Grand Prix 2019 Chinese Grand Prix (1000th GP) Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

Ruslan

Points Scorer
It was not a great race....but was an interesting race weekend. The real question before the start of the season was: are the Mercedes competitive with the Ferrari's? This race kind of resolved that question for certain. Now the question is can the Ferrari's get competitive with Mercedes?

Anyhow: Hamilton got a good start and walked away with it. Kind of expected if Hamilton gets a good start. More entertaining if he does not.

Ferrari: Did the team screw Leclerc out of third? Looks it to me. From the start of the season, they are playing favorites. That has got to be demoralizing, and in my book, that is bad management. Right now, I think Arrivabene was a better manager that Binotto is. We will see how the season shakes out. During the race, Vettel looked a shade faster, but not by very much. Vettel also didn't look that consistent.

Red Bull: Congrats to Gasly for the fastest lap. Maybe this will turn his season around. His qualifying was terrible, being 0.841 seconds slower than his teammate.

Ricciardo/Hulkenberg: OK....we now have a fight to see who is the best.

Perez: Another great drive from the guy who may well be the fourth best driver on the grid. He kind of dominated Hulkenberg when they were teammates.

Raikkonen: Very good drive from a guy who is capable of producing very good drive when he cares to.

Albon: I like this kid. Good result.

Kvyat: Sorry, accident was Kvyat's fault and penalty was justified.

McLaren: These guys are rising to be 6th best team on the grid, and both drivers are doing well. Norris looks to be the top rookie this season.
 
Ferrari: Did the team screw Leclerc out of third? Looks it to me. From the start of the season, they are playing favorites. That has got to be demoralizing, and in my book, that is bad management. Right now, I think Arrivabene was a better manager that Binotto is. We will see how the season shakes out. During the race, Vettel looked a shade faster, but not by very much. Vettel also didn't look that consistent.


...

Kvyat: Sorry, accident was Kvyat's fault and penalty was justified.
I think that Ferrari had a very tough call yesterday. On the one hand I believe that Vettel was marginally faster, Vettel was always in the DRS zone whereas after they swapped positions Leclerc was more often than not out of it, so I can understand that they let Vettel through.

What bothers me a bit about Leclerc is what happened after than, I just can't quite understand Ferrari's tyre strategy for him, they kept him out for too long, ho could have easily been 4th

Re preferential treatment my understanding is that at the beginning of the season Ferrari made clear to Leclerc that they have a number 1 driver who is Vettel and that he's supposed to be his wingman

With respect to Kvyat's penalty I think that it was a racing accident, it looks to me as if Kvyat had left enough room for Sainz's car, the problem arose when Norris' car suffered some oversteer getting over the kerbs and a a result he touhed Sainz who then went on to touch Kvyat. IMHO these things can happen and I find it unfair that omeone has to be punished for this
 
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Ruslan

Points Scorer
With respect to Kvyat's penalty I think that it was a racing accident, it looks to me as if Kvyat had left enough room for Sainz's car, the problem arose when Norris' car suffered some oversteer getting over the kerbs and a a result he touhed Sainz who then went on to touch Kvyat. IMHO these things can happen and I find it unfair that omeone has to be punished for this
Yea, I didn't see Norris and Sainz touch. If so, then that helps explain the accident.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff member
Premium Contributor
Ferrari made clear to Leclerc that they have a number 1 driver who is Vettel and that he's supposed to be his wingman
That's all fine and dandy until you have a driver who is clearly on the same pace as Vettel. Now don't get me wrong, I like Vettel and as I've said before, you don't luck into 4 world titles however, when a stable has two fast horses and apparently has to hold one back, it makes you wonder why they bother.

When Mercedes are lifting the constructors championship at the end of the season Ferrari could well be looking at these missed points opportunities and wondering what could have happened if they'd let both of their drivers sort it out on the track.
 

BradMan

Rookie
the other part of the story...

"Leclerc is asked, "Can you go faster?" Leclerc replies in the affirmative. The track engineer then asks him to push. The engineer asks again: "Can you go faster? Otherwise we will let Sebastian pass"
 

Ruslan

Points Scorer
the other part of the story...

"Leclerc is asked, "Can you go faster?" Leclerc replies in the affirmative. The track engineer then asks him to push. The engineer asks again: "Can you go faster? Otherwise we will let Sebastian pass"
Yea...there was a lot of tension here. They brought it upon themselves. They should of never had a pre-designated #1 and #2 driver at the start of the season and certainly should not be favoring one driver over the other in the first half of the season. Let things shake out.

Are they going to do the same thing next season?
 

vintly

Mostly bacon
Premium Contributor
Designated #1 and #2 drivers only works if the #2 driver is the slower of the two. If they’re equally quick, which for the sake of argument let’s say they are in this case, then it falls down, with the only beneficiary being competitor teams.

Given that the slower of two drivers would become the de facto (un-designated) #2 driver in any team anyway, there’s no benefit at all in designating in the first place. It’s either a moot point or a problem waiting to happen. Ferrari are quite mad.
 

Ruslan

Points Scorer
Are we warming up to a Hamilton / Alonso moment?
Ferrari Style?
I think something is brewing. There are a few differences I think:

1. I don't think Leclerc is quite as fast as Vettel is at the moment, whereas Hamilton was as fast as Alonso from the start.
2. I don't think Leclerc has the confidence/arrogance of Hamilton.
3. I don't think Vettel has the determination/ruthlessness of Alonso.
4. McLaren did not have team orders from the start, whereas Ferrari does.
5. Hamilton felt like an insider, whereas Alonso felt like an outsider to the team; whereas Ferrari seems to be going out of their way to make sure Vettel feels special.

So, I don't think Ferrari has potentially as explosive situation as McLaren did...but we shall see how they manage/mismanage it. Right now, I already believe they have mismanaged it.
 

rufus_mcdufus

Champion Elect
Leclerc (apart from the great start which got him ahead of Vettel) seemed a little slow initially to get up to speed in the first few laps. I vaguely recall him being similar in Melbourne or Bahrain (can't remember which). I wonder whether this contributed to Ferrari's decision to let Vettel pass?
Keeping Leclerc out for too many laps on knackered tyes was pretty unforgivable though, and I really question what value there was in leaving him out to hold Bottas up. One of the Sky commentators mentioned at one point that a struggling Leclerc was losing 3 seconds a lap to Vettel (on fresh tyres) and this seemed to go on for lap after lap without any sign of bringing him in. I do think 4th place would have likely if they'd kept him on a similar strategy to Vettel and the other front runners.
 
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The Artist.....

Champion Elect
So, I was, and still am, in China for work this weekend, staying in Shanghai over the weekend of the GP.

In the part of Shanghai I was in, other than the hotel, there was no sign of the GP; the hotel was another matter- on Thursday night, in strode Lewis Hamilton for a meet and greet in the hotel...

As we moved closer to the circuit, however, on Sunday morning, banners were everywhere - #1000 every 100 yards. The race may not have lived up to the hype ( or the quality of the 500th race), but it was certainly highlighted well in China!
 
That's all fine and dandy until you have a driver who is clearly on the same pace as Vettel. Now don't get me wrong, I like Vettel and as I've said before, you don't luck into 4 world titles however, when a stable has two fast horses and apparently has to hold one back, it makes you wonder why they bother.
You make a very good point, my view is that at Ferrari they don't really believe that Vettel will win the WDC, at least not until new rules are introduced, so they are getting reading for the post-Vettel era. I think that Leclerc is very clearly WDC material.
 
I think something is brewing. There are a few differences I think:

1. I don't think Leclerc is quite as fast as Vettel is at the moment, whereas Hamilton was as fast as Alonso from the start.
2. I don't think Leclerc has the confidence/arrogance of Hamilton.
3. I don't think Vettel has the determination/ruthlessness of Alonso.
4. McLaren did not have team orders from the start, whereas Ferrari does.
5. Hamilton felt like an insider, whereas Alonso felt like an outsider to the team; whereas Ferrari seems to be going out of their way to make sure Vettel feels special.

So, I don't think Ferrari has potentially as explosive situation as McLaren did...but we shall see how they manage/mismanage it. Right now, I already believe they have mismanaged it.
Very nice post!

1 I agree but Leclerc is really close, I'd say that on the first stint yesterday Leclerc was about 1 tenth of a second off Vettel's pace, ok he was slower on the middle stint but not by much, and on the last one he looked faster than his team mate. So yes Vettel is still ahead but how long for? Unless of course Ferrari can give him a car with a front end like he likes it
2 I think that Leclerc has the confidence of Hamilton but he hasn't got the arrogance, but if he didn't have a lot of confidence he wouldn't be there (in my experience every single driver on the grid thinks that he's the best)
3 I think that Vettel has the determination of Alonso but not his ruthlessness, also please consider that Vettel is stunningly fast when the conditions are right but he's not the ultimate racer as Alonso was
4 yes to a certain point, because Ferrari has team orders but they don't really enforce them until it's a bit late
5 I think that Schumacher was the only German (ever?) who was loved by the Italians, usually Italians respect Germans but don't love them, so IMHO Leclerc has a clear adfvantage here
 

F1Brits_90

Race Winner
That's all fine and dandy until you have a driver who is clearly on the same pace as Vettel. Now don't get me wrong, I like Vettel and as I've said before, you don't luck into 4 world titles however, when a stable has two fast horses and apparently has to hold one back, it makes you wonder why they bother.

When Mercedes are lifting the constructors championship at the end of the season Ferrari could well be looking at these missed points opportunities and wondering what could have happened if they'd let both of their drivers sort it out on the track.
listening to the 5 live chequered flag podcast & 1 of them said why say such a stupid thing preseason can you imagine if Ron Dennis had said such a thing in 2007 team orders are a sensible thing come October not February.

when you think since vettel last win in Belgium. out of the 3 drivers for ferrari the supposed number 1 vettel has been the furthest away from victory. kimi took pole in monza & won in USA. leclerc took pole & shouldve won in Bahrain.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
Yea...there was a lot of tension here. They brought it upon themselves. They should of never had a pre-designated #1 and #2 driver at the start of the season and certainly should not be favoring one driver over the other in the first half of the season. Let things shake out.

Are they going to do the same thing next season?
So do you think they should have opted for the Mercedes model of having one top-tier driver paired with a mid-tier driver, thereby allowing them to claim that "our drivers are allowed to race each other"?
 

RasputinLives

Not dead
Contributor
So let's look at this objectively whilst simultaneously being generous to Ferrari.

Let's say in Melbourne Vettel had the pace on Leclerc therefore we understand why he was told not to pass Vettel. They still cost him 1pt because they didn't pit him at the end to get fastest lap when they had plenty of room to do that. That's 1pt lost.

Obviously in Bahrain engine issues cost Leclerc the win so Ferrari lost him 10pts.

In China let's give Vettel benefit of the doubt and say he had pace on Leclerc - however poor Ferrari strategy cost him 4th to Verstappen. That 2 points.

That's 13 pts in total. If all of the above had gone right for LeClerc then the championship standings would have been as follows:

Hamilton - 61pts
Bottas - 57pts
Leclerc - 49pts
Vettel - 37pts

Even being generous to Ferrari you can see they have really dented LeClerc's championship already. I know it's all shoulda woulda coulda but interesting to see.
 

Ruslan

Points Scorer
So do you think they should have opted for the Mercedes model of having one top-tier driver paired with a mid-tier driver, thereby allowing them to claim that "our drivers are allowed to race each other"?
Why do you think I would say that? I think Mercedes should replace Bottas with Ocon.

Hamilton and Rosberg were allowed to race each other.
 
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