GP China 2018 analysis race:

GP China 2018 analysis race
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Why did only Red Bull risk a second stop?

2 For 9 laps, not much happened at the Chinese GP. Then a collision between the two Toro Rosso provided an analogy to the Australian GP. Two HaasF1 pit breakdowns triggered a virtual safety car phase. Chassis partner Ferrari benefited. The Toro Rosso crash in Shanghai became the match winner for Red Bull.

When Charlie Whiting sent the safety car onto the track, only Red Bull did everything right. The team brought both drivers to the pits and gave them soft tires for the last 25 laps. Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were in third and fifth. At the end of the race Ricciardo was ahead. It would have been a double win for Red Bull had it not been for Verstappen's reaction and losing three positions with two unsuccessful attacks on Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

Ricciardo demonstrated that you can overtake in China.

Mercedes and Ferrari slept through the tire change. Both Hamilton and Raikkonen would have had much more time to make a decision. The Red Bull drivers were caught in the hairpin when the radio message reached them: “It was a matter of seconds. But we had already agreed before the race that we would change the tires a second time on a safety car at the right time, ”confirmed Head of Motorsport Helmut Marko.

Hamilton was 2.7 seconds behind Verstappen, Raikkonen even 11.2 seconds behind Ricciardo. But why didn't Ferrari and Mercedes react to the Red Bull tactic? “We focused too much on Ferrari and Ferrari probably on us. We lost the Red Bull from the radar.Now that six drivers can win, it's easier to make tactical mistakes. Because there are more options and parameters, ”admitted Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

But there were also rational reasons to continue driving on the medium tire. “The position on the track was more important to us than a fresh set of tires,” said the two World Championship candidates in unison. Wolff explains the fear that resonated: “Hardly anyone overtook in the first half of the race. We feared that it would be difficult to make up for the lost places in the second half as well. ”Red Bull showed that it was possible.

Was the penalty against Max Verstappen too low?

Max Verstappen stumbles over his impatience. When attacking Hamilton in an ultra-fast left turn, the Dutchman hit the scraps of rubber next to the ideal line and turned into botany. Ricciardo swept past. 'You don't overtake there,' said Hamilton succinctly.

The attack on Vettel was badly timed. Verstappen saw a slight brake at the Heppenheimer and wanted to pass Ricciardo-style with a late attack on the brakes. But Mad Max braked too late. The Red Bull turned the Ferrari over. Hamilton and Raikkonen benefited.

The race was over for Vettel. Underbody and baffles broke. Vettel suspected damage to the rear axle. It became easy prey for Nico Hülkenberg and Fernando Alonso. Therefore the ten-second time penalty was justified for the perpetrator. She punished Verstappen because he lost a position to Hamilton, whom he had overtaken again on lap 48.

Niki Lauda was tough on Verstappen: 'The fault lies entirely with Max. Reason seems not adjusting to this person. Usually you grow with your mistakes. It's just getting smaller. That also seems to me to be a question of intelligence. 'Nico Rosberg sees the Dutchman as a repeat offender who finally has to grow up.

Vettel did not want to talk about the amount of the penalty:' That is a matter for the stewards. ' FIA race director Charlie Whiting saw the collision as a mistake rather than a risky maneuver. That's why you can live with 10 seconds. “Max also got penalty points. It is now at 5 points. That will keep him from doing such actions more often. ”

Was the safety car justified?

In the 29th lap, the Toro Rosso drivers came in the hairpin in the way. Brendon Hartley was supposed to let Pierre Gasly by, but something the New Zealander must have misunderstood. The collision distributed carbon debris over a long distance.
The Toro Rosso crash washed lots of debris onto the track.

Two laps later, FIA race director Charlie Whiting sent the safety car onto the track. Why so late? Asked Vettel, who, like Bottas, suffered from the neutralization. The two of them had just passed the pit entrance when Bernd Mayländer set off.

Whiting defended himself: “Some drivers notified us by radio. But first of all I wanted to find out whether a safety car would be justified and how big the gaps were in the field in order to let the marshals work safely. When it became clear that a virtual safety car was not enough, we sent the right one onto the track. ”

Whiting did not accept Vettel's criticism that this would have disadvantaged the front runners, as in Hungary in 2014 : “When deciding whether to use a safety car or not, I never look at who is at a disadvantage and who has an advantage. This is a decision that is made purely for safety reasons. ”

Why was Mercedes only third in the race?

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff didn't give a sheet about the defending champion's condition in front of the mouth: “In China we were only third behind Ferrari and Red Bull. We were too slow in training and in the race. The tires stayed too cold for one lap, but overheated again in the race. The window is just too small. '

Hamilton said tightly:' I have no answer for our problems. We have deteriorated since Melbourne. 'But Wolff does not see any reason to panic:' We have to stay calm now, put our heads together and solve the problems. Like everything else in Formula 1, they are complex. ”

Who else benefited from the safety car?
The two Haas pilots lost directly positions at restart.

Three teams used the safety car to change tires. Red Bull, Renault and Force India pitted both drivers. Ricciardo, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Sainz and Ocon still in the 31st lap. Force India did not dare to do a double stop like Red Bull and kept Perez on the track for a lap longer.

While Red Bull rewarded itself with victory for the coup, Renault took sixth and eighth for it, left it no longer works out for Force India. Ocon and Perez passed Stoffel Vandoorne and Lance Stroll quickly, but then it got tough. 4.4 seconds were missing on championship points. Kevin Magnussen had enough speed despite medium tires to keep the two Force India at a distance.

But there was also a profiteer who did not stop under safety car conditions. Fernando Alonso pitted just before the Toro Rosso crash. And still came seventh. Because Carlos Sainz and the two Force India fell behind the McLaren on their stops, and because Alonso was using his killer instinct again. He passed Magnussen and Vettel.

Who is the fastest in midfield?

In China, Renault took over the chase field. In training as in the race. This time the tires didn't collapse as usual. Renault had committed to a two-stop race early on and held on to it. “Then we finally got lucky with the safety car. But we would have landed in front of our opponents, ”said Hülkenberg happily.

It is possible that the track helped the yellow missiles. The Shanghai circuit mainly puts a strain on the front tires. Renault's problem lies behind. McLaren showed his two faces again. Weak on one lap, strong in endurance.

HaasF1 didn't look as strong in the race as it did in practice. It would probably have been better, like Renault, to have two stops. The safety car gave HaasF1 the opportunity to change tactics. The Force India pilots paid for bad starts. Those who come back from the first round in 13th and 14th place no longer have to dream of World Cup points. The midfield is too narrow for that.

In the gallery we once again show you the many highlights of the China Grand Prix.


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