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GP Week : Issue 78
Team-By-Team: Chinese Gran McLaren was quick in practice once again, with both cars within the top four in each session. Come qualifying, Button struggled in Q1 and Q2 but in Q3 felt more comfortable with the balance and took fifth. Hamilton was unhappy in Q3, as the car was moving around a lot and he felt the front was bottoming. In the race Button made an inspired decision to see out the drizzle on slicks, which promoted him to second place. He then passed Rosberg on Lap 19 to take the lead. He pitted lap 20 for fuel and lap 38 for inters. Hamilton made the wrong tyre call at the last minute. However, it was another strong aggressive drive from the Brit which rewarded him with second. Vettel nabbed his fourth consecutive pole for Red Bull, while Webber qualified P2 two and a half tenths off. In the race, both stopped on lap two when the rain came. Mark had got off the grid ahead of Vettel and came in first, and too fast, hitting the front jack and damaging his front wing. They came back for slicks on five (Vettel) and six (Webber). Vettel got out ahead of Hamilton and was fighting Sutil when Hamilton went through on the inside. Webber got pushed wide at the restart and lost a few positions. The team gambled and put him on inters early which elevated him from 12th to eighth. Vettel got home in sixth. Petrov had an accident in FP3 but the mechanics were quick to put the car together in time for quali, where he set his best dry performance yet with P14. Kubica was even happier, extracting the maximum from the car to nail P8. He made a poor start in the race but made the call to stay on slicks and got up to third. However, the latter safety car period eroded the gap he's built and, on worn tyres, he was unable to defend and sunk back to fifth. Petrov scored his first points with seventh despite a spin, and showed continued fighting spirit with successful battles against Schumacher and Webber. Renault is developing aggressively. The team tried a new rear wing in practice with positive results, while Schumacher had to delve into his tyre supply after suffering a puncture. Rosberg and he were second and fourth respectively in the first two sessions, and sixth and seventh in FP3. In quali, things weren't so close. Rosberg fourth, Schumi, who struggled with rear end grip, ninth. In the race Rosberg made the choice to stay on slicks which gave him the lead for 17 laps until he slid off track and back on behind Button. He took his second podium in succession. Michael struggled and changed to inters too early for his final stint, which meant he slid down the order. He described it as a race to forget. Williams ran an F-duct in practice on Barrichello's car but chose not to race it. The Brazilian was unlucky not to make it into Q3, finishing 11th in the standings. Hulkenberg was struggling this weekend and, having made a mistake in the last corner, lined up 16th. Barrichello made a good start in the race but the team made tyre calls that would prove costly. Barrichello finished 12th, Hulkenberg 15th and only beating the Hispanias. Ferrari had a busy practice programme which was not helped by Alonso's engine failure. This was the same engine that had been changed in Bahrain, and was therefore high-risk. In qualifying, Alonso got the maximum from the car to take third while Massa struggled for a clear lap and got seventh. Alonso made a jump-start and took a drive-thru. In the race he made five tyre changes and did well to finish in fourth. Massa struggled in the wet with his tyres and finished ninth. He also lost out on their second pitstop when Alonso squeezed ahead in the pitlane and took position. Massa had hit a puddle which slowed him down and he was forced to wait for Alonso to take his stop. 30