2013 China Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: We've been okay with the tire rules creating excitement. But, we are starting to think this year it's a bit much. Especially when combined with DRS, it's actually making passing too easy.
EVENT: We're still not convinced this event is (finally) becoming a hit with the Chinese. Though, if they put 22 Kimi Raikkonen's in the field, it would be off the charts.
QUALIFYING: Webber gets totally boned, Vettel takes a huge gamble, Ricciardo surprises, and Hamilton does for Mercedes what Schumacher could not.
RACE: The strategy was simple -- run the soft tires for three laps and then send them to the burn pit. The key was which three laps?
TRACK: The super long straightaway with the medium to slow turns makes this a setup engineering nightmare.
START: Hamilton is flawless, Kimi pulls a Webber, Massa is superb, and Webber didn't have to worry about it.
ALONSO: Riveting race, super strategy, perfect pace. It all added up to a convincing win.
MASSA: This time, Felipe could not keep up with his teammate all weekend.
FERRARI: They have to be feeling really good about this season as they are positioned a lot better than last year at this time.
RAIKKONEN: Kimi is picking up where he left off last year -- grabbing as many points as he can every race.
GROSJEAN: This time, Romain had the same parts as his teammate, but continued to ride in Kimi's shadow.
LOTUS: Must be feeling like Ferrari last year not having two drivers who can score a batch of points.
HAMILTON: Lewis is clearly happy with this new team, and the results are showing it.
ROSBERG: Nico's good performance streak in China ends.
MERCEDES: Dare we say ... a championship contender by the end of the season?
VETTEL: In the end, it was a failed strategy.
WEBBER: In the end, it was a failed weekend.
RED BULL: Before everyone goes over the deep end with their conspiracy theories, the last race proved Red Bull will do anything to score maximum points. They would never willingly give up points for any of their drivers.
BUTTON: A far better result than even Jenson probably thought he would ever get.
PEREZ: Bad car or not, Sergio needs to step up his game.
MCLAREN: And it is a bad car they continue to give their drivers.
WILLIAMS: Speaking of bad cars, even counting McLaren, Williams is by far the biggest disappointment so far this year.
RICCIARDO: Daniel's best race weekend of his career.
FORCE INDIA: Losing points amongst themselves.
GUTIERREZ: Give Esteban credit. Unlike other drivers -- like Schumacher last year at Singapore -- he didn't try to blame it on anyone or anything else but himself. Otherwise, he gets the bonehead move of the race.
BIANCHI: Once again, the rookie tops his teammate.
DRS: So, why did the FIA switch software suppliers for DRS? It has been a complete failure with no fix in sight. Wasn't it working perfectly okay before?
MOSS: Sir, and we say that very loosely, Stirling has lost his gentleman status and garnered the Neanderthal Man of the Year award.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Soft.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 5 -- About the limit in laps for the life span of the soft tires.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Alonso becomes the second driver to win in China twice (2005 and 2013), equaling Lewis Hamilton (2008 and 2011). Ferrari now tops all constructors with four wins, passing McLaren who has three.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Kimi Raikkonen obviously perturbed at Sergio Perez with their incident, "What the hell is he doing?"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley on his drivers coming together on the opening lap, "We just need to make sure they clearly understand that it's not acceptable, not on the first lap."
SCHEDULE: Dirty, sandy, and gritty. The Bahrain track should prove very, very interesting with this year's tires.
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