Ferrari takes a disappointing result after a crazy China GP full of position changes, contact, strategy and a controversial dutchman. Kimi on the podium, Seb only 8th.
Scuderia Ferrari showed incredible pace in qualifying. Raikkonen set a new track record early in Q3, and then improved again in the second run. But Vettel pipped him by 87 thousands of a second. Front row lockout again, over 4 tenths to Bottas in third. Things were looking good for a win on Sunday.
F1 is never predictable, that’s the most important lesson from this GP. What looked like an easy one-stop control-from-the-lead race turned out a little different. At the start Bottas managed to get in front of Kimi. Mercedes pulled a successful undercut and put Bottas in the lead. Seb tried to get past but couldn’t. Kimi stopped late for his tires, looking for good speed in the final laps.
But the race turned completely upside down when the two Toro Rosso’s collided and left debris at turn 14. Race control decided a safety car was needed. Red Bull brought in both cars for fresh rubber. At the restart the top 6 order was Bottas-Vettel-Hamilton-Verstappen-Raikkonen-Ricciardo. The Red Bulls were much faster and Verstappen tried to pass Hamilton but ran wide off track. Ricciardo moved past Kimi and Verstappen, and later flew by Vettel on the straight. Eventually he dived down the inside of Bottas to take the lead. Verstappen attempted to pass Vettel in the hairpin, but he locked up and they both spun around. Vettel lost places to Hamilton, Raikkonen and Verstappen. Because of the damage to his car he couldn’t fight Hulkenberg and Alonso.
From 3rd to 8th, Seb lost very important championship points. The end result is Ric-Bot-Rai-Ham-Ver-Hul-Alo-Vet. A very unexpected podium after a very chaotic Grand Prix.