Grand Prix 2016 Chinese Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

I just had a look back at last years race review on Wiki. This was when the cracks started to appear between Hamilton and Rosberg as Nico accused Lewis of deliberately slowing down in the middle stint to compromise his race and then got a right sulk on telling Hamilton he only cared about himself. Wah, wah, wah. Other than the race finishing under the safety car I can't see anything else which is memorable, although Jenson Button was found to have caused an accident with Pastor Maldonado. Go figure!

On to 2016. It's hard to see past a Mercedes pole, fastest lap and race win but which car? Nico Rosberg is 2 and O for 2016 and heads the championship by 17 points from his team mate who's had a few problems at the start in the first couple of races. No bitching about your team mate so far this season eh Nico? Lewis was almost certainly faster in Bahrain but his tangle with Bottas destroyed any chance of a win. Third with a bent car was quite some achievement.

Ferrari will, of course, offer the only (semi) serious opposition to the Mercedes pair but they haven't enjoyed the best reliability with two engine failures as they push to catch up. Kimi look to have a bit of his mojo back in Bahrain. No one will know whether Vettel could have done better but I suspect not.

What else can we look forward to? Romain Grosjean should finish fourth to maintain the sequence and this means he will win in Monaco... Hass have impressed, at least in RoGro hands, as has Pascal Wehrlein at Manor. Red Bull and Williams will scrap over the minor points, although Toro Rosso (even with last years Ferrari engine) look quite racey. You have to assume they will be battling with Force India though.

At McLaren I believe Van Doom will continue in place of Alonso as he still has a hurty rib, bless. Quite a race for the Belgian, the last driver to score points in a mid-season d├ębut in F1 was Sebastian Vettel. Whatever became of him? Button will head Manor and Sauber, assuming Sauber find enough cash down the back of the sofa to get the cars to Shanghai.

Probably the biggest question for the race weekend though is what qualifying format will be used? I've no idea and I suspect that those that control (I use that term in its loosest possible sense) don't have either. Let's see what occurs when the lights go out to start Q1. My money, regardless of the format, is a Mercedes 1-2 and Ferrari 3-4. The fastest guys should start at the front, that's what happens in all forms of motorsport and forcing them further down the grid just for the sake of "the show" is bloody stupid. No matter how interesting it is to see someone coming through the field, deliberately putting them there makes no sense whatsoever.

Well, there's my two pennuth. Let's have yours.

Edit - I forgot Renault. They won't figure greatly.
 
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Westy

Pole Sitter
Well that makes it three good races to start the season. Nico may have had it sewn up from the start but the rest of the field was very entertaining to watch. The structural integrity of the Ferrari's is very impressive. Had the McLaren of a few years ago been in that sort of mess their suspension would have collapsed.

The race was made interesting by three of the top runners being out of place after the first lap (maybe Bernie is onto something). Hamilton was hindered by a damaged car all race. However, I'm sure Kimi had some lingering issues as well that he was able to drive around. A good showing from him even if the result didn't quite do him justice.

I thought Kvyat was awesome. He saw a gap and went for it, a true racer. He's got a lot of talent and certainly did his part to prove why he is in the Red Bull seat. Well done to him. I was perplexed by the Bull's decision to go onto the mediums for the final stint. I'm sure they knew something I don't.

Not a great day for Haas, hopefully the track just didn't suit them and they can be back in the fight for points in Russia.

Well, life is calling and I must get on with it. Time for the awards.

Pass of the race- I'm going to give this to Vettel for sneaking a few spots on pit entry. That's some heads up driving and one of the reasons he's so good.

Donkey of the race- Hamilton for starting at the back and not the pit lane. I know the mantra "no guts, no glory" however sometimes calmer heads prevail. Had he started from the pit lane he would have been in the car birds seat after all the carnage. I guess hindsight is 20/20. This may be a bit harsh of an award.

Drive of the race- I think when you don't see a car during a race it is for one of two reasons; you are at the back of the pack with no hope of climbing through the field, or you are so dominantly out in front that no one is going to catch you and you are boring to watch. I know which camp is rather be in. Rosberg has been dominant so far this season. I was beginning to believe that he wouldn't beat Hamilton but he has successfully proven me wrong (his ultimate goal I am sure). I hope he continues to do just what he is doing. I'm sure he is loving giving the middle finger to his critics. He is thumping Hamilton into the ground and I don't see any way back for him this season. However, I've been wrong before.
 

Incubus

Champion Elect
The structural integrity of the Ferrari's is very impressive. Had the McLaren of a few years ago been in that sort of mess their suspension would have collapsed.
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Ferraris must have been built for tank warfare. Do you remember at the start of a Belgian GP a few years when Barichello completely missed his braking point on the approach to the old bus stop chicane and smashed into the back of Alonso at near 200mph? One of the most incredible things I've seen in any GP was the fact that the Ferrari not only got going again but did so without hardly any damage....
 
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Olivier

Race Winner
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Ferraris must have been built for tank warfare. Do you remember at the start of a Belgian GP a few years when Barichello completely missed his braking point on the approach to the old bus stop chicane and smashed into the back of Alonso at near 200mph? One of the most incredible things I've seen in any GP was the fact that the Ferrari not only got going again but did so without hardly any damage....

... Or when both Barichello and Schumacher ran wide across the gravel in Malaysia (at the same time if memory serves me well) and not only the cars were undamaged and could come back to the track but also they went on to finish 1-2
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Frankly, this is a case of a world champion trying to bully younger drivers

It is a time honoured tradition for the established drivers to call the up and coming youngsters dangerous. It is in fact almost a badge of honour to be worn by a new driver as it means the established drivers are now worried about them. This dates back to Prost and Senna and probably even further.

In recent times the main culprit for calling everyone dangerous was Mark Webber who basically thought that about any driver who was not managed by Flavio. Following closely behind him was/is Massa who likes to call meetings about people and is a rent a quote when it comes articles about drivers crashing or pay drivers.

Alonso is also a culprit and will issue one 'he's dangerous' a year which comes out as a joint package with his "I think 'insert name of driver who is not his closest rival' is the best driver in F1". Jenson Button also says it quite often but its usually about a team mate.

Even Grosjean decided to get in on the act last year and levelled it at Max Versatppen.

Vettel has been called dangerous on various occasions but I think this is the first time he's called it someone else.

Overall its just F1 driver sulking and pouting when someone else joins the elite club.
 

Incubus

Champion Elect
There's a slightly amusing parallel to this, both regarding Nigel Mansell, what perhaps brings an insight into the character of two young drivers Nigel had a go at back in the day.
During friday qualifying for the 1992 German GP Nigel went to find Erik Comas and virulently berated him or spoiling his lap. Which was unfair to put it midly because Erick was himself on a qualifying lap at the time and was under no oblication to compromise it just because Williams hadn't timed Nigel's run well. Anyway, Erix Comas was reduced to tears.

3 years earlier this time at a practice session for the Hungarian GP Nigel wrnt to find rookie Jean Alesi to berate him for spoiling his lap and having "no respect" towards the established drivers. In this case however, Nigel was very much in the wrong shop. And as reported in that year's Autocourse, to suggest Jean sent him packing would be a major understatement...
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
I think the verbal he received from Kvyat and the fact that everyone in the media and on the internet said he was wrong might have a bit of a reason for the turn round.
 

Olivier

Race Winner
Since I'm under the weather and bed-bound, I decided to watch the GP again and take advantage of the small fortune I'm paying to my cable provider. I came up with a list of random things that I came across.

- Nice watch on your gloves Lewis
- Slow star for Rosberg, how many now?
- Drivers that got their front wings damaged: Raikkonen, Hamilton, Grosjean, Vettel
- Drivers that set fastest lap: Rosberg, Hamilton, Gutierrez, Grosjean, Hulkenberg
- Anybody know what Mercedes front wing sign in Chinese says?
- Vettel overtaking when coming to the pits, stroke of genius
- Brain fade of the race: Mercedes strategist
- Is now Honda's Power Unit better than McLaren's chassis?
- Best overtaking of the race: a tie between Vettel on Bottas on the outside and Riccardo on Hamilton
- Lots of sparks, adding a visual treat to the race
- Also lots marbles, could they not get rid of them?
- Williams looking really slow, if not by the PU they'd be fighting Manor
- Haas struggling this race, hopefully it's a one-off
- Was Kvyat swearing at Palmer at some point?
- Heartfelt apology from Vettel to the team, nice (but it was not Kvyat fault)
- Great race overall, great drive by Ricciardo, Kvyat, and Vettel

See you in Russia!
 

racecub

Champion Elect
It was a difficult race to follow at the track without commentary, but we just about managed. We had a great view from our seats and the atmosphere at the track was good. I've written a little bit about the day...maybe I'll post it? In the meantime, here are a few photos. ......

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Spinodontosaurus

Points Scorer
It was a difficult race to follow at the track without commentary, but we just about managed.
Don't worry, the TV director tried his absolute best to make sure everybody watching the race on TV missed all of the action anyway. The tyre graphics were also frequently wrong for the third race in succession.
 

Il_leone

Champion Elect
RasputinLives The problem at Williams is not just the drivers although I will say they are other drivers out there who could do the job just as well

I am surprised that a team with Pat Symonds leading them on the engineering side they have not come up with a better car and are already struggling to keep up with the front 3. In previous seasons they would start fast but fall back but it seems that has already been established and its going to be difficult for them to make the gap. Where WIlliams seems to always fall over is they seem too conservative and hesitant with their strategy calls until the race has been lost

gethinceri Nasr impressed Williams as a tester but perhaps he realises all is not well at Sauber and its affecting him more than the traditional ice cool Swede Ericsson. He will get the Williams drive if the Brazilian sponsors are still backing the team and they need to retire Massa
 

Spinodontosaurus

Points Scorer
Williams have less than half the budget of the top teams, so it was inevitable that Williams would fall back into the pack sooner or later.

My take on it is that in 2014 and 2015 Williams produced cars that were extremely fast in a straight line even relative to other Mercedes engine cars, which can only be down to a highly efficient aerodynamic package. Given comments prior to the season that the 2016 car was meant to fix the team's problems on slow speed circuits and given that they are no longer dominating the speed trap figures, I suspect they have moved away from having a super efficient aero package and are instead trying to cram more downforce onto the car.
But in the race to cram as much downforce onto the car as possible, the teams with a bigger budget will almost always win. Williams seemed to avoid this in the last two season due to their aforementioned aero strategy, but now that they are playing the same game as the top teams they won't and can't keep up.

This probably isn't helped by their driver line-up. Bottas and Massa are both solid drivers, but they are not spectacular and the line-ups of McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari are quite clearly stronger.
 

racecub

Champion Elect
I've posted my bit about the Grand Prix in a new thread. I didn't want to clutter up the race thread with it. But if you think it's better in here, mods, please feel free to move it.
 
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