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GP Week : Issue 42
Team-By-Team:Chinese Gran It’s a sign of how far McLaren’s expectations have dropped since last we raced in Shanghai that for the team to finish fifth and sixth in the Grand Prix last weekend was considered something of a good result. To finish as the best of the rest after Red Bull and BrawnGP came following a great drive from Kovalainen, who hadn’t turned a racing lap before he got to China, and a not Things just go from bad to worse for Ferrari as the worst season start since 1992 becomes the worst season start since 1981. Ferrari spent all of the first practice day out of the top 10, as Massa and Raikkonen struggled without KERS, which had been removed following reliability issues suffered in Malaysia. Despite his increasing indifference to the season, Raikkonen outqualified BMW’s season of intended glory goes from bad to worse. In an effort to improve their overall pace, KERS was put on not just Nick Heidfeld’s car, but also that of Robert Kubica. It didn’t work. Kubica went backwards and fast, and there was little surprise when BMW opted to take KERS back away from him at the end of play on the first day. It did little to improve the Pole’s Like BMW, Renault thought it best to drop KERS in China, despite the fact that the back straight is the longest of the season, and the decision cost them dear. A new diffuser was brought along to the party, despite the fact that Flavio Briatore seemed more concerned with moaning about his rivals than racing them in Shanghai. Alonso put in a great qualifying run This was a really strange one for Toyota. The weekend was looking great until Timo Glock’s car stuttered towards a gearbox change on Saturday morning, and from there on things started to wobble. Glock failed to make it out of Q2, although with a five-place penalty this eventually played into his hands. Starting on a full tank in the pits, the 30 so great drive from Hamilton, who looked flustered in the race (strange for a driver withy so much form in the wet). The team did well to stick with KERS, and with an interim diffuser in use in China will already have got the jump on their rivals who will be adding the new technology to their cars in Europe. Lots to take from the weekend, and another good step forward. Massa, getting into the top 10 while Massa was stuck in Q2. The race was the story of what might have been for Ferrari, as it was Massa who shone, rising up through the field with a mesmeric drive that was ultimately ground to a halt via electronics issues. Raikkonen meanwhile complained of an ill-performing engine and finished out of the points. weekend. Kubica failed to make it out of Q3, and in the Grand Prix itself decided to try and mate with Trulli’s underperforming Toyota. That he was able to carry on was a testament to the strength of the F109, but that was as good as it got. Neither driver finished in the points. Heidfeld flirted with the prospect but it never really looked on the cards. to line up second, although when the weights were published the extent of the glory run was obvious. He was on fumes. As one of the first to pit, he should have been well placed, but just didn’t have race pace in the wet. Nelson Piquet had a tricky one, aquaplaning on numerous occasions to require two nose changes. No points, no chance. Things have got to change. German went out and proceeded to move up the order with his usual flair. Team-mate Trulli meanwhile was falling backwards. Eventually he slipped so far back that Kubica rode over his rear end, bringing out the second Safety Car. Trulli’s retirement was inevitable after the shunt, but Glock plugged away for another points finish. A great and determined drive.