Grand Prix 2012 Chinese Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

MCLS

Anti F1 fan
Valued Member
Racking up the air miles now

Going into the third race of the 2012 season and it is still unclear where everyone lies in true race pace over a normal dry race without the intervention of a safety car apart from that McLaren have done the best job of the teams with Red Bull and Mercedes not too far apart but Mercedes seem to be struggling with higher levels of tyre degradation compared to the other front runners.

Despite all the highly publicised problems at Ferrari, Fernando Alonso currently leads the Championship after a 5th place in Australia and an against the odds victory in Malaysia where the rain early on managed to put Alonso in the lead when the others struggled. However this doesn't mean things are rosy in Maranello as when the track dried up Alonso started to fall back and was being hunted down by none other than Sergio Perez in the Sauber who was closing in rapidly on the Spaniard only to make a minor mistake with a couple of laps to go which ruined his chances of a maiden victory, but he was understandably delighted to finish in second place. Lewis Hamilton showed that he is a more rounded driver than he was in 2011 with a second consecutive third place showing he has the maturity to make the best of a bad job when circumstances were against him when he was caught out by the pit stops (like he was in Australia) to not make any mistakes and bring the car home in third place for 15 points which could be crucial at the end of the season.

On the other hand, team mate Jenson Button had a characteristically poor race after running second early on, but after outbraking himself he broke his front wing trying to overtake an HRT who was running there on position after an early gamble for wets paid off as when the red flag fell, Narain was running in 10th place which shocked fans worldwide. The red flag was also (im)famous for the introduction of gazebos all down the grid, something previously pioneered by Mercedes in Canada last season.

2012 has seen (so far) probably one of the most competitive midfields in many seasons with Force India, Sauber, Williams and Toro Rosso all pushing the top teams for points and Sauber have already claimed a podium through Perez and it could be said that on pure one lap pace, most of these teams are as quick as if not faster than Ferrari, certainly faster than Felipe Massa who is really coming under pressure for his seat after 2 mediocre performances so far while Alonso continued to drag the car to places where it shouldn't really be.

Looking ahead to China and it has been a track which has favoured McLaren in recent years with Lewis Hamilton winning in 2008 and 2011 and Jenson Button winning in the rain affected 2010 race. Hamilton should have won in 2007 but famously threw it away in the pitlane after running wide on very used tyres when he was in a position to win the Championship, something with now Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen took advantage of to win the race and eventually steal the Championship in Brazil.

China will also be an importunity to be the first true comparison of Sky and BBC as it is the first race that will be shown live on BBC and it will certainly be very interesting to see where the two broadcasters shape up over a full race weekend and it will show to people in their own minds which one is better and it is pretty clear that it certainly won't be a clear cut thing and will be down more to personal preference than the overall package compared to the other.

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

no-FIAt-please

Champion Elect
Premium Contributor
Have to agree. Hamilton has always been strong at Shanghai. Should have won in '07, did in '08, '09 he didn't have the car but still came in a respectable 6th, in '10 he was bearing down on Button and in 2011 he became the first repeat winner of the race.

I reckon we'll see Mercedes and Lotus come to the fore as well. Raikkonen said the car had the pace to challenge for pole in Malaysia, if Rosberg stops 'cocking-up' I seem him joining the the battle for pole as well, however I'd expect him to drop back in the race.

I'm also going to say Massa has until Spain to get his act together and get somewhere near Alonso, because Ferrari can say they're standing by him all they want, I don't buy it.
 

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
Hamilton's drive last year stands as one of the best dry overtaking wins ever. In 2008 he won peerlessly from the front.

One thing has always confused me more than anything else about 2007 - why is the only gravel trap on the whole track in the pit entry? It makes no sense!
I suppose that this gravel trap ensures that drivers actively slow down on the entry into the pits.... As if it were a Tarmac run-off then I suspect drivers would run very quickly outside of the white lines!!!
 

Lewywo4

Race Winner
Hamilton's drive last year stands as one of the best dry overtaking wins ever. In 2008 he won peerlessly from the front.

One thing has always confused me more than anything else about 2007 - why is the only gravel trap on the whole track in the pit entry? It makes no sense!
I hope by now, that Hamilton Beach has been paved over.
 

Kewee

Race Winner
More unknowns in this GP, not least of which is, have Ferrari made gains with the upgrades they're working on. They won't be completed until Spain but I'm sure they'll be testing their progress. I think the battle between Lewis and Jenson will stay quite even. Not so sure whether Red Bull will be moving forward much though. :popcorn:
 

Kewee

Race Winner
MCLS......

Yes they do. The Hot Blown Diffuser gave them a huge advantage last season. I was surprised how many commentators raved about Vettel being the new Fangio and like minded comments. I could name two drivers that would beat him more often than not in equal cars. Vettel is still prone to mistakes when the pressure is on. As far as I'm concerned the juries still out regarding how good he is. :(
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
I wish protests could get this race cancelled. I just don't like it, no redeeming features, and the locals don't like it either.
 

Kewee

Race Winner
I wish protests could get this race cancelled. I just don't like it, no redeeming features, and the locals don't like it either.
I have to say the only races I like in the East are Japan and Singapore. Love Sinapore, decent track length, fast, good for genuine overtaking without the need for flappy wings or KER's, spectacular under lights. Did I say I love Singapore. I LOVE SINGAPORE. :D
 

MCLS

Anti F1 fan
Valued Member
Vettel is still prone to mistakes when the pressure is on. As far as I'm concerned the juries still out regarding how good he is. :(
As far as Vettel is concerned I think this is the season we find out how good he actually is, he's in a good car that can fight at the top, but he's not in a car that walks away at the front like most of last season. To be fair he has made some good overtakes this season but at the moment he is behind Webber and even Perez in the standings, but a lot of that is down to the puncture he got in Malaysia, but for all his qualifying speed which he made famous in 2011, he's 2-0 behind to his team mate.
 

Kewee

Race Winner
As far as Vettel is concerned I think this is the season we find out how good he actually is, he's in a good car that can fight at the top, but he's not in a car that walks away at the front like most of last season. To be fair he has made some good overtakes this season but at the moment he is behind Webber and even Perez in the standings, but a lot of that is down to the puncture he got in Malaysia, but for all his qualifying speed which he made famous in 2011, he's 2-0 behind to his team mate.
Watching how the season progresses for Vettel is one of the big points of interest for many of us I think. He's a very good driver without doubt, I just can't put him on a pedestal as some do. I won't name the two drivers I feel are better but I'll give you a hint, one drives a silvery chrome car and the other drives a bright red one. ROFL
 

Josh

Champion Elect
I wish protests could get this race cancelled. I just don't like it, no redeeming features, and the locals don't like it either.
Same here! I always get this track and Singapore mixed up, I can't even remember last years raceLOL
 

KekeTheKing

Banned
Supporter
Let's not forget also that Hamilton made it to the grid with just 35 seconds to spare after his car was overfilled and flooded in the garage.
I will never forget that. I was about smash something to bits. And I think it was more like 15 seconds....8-)
 
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