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Grand Prix 2011 Chinese Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

Discussion in 'Grand Prix Discussions' started by FB, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. FB

    FB Not my cup of cake Valued Member

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    So on to China, with the teams only having a few days rest after Malaysia. Last year Red Bull dominated qualifying with Christian Horner describing Vettel’s pole lap as “phenomenal”.

    Come the race, however, changeable weather caught out both the Red Bull drivers and Lewis Hamilton as they pitted early expecting heavy rain. This left Jenson Button, who chose not to go in for inters, in the lead and he, along with Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica who also stayed out on slicks, showed that it’s all about being on the right tyres at the right time.

    The race should also be remembered for what looked like an astonishing start from Fernando Alonso. I watched it in an Italian hotel and the crowd literally went wild, only for the assembled throng to mope to the bar a few minutes later as Alonso was given a drive through penalty for jumping the start.

    Button’s more mature tyre strategy won him the race, although he was under pressure late on from Hamilton, and the team scored their first 1-2 since Monza 2007 with Rosberg taking third for Mercedes.

    2011 has been a Red Bull Fest, or perhaps more accurately a Vettel Fest, so far with the young German taking pole and race wins in the first two Grands Prix whilst his team mate has struggled with various car problems and, might I postulate, some psychological scarring from last season. McLaren are much closer than pre-season testing indicated they would be and Renault have surprised everyone with 3rd spot at both races and an ability to get off the start line reminiscent of the Benetton launch control system.

    Ferrari are nowhere near where they feel they should and there will be many tired faces in their pit garage as managers and engineers flit backwards and forwards between Europe and the Far East trying to understand what is going on. Similarly Mercedes are still not even close to where they expect to be whilst Sauber and Force India are looking good for minor placings, dicing with the Toro Rosso’s.

    Toward the back, Williams (it hurts me to say) look to have taken 1 step forward and 2 back with their new car and are now competing with Team Lotus to be the best of the worst. Virgin appear not to have moved any further forward compared to 2010 and HRT, despite no pre-season testing, look to have a car which, once a bit more sorted, might get ahead of them. I suppose the question there is can they sort the car?

    Oh, I nearly forgot tyres. 55 pit stops in Malaysia, more marbles than a game of KerPlunk and rubber wearing out faster than Russell Brand’s bed sheets. No sign of the wet tyres yet, will Shanghai throw us a surprise (sorry, had to slip that in)

    For Galahad's excellent circuit write-up, see here: http://cliptheapex.com/pages/shanghai-international-circuit/
     
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  3. Galahad

    Galahad Not a Moderator Valued Member

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    Thanks FB.

    I feel young Seb's run of form will have to come to an end at some point, and Shanghai is as good a place as any. Not very scientific, but making any predictions from race to race is looking like a mug's game based on what we've seen so far.

    I think the consensus is that Shanghai won't be as severe as Sepang for the tyres, but still tougher than Melbourne?

    What will be interesting this year, and it may not happen in China, is seeing how teams respond to Safety Cars, particularly if they're outside a natural pit stop 'window'.
     
  4. Chad Stewarthill

    Chad Stewarthill Champion Elect Contributor

    Or indeed rain, which threatened but didn't really transpire in Sepang.
    Or maybe even both.
     
  5. Brogan

    Brogan Running Man Staff Member

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    I really hope someone other than Seb V wins this one otherwise it doesn't bode well for an exciting season.

    China once again has a couple of very long straights, but if it's kinder on the tyres and Red Bulll come out on top then they would seem to have all bases covered.

    I guess we won't know until the end of Q3 to see how the various teams stack up against each other.
    I've given up trying to predict races based on practice as there's just too much sandbagging going on by one team in particular.
     
  6. Galahad

    Galahad Not a Moderator Valued Member

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    Even then we may not get a full picture. Ferrari in particular seem to be hugely better in race trim (or, you could say, hugely worse in qualifying trim). Whether that is partly due to Red Bull taking it steadier we'll have to see; I don't think McLaren are, though, and the red cars seemed to be a match for them at Sepang, or at least very close on pace. Even Massa!
     
  7. Brogan

    Brogan Running Man Staff Member

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    True.

    There does seem to be some compromising during qualifying to ensure a good race set-up.
    Something which Red Bull don't have to concern themselves with apparently.
     
  8. Enja

    Enja isn't dead. Valued Member

    The DRS zone will be 902m down the 1.2km back straight.

    Malaysia's DRS zone was what, 700m? Some were already saying that was too much and people blasted past - I think 902m is going to look very very silly indeed.
     
  9. Speshal

    Speshal Champion Elect Valued Member

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    I do believe the DRS regs are being reviewed after China
     
  10. Incubus

    Incubus Champion Elect

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    Autosport's latest live weather forecast claims the race should be run on dry but temperatures are likely to be much cooler. Could be interesting to see if the hierarchy will be affected by some some cars being better suited for cool weather with the tyres they've got.

    http://live.autosport.com/commentary.php/id/331
     
  11. ATL11

    ATL11 Podium Finisher

    Do we know when this review is going to happen? I do believe DRS has a chance to bring back overtaking, last seen in the.......Ahhhh shucks who am I kidding....just they need to use it right, plastic as it'll make the racing.

    Looking at the technical side of it, Enja what's the reason behind an extra 200 metres of the DRS zone making it look silly? I believe the issue is not where this is, but the gap between the start of the DRS zone and the qualification line or what ever it is called!
     
  12. Enja

    Enja isn't dead. Valued Member

    Well in Malaysia we saw a few passes where it was ridiculously easy, they didn't even have to outbrake the guy in front.

    Adding 200m will bring us more of that, which nobody, I'm sure, nobody, wants to see.

    Granted though, the corner leading onto the straight is more difficult and prone to understeer in turbulence than that of the last corner in Malaysia.
     
  13. teabagyokel

    teabagyokel #bringbackmaldo Valued Member

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    No-one has ever won the Chinese GP twice:

    2004R. Barrichello
    2005F. Alonso
    2006M. Schumacher
    2007K. Raikkonen
    2008L. Hamilton
    2009S. Vettel
    2010J. Button


    Could there be an 8th winner in 8? Heidfeld, Massa and particularly Webber will be interested to find out...!
     
  14. Galahad

    Galahad Not a Moderator Valued Member

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    A few more pointers:

    Four drivers have started and finished all seven previous Chinese Grands Prix: Alonso, Barrichello, Button and Webber (yes, Webber!). Additionally Rosberg has seen the chequered flag in all five of his Shanghai starts, as has Nick Heidfeld.

    Jarno Trulli has a dreadful record in China, retiring from four of six events, with a best finish of 13th.

    Michael Schumacher has never qualified higher than sixth at Shanghai. Fernando Alonso has never qualified lower than sixth, and has been on the first two rows of the grid for the last six successive years. Buemi also has a good qualifying record, 10th and 13th in his two visits.
     
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  15. teabagyokel

    teabagyokel #bringbackmaldo Valued Member

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    Hamilton has had good and bad times in China; he was peerless in 2008 and made up for poor tyre strategy in 2010. He realised his McLaren wasn't as good in the wet as previously in 2009, and in 2007...

    Only Kimi Raikkonen has stood on the Chinese podium 4 times, Alonso and Button are on 3.

    The seven pole positions are shared with 2 each for Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton, and 1 for Barrichello. I'm not guessing that'll be 2-2-2-2 this weekend!
     
  16. Brogan

    Brogan Running Man Staff Member

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    No. Vettel will be the first to win it twice.
     
    ATL11 likes this.
  17. teabagyokel

    teabagyokel #bringbackmaldo Valued Member

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    There's a lot that could happen. :popcorn:
    Rain in qualifying, for starters!
     
  18. ATL11

    ATL11 Podium Finisher

    Think your right there I see nothing other than a Vettel win, 5 on the spin, his 6th in 7:1st:, it'll also mean the last 10 races have only been won by Vettel or Alonso. Lewis taking a win @ Spa in late August was the last time we've seen anything other than a Ferrari or RBR on the top step of the podium....

    Vettel is 8/11 to get Pole and 11/10 to win the race, Lewis is next @ 4/1 to win with Webber @ 5/1.

    Okay I know it's glum looking:disappointed:.....but knowing F1, Alonso will take Vettel into the kitty litter on turn 1 & we'll have someone else win........& I know this is old rope, but Vettel ending up in the kitty litter will be Webber's fault.

    Anyone think if either of the Renault's have a good grid slot they could cause another surprise into turn 1 with their rocket like starts?
     
  19. Incubus

    Incubus Champion Elect

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    Also, it'll be nearly six months now since anyone other than Vettel won a GP...
     
  20. RickD

    RickD Pole Sitter

    I thought I was depressed before, I definitely am now..
     
  21. teabagyokel

    teabagyokel #bringbackmaldo Valued Member

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    Right, where to start on this little téte-a-téte?

    If he wins the Chinese GP, then fine. Get all depressed if the idea of an excellent driver winning F1 races in an excellent car is surprisingly difficult to handle.

    However, do not reward drivers races they have not yet won. Don't do it! He was a tenth up in qualifying in Malaysia; hardly an insurmountable gap, even within a week.

    In 1992, at the San Marino GP, Nigel Mansell scored his 5th win from 5, and was a second clear of Patrese in qualifying. He remained 8 tenths clear in quali in Monaco and did not win the race.

    Perhaps more pertinently, Michael Schumacher scored his 6th win on the bounce from his 6th consecutive pole at the 2001 Malaysian GP. However, he qualified only a tenth up on Barrichello in that race, and only 2 tenths clear of his dear brother. The third race was in Brazil - Schuey's 7th consecutive pole position. He finished 2nd behind David Coulthard and would have finished behind JPM had Jos Verstappen not been playing silly beggars!

    I've often heard it said "Its not over" but scarcely 2 days before FP1.

    I'm not saying Vettel won't win, he's too good for me to guarantee that, but he's not quite good enough for anyone to guarantee that he'll win the race!

    You could presuppose a lot of statistics by inventing results:

    If he wins every race till 2041 it'll be 30 years since anyone else won a race

    Lets wait and see if he wins before crying the death of F1, or, more appropriately, hailing a great driver in a great car!
     
    EvilWhippet, Incubus, Galahad and 2 others like this.

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