RAIKONEN WINS AFTER HAMILTON DISSAPOINTMENT

 

China's one of the F1 show's newer destinations but coming at the back end of the season it has always played a crucial role in tight title races - but the title has never been decided in Shanghai! That looked likely to change. Despite Red Bull's best efforts(whining about his driving in insane conditions in Japan), Lewis still came into the race only needing to finish ahead of Alonso to guarantee the most extraordinary title ever and the whole weekend took on a feeling of unreality as a result.

Qualifying turned out to be the best ever from a UK perspective. All four Brits made it into Q2 while both Fisichella and Barrichello failing to make the grade. Davidson got booted in Q2 but there were still three Brits in Q3 for the first time this season! Lewis was the main man early on in Q3 but his initial time wasn't exactly awesome and Massa took provisional pole off him. Lewis replied by coming in for tyres and pulling another perfecto lap off in the last second for his second pole in a row and that wasn't the only reason for British fans to celebrate. DC would start P5. his best grid slot since Australia '05! Jenson would start P10!

As for the race, well Lewis kept everyone behind him and as his built up a lead I starting to have this fixed, "this can not be happening" grin on my face, counting down the laps to history. And then he started to have tyre problems and Raikonen reeled him in. Fine, Raikonen took the lead. Bummer but still fine. Alonso started to reel him in from third. Uh oh. Finally about five laps too late Lewis turned into the pits...and went right into the pit lane gravel trap. I suppose he had to have a DNF at some point but it wasn't exactly welcome.

Well DC fueled himself long and managed to stay 5th though he was always too far away to sniff for a podium spot. His pit stop pretty much ruined his race though and he found himself well out of the points only to gradually, partly with help from retirements to get as far as 10th and thanks to further pit stops me made it into 8th only to have Kovalainen chase him to the chequered flag but the Scot held off the Renault driver for the point.

Jenson probably had the worst start of the Brits quickly falling to 13th while heavily fueled and that became 14th when Ralf overtook him. His one stop strategy paid off as he found his way into the points and went past Vettel to go into 4th before pitting but with the help of retirements and further pit stops the Honda man got as far as 5th! He never looked like getting any higher but Jenson still celebrated his best result of the season so far!

Up front well once Raikonen overtook Lewis there was nothing to stop him, Alonso certainly gave chase and though Kubica of all people led for a bit mid-pit sequence he retired and after that it was just a case of seeing who was going to do more damage to Lewis's title chances. The reigning world champion was never really a threat to the Ferrari driver though and Raikonen picked up his fifth win of the season so far, Alonso second, Massa third with Vettel pulling off a great result for Toro Rosso(previously known as Minardi!) by finishing fourth.

Anyway, Lewis still leads the championship with 107 points but not only has his lead been cut to four points but he may yet have to settle for third place! Further down, DC has risen to 10th on 14 points with Jenson making it up to 15th with 6 points(but no top four finishes).

So now it's Brazil - and what could well be the tensest race since the 80s!

Visit the Formula 1 archive

Comments go here

Click here to return to sports homepage

Click here to return to Matt G's homepage