Tweet from @adamcooperf1: #F1 Jean-Eric Vergne starts from the pitlane because the team has changed the spec of his car overnight. Vergne has different floor, barge boards, T-tray, side pod wing and inlet etc... And that led to different ballast as well
Tweet from @pauldirestaf1: Just about the have a pre race espresso. Looking forward to the race.
About an hour ago, Di Resta had a coffee boost - will that help him get in the zone for the race?
Massa gets strapped in the car ahead of the race, via @InsideFerrari. Massa qualified in 12th place, just behind Sebastian Vettel - a surprise dropout in Q2.
Interview with Jenson Button: "Tyre temperature is criticial. Four degrees drop in track temp makes a massive difference around here. It's tricky for us and I struggled with that yesterday."
Interview with Kamui Kobayashi: "I think our pace is strong for the long runs. I think the target is the podium, and try to bring the car home. I think our car is not too bad as we have the long gear, so I think we have the chance to overtake as well."
Interview with Adrian Newey, who was having a quick peek at the Lotus car on the grid: "We are a young team, we've had a great deal of success over the last couple of years but Formula One dictates that's not going to last forever. We've managed to develop some toughness and some depth over the last couple of years, so we'll just keep our heads down and get on with it."
|Shanghai International Circuit|
|Local timezone||+0800 GMT|
|Number of laps||56|
The entire Williams team have gathered in front of their car to pose for photographs and cheer a happy birthday to Frank Williams, who is 70 years old tomorrow.
Happy birthday, Frank!
If you're watching the action today, do join the comments: https://sidepodcast.com/dashboard or here: https://sidepodcast.com/event/grand-prix-china-formula-1-world-championship-2012
Interview with Paul di Resta: "It is very tight. This race is one of the closest we've had in F1 for years. I think you'll see a few different strategies. Our race car performed quite well on Friday afternoon, with the temperatures close to that, we're hopeful... we can put them under pressure, try to pick up some points."
Live timing is here: http://www.formula1.com/live_timing/live_timing.html plus McLaren have live information here: http://www.mclaren.com/formula1
Interview with Stefano: "We need to be realistic... we are here to try to maximise what we have and that's the approach we have. In terms of position, I think we are in the 7th to 12th position, the gaps are so close. We need to understand the tyre situation... we know what we have to do, it's a long way to be on top of our performance but that's what I'm expecting our engineers to do."
|Free Practice 1||Hamilton||1:37.106|
|Free Practice 2||Schumacher||1:35.973|
|Free Practice 3||Hamilton||1:35.940|
Tweet from @Marussia_F1Team: Timo and Charles have just had a little pre-race foray through the pit lane a few times with a few practice starts between them
Race Control: DRS disabled.
We'll see DRS enabled a few laps into the race - it is to be activated halfway down the long straight after turn 13.
Nico Rosberg leads the pack away on their formation lap - one of the drivers at the back has their rain light on, which seems a bit over the top.
Comment from Alex Andronov: "They've moved Kobi's start point because their was oil on the track"
Tweet from @EliGP: The first driver with a realistic chance to win starts fifth. If this race is not great, I want my money back
Paul di Resta has the FOM helmet cam on this weekend, and the view from his car shows the slow final corners as they return to the grid.
Schumacher weaves his way up the home straight towards his grid slot, following his teammate to the front row.
Vergne has left his garage to make his way to the end of the pitlane.
Lights out and Rosberg gets off the line really quickly, keeps his lead easily into the first corner. Schumacher was slower away but remains second.
Jenson Button had a great start, up in to third, with Hamilton behind Räikkönen also hoping to pass.
Vettel has fallen way down the field, a terrible start for the German. Webber, predictably, also had a bad start.
Webber is side by side with Alonso as they battle for 8th place, but the Ferrari has it as they cross the line for the second lap.
Race Control: Track surface slippery in sector 19.
That's odd, I thought there were only three sectors!
Replays of the start show a nice clean first corner, the entire pack sweeping round turn one safely.
Actually, tell a lie, Bruno Senna jumped forward but clipped the back of Felipe Massa, with a couple of shards of carbon fibre flying.
Kobayashi started from third but didn't get a great start, he's currently in seventh place.
Race Control: DRS enabled.
Race Control: Track surface clear in sector 19.
Rosberg has a nice gap to Schumacher, comfortably over a second to avoid DRS. Behind the two Mercedes, Button is 1.6 seconds back, with Räikkönen not letting him run away with third.
Jean-Éric Vergne is up to 21st already, with Pic, De la Rosa and Karthikeyan behind him.
Tweet from @MikeGascoyne: Degredation on the softs going to be critical. Trying for two stops but could be difficult with the tyre, espically if track temp drops
The positions settle for now as the pack starts to spread out a little, in anticipation of the first stops.
Team radio from Vettel: "I'm nowhere on the straights, I can't get past there."
Mark Webber pits from 9th place, an early stop for Red Bull, and he puts on the white sidewalled tyre - medium compound.
Rosberg has stretched his lead to almost 3 seconds now. Button is closing up to Schumacher, but Kimi is still not letting the leaders get away.
Despite Kobayashi's good qualifying performance, it is Pérez who is back up in a points position - currently running 6th and just 0.7 seconds behind Hamilton.
Webber has dropped back to 20th after his stop, but just set the fastest lap of the race so far.
The Sauber mechanics are in the pit lane.
It is Kobayashi who comes in, and the Red Bull mechanics also dash out of their garage for Vettel, who sweeps in. Hülkenberg comes in just as Vettel departs.
Just four drivers have stopped so far, but Räikkönen and Hamilton dive into the pitlane to boost that number to six.
Kimi and Lewis pulled out of their stops at the same time, side by side down the pitlane, but it is Hamilton that gets the position. He's jumped a place in the stops.
Kimi loses out again as they reach the track, Webber sweeping past. Räikkönen won't have any of it and stays wheel to wheel with the Red Bull round three corners. Unfortunately, you can't just stick it around the outside of all the corners and he ends up losing the place and losing time. Lovely, clean racing though.
Button, Grosjean, Di Resta and Maldonado all pit, along with Vergne.
All the recent stops have seen drivers putting on the medium compounds, but Button has the softs on - the yellow sidewalls.
Michael Schumacher pits, the first Mercedes to do so. Senna and Alonso follow him in.
The pit stop clearly didn't go well for Schumacher, as he's pulled off track onto the grass, retiring from the race.
Nico Rosberg pits from the lead of the race now, the sole remaining Mercedes in the Grand Prix.
Pérez leads the race because he hasn't stopped yet.
Replays show Michael missed the corner, no signs of anything obvious, and eventually pulled off track.
Replays off the pit stop show that the right rear wheel man hadn't finished his job, was waving his hand desperately as Schumacher was sent on his way.
Tweet from @OfficialSF1Team: traffic for HAM, VET and RAI and #Kamui. so we try to keep #Checo running. his pace is good, still.
Rosberg puts in the fastest lap of the race, as Schumacher returns to the paddock on the back of a bike and disappears from view.
Pérez has pulled out a decent lead before his pit stop, the Sauber mechanics await him in the garage.
The medium compound goes on the car, but Pérez is a bit slow away from the stop. He returns to the track in tenth place, which is in front Vettel and behind Grosjean.
Team radio from Paul di Resta: "Lacking stability, front and rear."
Replays show Pérez attempting a pass on Grosjean around the outside of the first corner - DRS was more of a hindrance there, as he couldn't get the car slowed down and Romain took the position right back.
Felipe Massa pits from second place, leaving just Glock and Pic not having stopped yet.
Race Control: Incident involving Michael Schumacher to be investigated after the race - unsafe release.
Glock pits now, so it's Pic who is the last man standing.
Charles Pic has made the final stop, so all 24 cars (23 runners) have stopped once.
Rosberg is heading rapidly towards Karthikeyan, as he looks to lap the HRT driver for the first time.
Webber becomes the first to dive in to the pits again for a second stop, he returns to the track in 14th.
|Sector 3||Di Resta||255kph|
Hamilton heads in to the pit lane as well, the McLaren mechanics completing a speedy pit stop and sending him on his way.
Tweet from @InsideFerrari: ALO looks quicker than RAI but lacks of top speed to overtake him
And the other side of the story - Tweet from @Lotus_F1Team: Kimi has a feisty Ferrari of Alonso right behind, time for some wheel to wheel world champions
Webber put on the medium compound again, as did Hamilton - who had previously been on the soft tyre.
Button pits next, medium tyres go on to the McLaren car. His stop was 3.8 seconds so slightly faster than Hamilton.
Button has returned to the track in tenth place, tucked up behind Maldonado in the Williams. Hamilton is currently behind Massa. We know what that means!
Button manages to get past the Williams, easily moving up to ninth place.
Kobayashi pits from eighth place, which promotes Button up even further.
Meanwhile, Rosberg has pulled out an 11 second lead over second place Kimi Räikkönen.
Hamilton makes a move on Massa, and manages to pass cleanly. Replays show he had extra speed in the setup corner, then took the inside line to gain the position.
It's Webber's turn to close up behind Massa now.
Interview with Schumacher: "I noticed it in turn three, once I started to load the front right tyre, that something was wrong. Already by turn six, there was quite a bit of smoke and damage coming up and it was better to stop it there. I don't have any hard feelings. I feel a bit sorry for one of my boys, I guess he feels responsible, but it's part of the game.
"I don't know the situation right now but it looks positive. We were looking strong, honestly. We told you we were having too much wear in Australia and not enough wear in Malaysia and there must have been a middle ground. It looks like we've found it here."
While Schumacher was talking, Button passed Senna for seventh place and Hamilton passed Di Resta for tenth.
Alonso has pitted for his second stop of the day, taking on the soft tyres. Mark Webber did make the position on Massa, so he's now in twelfth.
Räikkönen pits from second place, he's put the medium compound on.
Kovalainen and Vergne have pitted towards the rear of the field. Neither Toro Rosso driver is making much progress this race.
Just over halfway through the race now, Rosberg has a comfortable lead with Lotus looking like they may be able to remain in contention for a podium.
Senna pits from 12th place.
Vitaly Petrov comes into the pits also, the Caterham driver stopping from 18th place.
Team radio to Massa: "Fernando on a different strategy, so let the other car pass, different strategy."
The pass is made in the DRS zone anyway, so it's unlikely Massa would have been able to defend the position.
Talking of the Toro Rossos, however, Jean-Éric Vergne has just set the fastest lap of the race. We're looking at a 1:41.205 at the moment.
Team radio to Di Resta: "Paul, we are definitely still in a race here."
That is useful information, no doubt.
Vettel comes in to the pits from 7th place, and he returns to the track after a relatively slow stop (4.1s) in 13th place.
Replays show a bodged pit stop for Heikki Kovalainen which has forced him out of the race as well. Both retirements have been pitstop related so far.
Team radio to Button: "Jenson, we are still in this to win. We are going to win this race, Jenson. Target plus three."
Tweet from @katahyde: Bbc saying Heikki has retired but f1 app shows him going around again... Saw the pitstop replay...
Heikki is still going round. He did have a bodged pit stop but perhaps it wasn't terminal. He's going pretty slowly though, currently last.
Webber has stopped again, three times for Red Bull now. Nico Rosberg pits from the lead and has a good clean stop.
Rosberg came out on track in front of the battle between Pérez and Hamilton, meaning Button must be leading the race now.
The Pérez/Hamilton battle is joined by Alonso as well. There is nothing between the three of them.
Pérez locks up heavily around the final few corners, looked as though he was about to lose the position to Hamilton but opted to dive into the pitlane instead. Now it's between HAM and ALO.
It seems every time Pérez is under pressure, there's a lockup soon to follow.
Button leads, but he's on a different strategy to Rosberg and needs to pull out a massive lead to gain enough time for a pitstop in hand.
Rosberg isn't letting him get away, and the gap is currently at 8 seconds.
Hamilton and Alonso both stop at the same time, as does Kobayashi. Massa still only has one pit stop to his credit today. Are we expecting him in any time soon?
The McLaren crew return to the pitlane, with Button coming in from the lead of the race. It's a really slow stop though, a terrible stop!
He comes out in sixth place, the potential to win the race completely ruined.
Replays show the left rear wheel came off quickly but took an absolute age to go back on. Really was the rear wheel this time.
Button has zipped past Grosjean immediately, he hasn't thrown in the towel just yet.
Webber is informed over the radio of Button's pit stop trouble, but he's in 8th place, so work to do if he wants to catch up.
Rosberg has a 19 second lead over Massa, who presumably has another stop to make, and then Räikkönen sits third.
There he goes, Massa pits from second place, promoting Kimi to second and Vettel to third.
Hamilton passes Maldonado for ninth position, it is incredibly close amongst the second half of the top ten.
Alonso runs massively wide, heads onto the grass and rejoins the track - not before losing a position to Pérez.
Twelve laps to go, Rosberg has the lead and the win is his barring anything out of the ordinary. Behind him, a train of cars incredibly close. No sign of field spread this afternoon!
Grosjean attempts to make up a position but repeats Alonso's trick of running wide out on track. The marbles aren't helping.
Wheel to wheel for three corners between Grosjean and Maldonado, they were touching and there were sparks flying.
Pérez gets into the fight, but doesn't make it stick. Grosjean takes the position, leaving Maldonado to deal with the Sauber driver.
Alonso has managed to pass Pérez though, tenth place for the Ferrari driver.
Tweet from @OfficialSF1Team: Francesco to #Kamui: big queue in front of you. all on used tyres. we have to make position on track. push, push!
Hamilton and Webber are going at it now, side by side through the corners, and Webber just manages to keep the position... for now!
Meanwhile, Vettel takes the inside line for Kimi Räikkönen, who runs wide, letting Webber into the battle and.... TOO MUCH!
The real story of this incredible squabbling for position is that Räikkönen is in real trouble. He ran wide and is losing place after place. He's going backwards fast. Even Grosjean has passed him.
The tyres are gone for the Lotus, Maldonado has passed him too. He's gone from 2nd to 10th in one lap.
Replays are a godsend here, I must say. Webber ran wide letting Hamilton have that position. That was probably ages ago though.
Both Saubers have now passed Räikkönen, Kobayashi leads Pérez, with Kamui sitting tenth and just in the points.
Just to reiterate, Räikkönen lost ten places in two laps. 2nd to 12th. Bizarre!
So now, the lead remains with Rosberg. Vettel sits second, with Button and Hamilton behind. Button is closing Vettel for second.
Kovalainen pits from last place. He was still running, then!
Five laps to go. Button cuts on the inside of Vettel and makes the position stick, he's up into second.
Hamilton will be next in line to attempt a move on Vettel, as Button disappears into the distance.
Team radio to Button: "You have clear air to the end of the race. Let's pull away now before Hamilton gets past Vettel."
Only three drivers are on the soft tyre, Massa, Vergne and Kovalainen.
Hamilton attempts the move on Vettel, gets the position, but weaves his way down the straight. Webber moves up behind Vettel, teammates battling for position.
We're on the final lap now. Webber isn't giving up and settling behind Vettel, he moves to fourth at the last corner.
Rosberg is so far ahead, he's bringing it home for the final few corners. His maiden pole position turns into his first ever F1 win.
Nico Rosberg wins the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix!!
Button crossed the line for second, Hamilton third. Two McLarens on the podium. Webber leads Vettel across the line.
Team radio to Button: "Great effort, go mix five, pick up rubber and enjoy your moment."
Schumacher watches on from the garage, big smiles, but a tinge of disappointment it wasn't him no doubt.
Rosberg pulls his car to a stop in the number one position, he disembarks and stands on the Silver Arrow, raising his hands to the cheers of the crowd.
Ross Brawn is being hugged by all the Mercedes team, and he has a phone clamped to his ear. Who is on the other end, I wonder?
Rosberg celebrates his win.
The podium guys head to their ante-room, get weighed, take on water, and discuss the race.
Nico hears from McLaren about the battle for the rest of the points. "It was constantly changing," he says. "On the radio, they said now it's Jenson, now it's Sebastian, now it's Kimi."
They head out onto the podium and the German national anthem plays out for both driver and team.
It's a big old trophy, and Nico heaves it into the air with a big cheer.
Norbert Haug represents the team on the podium, and gets absolutely drenched in champagne.
Interview with Ross Brawn: "Stunning. He managed it perfectly, used the tyres perfectly through each stint. We knew if we could stick with a two stop strategy, we'd be in a good position. It's just a tragedy that we had the problem with the Michael. It's very unusual for the team to have that kind of trouble."
Press Conference Quotes - Nico Rosberg: "Unbelievable feeling, very cool. Very happy, excited. It's been a long time coming for me and the team. It's just really nice to see how quickly we are now progressing. Didn't expect to be that fast today, I expected to be in front but very happy with the pace I was able to go in the race."
Press Conference Quotes - Jenson Button: "Our race pace was good, especially on the harder of the two tyres. Had some good battles out there. On the last stop, had a problem on the rear of the car... It's a pity. All in all a fun day, I really enjoyed today, it was a good race, some fun overtaking today. Nice to come away with some good points and second place."
Press Conference Quotes - Lewis Hamilton: "We knew if Nico got away it would be hard to catch him, congratulations to him. Your first pole and first win is an incredible feeling. I'm very happy to make it to the podium. The team did a great job through the pit stops and with the strategy. I think it was one of the best races... there was a train of us, seven cars or something, it was incredible."
|Schumacher||Pit stop fail||13|
Interview with Mark Webber: "It's a bit of a blur, still. It was a difficult race, trying to work out what to do with the strategy. We struggled with the warm up in the first few laps, as well as a poor start which is very frustrating. Got our head down and tried to execute a slightly different strategy... In general, it's tricky to get the balance for the whole race and in the end, we probably, fourth is not the maximum, I made a few mistakes running wide, trying to push. It's very tricky, easy to get on the marbles. It was an interesting race, I enjoyed it. Congratulations to Nico, that's the big story of the day, he deserved it."
Interview with Senna: "That's how racing is good, when everybody is trying different things. We made it hard for ourselves on strategy, the tyre life was difficult. Coming from fourteenth to seventh is a great result and even better is to score points with both cars."
|21||1||De la Rosa||2|
Interview with Vettel: "I think I had no tyres left, so you could ask whether I would be disappointed to lose the position to Jenson, Lewis, it was getting more and more difficult. I knew the only chance was trying to escape from Kimi. I think he ran into the same kind of problems really. We were generally slow in the straights, that made it extremely difficult to pass other people. I'm happy with fifth, given the poor start and the poor first lap we had."
Interview with Grosjean: "It was pretty good. I think we have seen some really nice fights on track, performance in between cars was really close and honestly, I feel very pleased for the team, for myself. After all the hard work we did this season, we deserved finally some good points."
We have a first time winner then, in Nico Rosberg, but it is McLaren who should come away from the weekend feeling good - they are now in the lead of both championships.
It was a fantastic race, action all the way, particularly towards the end. Some jittery pit stop problems will no doubt be looked at in detail ahead of the next race.
Red Bull continue to struggle, as do Ferrari, whilst Sauber showed some more strong pace but found the strategies difficult today.
Thank you very much for joining me for this action-packed couple of hours. Stay tuned to https://sidepodcast.com and http://f1minute.com for all the news and reaction, and I'll see you next time!
All content in the series China 2012
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15 April 2012
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