The 2007 Chinese Grand Prix, formally known as the IV Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix (2006中石化中国大奖赛 or the 2006 Zhōngshíhuà zhōngguó dàjiǎng sài in Chinese) was the sixteenth and penultimate round of the 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai, China, on 7 October 2007. The race was won by Kimi Räikkönen for Ferrari, although it would be overshadowed by a potentially title deciding exit for Championship leader Lewis Hamilton.
The Brit had arrived in China with the potential to win the World Championship with a round to spare, having established a twelve point lead over teammate Fernando Alonso, and seventeen over Räikkönen. He duly put his McLaren-Mercedes on pole position ahead of Räikkönen, Felipe Massa and Alonso, with David Coulthard best of the rest for Red Bull-Renault during qualifying.
Raceday would see the Shanghai circuit bathed in low cloud and a constant drizzle, meaning the entire field would start the race on intermediate Bridgestone tyres. That, however, would have little impact on the start as it was grid order off the line, Hamilton leading Räikkönen, Massa and Alonso into the sweeping first corner.
Behind, Ralf Schumacher was knocked into a slide in the midfield, which opened the door for Vitantonio Liuzzi to sneak up the order to sixth. Otherwise it proved to be a fairly tame opening lap, with Hamilton initially able to establish a gap back to Räikkönen, while Massa prevented Alonso from harassing the #6 Ferrari.
The race would settle down until the drizzle stopped and the circuit began to dry, resulting in Hamilton suffering from tyre wear. That allowed Räikkönen to close and ultimately pass the #2 McLaren with ease on lap 31, with Hamilton having been instructed to stay out in a bid to complete the race with one stop.
That decision backfired spectacularly, as Hamilton's tyre would delaminate on his in-lap and cost him even more time. Furthermore, the Brit would be unable to slow his car sufficiently to make the tight left-hand corner that steered the cars into the pitlane proper, resulting in the McLaren sliding into the gravel and beaching itself.
Hamilton was out on the spot as a result of that beaching, with the marshals unable to push the McLaren out of the gravel. His title rivals had already made their stops, and so Robert Kubica would inherit the lead, albeit briefly for a hydraulic failure robbed the Polish racer of a strong finish a few laps later.
Kubica's retirement handed the lead back to Räikkönen, who was now being chased by Alonso as the McLaren squad managed to get the Spaniard out ahead of Massa. Behind, Jenson Button had emerged from the pits in fourth ahead of a resurgent Sebastian Vettel, with the Toro Rosso-Ferrari ominously closing in on the #7 Honda as the final laps ticked away. The German rookie duly swept past the Honda for fourth with a couple of laps to spare.
With that the race was run, with Räikkönen easing away from Alonso to secure victory and keep his title hopes alive, seven points off of Hamilton. Alonso himself, meanwhile, would move to within four points of Hamilton at the head of the Championship hunt, while Massa completed the podium in third but had already slipped out of the hunt.
Victory for Lewis Hamilton moved the Brit a significant twelve points clear in the Championship hunt leaving Japan, meaning he could potentially claim the title in China. Indeed, should the Brit outscore Fernando Alonso and Kimi Räikkönen in Shanghai, then Hamilton would become the first rookie to win the F1 Championship since the inaugural 1950 Championship. However, it was still a three-horse race for the crown, with Alonso having the experience of winning two World Championships, while Räikkönen was the dark horse in third.
In the Constructors Championship Ferrari had enhanced their title winning advantage, leaving Fuji with 78 points in hand over second placed BMW Sauber. The excluded McLaren-Mercedes would have been a clear first on 202 points had they not been thrown out of the Championship, and so could have claimed the crown in China. Elsewhere, Renault had all but secured third ahead of Williams-Toyota, leaving them to fend off Red Bull-Renault and Toyota in a fight for fourth.
The full entry list for the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix is outlined below:
The full qualifying results for the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix are outlined below:
|5||14||David Coulthard||Red Bull-Renault||7||1:36.930||7||1:36.252||5||1:37.619||5|
|7||15||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||13||1:37.199||8||1:36.602||7||1:38.153||7|
|8||9||Nick Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||6||1:36.737||6||1:36.217||8||1:38.455||8|
|9||10||Robert Kubica||BMW Sauber||5||1:36.309||5||1:36.116||9||1:37.472||9|
|11||18||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||9||1:37.047||11||1:36.862||11|
|12*||19||Sebastian Vettel||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||8||1:37.006||12||1:36.891||17|
|15||23||Anthony Davidson||Super Aguri-Honda||14||1:37.203||15||1:37.247||14|
|20||22||Takuma Sato||Super Aguri-Honda||20||1:38.218||20|
- T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
- Bold indicates the fastest driver's time in each session.
- * Vettel awarded a five place grid penalty for impeding another driver.
The full results for the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix are outlined below:
|2||1||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Mercedes||56||+ 9.806s||4||8|
|3||5||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||56||+ 12.891s||3||6|
|4||19||Sebastian Vettel||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||56||+ 53.509s||17||5|
|5||7||Jenson Button||Honda||56||+ 1:08.666||10||4|
|6||18||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||56||+ 1:13.673||11||3|
|7||9||Nick Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||56||+ 1:14.224||8||2|
|8||14||David Coulthard||Red Bull-Renault||56||+ 1:20.750||5||1|
|9||4||Heikki Kovalainen||Renault||56||+ 1:21.186||13|
|10||15||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||56||+ 1:24.685||7|
|11||3||Giancarlo Fisichella||Renault||56||+ 1:26.683||18|
|12||17||Alexander Wurz||Williams-Toyota||55||+ 1 Lap||19|
|13||12||Jarno Trulli||Toyota||55||+ 1 Lap||12|
|14||22||Takuma Sato||Super Aguri-Honda||55||+ 1 Lap||20|
|15||8||Rubens Barrichello||Honda||55||+ 1 Lap||16|
|16||16||Nico Rosberg||Williams-Toyota||54||+ 2 Laps||15|
|17||21||Sakon Yamamoto||Spyker-Ferrari||53||+ 3 Laps||22|
|Ret||10||Robert Kubica||BMW Sauber||33||Hydraulics||9|
|Ret||23||Anthony Davidson||Super Aguri-Honda||11||Brakes||14|
- 750th Grand Prix entry for a car using #12 as its race number.
- 69th and final Grand Prix start for Alexander Wurz.
- Kimi Räikkönen secured his fourteenth career victory.
- Also the 50th win for a car issued with #6 as its race number.
- Ferrari secured their 200th win as a constructor and engine supplier.
With Lewis Hamilton failing to finish for the first time in his fledgling career the title fight would go down to the season finale in Brazil, with three main protagonists in contention. Hamilton continued to lead the charge, with a four point advantage over Fernando Alonso, with the Spaniard needing to finish fourth or higher with Hamilton failing to score. The third man, and dark horse in the fight, was China racer winner Kimi Räikkönen, who would have to finish second or first in China, and see Hamilton finish sixth or lower.
In the Constructors Championship Ferrari had added to their title winning tally once again, leaving China on 186 points at the head of the field. BMW Sauber headed to the finale having already secured second, and were just six shy of the 100 point mark, while Renault had claimed third with a round to spare on 51. Elsewhere, Toro Rosso-Ferrari had picked up their first points of the campaign, moving them up to seventh from the foot of the table.
Only points scoring drivers are shown.
- * Includes points scored by McLaren-Mercedes before their exclusion prior to the 2007 Belgian Grand Prix.
Images and Videos:
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 '16. China 2007', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2007/chine.aspx, (Accessed 20/02/2020)
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 'China 2007: Rivals gain from Hamilton crisis.', crash.net, (Crash Media Group, 07/10/2007), https://www.crash.net/f1/race-report/60213/1/china-2007-rivals-gain-from-hamilton-crisis, (Accessed 20/02/2020)
- ↑ 'China 2007: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/2007/chine/engages.aspx, (Accessed 20/02/2020)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 '2007 FORMULA 1™ Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix - QUALIFYING', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Limited, 2006), https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2007/races/823/china/qualifying.html, (Accessed 20/02/2020)
- ↑ "2007 FORMULA 1™ Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix - Race". Formula1.com. Formula One Group. 6 October 2007. Archived from the original on 28 December 2014. https://web.archive.org/web/20141228121814/http://www.formula1.com/results/season/2007/785/. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 [Archived] '2007 Chinese GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2014), https://web.archive.org/web/20190410001408/http://chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=2007&gp=Chinese%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 20/02/2020) - Original
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