If Japan ended with Lewis Hamilton being targeted by peers and other teams for being rash and dangerous, Shanghai was anything but. Called “arrogant” by the media, fingers were raised at the young Brit by other drivers who claimed that they would help his title rivals win. With so much pressure on his head, and almost the entire racing fraternity against him, Shanghai seemed to be the last thing Hamilton would have wanted.
Except, maybe it wasn’t!!!
What an answer it was that came out of Hamilton’s car - He took pole in qualifying, got the fastest lap in the race and led the race from start to finish in an almost perfect drive. For McLaren Mercedes, things couldn’t get better as their fellow countryman showed that he was born to drive on Shanghai, on this day. Hamilton got away from the start cleanly, led the race at every instance except when in for his scheduled pit-stops and broke the lap record before crossing the chequered flag. His car was perfect, almost an extension of his body, reacting to his every whim. Kovalainen ended up on the other end of the spectrum. Mismatched tyres meant that his car under-steered from the word go. Problem fixed, he was back out on the track however Lap 35 saw him return to the pits with a puncture. His third issue, a hydraulic failure, meant early showers for the young Finn.
Ferrari were fast, and so were their two drivers, however they just couldn’t match Hamilton’s pace. Although the duo of Massa and Raikkonen finished second and third respectively, it wasn’t enough to damage Hamilton’s run and leaves the Briton requiring just a sixth place finish to wrap up the title at Sao Paolo.
After two good races, Fernando Alonso continued his wonderful run of form with a fourth place finish. Although not as good as the two wins from the previous two races, Alonso had a good race and so did his team mate, Nelson Piquet Jr., who finished eighth. Piquet’s role, to grab a point at least, was successfully fulfilled, ensuring the fourth spot in the Constructors’ championship race for Renault.
BMW saw two good finishes with Nick Heidfeld ending a strong race in fifth place, and Robert Kubica coming home in 6th. Heidfeld timed the third fastest lap on the circuit and while that was a plus point for the team, the three points that Kubica won meant that he is surely out of the title race. Timo Glock came in at 7th place in his Toyota after making his fuel last the longest from the start. His wonderful drive to seventh was marred by Jarno Trulli being spun around by Sebastien Bourdais on just the third lap. Bourdais’ team mate, Sebastian Vettel, finished in 9th while Bourdais came in at 13th. Vettel started well but Kubica and Glock only stopped once, hindering Vettel’s bid for the last points’ spot.
David Coulthard came in at 10th, just two races from the end of his career while his team mate, Mark Webber ended in 14th. Rubens Barichello drove his Honda in at 11th while Jenson Button only managed 16th, behind Nico Rosberg. Williams’ second car only managed 12th place as Nakajima also felt that the FW30 was not quick enough to do much damage.