Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Fernando Alonso finished the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai in second place, whilst his team mate Lewis Hamilton retired on lap 31, when he went off into the gravel with fading Bridgestone Potenza wet tyres on a ...
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Fernando Alonso finished the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai in second place, whilst his team mate Lewis Hamilton retired on lap 31, when he went off into the gravel with fading Bridgestone Potenza wet tyres on a drying track. Kimi Raikkonen took victory so the championship will now be decided among those three at the final race in Sao Paulo in two weeks time.
After 56 laps in changeable conditions, 305.066 km and a total race time of 1h37m58.395, Fernando came home 9.8 seconds behind Kimi. Fernando was on a two-stop strategy and pitted on laps 18 (7.7 seconds) and 32 (8.9 seconds), whilst Lewis made his pit stop on lap 15 (6.8 seconds).
Despite his first retirement in 16 Grands Prix, Lewis maintained his lead in the Drivers' Championship after 16 out of 17 races with 107 points followed by Fernando in second with 103 and Kimi in third on 100, with a maximum of 10 points available in the remaining race.
Lewis Hamilton: DNF
"When I got out of the car I was obviously gutted for both myself and the team. I haven't made a mistake all year but I am over it now. There is still one race to go, so I can still do it. I made a strong start to the race and my first stop went well. Prior to entering the pit lane for my last stop I was constantly talking to the team. Although my tyres were in poor condition we took a joint decision to get through the last rain shower before changing to dry tyres."
"I was trying to be very careful and as a result was not really fighting aggressively with Kimi. It would have worked out perfectly, but I then made a mistake coming into the pitlane and that was it. We made the right decision, and it was just unfortunate. I will now focus on attacking in Brazil where I will do everything I can to bounce back."
Fernando Alonso: 2nd
"Today was a very good result for me. I had a battle with Felipe at the start, but unfortunately I was not able to finish the first lap in front of him. As a result I lost a lot of time behind him in the first stint because there was a loss of downforce when following him in the high speed corners."
"It was difficult towards the end on the wet Bridgestone tyres as they were practically slick, but we stayed out as long as possible to get through the final shower, which was the right decision as I was able to come out ahead of Felipe on my final stop. Although this result is a boost to my chances in the Championship it is still not going to be easy. However I will not be giving up until the chequered flag in two weeks time."
"The start of the race saw everybody being careful not to make any mistakes. Lewis pulled out a healthy lead and stopped a little earlier than both Fernando and the two Ferraris. All of these cars stayed on the same set of tyres which was clearly the right decision. Like us, our competition was hoping to get through the last period of rain before changing to dry tyres."
"Lewis stopped first but a combination of tyre condition, the wetness of the pitlane and a small mistake saw him run wide into the gravel trap. Fernando's second stop took place on the following lap and he drove an excellent race to put himself firmly back in contention for the World Championship. As always we will now focus on the next Grand Prix and with both Fernando and Lewis having a points lead over Kimi it should be an interesting end to the season in Brazil."
"It was a shame what happened to Lewis, but no blame at all to him. He was performing very well but it wasn't to be. Fernando finished second in a challenging race under difficult conditions and did a great job to stay in the World Championship fight. The team worked so hard throughout the season, and we will come out of this even stronger."
"We now set our sights on the final in Brazil where we will face a three driver fight for the World Championship and are still in a good position to take the title there. For all of us it makes much more sense to concentrate on the final race ahead of us rather than the one today where we didn't get the best possible result."