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

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


Button: "Pit-stop cost me shot at win"
Hamilton: "penalty cost me win chance
Alonso: "Could have been sixth without traffic"
Raikkonen: "Tyre strategy hurt us"

Blimey the coulda-woulda-shouldas are out in force today. They're all at it.
That's true but then again so are the statements ;)


Pole Sitter
Good drives by the Williams drivers, but as at least one of them has been able to potentially finish at least 7th in all three races so far this season, and their drivers' talents are still quite questionable, I am kind of wondering how good the car is and if a better driver in the Williams would be finishing even higher.


Champion Elect
I tell you what really struck me this race and that was the general quality of the driving by all drivers. there were so many overtakes and some heart stopping momnets as 'dodgy characters' were overtaken, but credit to them all they kept it clean. No cutting in when being overtaken. They gave each other room. That was nice to see, we always moan when they dont do it right, I thought today they did do it right, so credit to them all for that.


Champion Elect
Well lap times are directly related to pace and you said that "Nico had the superior pace from start to finish".

The chart shows that not to be entirely true.


Well I'd hate to be pedantic but actually I love being precisely that and so will point out that "from start to finish" could also be interpreted as"from start to finish" as in the whole of the race as a single value from start to finish rather than each individual lap. :twisted:

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
I think Lewis was the better driver because I am a Hamilton fan. And he gained more places and kept his head in traffic despite losing about 13 seconds to Button behind Perez, he also managed to come 3rd a couple of seconds behind Button albeit a dodgy pit stop

Remember that button lost a lot of time behind the raikkonen vettel scrap......


Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Re: Viscounts post about Williams.

Seem me you and FB were all thinking same thing as I was thinking of doing an article on where that Williams would be with an Alonso/Hamilton/Vettel/Button in the cockpit or even a Perez/Kobi/Rosberg
I too think it was always going to be Nico's race and lets hope this puts to bed the "Why is it always Hamilton's pitstops that gets screwed up" conspiracy theory crap.

Can you point us in the direction of this conspiracy theory crap? who said it was always Lewis stops getting screwed?
Just to help, today JB had bad luck with his pit stop, unavoidable just like LH had a gearbox issue, also unavoidable

Now these bad luck incidents are different from LH getting left out 3 laps after JB even though he was 3 seconds slower than practically the whole field

To question why JB was brought in 3 laps before LH might seem to you to be conspiracy theory but at least try and understand that team decisions are not the same as bad luck that afflicts all drivers

Did you even see the race?

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
Cookin- just give it a rest! Button today could've been compromised by having his stops after Hamilton! The only reason people mention the word conspiracy as they are able to read between the lines in your posts where you imply that there are forces at work which disadvantage Hamilton!


Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Mod comment

And we have the Button vs Hamilton thread for these discussions so please keep it there.

Thank you



Champion Elect
The current Williams is probably about on the same pace as the Williams Rosberg had for 2007 - 2008 where he managed to grab a podium if things went all but was usually troubling the front runners

I am waiting to see what the Williams guys will do at Monaco, Spa and Suzuka the real driver tracks

Pastor supposedly a Monaco expert so he could feature in the top 6


Pole Sitter
RasputinLives said:
Seem me you and FB were all thinking same thing as I was thinking of doing an article on where that Williams would be with an Alonso/Hamilton/Vettel/Button in the cockpit or even a Perez/Kobi/Rosberg
I say do the article, it'll be an interesting read.

It kind of comes back to the debate of the importance of the driver vs the car.
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