F1: Alonso victorious in China
Fernando Alonso won his first race of the season putting Ferrari five points adrift of leader’s Red Bull. Lewis Hamilton held off challenge from triple World Champion Sebastian Vettel to finish third despite starting from pole.
The main drivers began the race on medium tyres. Lewis Hamilton had a good start with struggling Kimi Raikkonen getting overtaken by both Ferrari drivers. The Finn’s day got from bad to worse in no time as his coming together with McLaren’s Sergio Perez resulted in a broken nose which forced an untimely pit stop.
Double World Champion Fernando Alonso seemed to have the race under complete control as he overtook four different leaders throughout the course of the race to build a healthy 10.2 seconds lead over Raikkonen.
The win in China was Alonso’s 31st career victory, putting him fourth in the all-time winners list as he equalled 1992 Champion Nigel Mansell.
Despite giving away the pole position, Lewis Hamilton had a good afternoon’s work denying Vettel the podium finish by getting his nose in front by a miniature 0.2. This was Hamilton’s second podium finish for Mercedes since joining them end of last season.
It was yet another disappointing night for Australia’s Mark Webber as the 36-year old only managed to last 18 out of 56 laps of the race. Webber had to make two pit stops having collided with Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso. Webber’s broken front wing had forced him to retire and as the collision was caused by the Aussie he’ll face a three place grid penalty in Bahrain for next weekend’s race.
“The contact was unfortunate,” said Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner, “and then to have to retire the car was even more unfortunate,” he concluded.
Jenson Button managed to pick up some points for McLaren having finished fifth with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa sixth. Daniel Ricciardo of Australia also finished within points as Paul Di Resta of Force India crossed the checked line eighth with Grosjean of Lotus and Nico Hulkenberg on tenth position.
Fernando Alonso has now got 43 points in the driver’s standings with Kimi Raikonnen 6 points ahead and defending champions Sebastian Vettel still in the lead with 52 points.
Umida Ibrahimova, sports correspondent