2015 CHINESE GRAND PRIX
“It feels like we’ve started the season proper”
Shanghai International Circuit, Sunday April 12
McLaren-Honda got both cars safely to the finish in today’s Chinese Grand Prix, Fernando and Jenson finishing 12th and 14th respectively.
Both drivers started on the Option tyre, but then ran constrasting two-stop strategies. Fernando switched to Primes at his first stop, which made his car oversteer, before fitting Options for the run to the flag. Despite a longer-than-planned stop (to clear debris from the rear wing), the softer tyre enabled him to make up significant ground to the cars in front.
Jenson, switched to a second set of Options at his first stop, setting a string of competitive midfield times, before ending the race on the Prime. He struggled with a lack of rear grip on the harder tyre, which dropped him into the sights of the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado, with whom he enjoyed a spirited tussle for many laps.
Into the closing laps, the action between Jenson and Pastor intensified, the pair passing and re-passing each other before colliding on the high-speed entry to Turn One. Pastor was pushed into a spin, and the contact broke off Jenson’s right-hand front-wing endplate. With his car’s balance not too badly compromised, Jenson made it to the finish line in 13th, but was later given a five-second penalty for his role in the Maldonado accident, which cost him an extra place.
The incident enabled the closely following Fernando to move cleanly past. When a late-race Safety Car period neutered the race, he came home 12th.
Fastest lap 1m43.728s on lap 40 (+1.520s, 13th)
Pitstops Two: laps 12 (3.34s) and 35 (3.58s)