Chinese Grand Prix: Driver ratings

By on Monday, April 13, 2015

Lewis Hamilton claimed his second win of the campaign ahead of a riled Nico Rosberg. F1Zone.net rates the drivers at the Chinese Grand Prix.

44 | Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes | G: 1st | R: 1st | 10/10

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Hamilton was supreme all weekend in China as he topped the three practice sessions, claimed pole position and eased to victory. He kept Nico Rosberg at arm’s length to win for the second time this year and extend his championship advantage to 13 points over Sebastian Vettel.

6 | Nico Rosberg | Mercedes | G: 2nd | R: 2nd | 6/10

You could write an essay on the relationship between Hamilton and Rosberg over the years, but the prognosis now is that Rosberg is teetering on the edge. He wasn’t as quick – again – but decided to instead launch an attack on Hamilton’s tactics. Mentally gone?

3 | Daniel Ricciardo | Red Bull | G: 7th | R: 9th | 6/10

Last year it was highlighted that one of Ricciardo’s sole weaknesses was his starts and ultimately it cost him dearly in China. He slipped back to 17th on the first lap and a few errors while battling back through the field showed that this was an off-day for 2014’s star.

26 | Daniil Kvyat | Red Bull | G: 12th | R: Ret | 4/10

Kvyat’s Red Bull career has started in inauspicious fashion and China was another trying weekend for the young Russian. He crashed out of practice due to a brake failure and having been knocked out of Q2 he pulled off the circuit with smoke pouring from his engine.

19 | Felipe Massa | Williams | G: 4th | R: 5th | 8/10

Williams Martini Racing

Williams Martini Racing

Massa’s weekend didn’t begin brilliantly as he squirmed under braking for the hairpin and had a high speed spin, which included nudging the barriers as he came towards a halt. He fared well in qualifying and got back ahead of Valtteri Bottas during the pits after making a poor start.

77 | Valtteri Bottas | Williams | G: 5th | R: 6th | 7/10

Bottas admitted that the race against Ferrari was lost when he was passed by Räikkönen early on, but ultimately Williams didn’t have the pace to challenge the Italian squad; a trend is now emerging that sees Williams as the third best team, sitting in no-man’s land.

5 | Sebastian Vettel | Ferrari | G: 3rd | R: 3rd | 9/10

Vettel started third and finished third to secure his third successive podium for Ferrari. Unlike in Malaysia, Mercedes was too quick for Ferrari but Vettel hung on to Rosberg’s coat tails initially before he slipped further back on the Prime tyres.

7 | Kimi Räikkönen | Ferrari | G: 6th | R: 4th | 8/10

Räikkönen’s weekend was compromised in qualifying when his SF15-T appeared to be lacking traction, leaving him down in sixth place. He immediately made amends in the race but was always at the back of the leading quartet and had to settle for fourth place.

14 | Fernando Alonso | McLaren | G: 18th | R: 12th | 7/10

McLaren Honda

McLaren Honda

Alonso missed final practice and lost out in qualifying to Jenson Button by just 0.004s. But after some initial struggles he thrived on the Option tyres and sat back as his rivals made contact, allowing him to move up into 12th position.

22 | Jenson Button | McLaren | G: 17th | R: 14th | 5/10

Button remained upbeat over McLaren’s progress but believes that work has to be done on the Prime tyre. He pinned some time loss on blue flags and traffic but late race collision with Pastor Maldonado was unnecessary, for which he took the blame.

27 | Nico Hülkenberg | Force India | G: 16th | R: Ret | 5/10

Hülkenberg may well already be looking more towards his outings with Porsche in the World Endurance Championship as opposed to driving the underdeveloped VJM08. Hülkenberg was knocked out in Q1 and pulled out of running early on with a suspected gearbox problem.

11 | Sergio Pérez | Force India | G: 15th | R: 11th | 6/10

Pérez admitted pre-race that motivation was likely to be an issue with Force India towards the back of the grid but he kept plugging away throughout the weekend. Aggressive approach almost reaped dividends but he couldn’t catch Marcus Ericsson at the end.

33 | Max Verstappen | Toro Rosso | G: 13th | R: 17th | 9/10

Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

Is he really only 17? Again Verstappen was outstanding in the race as he made a brilliant pass on Marcus Ericsson before catching Pérez unawares at the end of the first sector. Sadly, another Renault problem robbed him of more points.

55 | Carlos Sainz | Toro Rosso | G: 14th | R: 13th | 6/10

Sainz Jr. had enjoyed a strong start to the campaign but this was sub-par showing, which unravelled on the second lap when he was too bold on Medium tyres and spun. From there he was marooned out of contention, with gearbox problems scuppering his progress further.

8 | Romain Grosjean | Lotus | G: 8th | R: 7th | 8/10

It’s incredible to consider that the last time Grosjean appeared in the top 10 of a race result was in Monaco last year, but finally he ended his hoodoo and claimed seventh. Having cleared rivals early on he ran a fairly lonely race to put Lotus on the board in 2015.

13 | Pastor Maldonado | Lotus | G: 11th | R: Ret | 4/10

The sublime: Making progress from 11th on the grid and showing canny racecraft against both Sauber drivers and Jenson Button. The ridiculous: going straight on at the pit entry and spinning off at Turn 7.

28 | Will Stevens | Manor Marussia | G: 19th | R: 15th | 7/10

Manor Marussia

Manor Marussia

Having missed out in Australia and Malaysia, Stevens finally joined the fray in China and was comfortably the quicker of the two Manor Marussia drivers. 15th place was two positions higher than his first race with Caterham last year – he’ll be hoping the progress keeps going like that!

98 | Roberto Merhi | Manor Marussia | G: 20th | R: 16th | 6/10

This was the first of three successive racing weekends for Merhi as after Bahrain he’ll compete in the season-opening Formula Renault 3.5 round in Spain. Merhi at least did well to get to the finish, albeit behind Stevens.

9 | Marcus Ericsson | Sauber | G: 10th | R: 10th | 7/10

Ericsson is oft maligned for his financial backing but while he wasn’t quite as quick as Felipe Nasr, he was robust and fair with his race craft, especially against Ricciardo. A point was his reward.

12 | Felipe Nasr | Sauber | G: 9th | R: 8th | 8/10

Malaysia was a poor showing from Nasr but he returned to form in China as he made it through to Q3 for the first time and raced well to claim a handful of points for Sauber.


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