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The 2018 Chinese Grand Prix, otherwise known as the Formula 1 2018 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix (the 2018 年中国大奖赛 in Chinese), was the third round of the 2018 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Shanghai International Circuit on 15 April 2018.[1] The race, which was the fifteenth Grand Prix to be staged in China, would be remembered for an excellent victory for Daniel Ricciardo after a mid-race safety car.[2]

Qualifying would see Sebastian Vettel take his second consecutive pole position of the season, an effort that also secured Ferrari's first pole at the circuit since its inaugural race in 2004.[3] Kimi Räikkönen qualified alongside Vettel on the front row, whilst the two Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton qualified third and fourth respectively, just ahead of the two Red Bulls which were to start on softer tyres.[3]

The start of the race would see Vettel take the lead, although his aggressive move on teammate Räikkönen ultimately allowed Bottas to sweep into second.[4] The rest of the field thundered into the first corner behind them without issue, with Max Verstappen elbowing his way up to third before the end of the opening sector.[4]

The opening stages would prove to be rather tame, with the top six pulling clear of Nico Hülkenberg in seventh.[4] Indeed, there would be little change throughout the field until the end of the first stint, with Red Bull deciding to bring in both their drivers on lap seventeen for "medium" compound tyres.[4] Their pace immediately after their stops was enough for Mercedes to bring in Hamilton on the following lap, despite the fact that the defending World Champion had started on "softs", rather than their "ultra-softs".[4]

Bottas would stop on the following lap, rejoining ahead of Verstappen, with Vettel, still leading, following the Finn in a lap later.[4] Yet, that delay proved to be enough for Bottas to sweep into the lead as the German exited the pits, while Räikkönen was told to stay out for the time being.[4]

Räikkönen would ultimately lead until the start of lap 27, with Bottas pulling a stunning move around the outside of his compatriot into turn one to take the lead.[4] Räikkönen would stop at the end of that lap, rejoining in sixth behind Ricciardo, leaving Bottas to fight with Vettel for the lead.[4]

Then came the turning point in the race, as the two Toro Rossos clashed at the final hairpin, sending debris across the circuit.[4] The safety car was called as Bottas and Vettel came to complete the lap, meaning they had to continue, while Red Bull gambled and brought in both Verstappen and Ricciardo, putting them on "softs" for the final twenty laps.[4]

At the restart Bottas would build a commanding lead, while Verstappen and Ricciardo went barging past Räikkönen.[4] Verstappen then tried an optimistic move on Hamilton only to be forced wide, allowing teammate Ricciardo through, with the Australian duly taking both Hamilton and Vettel before closing in on Bottas.[4]

Before the Australian could catch the Finn, however, Verstappen would show his immaturity by crashing into the side of Vettel, a late lunge into the final hairpin that was clearly going to fail.[4] Both would spin, dumping Verstappen behind Hamilton, who was himself overtaken by Räikkönen as he dodge the accident, while Vettel was left with floor damage.[4]

As Verstappen was slapped with a ten second time penalty for causing a collision, Ricciardo pounced on Bottas, the Finn's ageing "mediums" no match for the Australian's "softs".[4] Ricciardo duly escaped up the road to claim an excellent victory ahead of Bottas, who had to resist a charging Räikkönen in the closing to stages.[4] Verstappen overtook Hamilton in the final laps but was classified behind the Brit because of his penalty, while Vettel slipped behind both Hülkenberg and Fernando Alonso in his damaged Ferrari.[4]

The race would also go down in F1 history as the eighth Grand Prix not to feature an official retirement, despite the fact that Brendon Hartley pulled into his garage a few laps before the flag.[4]

BackgroundEdit

The 2018 Championship headed to China for the third race of the season, staged a week after the Bahrain Grand Prix after the pair switched places on the calendar.[2] The teams would find an unchanged Shanghai International Circuit upon their arrival, with the long radius corners a sharp contrast to the point-squirt nature of the Bahrain Circuit.[2] As such there was little hope of the Chinese race matching the drama and action of the previous round, which had seen numerous incidents and on-track action.

Indeed, there had been some fallout over the events of the Bahrain Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen exchanging verbal blows after their physical ones in Sakhir.[5] Indeed, having had Verstappen run over his front wing in Sakhir, which resulted in a transmission destroying puncture for the Dutchman, Hamilton questioned Verstappen's maturity and respect for causing the accident.[5] Hamilton had immediately labelled the Dutchman a "d***head" after the race, while Verstappen himself blamed the Brit for causing the accident by not leaving him enough room.[6]

Over at Ferrari, meanwhile, there had been some repercussions after their pitstop mishap in Bahrain, with the Italian effort slapped with a €50,000 fine.[7] With 22 laps to run in Sakhir Kimi Räikkönen had slithered into the pits for a tyre change, only for his left rear to remain stuck to the rim as the car was dropped off the jacks prematurely.[7] Not seeing this issue, the engineer operating the indicator lights signalled for Räikkönen to go, with the Finn himself unable to see what was going on behind him.[7]

Unfortunately, as the Finn roared out of his pit slot, Italian mechanic Francesco Cigarini was still trying to pull the left-rear wheel off the car, and was duly run over by the #7 car as it pulled away.[7] Räikkönen stopped the car and climbed out to retire, while Cigorini was whisked away to hospital with a double leg fracture, but was not seriously injured.[7] The officials in Bahrain investigated the incident post-race, and duly slapped the Ferrari team with the fine for releasing Raikkonen's car 'in a manner endangering team personnel and causing injury'.[7]

Away from the Scuderia and their former rivals, McLaren had decided to take action after their poor start to the season, with the Woking based effort going through a major reshuffle among their senior staff.[8] The major changes meant that Zak Brown was effectively promoted to C.E.O. of McLaren Racing, while Éric Boullier became the senior racing director in the effort.[8] Brown's old position as "executive director" was also abolished, while Jonathan Neale, Brown's equivalent in the old system, moved to become C.O.O. of the entire McLaren Group under Mike Flewitt.[9]

Elsewhere, Pirelli revealed the potential tyre selection for the third round of the season, causing a stir as the available selection included a softer tyre than originally expected.[10] Alongside the "medium" and "soft" compounds which had appeared in Bahrain, the Chinese Grand Prix would also feature the "ultrasoft" compound, replacing the "supersoft" sets that had been used previously.[10] The aim was to effectively bring an "ultra"-quick but short lived tyre along with the Italian effort's stronger yet slower compounds to generate some unusual tyre strategies.

In terms of tyres chosen it was Force India who decided to pock the hardest selection, with three "medium" sets each for Sergio Pérez and Esteban Ocon.[11] In contrast, Sergey Sirotkin had chosen the softest range of tyres, with eight sets of "ultrasofts", supported by a single set of "mediums.[11] Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, opted to take on the most sets of "softs" with six in total, while teammate Valtteri Bottas headed to China with five.[11]

In terms of future tyre choices, Pirelli and the FIA agreed to allow modifications to the tyre specification at three rounds of the Championship, due to how the "P-Zero" compounds worked on new tarmac.[12] The Barcelona Tests held during pre-season at a freshly re-tarmacked Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya had revealed that the 2018-specification of tyres tended to overheat on the new surface, a result of retaining more "dead rubber" on a less abrasive surface.[12] As such the Italian firm were given permission to reduce the tread depth by 4mm, a change that should allow heat within the rubber to dissipate more efficiently.[12] These modified tyres would only be available at the Spanish, French and British Grand Prix, the only events to be staged on freshly laid tarmac in 2018.[12]

Into the Championship and victory for the second race in succession ensured that Sebastian Vettel left the second round of the season with 50 points to his name, leaving defending Champion Hamilton trailing by seventeen points. The Brit was a secure second, eleven ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas, while Fernando Alonso had snuck up into fourth ahead of Kimi Räikkönen. Elsewhere, Pierre Gasly was level with senior team racer Daniel Ricciardo after his maiden score, while Marcus Ericsson, Kevin Magnussen and Esteban Ocon had also added their names to the score board.

In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari had left Bahrain with their lead intact, albeit down to ten points over arch-rivals Mercedes. The German squad themselves were already looking ahead of them rather than behind, for McLaren-Renault were already 33 points behind in third. Behind the British squad came Red Bull-TAG Heuer after their disastrous evening in Sakhir, with the factory Renault team just three ahead of the Honda engined Toro Rosso squad heading into the third race.

Entry listEdit

The full entry list for the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix is outlined below:

No. Driver Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
44 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport Mercedes W09 EQ Power+ Mercedes M09 EQ Power+ P
77 Finland Valtteri Bottas Germany Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport Mercedes W09 EQ Power+ Mercedes M09 EQ Power+ P
5 Germany Sebastian Vettel Italy Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari SF71H Ferrari 062 EVO P
7 Finland Kimi Räikkönen Italy Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari SF71H Ferrari 062 EVO P
3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Austria Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Red Bull RB14 TAG Heuer TAG Heuer P
33 Netherlands Max Verstappen Austria Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Red Bull RB14 TAG Heuer TAG Heuer P
11 Mexico Sergio Pérez India Sahara Force India F1 Team Force India VJM11 Mercedes M09 EQ Power+ P
31 France Esteban Ocon India Sahara Force India F1 Team Force India VJM11 Mercedes M09 EQ Power+ P
18 Canada Lance Stroll United Kingdom Williams Martini Racing Williams FW41 Mercedes M09 EQ Power+ P
35 Russia Sergey Sirotkin United Kingdom Williams Martini Racing Williams FW41 Mercedes M09 EQ Power+ P
27 Germany Hülkenberg France Renault Sport Formula One Team Renault R.S.18 Renault R.E.18 P
55 Spain Carlos Sainz, Jr. France Renault Sport Formula One Team Renault R.S.18 Renault R.E.18 P
28 New Zealand Brendon Hartley Italy Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda Toro Rosso STR13 Honda RA618H P
10 France Pierre Gasly Italy Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda Toro Rosso STR13 Honda RA618H P
8 France Romain Grosjean United States Haas F1 Team Haas VF-18 Ferrari 062 EVO P
20 Denmark Kevin Magnussen United States Haas F1 Team Haas VF-18 Ferrari 062 EVO P
14 Spain Fernando Alonso United Kingdom McLaren F1 Team McLaren MCL33 Renault R.E.18 P
2 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne United Kingdom McLaren F1 Team McLaren MCL33 Renault R.E.18 P
9 Sweden Marcus Ericsson Switzerland Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Sauber C37 Ferrari 062 EVO P
16 Monaco Charles Leclerc Switzerland Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team Sauber C37 Ferrari 062 EVO P
source

Practice OverviewEdit

FP1Edit

FP2Edit

FP3Edit

Practice ResultsEdit

NoDriverTeamFP1 FP2 FP3
TimePosTimePosTimePos
2 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne United Kingdom McLaren-Renault 1:36.756 18 1:35.163 14 2:34.977 13
3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Austria Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1:34.537 4 1:34.557 9 1:35.061 15
5 Germany Sebastian Vettel Italy Ferrari 1:34.861 6 1:33.590 4 1:33.018 1
7 Finland Kimi Räikkönen Italy Ferrari 1:34.358 2 1:33.489 2 1:33.469 2
8 France Romain Grosjean United States Haas-Ferrari 1:35.718 9 1:36.471 19 1:35.756 20
9 Sweden Marcus Ericsson Switzerland Sauber-Ferrari 1:36.909 19 1:35.624 17 1:35.679 19
10 France Pierre Gasly Italy Toro Rosso-Honda 1:36.037 11 1:34.849 12 1:35.079 16
11 Mexico Sergio Pérez India Force India-Mercedes 1:36.051 13 1:34.792 11 1:34.445 7
14 Spain Fernando Alonso United Kingdom McLaren-Renault 1:36.044 12 1:34.632 10 1:34.851 12
16 Monaco Charles Leclerc Switzerland Sauber-Ferrari 1:36.723 17 1:35.916 18 1:35.497 18
18 Canada Lance Stroll United Kingdom Williams-Mercedes 1:37.277 20 1:37.147 20 1:35.375 17
20 Denmark Kevin Magnussen United States Haas-Ferrari 1:35.178 7 1:34.458 7 1:34.329 6
27 Germany Nico Hülkenberg France Renault 1:35.800 10 1:34.313 6 1:34.841 11
28 New Zealand Brendon Hartley Italy Toro Rosso-Honda 1:36.715 16 1:35.333 15 1:34.991 14
31 France Esteban Ocon India Force India-Mercedes 1:36.351 14 1:34.874 13 1:34.456 8
33 Netherlands Max Verstappen Austria Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1:34.668 5 1:33.823 5 1:33.969 4
35 Russia Sergey Sirotkin United Kingdom Williams-Mercedes 1:36.691 15 1:35.340 16 1:34.741 10
44 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Mercedes 1:33.999 1 1:33.482 1 1:34.057 5
55 Spain Carlos Sainz, Jr. France Renault 1:35.616 8 1:34.473 8 1:34.582 9
77 Finland Valtteri Bottas Germany Mercedes 1:34.457 3 1:33.515 3 1:33.761 3
Source: [13][14][15]

QualifyingEdit

It would be an overcast, and therefore cool 12°C in Shanghai as qualifying got underway, prompting a lot of discussion over potential tyre use.[3] Indeed, while the "ultra-soft" Pirelli compound was expected to be quicker, it was thought that the "soft" compound would be more useful during the race.[3] Regardless, it was expected that the circuit record of 1:31.678, set by Lewis Hamilton in 2017, would fall at some point during the session.[3]

Q1Edit

It was Sergey Sirotkin who got the ball rolling in the first phase of qualifying, the Russian driver heading out in the first few seconds of the pitlane opening.[16] The rest of the field bar Daniel Ricciardo would follow him out in short order, with the Australian awaiting the final completion of his engine change.[16] His mechanics were left with a race against time to get the #3 Red Bull into the fray, as the rest of the field posted their lap times.[16]

The first runs of the session were almost universally done on the ultra-soft compound, the only exception being Kevin Magnussen, who ran with "softs".[16] Regardless, it was Sebastian Vettel who headed the field after the first runs, a 1:32.171 seeing him edge out teammate Kimi Räikkönen.[16] Valtteri Bottas was next, a worrying half a second behind the second scarlet car, while Lewis Hamilton found himself down behind Max Verstappen in fifth.[16]

Everyone bar the top three would head out again before the final session, with Ricciardo also joining the fray with a drift out of his pitbox.[16] The Australian was one of a number who needed to put in a good time, with Charles Leclerc spinning on his best effort, narrowly missing the pitwall as he recovered, while Romain Grosjean simply made a mess of his effort.[16] Magnussen, meanwhile, would head out on a set of "ultra-softs", despite being inside the top ten with his first run.[16]

The hectic final minutes of the session would see Ricciardo sneak into the top fifteen, although he was quickly pushed back towards the elimination zone by the rest of the field.[16] He would just survive, however, with Sirotkin, Leclerc, Marcus Ericsson and Lance Stroll all improving but failing to get out of the drop zone.[16] Carlos Sainz, Jr. was set to join them but suddenly shot into the top ten, while Brendon Hartley managed to jump teammate Pierre Gasly with the final run of the session, ultimately putting the Frenchman out of qualifying.[16]

Q2Edit

The thoughts that the top teams would take "soft" tyres in Q2 ultimately proved true when Bottas headed out onto the circuit at the start of the Q2, his Mercedes proudly sporting a set of yellow side-walled tyres.[16] Likewise, teammate Hamilton, and the two scarlet Ferraris would emerge with their own sets of "softs", although there would be some differences in approach.[16] Indeed, the cool temperatures around Shanghai meant that the Mercedes team opted to run for three laps, while the scarlet cars were able to get the job done in one.[16]

And so it proved, with the Mercedes duo over half a second back of table topping Räikkönen after their first runs, before only making small gains after their second flying lap.[16] Even Vettel struggled compared to his veteran teammate, a tenth slower than the Finn's 1:32.286, while Ricciardo put in a strong effort to claim third, using "ultra softs".[16] Elsewhere, Esteban Ocon put in a strong run to get close to Hamilton, while Grosjean decided to abandon his effort after a mistake through turn twelve/thirteen.[16]

Indeed, the Mercedes pair looked so vulnerable that they had to take on another set of "softs" and complete a second run, although both Hamilton and Bottas would vault ahead of the Ferraris as a result.[16] The scarlet duo themselves would take on a set of "ultra-softs" apiece to prepare for the final session, both abandoning their efforts, although they were not as far ahead of the Mercedes as expected in the first and second sectors.[16]

With the order at the top resolved attention was instead focused on the fight to get into the top ten, with first blood going to Fernando Alonso.[16] Unfortunately for the Spaniard his effort was only good enough for ninth, and he was duly shuffled down the order as others completed their laps.[16] Ocon, meanwhile, would ultimately relegate the Spaniard, before he himself was relegated by teammate Sergio Pérez, before Magnussen got in between them.[16] The Dane was then dumped out qualifying by another late effort from Sainz, meaning it was Magnussen, Ocon, Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne and Hartley who dropped out of qualifying.[16]

Q3Edit

Into the final session and everyone would decide to complete two runs, led onto the circuit by Nico Hülkenberg.[16] However, it soon became clear that the fight for pole was going to be a duel between the two Ferraris, with first blood again going to Räikkönen with a 1:31.200, the then fastest time of the weekend.[16] Vettel was a little over a tenth behind, while Bottas managed to beat Hamilton, albeit some four tenths down on the scarlet duo.[16]

Indeed, it was proving to be such a poor performance from the Mercedes duo that they both failed to improve on their second runs, leaving them vulnerable to the two Red Bulls.[16] Fortunately for them Verstappen would make a minor mistake to leave himself in fifth, while Ricciardo really lacked the track time to challenge, ending the session in sixth.[16] Elsewhere it was Hülkenberg who, predictably, ended the day best of the rest, followed by Pérez, Sainz and Grosjean.[16]

That left the two Ferraris to fight for pole, with Räikkönen setting new fastest first and second sectors en-route to a 1:32.182, having lost time in the final sector.[16] That combined with the fact that teammate Vettel had failed to improve in the first two thirds of the lap suggested that the Finn would have his first pole of the season, only for the German to find almost three tenths in the final sector.[3] That, ultimately, proved enough to get the #5 car onto pole, with Vettel setting another new circuit record at 1:31.095.[3]

Qualifying ResultsEdit

The full qualifying results for the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Grid
Pos Time Pos Time Pos Time
1 5 Germany Sebastian Vettel Italy Ferrari 11:32.171 41:32.385 11:31.095 1
2 7 Finland Kimi Räikkönen Italy Ferrari 21:32.474 31:32.286 21:31.182 2
3 77 Finland Valtteri Bottas Germany Mercedes 31:32.921 21:32.063 31:31.625 3
4 44 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Mercedes 61:33.283 11:31.914 41:31.675 4
5 33 Netherlands Max Verstappen Austria Red Bull-TAG Heuer 41:32.932 81:32.809 51:31.796 5
6 3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Austria Red Bull-TAG Heuer 141:33.877 71:32.688 61:31.948 6
7 27 Germany Nico Hülkenberg France Renault 111:33.545 51:32.494 71:32.532 7
8 11 Mexico Sergio Pérez India Force India-Mercedes 101:33.464 91:32.931 81:32.758 8
9 55 Spain Carlos Sainz, Jr. France Renault 71:33.315 101:32.970 91:32.819 9
10 8 France Romain Grosjean United States Haas-Ferrari 51:33.238 61:32.524 101:32.855 10
11 20 Denmark Kevin Magnussen United States Haas-Ferrari 81:33.359 111:32.986 11
12 31 France Esteban Ocon India Force India-Mercedes 121:33.585 121:33.057 12
13 14 Spain Fernando Alonso United Kingdom McLaren-Renault 91:33.428 131:33.232 13
14 2 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne United Kingdom McLaren-Renault 131:33.824 141:33.505 14
15 28 New Zealand Brendon Hartley Italy Toro Rosso-Honda 151:34.013 151:33.795 15
16 35 Russia Sergey Sirotkin United Kingdom Williams-Mercedes 161:34.062 16
17 10 France Pierre Gasly Italy Toro Rosso-Honda 171:34.101 17
18 18 Canada Lance Stroll United Kingdom Williams-Mercedes 181:34.285 18
19 16 Monaco Charles Leclerc Switzerland Sauber-Ferrari 191:34.454 19
20 9 Sweden Marcus Ericsson Switzerland Sauber-Ferrari 201:34.914 20*
107% time: 1:38.622
Source: [17]
  • * Ericsson was given a five-place grid penalty for ignoring yellow flags during qualifying.[17]

GridEdit

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 1 ______________
Sebastian Vettel 2
______________ Kimi Räikkönen
Row 2 3 ______________
Valtteri Bottas 4
______________ Lewis Hamilton
Row 3 5 ______________
Max Verstappen 6
______________ Daniel Ricciardo
Row 4 7 ______________
Nico Hülkenberg 8
______________ Sergio Pérez
Row 5 9 ______________
Carlos Sainz, Jr. 10
______________ Romain Grosjean
Row 6 11 ______________
Kevin Magnussen 12
______________ Esteban Ocon
Row 7 13 ______________
Fernando Alonso 14
______________ Stoffel Vandoorne
Row 8 15 ______________
Brendon Hartley 16
______________ Sergey Sirotkin
Row 9 17 ______________
Pierre Gasly 18
______________ Lance Stroll
Row 10 19 ______________
Charles Leclerc 20
______________ Marcus Ericsson

RaceEdit

Raceday proved to be far warmer than either practice or qualifying, prompting hopes that the Mercedes duo could get among the dominant Ferraris.[4] Indeed, even Red Bull were optimistic of challenging after a strong practice session, although as both of their drivers were starting on "ultra soft" Pirelli tyres, rather than "softs" as the top four were using, their race was to be decided by strategy.[4] Regardless, all twenty qualifiers would make the start, with pole sitter Sebastian Vettel leading the field onto the grid for the start.[4]

ReportEdit

It proved to be an aggressive start by Vettel, the German sweeping across the circuit to deny teammate Kimi Räikkönen from slithering up the inside into the sweeping first corner.[18] Unfortunately for the Scuderia that allowed Valtteri Bottas to come sweeping around the outside of the duo, challenging Vettel for the lead into the second corner.[18] Ultimately, Vettel had the better line into turn three and so held the position, meaning Bottas had to settle for second, while the rest of the field made it through without issue.[18]

Indeed, it proved to be quite an eventful opening lap at the front of the field, with Max Verstappen elbowing his way past Lewis Hamilton through turn two, before the #33 Red Bull went diving past Räikkönen into turn six.[18] The Dutchman would go on to challenge Bottas, albeit briefly, leaving Räikkönen to fend off a challenge from Hamilton into the turn fourteen hairpin.[18] Elsewhere, Fernando Alonso rather rudely ran Sergio Pérez wide at turn eight, dumping the Force India down the order, while the two Renaults were scrapping, Nico Hülkenberg re-passing teammate Carlos Sainz, Jr. into the hairpin after the latter's superb start.[18]

With that came the end of the opening tour with Vettel charging across the line a few tenths clear of Bottas and Verstappen.[18] Räikkönen was next with Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo in close attendance, while the two Renaults flashed across the line together just behind.[18] Other highlights in the train included a fast starting Lance Stroll, who had climbed to twelfth from eighteenth on the grid, just behind the bargey Alonso.[18]

The following laps were rather less entertaining, with no major changes at the top of the field, although the top six were beginning to pull clear of Hülkenberg and co. in seventh.[18] Elsewhere, Esteban Ocon was trying all he could to take Stroll, ultimately doing so with a dive at the final hairpin, while Haas decided to use team orders to swap Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen around.[18] The same call was made by Toro Rosso, although neither Brendon Hartley, nor Pierre Gasly would benefit from the change.[18]

What was significant about the use of team orders was that the two drivers ordered to move aside, Grosjean and Hartley, were both using "ultra soft" tyres.[18] With just seven laps gone, and 56 laps to cover in total, it was clear that those who had committed to the purple walled tyres were going to have to complete a two-stop race.[18] This would be an issue for Red Bull, as their two drivers, running third and sixth, were effectively going to lose twenty seconds to the four cars around them out front.[18]

Indeed, it was only a handful more laps before the first pitstops were made, beginning with the two Renaults on laps twelve and thirteen.[18] However, it would be another four laps before Verstappen came in to switch from "ultras" to "mediums", with teammate Ricciardo following him in a few seconds later.[18] Slick work from the Red Bull crew got them both out without issue, while a rather panicked Mercedes decided to stop Hamilton, on "softs", a lap later.[18]

The Brit emerged in between the two Red Bulls, although would have gone behind Ricciardo had the Australian racer not got caught behind Magnussen on his out lap.[18] Indeed, such was the pace of the cars on "mediums", which Pirelli believed could survive the forty laps left to run, that Mercedes decided to bring Bottas in on lap nineteen, while the two Ferraris carried on.[18] It proved to be an excellent move by the Mercedes' strategists, for Bottas immediately made up the two seconds that he had lost to Vettel in the opening stint.[18]

The German lasted until the end of the twentieth lap, but a marginally slower stop, combined with Bottas' undercut, meant it was the Finn who swept into the effective lead as Vettel screamed out of the pits.[18] Räikkönen, meanwhile, would decide to stay out rather than come in at the end of the following lap, with Ferrari deciding to sacrifice his race to hold up Bottas.[18] Elsewhere, Hülkenberg was carving his way pas the other non-stoppers, taking Stroll and Stoffel Vandoorne on successive laps, leaving them to glance off one-another through turn one/two after their stops.[18]

It took until lap 26 for Bottas to catch Räikkönen, although his first, albeit long range, dive at his compatriot into the hairpin was easily blocked.[18] Vettel should have been in position to take advantage of that fact, but the German had locked up a couple of laps earlier into the same corner and lost a second to the #77 Mercedes as a result.[18] Indeed, it was only a few corners later before Bottas went scything past Räikkönen around the outside of turn one, before fending off Räikkönen's immediate response into turn six.[18] Räikkönen would duly let his teammate through on the exit of the turn six hairpin, before finally making his switch to "mediums" at the end of the lap.[18]

With the order out front seemingly settled, attention could focus on the lower orders, with Charles Leclerc just escaping a rather embarrassing exit from the race with a spin at turn one/two.[18] He rejoined just in time to see the two Toro Rosso's collide, with Gasly running into the back of teammate Hartley as the Kiwi rounded the final hairpin.[18] The collision, which came about because of "miscommunication" over an order for the pair to swap, resulted in a lot of carbon fibre being scattered across the circuit at the hairpin.[19]

With debris littering the circuit there was little choice but to throw a safety car, which duly appeared as Bottas and Vettel completed lap 31.[18] However, the two Red Bulls decided to instead slip into the pits, swapping out their "medium" compound tyres for a fresh set of "softs", with the Austrian backed pitcrew once again getting both cars serviced on the same lap.[18] Verstappen rejoined just behind Hamilton, while Ricciardo came out behind Räikkönen, with neither Mercedes nor Ferrari deciding to mirror Red Bull's move.[18]

The safety car was withdrawn on lap 36, with Bottas immediately sprinting clear of Vettel, who once again made a mistake in the final hairpin.[18] Behind, the Red Bulls were immediately on the attack, although their targets proved rather resistant for the time being, while Magnussen made a mess of his restart and was instantly taken by Hülkenberg.[18] The sister car of Sainz was also on the move, the Spaniard passing Grosjean, while Räikkönen briefly turned the tied on Red Bull by attacking Verstappen into the hairpin at the end of the lap.[18]

A lap later, however, and the Finn was relegated back down to sixth, with Ricciardo scything past into the final hairpin.[18] Another two laps passed and it was Verstappen who was making a move, although his dive into turn six past Hamilton was blocked.[18] The Dutchman would, however, get a better exit out of the hairpin, and duly tried to take the defending World Champion around the outside of turn seven.[18] Hamilton resisted and duly forced Verstappen wide, with Ricciardo sneaking ahead of his teammate as the #33 car ran out onto the grass.[18]

With Verstappen now, once again, having to defend from Räikkönen, Ricciardo demonstrated to the youngster how an f1 driver should attack, the Australian charging past Hamilton into the hairpin on lap 40, despite being a dozen metres behind.[18] It took the Dutchman a further two laps to catch back up to the Brit, although this time Verstappen was able to out-pull the Mercedes out of turn six, handing him the line into turn seven.[18] Ricciardo, meanwhile, had latched onto the back of Vettel, and duly blew past the German on the run to the hairpin.[18]

Onto lap 43 and it was Verstappen's turn to take the Championship leader, although his late dive into the turn fourteen hairpin ultimately ended in disaster.[18] Indeed, the Dutchman misjudged the gap that Vettel had left on the inside of the corner, and duly spun both of their cars around on the exit, miraculously escaping without damage.[18] Hamilton was next on the scene and had to dodge around both cars, allowing Räikkönen to move past, with Verstappen and Vettel rejoining a few moments later.[18]

A rather annoyed Vettel was left with floor damage, a fact exposed a few moments later when Hülkenberg robbed his compatriot of sixth with relative ease.[18] Out front, meanwhile, Ricciardo would catch up to the back of Bottas, and duly seized the lead through turn seven after Bottas blocked his initial move through turn six.[18] The Australian racer duly blasted clear of the Finn before the long back straight, just as teammate Verstappen was slapped with a ten second time penalty for causing a collision.[18]

Verstappen himself had managed to catch back up to Hamilton after his accident, although the Brit proved as stubborn an opponent to overtake as he had before.[18] Yet, with just a few laps to go the Mercedes' "medium" compound tyres were simply too far gone to realistically resist, and so the Dutchman went charging ahead after a strong exit out of turn three.[18] He duly went charging off the catch the fight for second, as Räikkönen had drawn onto the back of his compatriot Bottas in the closing stages.[18]

It proved to be a ferocious duel to the flag between the two, with the Mercedes just managing to block every thrust by the Ferrari on the brakes.[18] Elsewhere, Vettel was relegated to eighth by Alonso, the McLaren completing a rather risky move around the Ferrari through the turn one/two/three complex, with a rather irate Vettel complaining that the Spaniard had cut across him.[18] His protests were waved away, however, and so the German was left to defend eighth from Alonso's compatriot Sainz on the final lap.[18]

Out front, meanwhile, Ricciardo came cruising home to record his sixth victory of his career, almost ten seconds clear of Bottas and Räikkönen.[18] Verstappen was next across the line, but had failed to get ten seconds ahead of Hamilton, meaning they effectively swapped positions on the final result sheet.[18] Next home was Hülkenberg, ahead of Alonso, while Vettel just managed to fend off a late lunge from Sainz into the turn fourteen hairpin to claim eighth, while Magnussen cruised home to take the final point in tenth.[18]

Ricciardo enjoyed the podium drinking champagne from a shoey. Chris Gent Red Bull team joined on the podium to receive the winning manufacturer’s award.

ResultsEdit

The full results for the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 3 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Austria Red Bull-TAG Heuer 56 1h 35m 36.380s 6 25
2 77 Finland Valtteri Bottas Germany Mercedes 56 +8.894s 3 18
3 7 Finland Kimi Räikkönen Italy Ferrari 56 +9.637s 2 15
4 44 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Germany Mercedes 56 +16.985s 4 12
5* 33 Netherlands Max Verstappen Austria Red Bull-TAG Heuer 56 +20.436s 5 10
6 27 Germany Nico Hülkenberg France Renault 56 +21.052s 7 8
7 14 Spain Fernando Alonso United Kingdom McLaren-Renault 56 +30.639s 13 6
8 5 Germany Sebastian Vettel Italy Ferrari 56 +35.286s 1 4
9 55 Spain Carlos Sainz, Jr. France Renault 56 +35.763s 9 2
10 20 Denmark Kevin Magnussen United States Haas-Ferrari 56 +39.594s 11 1
11 31 France Esteban Ocon India Force India-Mercedes 56 +44.050s 12
12 11 Mexico Sergio Pérez India Force India-Mercedes 56 +44.725s 8
13 2 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne United Kingdom McLaren-Renault 56 +49.373s 14
14 18 Canada Lance Stroll United Kingdom Williams-Mercedes 56 +55.490s 18
15 35 Russia Sergey Sirotkin United Kingdom Williams-Mercedes 56 +58.241s 16
16 9 Sweden Marcus Ericsson Switzerland Sauber-Ferrari 56 +62.604s 20
17 8 France Romain Grosjean United States Haas-Ferrari 56 +65.296s 10
18 10 France Pierre Gasly Italy Toro Rosso-Honda 56 +66.330s 17
19 16 Monaco Charles Leclerc Switzerland Sauber-Ferrari 56 +82.575s 19
20 28 New Zealand Brendon Hartley Italy Toro Rosso-Honda 51 Accident damage 15
Source: [20]
  • * Verstappen was given a ten-second time penalty for causing a collision with Vettel.[20]
  • Gasly was given a ten-second time penalty for causing a collision with Hartley.

MilestonesEdit

StandingsEdit

The dramatic closing stages to the Chinese Grand Prix proved to have an equally drastic influence to the Championship, with Daniel Ricciardo shooting up into the top four. The Australian racer was still seventeen points of Championship leader Sebastian Vettel, although the German had been reeled in by the pack behind. Lewis Hamilton remained his closest challenger, nine points back, while Valtteri Bottas completed the top three a further five back.

Into the Constructors Championship and Mercedes had moved a point ahead of rivals Ferrari, despite the perceived superiority of the scarlet cars. Behind, Red Bull-TAG Heuer moved back into third ahead of McLaren-Renault, who were being reeled in by the factory Renault squad, while Toro Rosso-Honda remained in sixth. Haas-Ferrari were next ahead of Sauber-Ferrari and Force India-Mercedes, while Williams-Mercedes remained the only team yet to score.

Drivers' World Championship
Pos. Driver Pts. +/-
1 Germany Sebastian Vettel 54
2 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton 45
3 Finland Valtteri Bottas 40
4 Australia Daniel Ricciardo 37 ▲3
5 Finland Kimi Räikkönen 30
6 Spain Fernando Alonso 22 ▼2
7 Germany Nico Hülkenberg 22 ▼1
8 Netherlands Max Verstappen 18 ▲2
9 France Pierre Gasly 12 ▼1
10 Denmark Kevin Magnussen 11 ▼1
11 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne 6
12 Spain Carlos Sainz, Jr. 3 ▲1
13 Sweden Marcus Ericsson 2 ▼1
14 France Esteban Ocon 1
Constructors World Championship
Pos. Team Pts. +/-
1 Germany Mercedes 85 ▲1
2 Italy Ferrari 84 ▼1
3 Austria Red Bull-TAG Heuer 55 ▲1
4 United Kingdom McLaren-Renault 28 ▼1
5 France Renault 25
6 Italy Toro Rosso-Honda 12
7 United States Haas-Ferrari 11
8 Switzerland Sauber-Ferrari 2
9 India Force India-Mercedes 1
Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.

ReferencesEdit

Images and Videos:

References:

  1. "Formula 1 2018 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix". formula1.com. Formula One Administration. https://www.formula1.com/en/championship/races/2018/China.html. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Adam Cooper, '2018 Formula 1 calendar revised as Chinese and Bahrain GPs swap', autosport.com, (Motorsport Network, 29/09/2017), https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/132087/2018-formula-1-calendar-revised, (Accessed 04/04/2018)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 'QUALIFYING: Vettel edges Raikkonen as Ferrari lock out front row', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Limited, 14/04/2018), https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/headlines/2018/4/f1-qualifying-china-vettel-raikkonen-lock-out.html, (Accessed 17/04/2018)
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20 4.21 4.22 4.23 4.24 4.25 4.26 'RACE: Ricciardo wins wild Chinese Grand Prix for Red Bull', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Limited, 15/04/2018), https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/headlines/2018/4/race--ricciardo-wins-wild-race-in-china-for-red-bull.html, (Accessed 18/04/2018)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Adam Cooper, 'Bahrain GP: Hamilton questions Verstappen's maturity after F1 clash', autosport.com, (Motorsport Network, 09/04/2018), https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/135296/hamilton-questions-verstappen-maturity, (Accessed 09/04/2018)
  6. Morlidge, Matt (10 April 2018). "Sebastian Vettel defends Lewis Hamilton after Max Verstappen jibe". Sky Sports. http://www.skysports.com/f1/news/12433/11323753/sebastian-vettel-defends-lewis-hamilton-after-max-verstappen-jibe. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 'Ferrari handed big fine for Raikkonen unsafe release', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Limited, 08/04/2018), https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/headlines/2018/4/ferrari-handed-big-fine-for-raikkonen-unsafe-release.html, (Accessed 09/04/2018)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Andrew Benson, 'McLaren in management restructure after poor start to season', bbc.co.uk/sport, (British Broadcasting Company, 10/04/2018), http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/formula1/43714234, (Accessed 10/04/2018)
  9. Jonathan Noble, 'Brown takes F1 CEO role in McLaren restructuring', motorsport.com, (Motorsport Network, 10/04/2018), https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/brown-takes-ceo-role-mclaren-restructuring-1024592/, (Accessed 10/04/2018)
  10. 10.0 10.1 'Pirelli announce tyre compounds for first 2018 races', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Limited, 12/12/2017), https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/headlines/2017/12/pirelli-announce-tyre-compounds-for-first-2018-races.html, (Accessed 09/04/2018)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Valentin Khorounzhiy, 'Mercedes conservative in China F1 tyre picks', motorsport.com, (Motorsport Network, 03/04/2018), https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/chinese-gp-tyre-selections-mercedes-hamilton-conservative-1021277/, (Accessed 12/04/2018)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 'Pirelli reduces tread depth for Barcelona, Silverstone & Paul Ricard', formula1.com, (Formula One World Championship Limited, 07/04/2018), https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/headlines/2018/4/pirelli-reduces-tread-depth-for-barcelona--silverstone---paul-ri.html, (Accessed 26/04/2018)
  13. "2018 Chinese Grand Prix – Practice 1 results". Formula1.com (Formula One Administration). 13 April 2018. https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2018/races/981/china/practice-1.html. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  14. "2018 Chinese Grand Prix – Practice 2 results". Formula1.com (Formula One Administration). 13 April 2018. https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2018/races/981/china/practice-2.html. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  15. "2018 Chinese Grand Prix – Practice 3 results". Formula1.com (Formula One Administration). 14 April 2018. https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2018/races/981/china/practice-3.html. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  16. 16.00 16.01 16.02 16.03 16.04 16.05 16.06 16.07 16.08 16.09 16.10 16.11 16.12 16.13 16.14 16.15 16.16 16.17 16.18 16.19 16.20 16.21 16.22 16.23 16.24 16.25 16.26 16.27 16.28 16.29 16.30 Formula 1, '2018 Chinese Grand Prix: Qualifying Highlights', youtube.com, (YouTube: Formula 1, 14/04/2018), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNX1x6-hCt0&t=0s&list=PLfoNZDHitwjUKvhTqXDxamdmtR5Fm7FjH&index=8, (Accessed 17/04/2018)
  17. 17.0 17.1 "2018 Chinese Grand Prix – Qualifying results". Formula1.com (Formula One Administration). 14 April 2018. https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2018/races/981/china/qualifying.html. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  18. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named RH
  19. 'Miscommunication caused Gasly, Hartley collision', formula1.com, (ormula One World Championship Limited, 15/04/2018), https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/headlines/2018/4/miscommunication-caused-gasly--hartley-collision.html, (Accessed 18/04/2018)
  20. 20.0 20.1 "China Grand Prix 2018 Race Results". formula1.com (Formula One Administration). 15 April 2018. https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2018/races/981/china/race-result.html. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 '3. China 2018', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2018), http://www.statsf1.com/en/2018/chine.aspx, (Accessed 18/04/2018)
V T E 2018 Formula One Season
Teams Ferrari • Force India • Haas • McLaren • Mercedes • Red Bull • Renault • Sauber • Toro Rosso • Williams
Engines Ferrari • Honda • Mercedes • Renault • TAG Heuer
Drivers alphabetically Alonso • Bottas • Ericsson • Gasly • Grosjean • Hamilton • Hartley • Hülkenberg • Leclerc • Magnussen • Ocon • Pérez • Räikkönen • Ricciardo • Sainz • Sirotkin • Stroll • Vandoorne • Verstappen • Vettel
Drivers by number Vandoorne • 3 Ricciardo • 5 Vettel • 7 Räikkönen • 8 Grosjean • 9 Ericsson • 10 Gasly • 11 Pérez • 14 Alonso • 16 Leclerc • 18 Stroll • 20 Magnussen • 27 Hülkenberg • 28 Hartley • 31 Ocon • 33 Verstappen • 35 Sirotkin • 44 Hamilton • 55 Sainz • 77 Bottas
Other Drivers
Cars Ferrari SF71H • Force India VJM11 • Haas VF-18 • McLaren MCL33 • Mercedes AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ • Red Bull RB14 • Renault R.S.18 • Sauber C37 • Toro Rosso STR13 • Williams FW41
Tyres Pirelli
Races Australia • Bahrain • China • Azerbaijan • Spain • Monaco • Canada • France • Austria • Britain • Germany • Hungary • Belgium • Italy • Singapore • Russia • Japan • United States • Mexico • Brazil • Abu Dhabi
See also 2017 Formula One Season • 2019 Formula One Season • Category
V T E China Chinese Grand Prix
Circuits Shanghai International Circuit (2004–present)
ShanghaiCircuit1
Races 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019
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