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GP Week : Issue 112
Team-By-Team: Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai Paul di Resta came oh-so -close to achieving his third consecutive points finish since making his debut in Australia three weeks’ ago, but dropped outside the top ten with just four laps to go after an admiral effort in the Force India. The Scot opted for a two-stop strategy and had to complete 24 laps on the hard tyre to finish the race. Under pressure from Petrov and Kobayashi his pace dropped and both got by, before he collided with Heidfeld on the final lap but kept 11th. Sutil three-stopped from 11th on the grid but was never in with a shout of points, and lost more ground when Perez hit him with 9 laps to go. Having lucked into a double Q3 qualifying performance when Petrov’s Renault stopped on-track in Q2, Toro Rosso predictably fell through the field on race day. Both drivers immediately fell down the order, with Alguersuari and Buemi losing 3 and 4 places off the line respectively. Alguersuari had to retire after his first pitstop when his right-rear wheel came loose and Buemi had his race well and truly ruined when he had to pit for a new front wing four laps after his first pitstop after picking up some damage. He took the flag in 14th place, 90 seconds down on the winner. Kamui Kobayashi continued to add to Sauber’s points total in China with tenth place after a solid yet unspectacular two-stop race from 13th on the grid. He was up to tenth by lap three and was easy on his tyres throughout to allow him keep a consistent pace. His tyres were seven laps older than Petrov’s when the Russian passed him on lap 51, but he was able to return to the points two laps later when he overtook di Resta. Perez had a torrid afternoon, first hitting Heidfeld and then Sutil in the closing laps, earning him a drive-through penalty, before taking the flag in 17th. HRT enjoyed a successful Chinese Grand Prix weekend, recording their first finish of the year and finishing within 20 seconds of Virgin at the flag. An illegal jump start allowed Liuzzi to leap past Glock and d’Ambrosio on the first lap, but was soon hit with the customary drive-through penalty. He went on to do 21 laps on his soft tyres, before pitting for the first of two times for hard tyres, and spending his second stint behind team-mate Karthikeyan. Karthikeyan had pitted two laps later than Liuzzi and stuck to the one stop, while Liuzzi pitted for soft tyres 10 laps from home to claw back the deficit and overtake Karthikeyan on the final lap. Virgin leave China pleased to have achieved their target of getting five finishes from the first three races, but their chronic pace problems showed no signs of improving on Sunday. Glock was critical of his team switching him to a three-stop strategy, and lost over ten seconds in his final stop with a wheel problem. Team-mate d’Ambrosio, who had been quicker than Glock for much of the weekend, finished 30 seconds up the road on a two-stop strategy, but almost two minutes behind Lotus’s Heikki Kovalainen. Lotus were rejoicing in the paddock on Sunday evening after racing and beating the lower end of the midfield bunch for the first time in a Grand Prix. Kovalainen produced one of the drives of the day by two-stopping to 16th place, finishing almost 20 seconds clear of 3-stop Maldonado. The Finn also beat Perez to the line thanks to the Mexican’s late-race penalty. Trulli was unable to keep pace with his team-mate because of excessive tyre degradation, but still finished a lap clear of both Virgins, last year’s main rivals. F1 CHINA >> 31