2015 China Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Mercedes reacquires their dominance thanks to getting back the tire management advantage, but Ferrari was still a lot closer than in Australia. Malaysia was not an aberration, but there is still a lot of work in store for the Scuderia.
EVENT: Do those huge empty grandstands ever get filled for any event?
QUALIFYING: Hamilton does not save his best for last and still gets pole, Kimi messes up again, Ricciardo is the only Red Bull sponsored car to make it to Q3, and both Manor cars not only qualify, but do so within the 107% rule.
RACE: Not one of your stellar races, at least up front.
TRACK: One long straightaway to enjoy tire smoke.
START: Mercedes goes clean, Raikkonen really goes right past the Williams team making up for his qualifying mistake, and Ricciardo almost forgets to go.
HAMILTON: Literally in the hot seat, but not because of his race performance, which was so perfect, he was literally in cruise control.
ROSBERG: On the mental front, Nico's season is essentially over.
MERCEDES: What was that, Ferrari?
VETTEL: Three race, three podiums.
RAIKKONEN: Denied a fight with his teammate.
FERRARI: Brought back down to earth.
WILLIAMS: Suddenly, the gap to Ferrari is getting worse. Considering they have the Mercedes engine, There is only one answer.
GROSJEAN: Finally, some points.
LOTUS: Finally, a strong performance actually brings points.
MALDONADO: First, Pastor tried to eliminate himself in the pit lane. Then, he tried to eliminate himself on the track. Finally, he had Button complete the job.
NASR: Back to a strong weekend.
ERICSSON: Back to a strong weekend.
SAUBER: Back to a strong weekend.
KVYAT: Then there were three Red Bull sponsored cars.
SAINZ: Then there were two.
VERSTAPPEN: Then there was one.
RICCIARDO: And that one actually got points after a horrid start.
RENAULT: Kabob. Seize. Boom!
HULKENBERG: Not at all the Hulk this year...
FORCE INDIA: ...but most of that is due to the 2015 version of Caterham.
MCLAREN: They did get two cars to finish.
ALONSO: How did it feel, Fernando, to see a red car lap you?
MANOR: Not only did both cars finally start a race, they both finished. It took just as much time to attain that accomplishment as it did for McLaren.
MARSHALLS: The Keystone Kops.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Redress.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 20 -- The number of cars which started the race, all the entries for the first time this year.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Lewis Hamilton has won the most Chinese GP with four victories. All of which were with Mercedes power. In 2008 and 2011, he drove a McLaren-Mercedes. The past two years, it was with the Mercedes factory team. Jenson Button won with McLaren-Mercedes in 2010 and Nico Rosberg with Mercedes in 2012. Thus, Mercedes engines won in China for half the races (six of the 12 years).
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Did you ever think you would hear a driver, in this case Kimi Raikkonen, trying to lap a car yell, "Come on, get that McLaren out of the way!"
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Lewis Hamilton's engineer tells him, "Okay Lewis, if you'd like to pick the pace up, target time 1:43.7." Then, Hamilton promptly turns in a 1:43.735 lap followed by a 1:43.696.
SCHEDULE: Off to the yearly pilgrimage of the Civil Unrest Grand Prix.
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