Iain Hepburn | April 15, 2013
Gary Meenaghan looks at five key issues coming out of the 2013 Chinese Grand Prix.
Are the wheels falling off the Australian’s championship challenge? He started the race from the pit-lane and, trying to pass, he collided with Jean-Eric Vergne. With his car slowing, a wheel came loose and ran across the track. He was later given a three-place grid penalty for the next race. “It compounds an amazing weekend for me,” he said.
The 23-year-old Mexican had an eventful race, despite finishing only 11th. He appeared to defend a little too aggressively against Lewis Hamilton early and, later, with Kimi Raikkonen trying to overtake, Perez ran him wide on to the grass. The Lotus driver lost grip and slid into the back of Perez’s McLaren, screaming down the radio: “What the hell is he doing?”
The Australian was out to exorcise the ghosts of last year’s race in Bahrain, where he qualified sixth but finished 15th. Yesterday, having started seventh, he survived an early shunt to secure a career-best seventh-place finish and six points. “[Felipe] Massa’s Ferrari was looking bigger and bigger ahead of me, so maybe I could have done even better,” he said.
The team have looked quick every weekend so far, yet will arrive in Bahrain on Friday with only 14 points in the constructors’ championship. Disappointment in Malaysia was compounded yesterday as the Sauber rookie Esteban Gutierrez slammed into Sutil, forcing him to retire with a broken rear wing. Gutierrez was given a five-place grid penalty.
The German arrived in China with positive memories having secured his first grand prix victory in Shanghai last year. Yet having started in fourth, Rosberg quickly started moving backwards, was involved in a shunt with Ricciardo and pulled into the pits on Lap 23. It was his second retirement in three races.