F1 2015 Chinese Grand Prix result: Hamilton wins in Shanghai

PUBLISHED: 08:45 12 April 2015 | UPDATED: 15:18 12 April 2015

Lewis Hamilton celebrates at the 2015 Chinese Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Lewis Hamilton celebrates at the 2015 Chinese Grand Prix [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Mercedes-Benz

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton won the 2015 Chinese Grand Prix from pole position in Shanghai to extend his lead in the drivers' standings.

The 30-year-old Mercedes driver from Hertfordshire took the chequered flag at the Shanghai International Circuit to make it back-to-back victories in China.

Hamilton dominated the race from pole position and was never really troubled at the front of the field after the second round of pit stops.

The reigning world champion made his final stop, for mediums, the end of lap 33 and Mercedes looked much more comfortable than Ferrari on the medium tyre.

The Stevenage-born racer crossed the line first following the late deployment of the safety car after teenager Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso car broke down on the main straight just three laps from the finish.

Watched by Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch, Hamilton was seven seconds clear of Rosberg when the safety car was deployed late on, meaning the closing laps were something of an anti-climax.

Hamilton saw his healthy advantage over Rosberg disappear, while the 11-second lead German Nico held over Vettel was also erased.

The safety car came in on the final lap, but drivers were told not to overtake and Hamilton cruised to the flag to take a comfortable second victory of the season after his Australian GP success.

It was the fourth Chinese GP win for Hamilton, after victories in 2008, 2011 and last year, and today’s triumph is the 35th F1 win of his grand prix career.

He also completed a clean sweep in China, claiming pole position, race victory and fastest lap.

Hamilton spearheaded another Mercedes one-two in China, just like last season, with Silver Arrows colleague Nico Rosberg second behind Lewis ahead of the Ferrari challenge of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.

Vettel took the third and final step on the podium, with Raikkonen fourth in the Chinese GP rankings.

Felipe Massa was fifth in the provisional race results ahead of Williams colleague Valtteri Bottas.

Romain Grosjean took seventh place for Lotus with Felipe Nasr eighth for Sauber.

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo and Sauber man Marcus Ericsson completed the top 10.

However, the feud between Rosberg and Hamilton resurfaced, with the German driver complaining that he was held up by his Silver Arrows team-mate during the middle stint on the soft Pirelli tyres.

Rosberg argued race leader Hamilton’s slow pace allowed Vettel to press the second Mercedes.

After the race Hamilton said “it isn’t my job to look after Nico’s race”.

When questioned, he replied: “I wasn’t controlling his race, I was controlling my own race.

“My goal was to look after my own car.”

Hamilton added: “If Nico wanted to get by he could have tried but he didn’t.”

The Mercedes team tried to diffuse the situation afterwards in the post-race debrief.

In a Twitter Q&A with followers, the Mercedes AMG F1 handle @MercedesAMGF1 tweeted “They’ve talked through the race in the debrief and after. Both guys are clear what did and didn’t happen.”

Responding to another question, the team tweeted: “We have two number one drivers – and they’re passionate and committed. The rivalry drives us forward, we embrace it!”

After taking pole, victory, fastest lap and leading from lights to flag, Hamilton said: “I’m really happy.

“It was a great race and really positive to have a clean weekend throughout every session. The team did a great job.”

Both Mercedes drivers ran a two-stop strategy of option / option / prime, with Hamilton stopping on laps 14 and 33.

He said: “Going into today we expected it to be close with Ferrari as they had been good on the tyres on their long runs.

“The goal was to run my own race and manage the tyres as best I could.

"We dialled the car in where I wanted and that helped me deliver out there today."

F1 driver Lewis Hamilton

“I was driving as hard as I could within the constraints of the tyres and just trying to stretch out the option stints for as long as possible.

“I never really had a threat from Nico but I didn’t do anything intentionally to slow him up.

“Before the second stops I was able to put in a few fast laps to build the gap which I really enjoyed.

“Then, it was a case of managing the life of the prime tyre to the finish.

“Overall, I’ve just got to say thank you to the team for a smooth weekend.

“We dialled the car in where I wanted and that helped me deliver out there today.

“It’s a great feeling to win again in China in front of all these amazing fans.

“Their support has been incredible all weekend, so ‘xiexie’ to all of them!”

"Lewis managed his tyres a lot in the middle stint and that put me at risk with Vettel right behind."

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg

Today’s result marks the 31st Silver Arrows Formula One victory and 18th one-two finish from 111 Grand Prix starts.

Rosberg claimed his fourth Chinese Grand Prix podium and the 29th of his career.

He said: “It was great to beat the Ferrari and the team has done a great job since Malaysia.

“But I’m also a bit frustrated today, as I saw how much of a difference four-hundredths of a second to Lewis in qualifying can make.

“Lewis managed his tyres a lot in the middle stint and that put me at risk with Vettel right behind.

“But the team adapted to box me earlier for the second stop and stay ahead of the Ferrari after he had pitted to try and jump ahead through the undercut on new tyres.

“So that worked out – but I then had a long final stint to do and the tyres were beginning to give up in the final laps.”

Rosberg added: “I’m sure we will sit down and discuss it all now.

"We’re still fighting at the back of the field, which is a shame, but it’s positive to see that we’re progressing."

McLaren-Honda driver Jenson Button

“But in general it’s up to me to change the situation. I just need to make a better job on Saturday.”

Mercedes-Benz Motorsport head Toto Wolff was delighted to see the team back on the top step of the podium after being beaten by Ferrari in Malaysia.

“That was a great victory for the team but not an easy one,” said Wolff.

“It was as challenging a race as we anticipated this morning.

“At the start of the race, we had the pace to pull a little gap to the Ferraris, but they were really strong today.

“We had to keep the Option tyres alive long enough and asked the guys to drive in an intelligent way.

“We chose to stick with the Option for the second stint and had to once again look after them to make them last far enough.

“We had some good communication during that part of the race, telling each driver what they needed to do to keep the one-two finish safe, and then we switched the pit-stop order for the final stops to protect Nico against Vettel by stopping him before Lewis.

F1 Race Classification

2015 Chinese Grand Prix result

1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

2 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

3 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

4 Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

5 Felipe Massa (Williams)

6 Valtteri Bottas (Williams)

7 Romain Grosjean (Lotus)

8 Felipe Nasr (Sauber)

9 Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)

10 Marcus Ericsson (Sauber)

11 Sergio Perez (Force India)

12 Fernando Alonso (McLaren)

“But it’s clear from today’s race what a big jump Ferrari has made over the winter. They were competitive in Malaysia, very strong here in the opening stint and they will be quick in Bahrain, too.

“Tonight, though, we can take a moment to appreciate a job well done - then get our heads down and start working for Bahrain next weekend.”

Paddy Lowe, Mercedes’ technical director, felt it was a “fantastic result” for the team to get another one-two finish.

Lowe said: “Malaysia was not only a good reminder of how difficult it is to win a Grand Prix, but also how much we don’t like not winning!

F1 World Drivers’ Championship standings

(After 2015 Chinese Grand Prix)

1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 68 points

2 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 55

3 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 51

4 Felipe Massa (Williams) 30

5 Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 24

6 Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 18

“This weekend we went out there to improve on our performance and everybody did a great job to achieve that.

“Ferrari pushed us very hard indeed – especially in the first stint.

“We were pleasantly surprised to see that Sebastian (Vettel) was the first to fall away and pit on the first set of option tyres. We were then able to shadow his strategy and bring home the one-two.

“It certainly wasn’t comfortable and the pressure was very much on both the drivers and the crew to nail the necessary laps and pit stops respectively.

2015 F1 Constructors’ Championship

(After Round Three)

1 Mercedes 119 points

2 Ferrari 79

3 Williams 48

4 Sauber 19

5 Red Bull 13

“It was a great group performance and a well-earned team result.”

While Mercedes claimed another race one-two, McLaren-Honda got both cars safely to the finish today, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button finishing 12th and 14th respectively.

Both drivers started on the option tyre, but then ran constrasting two-stop strategies.

Alonso switched to primes at his first stop, which made his car oversteer, before fitting options for the run to the flag.

Despite a longer-than-planned stop, to clear debris from the rear wing, the softer tyre enabled him to make up significant ground to the cars in front.

Button, meanwhile, switched to a second set of options at his first stop, setting a string of competitive midfield times, before ending the race on the prime.

He struggled with a lack of rear grip on the harder tyre, which dropped him into the sights of the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado, with whom he enjoyed a spirited tussle for many laps.

Into the closing laps, the action between Jenson and Pastor intensified, the pair passing and re-passing each other before colliding on the high-speed entry to Turn One.

Maldonado was pushed into a spin, and the contact broke off Jenson’s right-hand front-wing endplate.

With his car’s balance not too badly compromised, Button made it to the finish line in 13th, but was later handed a five-second penalty for his role in the Maldonado accident, which cost him an extra place.

The incident enabled the closely following Alonso to move cleanly past.

When a late-race safety car period neutered the race, the Spaniard came home 12th.

After starting 18th, Alonso said: “This wasn’t the easiest race for us. We weren’t very competitive at the beginning, then we had a few issues with the aero behaviour of the car, which slowed me down in the middle stint, but I was able to push a bit harder on the soft tyre at the end of the race.

“We still need to learn a lot more about this car in order to extract its maximum, but an afternoon like today was extremely useful for us as it enabled us to better understand the car.

“It was a useful race for me too: my longest stint during winter testing was 12 laps; in Malaysia, I did 22; and here I completed the race, so this is a step forward.

“Hopefully, we can improve again for Bahrain.”

Button, who started 17th, said: “Today wasn’t too bad – we’re still fighting at the back of the field, which is a shame, but it’s positive to see that we’re progressing.

“My middle stint on the option tyre wasn’t too bad – I don’t think our pace was too bad at all on the softer tyre – but the prime was a bit trickier in those closing laps.

“A lot of that was due to all the blue flags and traffic I encountered – they meant the tyre temperatures dropped off quite a bit through the stint. It wasn’t easy.”

As for his collision with Pastor Maldonado, Button said: “I thought there was room on the inside – a collision is something you never want to see happen. It was just a misjudgment, I guess.”

Yasuhisa Arai, Honda’s chief officer of motorsport, was delighted to see both McLaren cars finish the race in China.

Arai said: “After today’s result, it finally feels like we’ve left this long period of winter testing behind us, and started the season proper.

“To get both cars to the finish of the race is one more item off our list, and we’ll now continue to push forward race by race to achieve the targets that we’ve set for ourselves.

“It may appear that we’ve only achieved a minor objective, and we know there’s a lot of work ahead, but the whole team deserves credit and thanks for all of their hard work.”

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