[F1 2019 NEWS FEATURE] RACE REVIEW: CHINESE GRAND PRIX

Formula 1 news story about [F1 2019 NEWS FEATURE] RACE REVIEW: CHINESE GRAND PRIX

5-time F1 World Champion, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has won the Chinese Grand Prix for a sixth time, his 75th career victory coming in the sport’s milestone 1000th World Championship race.

The Silver Arrows dominated in Shanghai, with Valtteri Bottas coming home second - for three-straight one-two finishes in 2019, the first time a team has done that since Williams in 1992.

Hamilton got a great start from second on the grid, passing Bottas into Turn 1, and never looked back - despite the lead pack all opting for two-stop strategies to try and chase down the Brit. The Silver Arrows even double stacking their second stops, to cover off any chance of an attack from Ferrari.

“It’s not been the most straightforward of weekends,” said Hamilton, whose race win enabled him to take the lead of the world championship standings for the first time this year.

“But what a fantastic result for the team.Everyone’s worked so hard. Obviously we came here, we didn’t know where we stood in terms of the Ferraris - they were so quick in the last race. We turned up, Valtteri being quick all weekend. He did a great job today, and to have a one-two together I think is really special in the 1000th Grand Prix. But the start was really where I was able to make the difference, and the rest is history.”

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel completed the podium, for his first visit to the rostrum this season.

The sport now has a two-week break before round four in Azerbaijan.

Pos No Driver Car Laps Time/Retired PTS
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 56 1:32:06.350 25
2 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 56 +6.552s 18
3 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 56 +13.744s 15
4 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 56 +27.627s 12
5 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 56 +31.276s 10
6 10 Pierre Gasly Red Bull Racing Honda 56 +89.307s 9

Here’s how the FORMULA 1 CHINESE GRAND PRIX 2019 played-out lap-by-lap:

Build Up:
Today marks a massive milestone, with Formula 1 celebrating the 1000th World Championship Grand Prix - and we’ve got a thrilling race ahead. Mercedes has locked out the front row, with Flying Finn Valtteri Bottas on pole for the first time this year, his first in China and for the seventh time overall. Lewis Hamilton is alongside. And both Ferraris are behind, hoping to challenge the Silver Arrows into the second corner - or down the back straight.

For only the second time in history, the top-10 is arranged team by team - the last time being Singapore 2011, with the two Ferraris behind, Sebastian Vettel ahead of Charles Leclerc, then it’s both Red Bulls (Max Verstappen ahead of Pierre Gasly), then it’s both Renaults (Daniel Ricciardo ahead of Nico Hulkenberg for the first time this year), followed by both the Haas’ (Kevin Magnussen ahead of Romain Grosjean). But the start will be all about whether the Ferraris can split or even jump ahead of the two Mercedes cars.

Out of position is Alfa Romeo Racing’s Kimi Raikkonen, who starts 13th, both McLarens down in P14 and P15 (Carlos Sainz ahead of rookie Lando Norris). Both Williams cars start on the penultimate row, after Toro Rosso’s Alex Albon and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi failed to get out in qualifying. Albon, who had the pace to be in the top-10 before his FP3 crash, starting his third race from the pit lane. So we are likely to see some cars moving up through the field.

Many think a one-stop is likely, with a switch from mediums to hards, but a two-stop is said to be marginal. And there’s a lot on the line with Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel, Leclerc, Verstappen and Gasly all having something to prove - and Ricciardo behind yet to finish a race in 2019. It’s quite windy in Shanghai and that should also provide plenty of help to the DRS.

Formation Lap:
In terms of starting tyres, the top five are all on the mediums, with the balance of the top-10 on softs. In the bottom-10, it’s all mediums with the exception of Giovinazzi (P19) and Albon (pit lane) on softs. A one-stop strategy, moving from medium to hard (fastest way through the race), expect stop between laps 17-27. For a two stop, medium-medium-hard, it’s laps 12-21 and 26-36. On the formation lap, Verstappen and Kubica spun on way to the grid but retook their places.

Lap 1:
There’s been 107 different winners across the 999 races held since 1950, will we get a new one today? Hamilton facing left on the grid. Polesitter Bottas gets a bad start, Hamilton is ahead - and he takes the lead into turn 1. Leclerc gets past Vettel, and he’s into P3. Perez is up to P8, while Kvyat hits Norris at the exit of the Turn 6 hairpin - big contact.

Lap 2:
Virtual Safety Car deployed with debris on the track. Hamilton leads Bottas, Leclerc, Vettel, Verstappen, Gasly, Riciardo, Perez, Hulkenberg and Grosjean completes top-10. Replays show Kvyat clattering into Norris on lap one, after a McLaren sandwich, the McLaren of Sainz stopping for a new front wing, time taken there - both McLarens stacked in the pit lane.

Lap 3:
Hamilton leads Bottas by 1-second. DRS enabled. Hamilton says his front wing might be damaged. Albon sets the fastest lap, a 1:43.535. Hulkenberg is still chasing Perez. Norris told he’s got damage to the floor, but to continue.

Lap 4:
Hamilton leads, and sets the fastest lap, a 1:38.119. Vettel in P4 is behind Leclerc, 0.7 seconds the gap.

Lap 5:
Hamilton leads Bottas by 1.5 seconds, then it’s 2-seconds back to Leclerc. Perez gained 4 places on the first lap, and he’s up to P8 now.

Lap 6:
Hamilton stretching his legs out front, he’s 1.7 seconds ahead of Bottas. Albon passes Giovinazzi for P15 at the hairpin. Vettel in P4 is staying very close to Leclerc. Kvyat in P14 is racing Stroll, going off track in desperation. Kvyat gets a drive-through penalty for causing a collision.

Lap 7:
Leclerc in P3 locks up into the hairpin, with Vettel chasing him down. The German needs to get past to keep the Silver Arrows ahead honest.

Lap 8:
Hamilton leads Bottas by 2.5 seconds. The two Ferraris are the big battle right now. Leclerc in front of Vettel. Giovinazzi pits, slow stop with front left issue, he’s onto the medium. Kvyat takes his drive-through penalty.

Lap 9:
Hamilton edging to 3-second lead over Bottas, Vettel is closer to his teammate - 0.7 seconds the gap. Vettel told to push now, he’s trying to get closer.

Lap 10:
Raikkonen in P10 is chasing down Hulkenberg, he’s closing up on the Renault. Leclerc told he needs to go faster, or he will have to let Vettel past.

Lap 11:
Leclerc told to let Vettel by, he complains and Vettel goes past into Turn 1 - obeying team orders. So it’s Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel and Leclerc. Verstappen completes the top-five. Raikkonen gets past Hulkenberg for P9 into Turn 14.

Lap 12:
Hamilton leads Bottas by 3.4 seconds. Hulkenberg pits from P10, he’s onto the hards. He exits in P16 behind Grosjean. Leclerc in P4 is staying in touch with his teammate.

Lap 13:
Grosjean in P15 is chasing down Kvyat, 0.6 seconds the gap there. Hamilton now leads Bottas by 4-seconds. Albon all over the back of Stroll, pushing for P10 - 0.7 seconds the gap.

Lap 14:
Vettel locking up again at the Turn 14 hairpin. Hamilton leads Bottas by 4.2 seconds.

Lap 15:
Hamilton still stretching his legs, 4.5 seconds ahead of Bottas - the Brit four tenths faster on that last lap. Leclerc tells his team about Vettel’s lock ups over the radio. The team says they are discussing it. Ferrari under fire from Verstappen behind, and the threat of an undercut.

Lap 16:
Hamilton now leads Bottas by 4.7 seconds. Verstappen in P5 is 1.9 seconds behind Leclerc now, and two tenths faster on that last lap. Vettel told to push on by Ferrari.

Lap 17:
Hamilton 5 seconds ahead of Bottas. Grosjean in P14 is 0.5 sec behind Kvyat. Replay showing Leclerc locking up as well. Hulkenberg has pitted and looks ready to retire from this race. It’s another mechanical failure. He’s told they’re retiring the car.

Lap 18:
Verstappen pits from P5. He’s the first mover of the lead pack, onto the hards - 3-second stop, so not that quick. He exits in P8, ahead of Raikkonen. What will Ferrari do now? Replays show Norris’ front wing sparking on the ground.

Lap 19:
Vettel pits from P3, releasing Leclerc - he’s onto the hard tyres, 2.5 second stop, very quick. Vettel stays ahead of Verstappen so the Red Bull undercut has been foiled. Ricciardo also pitted. So top five is Hamilton, Bottas, Leclerc, Gasly, Vettel.

Lap 20:
Hamilton leads Bottas by 5.4 seconds. Verstappen, setting the fastest lap a 1:37.652, dives down the inside of Vettel at Turn 14, and has the inside into Turn 15 - but Vettel storms ahead. This battle is far from over. Another lock up from Leclerc into Turn 14. He’s told to think about the end of the race.

Lap 21:
Vettel sets the fastest lap, a 1:36.998. He’s 0.7 seconds ahead of Verstappen. Perez and Stroll pit.

Lap 22:
Bottas pits from P2. He’s onto the hard tyres, 2.3 second stop, and exits in P3 ahead of Vettel.

Lap 23:
Hamilton pits from the lead, onto the hards - and retains his lead. Leclerc pits, he exits in P5. Fantastic racing between Gasly and Raikkonen, wheel to wheel - the Frenchman taking P6 at the exit of the Turn 6 hairpin.

Lap 24:
Bottas sets the fastest lap, a 1:36.690 - in second. 1.5 seconds behind Hamilton.

Lap 25:
Another fastest lap from Bottas, a 1:36.558, three tenths faster than Hamilton on that last lap. The Finn charging to close that gap to his teammate.

Lap 26:
Hamilton just 1.4 seconds ahead of Bottas now, the Finn a tenth faster on that last lap. Raikkonen pits from P8. He passes Magnussen for P10 on his out lap.

Lap 27:
Hamilton leads Bottas by 2.1 seconds. The Brit into the 1:36s, so showing his pace.

Lap 28:
Hamilton leads Bottas by 2.6 seconds, Bottas four tenths slower on the last lap. Stroll passes Giovinazzi down the back straight, and he’s up to P13.

Lap 29:
Mercedes are dominating this race, showing its speed on a power track - leader Hamilton doing a personal best on that last lap, a high 1:36. He’s 3.1 seconds up on Bottas. Vettel 8-seconds behind Bottas in P3. Raikkonen into P9, passing Grosjean.

Lap 30:
Order is HAM, BOT, VET, VER, LEC, GAS, RIC, PER, RAI, GRO, MAG, ALB, STR, GIO, SAI, KVY, RUS, NOR, KUB. Hamilton leads, 3.3-sec ahead of Bottas. Leclerc told Ferrari is thinking about Plan-B, likely to mean switch to a two-stop.

Lap 31:
Leclerc is the man on a move, having done a low 1:37, he’s set to charge up to the back of Verstappen in P4 at one second a lap - before pitting for new boots to the end of the race.

Lap 32:
Kvyat pits for new nose. Stroll in P13 is half a second behind Magnussen, and he’s ahead for P12.

Lap 33:
Only the top-13 are on the lead lap. Stroll reporting some rough downshifts.

Lap 34:
Hamilton asks about fastest lap.

Lap 35:
Hamilton leads Bottas by 5.8 seconds, and was more than a tenth faster on that last lap. Verstappen stops from P4, he’s onto the mediums - and back out in P5. Vettel told to pit at the end of the lap. Will Mercedes have to react to this as well?

Lap 36:
Vettel pits from P3. He’s onto the mediums. A 2.2 second stop, so very quick stop there. Vettel exits in P4 behind Leclerc, who is now 10-seconds ahead. Hamilton told to pit, Bottas as well.

Lap 37:
Mercedes double stack. Hamilton first, he’s onto the mediums - and 3.2 second stop, Bottas, 3.0-second stop. Hamilton retains the lead, while Bottas drop to P3 behind Leclerc.

Lap 38:
So top-five is Hamilton, Leclerc, Bottas, Vettel, Verstappen - as Vettel sets the fastest lap, a 1:34.836. That’s a searing lap for Vettel. Bottas tries to pass Leclerc round the outside at Turn 14, but Leclerc stays ahead - the Finn very close into Turn 1.

Lap 39:
Bottas really pushing to pass the Ferrari. He’s all over the back of that SF90. Bottas passes Leclerc for P2 into the hairpin, down the inside for Turn 14.

Lap 40:
So it’s Hamilton, Bottas, Leclerc, Vettel, Verstappen - for the top-five. Gasly pits from P6. Hamilton leads Bottas by 6.2 secs.

Lap 41:
Hamilton controlling this race up front. Will Ferrari choose to pit Leclerc, who is the only one in the top-six to yet do a second stop? Top-11 are on the lead lap.

Lap 42:
Vettel closing up on Leclerc, just 0.8 seconds the gap. And he gets ahead for P3 down into Turn 14. So it’s Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel - as Leclerc pits.

Lap 43:
Leclerc pits, but he hesitates as he leaves, but gets out. The Monegasque is onto the mediums, exits in P5, 15 seconds behind Verstappen. Kvyat retires.

Lap 44:
Hamilton leads Bottas by 8-seconds. Vettel is P3, 3.4 seconds behind Bottas. Then it’s Verstappen, with Leclerc wanting to close the 14.3 second gap to the Dutchman and P4.

Lap 45:
Only the top-11 are on the lead lap. Raikkonen in P9 is chasing Perez very hard. Hulkenberg’s issue still not sure. Stroll pits.

Lap 46:
Only Top-10 on the lead lap. Leclerc in P5 is over 1-second faster than Verstappen ahead, but 12.7 seconds behind.

Lap 47:
Leclerc passing traffic. Hamilton leads Bottas by 6.8 seconds.

Lap 48:
Only the top-nine are on the lead-lap. Hamilton asks whether Bottas is under pressure from Vettel.

Lap 49:
Hamilton leads Bottas by 7.1 seconds. Leclerc in P5 was 1-second faster than Verstappen on that last lap, but 10.3 seconds the gap so may be out of reach.

Lap 50:
Hamilton asked if Leclerc got fastest lap.

Lap 51:
Hamilton in control out front.

Lap 52:
Only top-eight are on the lead lap. Perez in P8 is 1.9 seconds behind Ricciardo, and faster on than last lap. Leclerc told his car is OK, no problem with his car.

Lap 53:
Albon remains 10th, but is under pressure from Grosjean. Norris has retired from the race, succumbing to the damage sustained on lap one with Kvyat.

Lap 54:
Leclerc in P5 is 6.8 seconds behind Verstappen - and he was again 1-second faster on that last lap. Only the top-six are on the lead lap now.

Lap 55:
Gasly pits from P6, he’s onto the softs. 2.4 second stop, so quick there. Grosjean in P11 cannot get ahead of Albon into Turn 14, but it’s not over yet. Gasly told the fastest lap time, to try and go for it and an extra point.

Lap 56 - FINAL LAP:
Lewis Hamilton has won the Chinese Grand Prix for the sixth time, dominating in Shanghai for his 75th win coming in the 1000th World Championship race.

Pos No Driver Car Laps Time/Retired PTS
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 56 1:32:06.350 25
2 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 56 +6.552s 18
3 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 56 +13.744s 15
4 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 56 +27.627s 12
5 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 56 +31.276s 10
6 10 Pierre Gasly Red Bull Racing Honda 56 +89.307s 9
7 3 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 55 +1 lap 6
8 11 Sergio Perez Racing Point BWT Mercedes 55 +1 lap 4
9 7 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 55 +1 lap 2
10 23 Alexander Albon Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 55 +1 lap 1
11 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 55 +1 lap 0
12 18 Lance Stroll Racing Point BWT Mercedes 55 +1 lap 0
13 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 55 +1 lap 0
14 55 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault 55 +1 lap 0
15 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 55 +1 lap 0
16 63 George Russell Williams Mercedes 54 +2 laps 0
17 88 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes 54 +2 laps 0
18 4 Lando Norris McLaren Renault 50 DNF 0
NC 26 Daniil Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda 41 DNF 0
NC 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 16 DNF 0