China race analysis - Hamilton answers his critics 20 Oct 2008
After the errors of Japan, there were many predicting - hoping even - that Lewis Hamilton would again crack under pressure in Shanghai. It seemed the world was against him - the press labelled him arrogant, fellow drivers questioned his on-track conduct, and some even pledged to help his title rivals. Hamiltons response? Pole position, fastest lap and a lights-to-flag victory that has put him on the brink of becoming Formula Ones youngest world champion in only his second season. We take a team-by-team look at how the Chinese Grand Prix unfolded
Lewis Hamilton, P1
Heikki Kovalainen, Retired lap 50, engine
Hamilton owned the Shanghai International Circuit on Sunday. He made the perfect start from pole position, only ever surrendered the lead during pit stops, and set the fastest lap on his way to a crucial victory. He described his McLaren as perfect, and that was all he needed to say. Kovalainen, by contrast, was unlucky. A set of mismatched tyres caused understeer in his first stint and he was running fifth when his right front Bridgestone then punctured on lap 35. He later he retired with a hydraulic problem.
Kimi Raikkonen, P3
Felipe Massa, P2
Raikkonen said that his Ferrari handled very nicely, but just wasnt fast enough. Massa said his car was better on the softer compound Bridgestone, and a handful on the prime tyre. Their glum expressions afterwards said it all. Massa's fading title hopes now rest on the unlikely scenario of the Brazilian winning in Sao Paulo, with Hamilton no higher than sixth.
Fernando Alonso, P4
Nelson Piquet, P8
Alonso and Piquet both had good races. The Spaniard was aggressive with a fuel-heavier Kovalainen on the opening lap and crucially was able to squeeze ahead and thus stay in contact with the Ferraris. Piquet did what was required of him as he scored the final point. Their haul of points secured fourth place for Renault in the constructors championship.
Nick Heidfeld, P5
Robert Kubica, P6
Both Heidfeld and Kubica made good starts, and the former was quick enough on his two-stop strategy to set the third-fastest race lap. Kubica took the unusual step of retaining the same set of tyres at his first stop and it paid off with sixth place, even if the three points that he earned finally put an end to his world title aspirations.
Jarno Trulli, retired lap 3, accident damage
Timo Glock, P7
Trulli was pushed into submission by Bourdais at the start, as the Toro Rosso driver tipped him into a spin. The Toyota suffered body damage that was serious enough to prompt retirement on the second lap after two pits stops. Glock went the furthest of anyone on his initial fuel supply, and that lifted his TF108 into contention for a solid seventh place finish.
Sebastian Vettel, P9
Sebastien Bourdais, P13
No points this race for Toro Rosso. Vettel ran strongly early on but was defeated in his quest for points by the one-stop strategies for Kubica at BMW Sauber and Glock at Toyota. Bourdaiss chances were ruined by the brush with Trulli on the opening lap, and his version was that the Italian didnt see him tucked up under Vettels rear wing as Trulli tried to turn in.
Mark Webber, P14
David Coulthard, P10
Webber was the first to stop for fuel, on the 12th lap, and he was unable to make up ground thereafter. Coulthard had the better race here, bringing his RB4 home 10th.
Rubens Barrichello, P11
Jenson Button, P16
Barrichello drove an aggressive race to bring his Honda home 11th, but Button found his still lacked balance and was a lapped 16th.
Kazuki Nakajima, P12
Nico Rosberg, P15
It was another unhappy afternoon for Williams, with a one-stop strategy helping Nakajima to 12th place, three ahead of two-stopping team mate Rosberg. Again, the FW30 was just not quick enough in fast corners.
Giancarlo Fisichella, P17
Adrian Sutil, retired lap 14, gearbox
Fisichella trailed home 17th and last, while Sutils race ended after 13 laps with gearbox failure as he entered the pits.