The Chinese Grand Prix has drawn to a wet close, and it has been a very exciting weekend. Red Bull’s one-two finish shows that the rear diffuser isn’t the be all and end all of a fast car and Vettel’s second win marks him as a future world championship contender. Not that he’s out of the 2009 contention yet, Reb Bull’s pace is still quick and Brawn GP are not that far ahead.
The Qualifying was one of the most exciting for some time, a whole host of contenders who could have made P1 and a completely unpredictable grid. There were some great moments, and some very brave strategies. Vettel once again shone here only doing the one run each session. I think this really shows his mental strength and character, not many drivers could have kept their cool sitting in the garage as the rest of the drivers placed some excellent times. Alonso completely outdrove his team mate Piquet, who didn’t even make it out of P3. I’m not sure Piquet will even finish the season. Surely there must be someone in the wings who can replace him? As Flavio Briatore labels Button “a concrete post” (also translated as a speed limit sign, I guess this is quite a hard phrase to translate from Italian) I wonder how he’d decribe Piquet. Anyone know the Italian word for “crash test dummy”? Buemi, the rookie to F1 shows how to do it in the Toro Rosso, outqualifies his team mate once again. Definitely one to watch out for this season.
Cometh the race cometh some rain. A track filled with standing water resulted in a rather boring safety car start. Usually for cars that ran as light as the Red Bulls and Alonso this would completely destroy their strategy, but somehow the Red Bulls seemed to continue to be very fast and in contention throughout the race. Possibly helped by the spread field that resulted from the rain. I’m surprised just how fast the car was though, I’m guessing the suspension can handle he quite high kerbs quite well? Might well help them in Bahrain and similar tracks. The car must also have pretty good downforce, not usually that beneficial for China but with the rain maybe quite a few teams had their setup a bit too far in favour of speed rather than downforce. The race wasn’t that exciting compared to qualifying though. Buemi drove well but messed up somewhat, a rookie mistake to be expected. Force India’s Sutil almost managed to make the points again, but the very wet track and his worn tyres saw him crash. If he had finished in the points it would have left Ferrari the only team not to have any championship points. Imagine that! Hamilton showed once again that he really isn’t “the rain master”. Remember Monza last year where he qualified 15th? Well today he spun off many times, he must have overtaken Raikonnen and then spun off at least three times! Hopefully the commentators will take note. Also Piquet crashed, twice. Well done him.
Coverage was pretty good, the internet feed holding up well for me. Mike Gascoigne was a lot more interesting, informative and less ANGRY than Eddie Jordan. Can we keep him?