SHANGHAI: McLaren driver Jenson Button orchestrated a perfectlyjudged drive in treacherous wet conditions to conquer the Chinese Grand Prix ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton and pole-setter Nico Rosberg.
The weather forecast seemed to tilt towards a possible reenactment of the Malaysian Grand Prix, especially with Vettel claiming pole position for the third consecutive time. But Button seemed bent on changing that from the first few laps as he clinched his ninth Formula One win in one hour, 46 minutes and 42.163 seconds.
But if Button demonstrated smooth style and great management of tyres, it was Hamilton who produced the thrills and excitement in a race punctuated by rainstorms, accidents and two Safety Car periods.
Rosberg, who took the lead during the first 19 laps, fell behind at turn 14 of the circuit but managed to secure the team’s first top-three position of the season. But teammate Michael Schumacher finished 10th to add to the disappointing finishes since his comeback.
Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso came in fourth, losing time after serving a drivethrough penalty for a jump start, and Felipe Massa came ninth. Renault drivers Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov were ranked fifth and seventh respectively.
Hamilton gave the thrills in a race exascerbated by rain storms, accidents and two safety car periods by charging through the field in a flurry of passing moves. Hamilton was also involved in a dramatic pit-lane wheel-to-wheel racing duel with Vettel of Red Bull, an incident that the duo escaped with a reprimand.
Seven-time world champion Schumacher, back in Formula One after a three-year absence, admitted to being disappointed with his performance on Sunday.
“It was really a very frustrating day,” said Schumacher. “As you imagine, there were some good emotions, but there were unfortunately too many bad emotions.”
Regretting his timing for a pit stop, he said, “At the start, I thought we were quite clever when some others changed for intermediates and it turned out to be the wrong decision. But, quite honestly, I think all weekend didn’t work out for myself.”
However, Schumacher lauded the McLaren team.
“I think you have to compliment the English team - they have done a great job.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ