized it. It's a VIP service, just for us. Correspondingly expensive. That means: Benoit, the Bild colleagues Nicola Pohl and Lennart Wermke, Tobias Grüner and me.

The trips are always quite entertaining. Every year we wonder how Shanghai is growing. In 2004 the racetrack was still in the green, or what the Chinese call green. The Shanghai International Circuit is now part of the city. Entire suburbs are being pulled up at breathtaking speed. All according to the standard pattern. New today, gray in a year. Cranes and construction machines as far as the eye can see. We drive a different route every year. Probably because the others are constipated again. It seems that new roads are being built all the time.

Most of the time, our conversations on the bus revolve around the Bundesliga. Colleague Lenny and I are fellow sufferers. His club Hannover 96 looks the relegation in the eye. Mine, TSV 1860 Munich, too. Just one class lower. There is no good news for us this weekend either. Defeats, nothing but defeats. That doesn't exactly lighten the mood on race day.

The race becomes a sleeping pill

After the scoop in Malaysia the GP China is a sleeping pill. If it weren't for Nico Rosberg, who does us a favor at the press conference after the race. The loser cheats youDwarf uprising. However, the shot backfires. Rosberg complains: 'Lewis only thinks of himself. Because of his unnecessarily slow driving style, the Ferrari were able to catch up with me. There was a risk that Vettel would take second place from me with an early pit stop.'

What Ferrari actually tried it with the second tire change. Mercedes has to follow suit with Rosberg and, against all internal rules of the game, bring leader Hamilton to the pits later. Which he easily counters with the fastest lap in the race. Rosberg is also upset about that: 'Lewis showed how fast he could have driven on this lap.'

The Englishman says coolly: 'It's not my job to take care of Nico. I have my tires spared in order to be prepared for the worst case scenario. ' Afterwards, he'll give you one more. 'It seems that Nico was happy with his second place. Otherwise he would have tried to overtake me.'

At Red Bull and Renault there is a fire under the roof. Four cars, two championship points, two engine failures, an unplanned engine replacement. Red Bull doesn't even hit the engine partner anymore. Is there already resignation? Daniil Kvyat fails because of cracks in the cylinder liners, Max Verstappen because of a broken piston pin.

Sports director Cyril Abiteboul defends himself weakly: 'We had to cure so many problems in a short time that the current one has been neglected. Because we the second engines had to be brought earlier than planned, they came from the same batch as the first. '

Ron Dennis is looking for cars in vain

At McLaren-Honda, too, modesty rules. The team speaks of great progress. Both cars cross the finish line for the first time. Plus a nice scene from the grid. Ron Dennis is looking for his cars in the front rows. Of course he won't find her there. He trots backwards in the car parade. You can literally see the physical pain.

While my colleagues are still spending the whole of Monday in Shanghai and then flying to Bahrain the following night, I jet back to Frankfurt early in the morning. Thanks to seven hours' notice, I'm home on Monday evening. And on Tuesday in the office. For Bahrain it is enough to arrive on Wednesday evening. Tobi is already there and takes the pictures from the paddock. And I can easily do without an extra day in Shanghai.


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