Chinese GP – Five things we learnt

The familiar trio of Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel may have rounded the podium, but the Chinese GP had numerous other dramas.

 

Source: Telegraaf.nl

Source: Telegraaf.nl

Max Verstappen has standout performance

 

The wildcard rookie was significantly hyped going into 2015, and showed the promise of success by converting numerous passes into turn 14.

 

Though starting in 13th on the grid, the Dutchman gained significant ground to reach 8th position.

 

A move late into the hairpin on Marcus Ericsson handed Verstappen 10th, and he would later emulate similar passes on Felipe Nasr.

 

The only dampener was engine failure on lap 54, the Dutchman having to park next to the pit wall, thus bringing out the safety car.

 

Unfortunately Verstappen won’t be the only Renault powered driver to leave China disappointed.

 

 

Renault power units require significant improvement

 

When Daniil Kvyat’s Red Bull spectacularly exploded on lap 16, it foretold Verstappen’s exit later in the race.

 

Leading up to the GP, a war of words between Red Bull’s Helmut Marko and Renault may have significant negative consequences in the future.

 

The engine, which was reported to have a 100hp deficit to the Mercedes, looks unlikely to guide Red Bull to a podium finish this season.

 

Despite some fantastic passes by both Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen, only two points were achieved by the manufacturer.

 

Renault powered teams have the talent to win titles, but not the grunt, which may see their unfortunate season continue.

 

Source: Yahoo Finance

Source: Yahoo Finance

 

Ferrari tyre strategy

 

In contrast to the underperforming medium compound tyres which saw Sebastian Vettel claim victory, all podium drivers fielded the same strategy.

 

Starting on softs before making two stints of soft and mediums, the same fortune did not find Vettel in China.

 

The soft tyres particularly performed better in the cooler conditions, allowing the Mercedes to maintain a solid gap to Ferrari throughout.

 

With Vettel pitting two laps earlier to put on his first set of rubber, Mercedes averted the threat by bringing Nico Rosberg in a lap later.

 

Ferrari will seek to maximise use of the soft tyres in Bahrain next week, a race held at night and thus under cooler conditions.

 

Last year’s race winning strategy for Lewis Hamilton was soft-soft-medium, whilst his team-mate narrowly finished second with soft-medium-soft.

 

Ferrari will also need to factor in safety car situations which are frequent in Bahrain, being that it aided them to victory in Malaysia.

 

 

Mclaren-Honda slowly on the ascent.

 

Fernando Alonso finished two places off a points position, and the team will be satisfied with a reliable race for both drivers.

 

The team has been notoriously unreliable in the past two races, an issue spanning back to testing in Jerez.

 

Jenson Button also provided action for the fans by trading places with the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado around lap 48.

 

It was this during this fight that Button, under DRS, hit the rear of Maldonado into turn 1.

 

Maldonado retired a few laps later with brake failure, unrelated to the incident.

 

The collision was the only questionable moment in an otherwise improved race for Mclaren.

 

A points position is definitely within reach in Bahrain.

 

 

Rosberg lacks competitive edge

 

Many have questioned the ability of Rosberg under pressure, after Malaysia where he often failed to grasp the information given by his engineers.

 

Rosberg has proven as a driver he is capable of maintaining a reaching distance to Hamilton, though rarely to close the gap.

 

Prior to the final deployment of the safety car, Rosberg let the gap slip to as far as over three seconds in China.

 

Notwithstanding his on-track performance, the key will be for Rosberg to spend more effort optimising his setup.

 

So far, the German has had no reply to Hamilton’s pace.

 

Furthermore, he will be wary of Vettel, as Mercedes had to respond to Vettel’s early stop by pitting themselves.

 

Unless Rosberg establishes himself as a pace driver, he may spend the season defending second from Vettel, rather than fighting for victory against Hamilton.

 

Written by Daniel Kuberek @kuubeey

 

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