McLaren dominates in rainy China

Posted on Apr 19, 2010 by
Despite starting from pole, Sebastian Vettel was unable to keep the McLarens at bay

Despite starting from pole, Sebastian Vettel was unable to keep the McLarens at bay

Jenson Button picked up his second race win of the season as he led home teammate Lewis Hamilton for a McLaren one-two at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.

The win puts the reigning world champion at the top of the season standings with 60 points, 10 points ahead of Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg, who scored his second successive third place in China. The previously dominant Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber finished down in sixth and eighth.

The qualifying session for the race had put Vettel and Webber on the front row of the grid, with the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso in third and Rosberg fourth. Button and Hamilton started fifth and sixth.

Alonso jumped the start of the race and entered the first corner in the lead, but he was later to receive a drive-through penalty. The first bend saw carnage as Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi lost control and hit the Virgin of Timo Glock, Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi and the Toro Rosso of Sebastian Buemi. The safety car was deployed while the mess was cleared up. A splash of rain during the yellow flags saw many cars dive into the pits for intermediate tyres, but two laps later they were back in the pits to swap back to slicks. That led to a complete reshuffle of the starting order and left Rosberg, Button and Kubica – all of whom had not stopped – some 50 seconds clear of the rest of the field.

Nico Rosberg scored his second successive podium for Mercedes GP

Nico Rosberg scored his second successive podium for Mercedes GP

Hamilton and Vettel found themselves down the order and fought hard to climb back up, with Vettel staying ahead of the 2008 world champion until the pair caught Adrian Sutil’s Force India. Approaching a hairpin, Hamilton went past both drivers in one manoeuvre and proceeded to pull away from the Germans.

Alonso too was recovering from his early misdemeanour and carving his way through the field – he would eventually finish fourth. The safety car came out again after Jaime Alguersuari lost the front wing of his Toro Rosso, which wiped out Button’s hard-fought lead. But the Englishman held on after the race got underway again, and although Hamilton continued his charge to reach second, both cars tyres began to fail as the race reached its end, which stopped the 2008 champion’s recovery.

Robert Kubica was fifth for Renault while his Russian teammate Vitaly Petrov had his first finish of the season to place seventh. Felipe Massa was ninth for Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher’s lacklustre return continued. Although the seven time world champion showed flashes of defensive brilliance while holding off faster cars, he couldn’t wring the pace from his Mercedes GP that teammate Rosberg managed, and the German finished in 10th.

Both Hamilton and Vettel will be investigated by the stewards after the pair jostled each other as they emerged from a pit stop side by side.

McLaren now leads the constructors championship with 109 points to Ferrari’s 90, with Red Bull in third on 73. The next race is the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on Sunday, May 9.

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