2016 Chinese Grand Prix: Race Analysis

Rosberg wins as Ferrari’s collide

Rule 1 for racing drivers is simple. Don’t crash into your teammate. Following Daniil Kvyat’s bold move at Turn One, in which he scythed past Sebastian Vettel, the German collided with his teammate Kimi Raikkonen, as both Ferrari’s found themselves embarking on recovery drives. Meanwhile, Nico Rosberg won at a canter. With Lewis Hamilton out of contention and out of sorts on race-day, following his own lap one collision with Felipe Nasr, and Daniel Ricciardo suffering a puncture, Rosberg’s main opponents were swiftly out of the picture.

His sixth win in a row and his third of the fledgling season. Rosberg now leads teammate Hamilton by 36 points in the championship.

Presidential pressures

Recovering to second and fifth respectively somewhat spared Vettel and Raikkonen’s blushes. A clash between teammates is certainly not unheard of, with Vettel no-doubt being transported back to the Turkish Grand Prix in 2010, where he famously collided with Red Bull teammate Mark Webber. The difference here was that the German made it to the end of the race – finishing on the podium, no less.

During and after the race, Vettel was highly critical of Daniil Kvyat. The Russian made a bold move up the inside of the Ferrari duo at the first corner. While he did not make contact, Vettel suggested that it was his evasive action taken as a result of Kvyat’s maneuver which pitched him into Raikkonen.

In blaming Kvyat for the collision, Vettel has redirected attention away from the fact that it was the two Ferrari’s making contact, at a race attended by Sergio Marchionne himself. The President of Ferrari gave some fascinating interviews prior to the race, damning the team’s start to 2016 and failure to capitalise on their opportunities so far.

Unquestionably unimpressed by Vettel and Raikkonen’s mistakes in qualifying – which may well have cost Ferrari the chance of a long awaited front-row lock-out – Marchionne must have been chewing wasps by the end of lap one. Vettel’s excellent recovery drive will have restored a more positive vibe at the Scuderia.

However, Marchionne will have not lost sight of the bigger picture. For the third race in a row, Ferrari have once again tripped themselves up. Yet again, we have been deprived of the battle against Mercedes and Ferrari have been deprived of another charge at victory. This has to change quickly if Vettel and Raikkonen are to keep in touch with the title fight.

“Like a four poster bed”

“I’m sure some aerodynamic components were damaged, but I think the suspension was as well. The car was flexing like crazy, like a four-poster bed today,” said Lewis Hamilton of his Mercedes W07.

Usually on rails, the Briton endured yet another difficult day in 2016. Starting from the very back following his untimely ERS failure in qualifying, Hamilton’s progress was thwarted early on when he collided with Nasr’s Sauber at Turn Two. The resultant front wing damage in turn damaged other elements of the car, given that the main plane found itself lodged underneath the floor as Hamilton recovered to the pits.

Seventh place was the best possible result he could muster.

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