Surprise victor in Shanghai – Chinese GP 2018
While the Shanghai GP wasn’t the most exciting race, we did see a surprise victor and general mayhem at the front of the pack for once.
- Daniel Ricciardo – The Australian wins his first GP of the season and the first one since Azerbaijan last year. Ricciardo started climbing the ranks towards the end of the race and really made this Red Bull’s day. Well done, Danny! Good on ya, mate!
- Valtteri Bottas – Bottas beat Räikkönen on one-on-one racing today and very nearly won the race until Ricciardo started his rise. Still, this result was nothing to snuff at since it put Mercedes ahead of Ferrari in points. Well done!
- Kimi Räikkönen – I honestly didn’t expect Räikkönen to make the Top-5 after Bottas and Hamilton both passed him. However, Vettel’s incident allowed Kimi to pass Hamilton to take the third podium.
Lewis Hamilton finishes his first race of the season outside a podium position. I’m a little surprised that Lewis hasn’t been able to beat the Ferraris. Today, Lewis also had some rotten luck as he had to dodge the Vettel-Verstappen incident which allowed Kimi to slip past him.
As for the second Red Bull and Ferrari drivers. Sebastian Vettel was on his way to a podium finish when Max Verstappen rammed into him near the end of the circuit causing both of them to spin. Vettel was the worse affected as his car clearly suffered from some damage and he had to finish 8th. Verstappen was given a 10-second penalty for his driving which still placed him 5th (despite finishing ahead of Hamilton). Verstappen was really all over the place as he has been this entire season thus far. Red Bull really need to make the Dutchman cool down, since his erratic driving really puts a dampener on Ricciardo’s excellent finish.
Renault had another strong race with Nico the Hülk on 6th and team-mate Sainz at 9th. McLaren’s Alonso was able to overtake Vettel towards the end of the race to finish 7th, strengthening McLaren’s place in the Top-5 of the Constructors’ championship.
Kevin Magnussen took 1 point as the only Haas car to finish, again.
Golden Pineapple Award: Esteban Ocon, Force India
Ocon becomes the third driver over-all and the second Force India driver to be inducted to the Pineapple Hall of Fame. Force India are really having a hard time challenging the other middle-lotters, with Perez also losing a decent start. Here’s hoping Ocon can at least repeat his result from the previous race in the future.
Drop-out count: 1
We’re already hitting a record low for the season only three races in. Towards the end of the race, the Toro Rosso drivers collided with each other due to a communication mistake in which they were supposed to swap positions. As a result, Brendon Hartley‘s car took damage and spun around. Parts of Harley’s car were left on the track which caused a short Safety Car period. Hartley was actually driving a decent race (by his standards) so the fact that he was forced to retire into the pits late in the race is a little disappointing. But at the same time, I suppose the New Zealander will be happy not to be the slowest man on track for the third race in a row.
Back of the Lot News:
As stated above, Sergio Perez actually started from grid-8 but was only 12th by the end of the race. Stoffel Vandoorne also continued to disappoint with his 13th place finish even though the McLarens seemed to get a good start to the race.
Another so-and-so finish for Williams, with Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin once again failing to score at 14th and 15th respectively. Stroll was momentarily in the top-10 but things are looking bad for Williams. I really hope they pick up the pace in two weeks for the Azerbaijan race.
Romain Grosjean was another huge disappointment. Despite starting from grid-10, he finished a lowly 17th. He was even slower than Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, who was actually able to rise from the last grid to be 16th. Still a far cry from the 9th place he achieved in Bahrain.
As mentioned in the drop-out count, Pierre Gasly rammed his team-mate off the track and received a time penalty. I’ll forgive Gasly that apparently there was a miscommunication at Toro Rosso, but I do have to wonder how Gasly completely failed to react to the situation. The incident is all the more disappointing when we remember that Gasly was 4th in the previous race. Toro Rosso really needs to fix their car settings for the next race, since whatever it is they did in Shanghai is clearly not working. Despite his penalty, Gasly was only second to last.
Dead Last: Charles Leclerc – The Monegasque rookie has scored his first Last Place Award. This race was clearly not a good one for Sauber so I can’t blame Charles for this poor result and technically he was last only because Hartley didn’t finish at all (but then again, Hartley was last only because Gasly hit him). Here’s hoping the results will start to pick up for the fresh new F1 face.