The Chinese Grand Prix proved to be a thrilling battle of strategy. So which three drivers made Torque F1’s Performance Podium this week? It’s time to find out.
1) Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso was at his magnificent best in China. After the disappointment of Sepang three weeks ago it was crucial that the Spaniard had a good race to kick-start his title challenge.
Having passed Kimi Raikkonen for second at the start, Alonso then tracked Lewis Hamilton for the first few laps, before making the best use of the DRS to pass the Mercedes driver at the start of lap five.
From then on Alonso never looked back, and consistently pulled away from the rest of the field. He also managed to cut his way through the traffic after his pit stops better than anyone else, which proved instrumental in gaining extra time over his rivals.
Alonso continued to set the pace even after he was told to stop pushing after his final stop, and romped home for his first win since last year’s German Grand Prix, a result which now leaves him third in the drivers’ standings.
2) Daniel Ricciardo
It may have gone unnoticed with all the action at the front, but Daniel Ricciardo produced a stunning drive in Shanghai to finish a career best seventh.
Having surprised many to make it into Q3 yesterday, Ricciardo refused to be overawed by running at the front and remained in the points for the entire race, finally beating his previous best finish of 9th (something he achieved four times last year) and scoring Toro Rosso’s best result in two years.
With the likely departure of Mark Webber, who looks set to be leaving Formula One at the end of the season to join Porsche’s Le Mans efforts, there is a seat at Red Bull up for grabs in 2014, and if Ricciardo can continue to produce drives of this quality, the chances of earning a promotion next year can only increase.
3) Jenson Button
Jenson Button made the best use of a two-stop strategy to overcome the shortcomings of his McLaren and take a strong fifth place.
Button drove an incredibly strong opening stint, making his tyres last for 21 laps, and he made his first stop at the same time as the rest of the leaders made their second.
The strength of the Englishman’s first stint of the race was such that after he pitted for the first time, he was actually running a net second. And although he didn’t have the pace to keep the trio of Raikkonen, Hamilton and Vettel behind him, an impressive fifth place finish will give both he and his team confidence as they look to fix the issues with the car over the coming races.
2013 Performance Podium Rankings
1) Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) – 12pts
2) Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus-Renault) – 10pts
2) Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault) – 10pts
4) Adrian Sutil (Force India-Mercedes) – 5pts
4) Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) – 5pts
4) Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) – 5pts
7) Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes) – 2pts
7) Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 2pts
9) Jules Bianchi (Marussia-Cosworth) – 2pt
The Performance Podium rankings are calculated depending on where each driver places in each race. 1st place receives 10 points, 2nd place = 5pts, 3rd place = 2pts and an Honourable Mention = 1pt