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Alonso blazed through the pack

2013-04-14 13:05

SUPER HAPPY: Ferarri's Fernando Alonso could not hide his excitement on the podium after grabbing the 2013 China GP title onSunday, April 14.

SHANGHAI, China - Ferrari's Fernando Alonso emerged unscathed and unchallenged to take victory on Sunday (April 14) in a drama-packed 2013 Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix with Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus and Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes holding on for second and third.

A charging Sebastian Vettel came fourth, 0.2sec behind Hamilton, after adopting a tyre strategy different to that of most of his rivals while his Red Bull team mate Mark Webber failed to finish in what had already been a dreadful weekend for him.

Jenson Button, of McLaren, was fifth, and Alonso's team mate Felipe Massa sixth.

Daniel Ricciardo, of Toro Rosso, Force India's Paul di Resta, Romain Grosjean of Lotus and Nico Hulkenberg, of Sauber, rounded out the top 10.


Alonso was delighted to get his season back on track after retiring early during the 2013 Malaysia GP. The double World champion was second, behind the rejuvenated Raikkonen, in the season-opening race in Melbourne.

"It feels good, it is a long time from my victory here in 2005," the Spaniard, who narrowly lost out to Vettel for the World title in 2012, said. "It was not easy to understand this race sometimes, not an easy race. The risk is there when you overtake. This is a good reward for the team after the disappointment in Malaysia; let's hope this is now the start of the championship - we need to keep going like this."

Hamilton, whose lead from pole lasted only into lap five when Alonso activated his DRS on the ling straight, just held off the rampaging Vettel at the line to earn a second podium place for his new team.


"I'm really happy with today's result and very happy for the team. We didn't quite have the pace of these two (Alonso and Raikkonen) but we're very pleased to get on the podium," Hamilton said.

In warm and dry conditions, and in front of a packed main stand (though others and the open areas were all but empty), the race got off to a clean start. Hamilton streaked to the first corner with Alonso, third on the grid, in hot pursuit. Raikkonen, who was starting in second, was slow out the blocks.

But there was soon drama, as Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez slammed into the back of Adrian Sutil, of Force India. Flames licked from the right side of Sutil's machine as the pit crew battled to save his race but but both cars were out.

Vettel, who started ninth on the grid, was moving ominously up the field. Likewise Webber, who started the race from the pits after a disastrous qualifying. That run to the front was curtailed on lap 16 when Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) cut across him.


Webber suffered damage to the front of his car and was called into the pits but soon afterwards the Australian inexplicably lost his right rear tyre and several cars had to swerve as rolled across the track. Webber's bad weekend was over.

Raikkonen was in the thick of it, suffering slight damage when McLaren's Sergio Perez attempted to snuff out the Finn's overtake. "What the hell's he doing?!" exclaimed the straight-talking Raikkonen over the team radio. And later: "I was surprised there was not more damage - I hit him quite hard and was surprised I didn't have more problems.

"It was a good fight for second and quite a good result."

Hamilton's team mate Nico Rosberg, winner in Shanghai 2012, was the next to retire as Button, Alonso and Vettel all had a turn in the lead. Twenty laps to go and Raikkonen and Hamilton were also still in the hunt.

Alonso surrendered his lead - nearly 20sec by then - to Vettel when he went in for tyres but snatched it back on lap 43 of 56, darting inside the Red Bull. Alonso was in full flow now, clocking the fastest lap time of the race as Vettel, a rampaging Raikkonen and Hamilton scrapped for the other two podium steps.

However Vettel still needed to pit again. On lap 52 he did so, rejoining the action in fourth, as he attempted to chase down a spot on the podium. And he darn near did it...

2013 China GP Results


Inside Wheels24

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