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Chinese Grand Prix: driver review

We review each drivers race at round 4 of the 2014 Formula One season.
Monday, April 21, 2014

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April 21, 2014 (F1 Plus / Rosie Baillie) - We review how each drivers race went at the Chinese Grand Prix.

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A mix up by officials saw the chequered flag being waved one lap earlier than it was supposed to be. It didn’t affect any points positions but meant that Kamui Kobayashi’s pass on Jules Bianchi on the ‘final lap’ didn’t count.

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1) Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 25 points

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Yet again the Briton was on top form and dominated the race in a style we’ve become accustomed to seeing from Sebastian Vettel in recent years.

Hamilton was completely untouchable throughout the race and took his third consecutive win of the season.

2) Nico Rosberg - Mercedes - 18 points

On the podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Rosberg vowed he would beat Hamilton in China. It was not to be though as the German couldn’t catch his teammate and finished 18 seconds down the road from him.

Rosberg found himself driving blind without any telemetry and had to relay fuel usage information to the team throughout the race.

Though he was unable to beat his teammate Rosberg still leads the championship by four points.

3) Fernando Alonso - Ferrari - 15 points

The Spaniard seemed to roar back to life in Shanghai and finished on the podium for the first time this year.

Alonso had a strong start and managed to avoid a collision or serious damage when former teammate Felipe Massa made contact with him.

After the race Alonso stated that updates to the car and changes to settings in the power unit payed off and improved the cars performance.

4) Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull Racing - 12 points

Yet again the Australian driver continued to show why Red Bull Racing hired him to replace Mark Webber.

Ricciardo drove a strong race and was beginning to close in on Alonso during the last few laps of the race, but didn’t have time to try and make the pass.

5) Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing - 10 points

The reigning world champion seems to be out of sorts so far this season and was again outperformed by his teammate.

Part way through the race Vettel was asked to move aside for Ricciardo who was faster than him, to which he replied ‘tough luck’. A lap later he moved aside to let the Australian through.

6) Nico Hulkenberg - Force India - 8 points

Another strong performance from the German driver saw him finish in the points yet again.

Towards the end of the race, Valtteri Bottas began catching Hulkenberg but he was able to fend him off.

7) Valtteri Bottas - Williams - 6 points

The Finn completed the race without telemetry and finished seventh. Bottas was closing in on Hulkenberg towards the end of the race but was unable to catch him.

Another points finish from Bottas means that Williams are a comfortable sixth in the constructors’ standings.

8) Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari - 4 points

The Iceman has struggled to replicate Alonso’s performance throughout the year and finished at the bottom end of the points in China.

After the race Raikkonen said he felt a combination of his driving style, cool temperatures and the characteristics of the circuit prevented him from performing better.

9) Sergio Perez - Force India - 2 points

A tough qualifying session saw him qualify 16th. Perez dragged himself up into the points and said he felt that was the best he could manage as he found it difficult to overtake.

10) Daniil Kvyat - Toro Rosso - 1 point

The Russian rookie finished in the points for the third time in four race. Kvyat battled with Jenson Button throughout the race and eventually made the pass stick to pick up the final point.

11) Jenson Button - McLaren

The Briton struggled with tyres during qualifying and began the race 12th place. During the race Button continued to struggle with graining and finished just outside the points.

12) Jean-Eric Vergne - Toro Rosso

The Frenchman spent most of the race looking at the back of Button’s McLaren and was unable to progress to challenge for a points finish.

13) Kevin Magnussen - McLaren

Like his teammate, Magnussen had a difficult weekend. The Dane said the main issue was a lack of downforce, which prevented him from moving up the field.

14) Pastor Maldonado - Lotus

Engine woes meant the Venezuelan driver was unable to take part in qualifying and started from the back of the grid. He managed to fight his way up to 14th place but struggled with pace on the straights and was unable to fight for points.

15) Felipe Massa - Williams

He had a very strong, and slightly ambitious, start which saw him make contact with former teammate Alonso. Luckily for both it didn’t lead to damage or a serious collision.

Massa was able to continue but his race was ruined but a long stop when the pit crew tried to fit the new wheels to the opposite side to which they were intended.

16) Esteban Gutierrez - Sauber

Tyre management and pace issues hampered the young Mexican’s race. Gutierrez believed 16th was the best they could manage due to their current pace.

Tyres made things harder for the team as they had to do a three stop and struggled to get the best out of the prime tyres due to the cooler temperatures.

17) Jules Bianchi - Marussia

A mistake which saw the chequered flag being waved one lap earlier than it should have been meant Bianchi held onto 17th place, even though Kamui Kobayashi overtook him on the following lap.

18) Kamui Kobayashi - Caterham

The Japanese driver pulled off a great pass on Bianchi on the ‘final lap’, however a mix-up by officials saw the chequered flag fall one lap early meaning Kobayashi actually finished behind the Frenchman.

19) Max Chilton - Marussia

The British driver had a good start but was unable to put any pressure on teammate Bianchi during the race. Chilton finished ahead of Caterham rival Marcus Ericsson and secured his 23rd consecutive finish.

20) Marcus Ericsson - Caterham

A poor start saw the Swede drop behind both Marussia drivers. Ericsson blamed his finishing position on understeer and said without it he felt he would have finished higher up.

DNF - Romain Grosjean - Lotus

Things were looking good for the Frenchman who was up in 10th battling former teammate Raikkonen. His problems began when he lost fourth gear but got worse and was forced to retire after losing further gears.

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DNF - Adrian Sutil - Sauber

The German driver has had a difficult year so far and found himself retiring from the third race in a row with an engine issue.

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