F.1 – China Gp: THE POINT… BY GIAN CARLO MINARDI
The Chinese Grand Prix highlighted the actual forces on track, with Mercedes-Ferrari-Williams. Behind them, a good battle for the fourth Constructor place with Sauber-Red Bull and Toro Rosso. A Sauber who is making the most of a good start of the season, bringing two cars in the score zone. Toro Rosso is definitely unluckily, which accused a double technical problem to its cars, with Verstappen’s withdrawal. The aim of gaining new points was shattered two laps from the end, because of Verstappen’s withdrawal due to technical problems, depriving us of a possible battle between Raikkonen and Vettel, ending the race with the safety car. Previously, also Sainz Jr. had suffered a technical problem, losing several positions, including the score zone.
Mercedes proved its strength with a new double and no strategy mistakes. Hamilton’s fastest lap just before changing the tyres is an important signal. The English driver raced with his rivals and his teammate demonstrating its force, even within the team. He managed to race as he wanted and pressing Rosberg, scoring a series of fast laps when needed.
After the victory two weeks ago, for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel the third consecutive podium has finally arrived. The SF15-T defends better with the Soft, thanks also to the type of asphalt. With a stunning start, Raikkonen won the place at the foot of the podium, placing immediately behind the two Williams. A podium that certainly remains.
The two Sauber, Red Bull Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull and Grosjean completed the Top-Ten. Ricciardo fought with tooth and nail to achieve the position and, while Grosjean gave the Lotus a very valuable seventh place.
A normal race, with some good fight in the rear with nice overtakings between Toro Rosso and Sauber. Lacking important teams, such as Red Bull and McLaren, for team of second grid scoring points will become “easier”. They have to try to take advantage from every opportunity, to increase the reward. Maybe these teams cannot find soon the competitiveness. McLaren, lap after lap, makes great progresses, although they are still very far away.
In 8 days, there will be another important race in Bahrain, where the temperature of the asphalt will be crucial. Pirelli will bring the Soft and Medium tyres and again, racing at night, the temperature will be lower. Therefore, Ferrari may reduce slightly its gap.
Gian Carlo Minardi