F1 2013 Chinese Grand Prix result: Hamilton third as Alonso wins in Shanghai
PUBLISHED: 09:47 14 April 2013 | UPDATED: 19:38 14 April 2013
FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton finished on the podium in Shanghai following an intriguing 2013 Chinese Grand Prix won by Fernando Alonso.
The 28-year-old Mercedes F1 driver from Hertfordshire crossed the line third following an action-packed race. Alonso took the chequered flag for Ferrari for his 31st F1 victory with Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen 10.1 seconds behind as the podium was filled by three former world champions.
Hamilton took the third step on the podium by two-tenths of a second after just holding off a charging Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull on a tense final lap. Had it been a 57-lap race, Vettel would have stolen third place from Hamilton, it was that close at the finish.
Starting from pole position, Hamilton completed a three-stop option/prime/prime/prime strategy, stopping on laps 5, 21 and 37.
“It was a good race for me today [Sunday] and whilst I would have loved the win, I’m really happy with third place and being on the podium for the second race in a row,” said Hamilton afterwards.
2013 Chinese Grand Prix result
Provisional top 10 in China:
1 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
2 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
3 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
4 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
5 Jenson Button (McLaren)
6 Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
7 Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)
8 Paul di Resta (Force India)
9 Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
10 Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber)
“Fernando and Kimi were just a little bit too fast for us during the race and my tyres were shot at the end trying to keep ahead of Sebastian.
“I could see his car getting bigger and bigger in my mirrors so it was nice to be able to hang on for the third place.”
Vettel finished fourth in China with Jenson Button fifth for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes ahead of Felipe Massa’s Ferrari in sixth.
Race stewards investigated post-race eight drivers, including Vettel, Raikkonen and Button, for overtaking in the DRS zone under yellow flags. However, no further disciplinary action was taken on the DRS infringements.
Button said: “I’m very happy to have finished fifth today – and the team should be too. The race was always going to be tricky: we weren’t quick enough to adopt the same strategy as the others, so we had to run longer than the rest and make two pitstops, rather than three.
“For us, a two-stopper was the fastest way to the end of the race. It meant I had to let others past me and protect the tyres. If we couldn’t run to our target lap, it would’ve destroyed our race.
“I had to cruise when I’d normally fight the others. It’s not the most exciting way to go racing, but we got 10 points today because we did it.”
Hamilton made a clean start from pole position but wasn’t able to pull away from the fast-charging Ferrari of Fernando Alonso, who drove supremely.
FIA F1 World Drivers’ Championship
Provisional drivers’ standings after Chinese Grand Prix:
1 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 52pts
2 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 49
3 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 43
4 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 40
5 Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 30
6 Mark Webber (Red Bull) 26
Alonso and Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa took advantage of Kimi Raikkonen making a slow start from the front row.
The Ferrari drivers climbed into second and third places respectively behind Hamilton but they were soon attacking the Mercedes man.
After running out of fuel in qualifying and being pushed to the back of the grid, Mark Webber started the race from the pitlane, having changed his gearbox overnight and made set-up changes.
The Aussie Red Bull driver started on the softer tyres but pitted at the end of the opening lap for mediums.
At the front, Hamilton’s soft tyres started to go after five laps and he was overtaken by both Ferrari drivers, with Alonso now leading the race.
As the front-runners on soft tyres all pitted, Nico Hulkenberg and then Jenson Button led the race after starting on mediums.
In a crazy, chaotic Chinese Grand Prix, Raikkonen suffered front wing damage when he went into the back of Sergio Perez’s McLaren.
Webber also hit Jean-Eric Vergne and his race came to a disastrous end as he headed back to the pits when his rear right wheel came off and bounced across the track at turn 14. Webber was later hit with a three-place grid penalty in the next race by stewards.
Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg was another forced to retire from the race after making a succession of pitstops.
Rosberg said afterwards: “The race was tough for me today and with my set-up I had an unexpected level of understeer which made it difficult to drive.
“After my second pit stop, the feeling got worse and I had one front wheel in the air during the corners. The rear anti-roll bar, which influences the balance of the car, had broken so unfortunately we had to retire the car.”
After 28 laps, Vettel – who started on mediums from ninth on the grid – was leading from Alonso, with Hamilton and Button third and fourth respectively, but the Ferrari master regained the lead on lap 29.
As Hamilton started to reel in Vettel, the reigning F1 world champion pitted again after 32 laps and dropped down to eighth place.
After 34 laps of 56, Alonso led by 11 seconds from Hamilton with Raikkonen’s Lotus third despite a damaged nose.
However, Raikkonen got the undercut on Hamilton with his final stop and Lewis found himself behind the Iceman again after his third pitstop.
With 16 laps to go, a dominant Alonso led by 19 seconds from Vettel, with a charging Hamilton setting the fastest lap of the race at that point.
Vettel, still to use the soft tyre, took the lead again when Alonso made his final stop, but the Ferrari driver regained position on the track in front of the main grandstand.
Raikkonen and Hamilton moved passed Button into third and fourth respectively, with Vettel in second.
Vettel pitted for soft tyres with five laps remaining, lifting Raikkonen and Hamilton into the podium positions behind the impressive Alonso.
The Red Bull driver hunted down Hamilton but wasn’t able to pass the Mercedes star on the last lap and the Hertfordshire-born 2008 world champion claimed his second successive podium for his new team.
The F1 circus heads to Bahrain next weekend.
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