Summing up the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend is easy: we expected more from the race than it delivered, Mercedes are still mostly untouchable but there’s a glimmer of hope, maybe, possibly, and there were more fans there than I was anticipating. If I have to expand on that, then read on – here are a few things from the weekend that caught my attention.
It's been quiet on the rankings front this past week, the technological difficulties in China mean social networks have been used slightly less than normal. There was still time for some video insight, including a sweet little message from Esteban Gutiérrez and some odd but fun singing from Nico Rosberg. There was also a lot of cake in China, but I opted to hand out points for the champagne instead.
It's that time once again, your chance to deliver the verdict on the race just gone. This time, the Chinese Grand Prix stands up for scrutiny, after what was an interesting, if not classic weekend. Coming straight after what was a surprisingly good Bahrain race, China had its work cut out for it. The race was the final one before a brief rest and then return to Europe for the next leg of the season, but did it tide us over nicely? Cast your vote now.
Mercedes have extended their lead to almost 100 points now, with the fight for second place very tight. Red Bull have jumped Force India for second now, but there are only five points separating 2nd to 4th. The gap to McLaren is sizeable as the Woking team continue to try and catch up. Williams are likely to be disappointed they couldn't increase their points haul by a big margin this weekend, but they're still so far ahead of where they were this time last year, that it's really nothing to be sad about.
Nico Rosberg keeps a tenuous lead on the championship, as he finished on the podium but came second to Lewis Hamilton. The difference is down to just four points. Meanwhile, the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso catches up and moves into third. McLaren's difficult day sees them lose places, whilst Sebastian Vettel moves up to fifth. Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas sit on equal points.
Lewis Hamilton didn't put a foot wrong during the Chinese Grand Prix, except for one tiny little off, that saw him turn pole position into his third consecutive race victory. Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso had a good race with a podium result, after a collision with Felipe Massa at the first corner. The Williams driver suffered a hefty pit lane problem as well, which pushed him down the order.
The Chinese Grand Prix was never going to deliver the same as Bahrain did, but after a wet qualifying, race day dawned dry and overcast. Mercedes had the upper hand, as they have done so far this season, but there were battles up and down the field to keep us entertained as the laps unfolded.
Pastor Maldonado failed to set a lap time during qualifying due to a problem with the power unit in his Lotus. The stewards have given him permission to start the race, leaving him last on the grid. On the one hand, that's bad news for the Venezuelan, but on the other hand, it counter-acts the penalty handed to him in Bahrain.
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