China GP – THE POINT… by Gian Carlo Minardi

Mercedes supremacy has been reasserted, but the factor making this Formula 1 more and more exciting is what’s going among the other drivers and cars. At present, it’s not possible to make any previsions: after each GP, it’s much likely to be proved wrong rather than to be confirmed.

The first two places are reserved for Hamilton and Rosberg, but the game is open for the third step of the podium and for second and third places in Constructors’ Championship. At this moment, Mercedes – unless a debacle – is unbeatable: watching their camera-car is simply amazing.

The result of Ferrari imposes a reflection: no doubt, they really have the top driver. Alonso was the protagonist of a fantastic race, finished with the first podium of the season for Maranello’s Team. From the 44th passage, he drove 12 laps with a gap on only 4 tenth of a second, keeping a qualification pace. He’s the one who can really make the difference, obtaining last weekend a result that otherwise would have been very difficult. Maranello’s car has made significant improvements regarding consumption, and we start appreciating the results of the intense work with Shell. As already said at the beginning of the World Championship, fuel will be a permanent key issue this year. The merit of this podium goes to Alonso and Stefano Domenicali, who had the strength to step aside in a difficult situation.

China GP enlightened strong hierarchies within teams. Hamilton conquered the third consecutive victory, even though Rosberg is still leading the World Championship. Regarding Ferrari, I’ve never considered the chance that Fernando could suffer in the “internal” battle with Raikkonen – no offence for the Finn; the same is not true for Red Bull, where Sebastian Vettel is experiencing some troubles in the competition with the teammate. Ricciardo has proved to have a better control over Pirelli tyres and Renault power-unit. We also start observing a nervous attitude of Vettel, who did not take well the communication from the team. Force India is keeping the third place in Constructors’ Championship, with Hulkenberg closing in 6th position after the two Red Bull, restoring his internal leadership with Perez. Once again we watched a good performance of Toro Rosso’s Russian pilot, who is taking the reins of Faenza’s team.

Bad luck for Felipe Massa and Williams with that rear wheel problems during his first pit stop, throwing away all the work done on Saturday and in the first laps of the race. He could certainly have engaged a battle with “Hulk”, causing maybe some problems to Vettel too. At Williams, they have to do a careful reflection to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

In three weeks Formula 1 is coming to Europe: three weeks in which everything can happen. We’ll see which teams will achieve the best results regarding further developments and improvements of the cars. We’ll arrive in Spain with Red Bull-Force India-Ferrari comprised within 5 points only.