Chinese Grand Prix 2013: Alonso triumphs to stake his claim for title
Chinese Grand Prix 2013: Fernando Alonso wins in Shanghai, while defending world champion Sebastian Vettel finishes fourth
Fernando Alonso staked his claim for the 2013 drivers’ world championship after an imperious drive comfortably won him the Chinese Grand Prix.
The Spaniard finished ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton to get his title charge back on track in Shanghai, while world champion Sebastian Vettel finished fourth.
Hamilton held onto his lead at the start, with both Alonso and Felipe Massa getting ahead of Raikkonen’s Lotus, who started sluggishly in second.
Alonso and Massa both overtook Hamilton on lap five on the pit-straight, utilising their DRS to make a Ferrari one-two.
Both Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg pitted on lap six as Mercedes opted for a risky strategy of pitting at the same time.
Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber then slammed into Force India’s Adrian Sutil at the end of the first DRS zone, ending both their races.
After the first full-round of stops of those on the soft tyre, Nico Hulkenberg led from Vettel and Jenson Button, who all started on the medium.
Mark Webber collided with Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso on lap 15, the Australian damaging his wing and retiring three laps later when his rear tyre came off.
A lap after Webber’s collision, Raikkonen hit the back of Sergio Perez’s McLaren, damaging his wing but overtook the Mexican on lap 17.
On lap 21, Alonso re-took the lead from Button at the long first corner, while Hamilton and Raikkonen pitted simultaneously a lap later.
Rosberg retired – his second of the season – on lap 23, with Button and Alonso switching to fresh medium tyres a lap later.
Vettel briefly led but Alonso swiftly re-took it, while Hamilton leapfrogged former team-mate Button on lap 29 to take fourth.
Raikkonen overtook Button on lap 32 before pitting four laps later, with Vettel then overtaking the Briton on lap 37 to go third.
Following the final round of stops – which involved Button and Vettel going onto the softs – Alonso comfortably brought home his Ferrari for his 31st career victory.
Round four on the calendar is next weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, which world champion Vettel won last year.
Chinese Grand Prix 2013: Race result
1. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari 56 laps 1hr 34m 24.945s
2. Kimi Raikkonen Finand Lotus-Renault +00m 10.1s
3. Lewis Hamilton Britain Mercedes-Mercedes +00m 12.3s
4. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault +00m 12.5s
5. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes +00m 35.2s
6. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 40.8s
7. Daniel Ricciardo Australia Toro Rosso-Ferrari +00m 42.6s
8. Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes +00m 51.0s
9. Romain Grosjean France Lotus-Renault +00m 53.4s
10. Nico Hulkenberg Germany Sauber-Ferrari +00m 56.5s
11. Sergio Perez Mexico McLaren-Mercedes +01m 03.8s
12. Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso-Ferrari +01m 12.6s
13. Valtteri Bottas Finland Williams-Renault +01m 33.8s
14. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Renault +01m 35.4s
15. Jules Bianchi France Marussia-Cosworth +1 lap
16. Charles Pic France Caterham-Renault +1 lap
17. Max Chilton Britain Marussia-Cosworth +1 lap
18. Giedo van der Garde Holland Caterham-Renault +1 lap
Rtd Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 21 laps completed
Rtd Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 15 laps completed
Rtd Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 5 laps completed
Rtd Esteban Gutierrez Spain Sauber-Ferrari 4 laps completed