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 http://cliptheapex.com/pages/shanghai-international-circuit/
 

Puhoon

Podium Finisher
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.

2009 wasn't really a good race from Hamilton: he spun twice and finished behind Kovalainen.

The track is a lot like Sepang, so I'd expect the same cars to be fast in China as well: McLaren, Mercedes and maybe Lotus.
 

GeoffP

Thank you and good night
Contributor
The tyre situation was probably compounded by the timing of pit stops more than anything. The point I was making was Alonso was flawless, the competition wasn't. Lewis's situation was difficult to figure, normally he would have hunted down lesser cars, especially in the wet, yet I haven't heard anything from the McLaren camp regarding problems with their wet weather set up or tyres.

One thing I did hear was that McLaren's choice of a stiffer setup to assist in the dry did appear to have affected this year's car in the wet. So I'm not sure they were expecting to be the fastest in the wet, certainly as yet.

Whilst Alonso did not make any errors in Malaysia, he did have good company with that level of drive, I thought he got to the front through lucky timing of a SC, or am I mixing me races again?

I do feel luck allowed Alonso's skills to show through, and do feel strongly we have only ever had lucky WDCs, before the onslaught, they have also been skilful and deserving, but without that final component of luck there is simply too much that can get in your way in F1.
 
J

johnnoble1990

Guest
Whilst Alonso did not make any errors in Malaysia, he did have good company with that level of drive, I thought he got to the front through lucky timing of a SC, or am I mixing me races again?

Up till the safety car (red flag) Hamilton led and was very impressive on the wrong tyres. It was the switch from full wets to intermediates where Alonso moved 2nd, it was a very fortunate pit stop sequence, with Massa blocking Lewis from exiting. This is what I find odd about Kewee's criticism of the pit stop timing, when Nando pitted at the same time.
 

mjo

Procrastinating
Contributor
It hunk that if it's a dry race, the Mclarens and the Lotii could walk this, however, if there is changing conditions, I would be stupid to rule out the Ferrari of Alonso, with the Mercedes not far behind in both cases. Either way, I can't see the Red Bulls challenging for the win. Podium, yes, but not the win.
 

Kewee

Race Winner
One thing I did hear was that McLaren's choice of a stiffer setup to assist in the dry did appear to have affected this year's car in the wet. So I'm not sure they were expecting to be the fastest in the wet, certainly as yet.

Whilst Alonso did not make any errors in Malaysia, he did have good company with that level of drive, I thought he got to the front through lucky timing of a SC, or am I mixing me races again?

I do feel luck allowed Alonso's skills to show through, and do feel strongly we have only ever had lucky WDCs, before the onslaught, they have also been skilful and deserving, but without that final component of luck there is simply too much that can get in your way in F1.

In sport, business, and life generally you make your own luck. When Alonso sees an opportunity (gap) he goes for it before it closes. Same in business, opportunities slip by an "unlucky" person before they realize they were opportunities. The lucky people weren't lucky at all, they just saw a chance coming their way and embraced it. :)
 

GeoffP

Thank you and good night
Contributor
In sport, business, and life generally you make your own luck. When Alonso sees an opportunity (gap) he goes for it before it closes. Same in business, opportunities slip by an "unlucky" person before they realize they were opportunities. The lucky people weren't lucky at all, they just saw a chance coming their way and embraced it. :)

I agree - but I still reckon that's only half of it.

Your definition of "luck" is the part I would allocate to the main heading "skill & experience". The part I meant was where the majority of mechanical and pit errors were suffered by their teammate, the safety car supported their pit stop strategy, gambles pay off, back markers are encountrered on the right part of the circuit... the list is endless, but that kind of luck seems to come in phases, so everyone can get a bit of the cherry, but to be WDC you need to have had at least your fair share during the season.

I seem to remember even the commentators used to describe Michael Schumacher as the luckiest driver in F1, no-one meant it as a criticism of his skills, but it involve regular benefitting from luck - the vast majority of which would have been completely outside the control of any teammate, team strategist, mechanic or official...
 
J

johnnoble1990

Guest
I think if you put yourself in the position to get lucky enough times, you will get lucky and then people will assign it to luck, but did they get lucky or was it a payoff from good decision making. Luck favours the smart more than the brave.
 
J

johnnoble1990

Guest
Pleased it is only 4 days till China free practice. These big gaps feel like a lifetime, especially considering I've had a lot of time on my hands due to Easter.
 

Jos the Boss

Champion Elect
I can't agree with you there Galahad, the last three Chinese Grands Prix have been awesome; last years stands as one of the best dry races ever in my opinion.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/13108629 if you're not registered to F1.com

DC and Martin were great together, why did they have to be split up?:(
Edit: I also love how they film from inside the commentary box and the camera picks up Ant!
Edit again: Also so excited for BBC's first race this season! Boycotting Sky, for BBC, 10 races this season I shall, I'll record Sky highlights and watch them later though
 

Jos the Boss

Champion Elect
Did you know their is a Beijing International circuit?
The tight hairpin at the end of the dual carriageway and also the backstraight was literally a 180 degree left turn. Later during the race, the turn was found to be far too tight for the race cars. They tried to negotiate safely by running wide but were still stopping at the mid corner, therefore the sessions were red flagged.
Lap record is 0:58.107 from A1GP in 2006! But weather now to make Bill happy!
Friday, to sum it up, all dry not a drop expected, nice and sunny!
Saturday the same, looking at a dry qually
Sunday, this is the part I hate, rain expected! 0200: Patchy light rain (1.0mm) 0500: Moderate rain (2.7mm) 0800: Light rain (1.3mm) 1100: Light Drizzle (0.6mm) 1400: Overcast skies (0.1mm) 1700: Overcast skies (0.1mm) The race starts at 3 local time, so that is in between the rain, the F1 website says it will be wet as well as Friday, but so far we expect a wet race, discuss...
 

tonyw151

Points Scorer
Contributor
Typical, the Chinese copy Monza but don't get it quite right. They supply the batteries to go with it but midway during the race they go flat and the track surface falls to pieces as well.

Monza? must admit I see Silverstone, a blend of 80's and early 90's layouts.
 

Josephiah

Podium Finisher
Did you know their is a Beijing International circuit?
The tight hairpin at the end of the dual carriageway and also the backstraight was literally a 180 degree left turn. Later during the race, the turn was found to be far too tight for the race cars. They tried to negotiate safely by running wide but were still stopping at the mid corner, therefore the sessions were red flagged.
Three-point turns at the end of the main straight would certainly spice up the action!

Also, it appears to be in the shape of some kind of upside-down sniper rifle...
 

riskitall

Points Scorer
In sport, business, and life generally you make your own luck. When Alonso sees an opportunity (gap) he goes for it before it closes. Same in business, opportunities slip by an "unlucky" person before they realize they were opportunities. The lucky people weren't lucky at all, they just saw a chance coming their way and embraced it. :)

if you make your own luck,how comes i cant make myself win the lottery?
i just cant seem to make myself lucky enough.
 

B Thomas

Test Driver
If it stays dry, I think this will be a peerless win for Hamilton.
If Lewis gets a fair chance yes i think in the dry or wet he could get a good win in China ,but looking at the first race i am incline to think Lewis"s car is not as fast as his team mate,s in race trim.I wonder why?
 

mjo

Procrastinating
Contributor
If Lewis gets a fair chance yes i think in the dry or wet he could get a good win in China ,but looking at the first race i am incline to think Lewis"s car is not as fast as his team mate,s in race trim.I wonder why?
Welcome to CTA :cheers::moustache:
Also, there could be a potential that, over a longer run (ie in a race) Hamilton harms his tyres more than Button. That's one area he needs to improve on for today's F1, preserving his tyres.
BTW, chance of rain on raceday.
 
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