Just to continue the wet theme of Formula One races in 2009, the Chinese Grand Prix started behind the safety car in Shanghai, something that all but ruined Alonso’s hard work in qualifying second with such a small fuel load.
Both Hamilton and Kovalainen were fuelled very heavy, and in fact were the last 2 people to pit, Hamilton being the last of the field to pit. Once again, Hamilton was involved in the most exciting racing aspect of the Grand Prix in his to and fro battle with Kimi Raikkonen – a battle eventually won by Hamilton.
One cause for celebration is Kovalainen’s completion of not only the first complete lap, but the whole race! In fact he even went one better than Hamilton, coming in 5th and collecting his first 4 points of the 2009 campaign. Hamilton came in 6th and at one point the places were reversed but Hamilton had trouble staying on the track and lost position several times throughout the race.
Whilst vast improvements are being made, it was clear when Hamilton was in P4 and still to pit, and thus on a very light fuel load, yet not making any ground on the top 3 cars of Button, Weber and Vettel. It is encouraging though, that a McLaren team that struggled to make any kind of impression in qualifying in the first 2 races of the season, came in 5th and 6th, taking both Hamilton and Kovalainen to 10th and 9th in the Driver’s Championship and McLaren up to 4th in the Constructor’s Championship.
Red Bull took the first 2 spots on the podium, with Vettel taking the win and Weber coming in second. Jenson Button continued to dominate the Driver’s Championship coming in 3rd, and his 3rd consecutive podium of the season so far.
This weekend coming we have the Bahrain Grand Prix and I look forward to seeing if McLaren can make any more improvements, or at least hold on to the advancements made so far.