Shanghai, 20 April – Scuderia Ferrari’s short term aim coming into this race was to be the best of the pack of teams chasing Mercedes and today that was the case, with Fernando Alonso taking a fine third place behind the all conquering Anglo-German team. Lewis Hamilton took his third straight win, ahead of Nico Rosberg, who still leads the Drivers’ championship – Fernando is up to third. Kimi Raikkonen in the second F14 T made up three places off the grid, to finish eighth.
As the lights went out, Hamilton led from pole, Ricciardo got bogged down from second allowing Vettel to go ahead, while Fernando got a blindingly quick run to move up two places to third colliding with a fast starting Massa in the Williams. Kimi moved up one spot to tenth by the end of the opening lap.
On lap 5 of 56, the order was Hamilton a massive 4.1 ahead of Vettel in the Red Bull, with Fernando’s F14 T just 0.8 behind the German. Behind the Ferrari man came Ricciardo, Rosberg, working his way back up after a poor start, Massa in the Williams, while Hulkenberg was seventh in the Force India. Bottas was eighth in the Williams, with Grosjean ninth for Lotus ahead of Kimi in tenth.
With the cold conditions, even after a handful of laps, several drivers including Fernando were complaining of graining on the left front tyre and Button was the first to pit in the McLaren on lap 7 for Mediums. Grosjean was next to change to the harder compound on lap 9, promoting Kimi to ninth. The Finn took on Mediums on lap 10, as did Massa and Perez, although the Brazilian Williams drivers had a major problem with a rear and had a very lengthy stop. Fernando pitted next time round.
With everyone having visited the pits, Hamilton kept the lead, now 3.7 ahead of Fernando, who had Vettel 3.3 behind. Fourth was Rosberg, then came Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Bottas, Kimi in eighth, while Grosjean and Perez completed the top ten. Rosberg closed on Vettel and the two men were wheel to wheel for several corners, the Mercedes man eventually making it stick to go third on lap 22. Ricciardo also passed Vettel on lap 25.
At this point, Fernando was 9.7 behind Hamilton and 5.7 ahead of third placed Rosberg, although the German now began closing on the Spaniard. Lap 29 and the gap had shrunk to 3 seconds, while Kimi was having a solitary race in eighth. Hulkenberg, Bottas and Kimi all came in together for their second stops on lap 31, the Finn fitting Mediums again. On the next lap, Rosberg was within the necessary second to use DRS, but for the moment, Fernando was holding him off, until the Spaniard made his second stop on lap 33, again for Mediums, dropping to fourth.
With everyone having completed two stops, Hamilton was 12.7 ahead of Fernando, who had a 3.4 lead over Rosberg. Then came Ricciardo fourth, followed by Vettel, Hulkenberg, Bottas and Kimi eighth, 3.5 ahead of Perez. Once again, Rosberg closed on the Spanish Ferrari man, so the gap was only 2.1 with 16 laps remaining. Lap 42 and they inevitably changed places and thus the order was set to the flag, with Fernando heading for his and the Scuderia’s first podium of the season. Kimi contributed 4 more points to the team total with his eighth place finish. The Scuderia is now fourth in the Constructors’, just 2 points behind Force India.