Fernando Alonso was indeed faster than Felipe to take victory on Sunday in a drama-packed Chinese Grand Prix, with the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton holding on for second and third.
A charging Sebastian Vettel came fourth, just 0.2 seconds behind Hamilton, after adopting a different tyre strategy from most of his rivals, while his Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber failed to finish on 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 said that he was delighted to get his season back on track after retiring early in Malaysia last month. The two-time 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 eight years ago,” said the Spaniard, who narrowly lost out to Vettel for the world title last season.
“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 and we need to keep going like that.”
“I’m not 100% happy because we didn’t win”
“Second wasn’t quite what we wanted, but in the circumstances it was the best that we could manage today. I’m not 100% happy because we didn’t win, but it is what it is and second place is a good result after a bad start and the incident with Sergio [Perez]. It was quite difficult out there; obviously the car is not designed like that otherwise we would use it all the time, but I was surprised how good it was still. Of course there were some handling issues which was not ideal, but we just had to try to live with it and we still had pretty okay speed.”
It was a good race for me today and whilst I would have loved the win, I´m really happy with third place and being on the podium for the second race in a row. Fernando and Kimi were just a little bit too fast for us during the race and my tyres were shot at the end trying to keep ahead of Sebastian. I could see his car getting bigger and bigger in my mirrors so it was nice to be able to hang on for the third place. The guys did a great job this weekend to get us where we were; on pole and finishing third. We got the absolute most out of the car we had and that´s very satisfying. We´re not quite there yet in terms of overall pace but everyone is working so hard and I know we can do it.
Pos Driver Team Time 1. Alonso Ferrari 1h36:26.945 2. Raikkonen Lotus-Renault + 10.168s 3. Hamilton Mercedes + 12.322s 4. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 12.525s 5. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 35.285s 6. Massa Ferrari + 40.827s 7. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 42.691s 8. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 51.084s 9. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 53.423s 10. Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari + 56.598s 11. Perez McLaren-Mercedes + 1m03.860s 12. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1m12.604s 13. Maldonado Williams-Renault + 1m33.861s 14. Bottas Williams-Renault + 1m35.453s 15. Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap 16. Pic Caterham-Renault + 1 lap 17. Chilton Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap 18. van der Garde Caterham-Renault + 1 lap