F1 2014 Chinese Grand Prix result: Hamilton wins in Shanghai
- Credit: Mercedes-Benz
Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton stormed to victory in the 2014 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai to complete a hat-trick of successive wins for the first time.
The 29-year-old Mercedes AMG Petronas racer from Hertfordshire scored a lights-to-flag victory around the Shanghai International Circuit. Hamilton also achieved the milestone of 25 career F1 wins, equalling Niki Lauda and Jim Clark, and putting him eighth on the all-time list.
He took the chequered flag a comfortable 18 seconds ahead of Silver Arrows team-mate Nico Rosberg, as Mercedes claimed a third consecutive one-two.
The Chinese GP podium was completed by Fernando Alonso for Ferrari, with the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel fourth and fifth respectively.
After his third victory of 2014, Hamilton said: “The team have done an amazing job and all the hard work both here and at the factory is really paying off at the moment.
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“This car is just unbelievable; in the final laps, I was pushing a little bit more to keep up the tyre temperatures and it just felt great to drive.
“I’m so, so happy today. We had to make a lot of changes after P2 in terms of the set-up of the car but after it rained on Saturday, we didn’t know exactly how it would go today.
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“There was a lot of hard work done, sitting down with the engineers so that we didn’t guess anything and just made the right steps in anticipation for today.
“I really want to give a big shout-out to the team in Brackley and Brixworth for embracing me last year, for building this amazing car and engine and for continuously pushing forward with so much positive energy in 2014.
“We are definitely on a roll right now. I’m working hard, the team is working hard and we just want to improve even further when we get back to Europe.”
Starting on pole position for the third time this season, Stevenage-born Hamilton pulled away at the front – and then controlled the race.
Such was the superiority of his Mercedes car, he was able to gain a second per lap on Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull in the opening dozen laps.
While Hamilton dominated the race, Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Rosberg jostled for positions two through to five after the first round of stops.
Hamilton stayed out longer than the rest on his first set of tyres, stopping on lap 17, but still exited the pits more than three seconds clear of the pack.
With 26 laps gone, his lead was nearly 10 seconds over Alonso’s Ferrari, with Hamilton’s Silver Arrows colleague Rosberg up to third, after losing ground off the start line, clashing with Valterri Bottas’ Williams, and having to battle his way back through the field.
Ricciardo, on a two-stop, overtook Red Bull team-mate Vettel for fourth place at mid distance.
Rosberg drove a composed race after a complete failure of the team’s telemetry system left his engineers without data throughout the race. He climbed to second place but with 19 laps to go was still 18 seconds behind Hamilton, who lapped McLaren’s Jenson Button.
Mercedes driver Rosberg dropped down to third again behind Alonso, after making a second stop for tyres on lap 37.
Hamilton made his second stop a lap later but such was his advantage he was still nearly 13 seconds clear of Alonso.
World championship leader Rosberg hunted down Alonso’s Ferrari and reclaimed second place on lap 43 to make it another one-two for Mercedes.
Despite finishing second to Hamilton, Rosberg still leads the World Drivers’ Championship by four points heading into the European races, and the 2014 Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.
Chinese GP runner-up Rosberg said: “That was not a perfect weekend for me. Too many things went wrong, beginning with a technical problem and a less than perfect job from me in qualifying.
“Today I didn’t have any telemetry, so there was no communication from the car to the pits. My engineers couldn’t see what was going on in my car and therefore they couldn’t set up my clutch for the start.
“The clutch was completely on the wrong place, which is why I had a really bad start. I had some contact with Bottas in Turn 1 and I thought that was it.
“Luckily my car wasn’t damaged and in the following laps the pace in the car seemed good, which meant I was able to climb some positions.
“To finish second in the end, on a weekend of damage limitation, is great. I collected some important points again, which makes me happy.
“It’s great to go back to Europe with the lead in the Championship. In Barcelona, the aim will be to have a normal weekend and be back in first place.”
Mercedes-Benz Motorsport chief Toto Wolff said today’s one-two wasn’t as plain sailing as the result suggests.
He said: “The result today looks easier than it actually was. It was a difficult race after losing telemetry on Nico’s car, which shows how much of an exceptional race he drove considering this was a big limitation.
“From the beginning, Lewis was a man on his own planet, looking quicker than everyone else and making the tyres last longer than we thought.
“It’s a great result for the team to get the third 1-2 in a row – congratulations to all the guys and girls who have worked so hard to put us at this level of performance today. Now we are aiming to continue this good form going into the European season.”
Mercedes technical director Paddy Lowe said: “We’re very happy with the result today; it was a great team performance. Even before the race started, the laps to the grid were very important to perfect the balance of the car.
“It wasn’t an easy start as we quickly learned that Nico had no telemetry on his car, which we knew would make life difficult.”
Lowe added: “Lewis made a good getaway but Nico suffered off the line and also ran into contact at the first corner as well. He survived that undamaged and did a fantastic job to make his way back from sixth, using a combination of pit stop strategy and the pace of the car.
“Graining of the front tyres had been a worry before the race, but both drivers managed the situation very well which was an important factor in our race result.
“Congratulations to Lewis on his third victory in a row for the first time in his career.”
While Hamilton and Mercedes celebrated another victory, the outfit’s fourth in four races this season, it was a difficult weekend for the whole McLaren team.
After qualifying 12th and 15th respectively on Saturday, both Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen struggled in the midfield throughout the race.
Danish driver Magnussen was the sole starter on the Prime tyre, running until lap 17 before making his stop for Options.
Button was the first runner to stop, after complaining of graining during his first stint – he changed from Options to Primes on lap seven.
Both McLaren drivers pushed back into the fray to run 13th and 14th at half-distance. Two further stops – Jenson for Primes on lap 28 and Kevin for Primes on lap 31 – saw the order settle with Button running 11th, chasing Daniil Kvyat, and Magnussen in 13th, trying to close down Jean-Eric Vergne. They eventually finished in those positions.
Button said: “It was pretty difficult out there. It felt a little bit like qualifying yesterday: we just couldn’t get the front tyres working – they just grained.
“We’ve got a few upgrades for the next grand prix, in Barcelona, but they won’t be enough to close our performance gap to the fastest cars.
“But the guys are doing their best, and a result like this is disappointing for everyone, especially for the mechanics and the guys back at the factory, because they’ve all been working so hard.”
After improving on his starting position by two places, Magnussen said: “It felt like a long race, because there wasn’t much I could do out there.
“Our car lacks downforce – that’s its main problem. The way it’s set up, and how it feels, has always been positive; it’s just low on grip, that’s all. So, clearly, we need to work as hard as we can to create that missing downforce.”
Afterwards, McLaren Mercedes racing director Eric Boullier conceded: “Our car isn’t competitive enough, we know that, its deficiencies mostly the consequence of insufficient downforce.
“Furthermore, the Shanghai circuit is front-limited – in other words it punishes lack of front-end grip. That being the case, the fact that we’ve been unable to get sufficient heat into our front tyres in the chilly weather conditions we’ve experienced this weekend has further compromised our performance here.
“There’s a three-week gap between now and the Spanish Grand Prix, and we’ll work flat-out between now and then in an effort to address our car’s shortcomings. We know what we have to do, and we’ll work night and day to do it.”