The design of the grand prix changed with the entry of the safety car after the accident between the two Toro Rosso cars caused by Gasly’s great mistake. Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull achieved a strong win as well as putting up the race’s fastest lap thanks to great intuition and perfect execution of the two consecutive pit stops by the mechanics.
They were also helped by luck because both Ricciardo and Verstappen were in the right place at the right time. When the safety car took to the track Mercedes and Ferrari had already crossed the line and they had no chance to enter pit lane.
In any case, this result will give Homer’s men something to think about since they are letting escape (with one foot already in Italy) a driver who was the author of a great error free race, unlike his companion.
With an impetuous act Verstappen managed to ruin not only what good had been done up till then in his Shanghai weekend, but he was also the inconsiderate referee of the world championship who heavily conditioned Sebastian Vettel’s performance and result. The Ferrari driver managed only in part to limit the damage. I found the 10” penalty inflicted by the Dutchman’s commissars light, after they compared the contact with the Gasly-Hartley episode (with the Frenchman receiving the same penalty). It was a pity that Verstappen ruined the race for the championship leader. The commissars should use a heavy fist with repeat offenders and evaluate not only the gravity of the act, but also the consequences of the incident.
After the first three grands prix the championship is becoming increasingly interesting with five drivers within a handful of points and a fascinating battle between three teams with Red Bull growing, Ferrari with both cars on the front row of the grid for the second consecutive time and Mercedes still without a win.
We also saw an intense grand prix in the rear with an overtaking manoeuvre in the limit by Alonso at the expense of a Vettel in difficulty with the car. A race within the race which ended with three different drivers of as many teams on the podium (Ricciardo-Bottas-Raikonnen). The Finn sacrifices himself for the team by delaying his stop and then defended the result with a strong race which finished on the podium.
In two weeks we will be in Azerbaijan, a very insidious circuit which last year was the stage for the contact between Vettel and Hamilton during the period with the safety car that ignited the rivalry between the two. Between the two litigants Ricciardo emerged as the winner in front of Valtteri Bottas and Lance Stroll.
Gian Carlo Minardi