Grand Prix 2013 Chinese Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

Formula 1 just got even more interesting.

After the inter-team shenanigans that unfortunately was the main talking point of the Malaysian weekend, Formula 1 returns to the concrete wilderness that is the Shanghai International Circuit in, er, Shanghai for surely the most anticipated race weekend of the season. Inevitably, the chat will be about team-mates; or more specifically the relationship (or lack of it) between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. It remains to be seen as to whether the two Red Bull drivers will kiss and make up or whether their relationship will deteriorate further. (I don't want to sound dictatorial but it would be useful if we mainly talk about the upcoming race weekend, rather than having this thread hijacked by arguments relating to the team order fiasco of the last one).

But there is much more to talk about. We can't really conclude much at the moment, as we have had two unpredicatble weekends in terms of the weather. But we can conclude that the Red Bulls are rather fast, the Lotii are rather adept at conserving their tyres, Massa has raised his game to Alonso, Mclaren may be showing green shoots of recovery, Marussia Jules Bianchi has impressed and Caterham are nowhere.
However there are still many questions to be answered. Can Red Bull maintain their pace advantage over the others? Can Mercedes win again at the scene of their first victory since the 1950's? Will Mclaren start sorting their season out? Can Marussia catch up to the midfield? Will Force India be able to carry out a pitstop in under a minute? And can Paul DiResta ever give an exciting interview? All these questions will (hopefully) be answered in just over two weeks' time.

If grey is your favourite colour, then the Chinese Grand Prix is the event for you. The expansive concrete paddock, along with the overstated grandstands, the large run-off areas and the ever-approaching city ensure that the Chinese Grand Prix is one of the more corporate events on the calendar. But at least the race can advocate the open, liberal society that is China, so that's alright. A quick word on attendance for the race - they were dwindling but the Chinese seem to have given the event a proper go which is good (for Bernie at least).

However, don't be fooled by the initial uninspiring characteristics- this event has thrown up some brilliant races. How about Nico Rosberg's maiden win last year, in which Kimi Raikkonen went from 2nd to 14th in one lap? Or the tyre-influenced drama of 2011, where Lewis Hamilton overtook Vettel for the lead with four laps to go? Throw in a couple of stonking wet races, and Lewis Hamilton's pit lane heartbreak in 2007, and you have some memorable races. All at a circuit which is flat, soulless, uninspiring and was built to look like a Chinese character (that's true by the way).

Here are these past race highlights (UK users only, although I'm sure that there are some nice videos on Youtube):
2006 - http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7992260.stm
2007 - http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7992265.stm
2009 - http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/formula_one/8006795.stm
2010 - http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/formula_one/8628045.stm
2011 - http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/13108629
2012 - http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/17719946

It's too early for a weather forecast, although we have had sun, rain and cloud in the past so who knows what type of race we will have.
In terms of coverage, it will the the BBC's first live weekend of the year so for those of us who don't have Sky, remember to get up early!!

For superb circuit write-ups, overtaking stats and other useful stuff, there are some nice clickable buttons at the top of the page, called Race Hub and Overtaking. They won't bite.

All that remains is for me to say Ready, Steady, Discuss!
 

Brogan

Legend
Staff Member
Why did Red Bull bring Webber in after just 1 lap on the soft tyres?

Based on what Vettel did with his set, surely it would have made sense to leave him out for at least 5 laps, which apparently is the point at which they start to degrade too much.
 

Boyle

Race Winner
Contributor
I think it was so they could get clean air at the back whilst catching the others who were on slower tyres. I suppose trying something different in that position was the right thing. He was running well until he T-Boned Vergne
 

Mephistopheles

Banned
Contributor
Funniest moment of the weekend;

Martin Brundle trying to explain why Lewis Hamilton adjusting his wedding tackle wasn't funny whilst Crofty was pissing himself laughing...

It's a serious matter Crofty...LOL
 

Blog Zbod

Podium Finisher
Why did Red Bull bring Webber in after just 1 lap on the soft tyres?

Based on what Vettel did with his set, surely it would have made sense to leave him out for at least 5 laps, which apparently is the point at which they start to degrade too much.
Vettel's softs started going off after two laps. One of them was the warm-up lap and the next was fast lap of the race. It also was slower than his fastest qualie lap on medium tyres. Three laps later, they were another 3.2 slower, up from1:36.808 to 1:40.051.

But that's today. By Bahrain, they might be good for 20 laps.

Whatever the cause of Vettel's brake problem in Q3, it cost him his shot at the race. He was faster enough on the mediums he probably would have made top six. That would have cured his problem being stuck behind the Hulk, and prevented him wasting all those laps and rubber getting past Nico. Admittedly a long shot but it also might have let him exert a little pressure on the front-runners, shortening their first stint.

Vettel's fastest time on the softs was 3 seconds+ faster than Alonso's penultimate lap (1:39.870), which was all the faster 'Nando went in the closing laps and after Seb took on the softs. And Vettel only finished 12.5 seconds back, so if he could have turned 1:36s to the finish, he likely would have come at least second.

Vettel is such a solid qualifier, it must have seemed a short gamble. And if not for the braking glitch in Q3, Red Bull's tyre decision would be being the talk of the race instead of Alosno's incredible drive.
 

Slyboogy

World Champion
Contributor
Lotus F1 Team ‏@Lotus_F1Team 4m

We've done the figures and we reckon that we lost around 0.25 seconds per lap due to the damage to Kimi’s car.#F1FortuneCookie #Kimi

Interesting.
 

GeoffP

Thank you and good night
Contributor
Slyboogy - Excessive drinking can do that to people

One of those things, do you add the 0.25 per lap together and say that's where we'd have been, or just say it would have left you trying to overtake for a little longer?

Still - if Kimi had been quicker in the last part, Lewis would have used his tyres less trying to pass and therefore had more tread at the end to defend against Vettel who'd have been further back down the road... Clear in my mind :)
 
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