Alonso and Ferrari strike back in Shanghai

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso and Ferrari have bounced back from a disastrous outing in Sepang three weeks ago to take their first win of the season in the Chinese Grand Prix.

Despite tyre strategies jumbling the order throughout, Alonso put in a commanding performance; taking the lead from pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton in the early stages and not looking back from there.

Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen survived early contact with Sergio Perez to finish second, albeit some 10 seconds adrift of Alonso.

Hamilton pressured Raikkonen to the line in third, securing a second straight podium for the Mercedes driver.

Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button took fourth and fifth respectively after running the alternate strategy of using the option tyre in the final stint.

Like the leading trio, Vettel completed three stops before hunting down the final podium place getters in the final five laps. The German eventually fell just 0.2s shy of Hamilton.

Button meanwhile led a large portion of the race thanks to a two-stop schedule, but was unable to fight in the run to the flag thanks to an extended stint on the options.

Felipe Massa ran as high as second in the early laps but lost crucial track position by staying out too long during his first stint on the options and could finish no better than sixth.

Seventh marked a career best for Australian Daniel Ricciardo, while Paul di Resta survived side-to-side contact on the opening lap with team-mate Adrian Sutil to score ninth.

Nico Hulkenberg claimed the final point for Sauber, with Perez one place further back in 11th.

Mark Webber started from pitlane following his qualifying disaster, and found himself  amongst the front-runners following the first round of pitstops after electing to swap the options for the primes at the end of the opening lap.

Contact with Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso soon required an unscheduled pitstop for a new front-wing.

His race ended a short time later as the new left-rear wheel, which had not been properly fitted at the stop, parted company with the RB9, stranding Webber on the circuit.

Post-race Webber has been dealt a three-place grid penalty for next week’s Bahrain GP for Vergne incident.

Esteban Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil were early retirements after the Mexican slammed into the rear of the German’s Force India at the end of the back straight in the early going.

Nico Rosberg also took an early shower after appearing to suffer from suspension issues from the outset.

Vettel now leads Raikkonen in the standings by a reduced three point margin, with Alonso just six further adrift in third.

See below for the full race result

Pos

Driver

Team

Laps

Time/Retired

Grid

1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 56 Winner 3
2 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 56 +10.1 secs 2
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 56 +12.3 secs 1
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 56 +12.5 secs 9
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 56 +35.2 secs 8
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 56 +40.8 secs 5
7 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 56 +42.6 secs 7
8 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 56 +51.0 secs 11
9 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 56 +53.4 secs 6
10 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 56 +56.5 secs 10
11 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 56 +63.8 secs 12
12 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 56 +72.6 secs 15
13 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 56 +93.8 secs 16
14 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 56 +95.4 secs 14
15 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 55 +1 Lap 18
16 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 55 +1 Lap 20
17 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 55 +1 Lap 19
18 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 55 +1 Lap 21
Ret Nico Rosberg Mercedes 21 +35 Laps 4
Ret Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 15 +41 Laps 22
Ret Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 5 +51 Laps 13
Ret Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 4 +52 Laps 17

See below for the updated points standings

Pos

Driver

Points

1 Sebastian Vettel 52
2 Kimi Räikkönen 49
3 Fernando Alonso 43
4 Lewis Hamilton 40
5 Felipe Massa 30
6 Mark Webber 26
7 Nico Rosberg 12
8 Jenson Button 12
9 Romain Grosjean 11
10 Paul di Resta 8
11 Daniel Ricciardo 6
12 Adrian Sutil 6
13 Nico Hulkenberg 5
14 Sergio Perez 2
15 Jean-Eric Vergne 1
16 Valtteri Bottas 0
17 Esteban Gutierrez 0
18 Jules Bianchi 0
19 Charles Pic 0
20 Pastor Maldonado 0
21 Giedo van der Garde 0
22 Max Chilton 0

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