Victims of Circumstance: Shanghai 2013

Brought to you by Adam Macdonald

This weekend was one of impressions in China, with many drivers and principals deciding to chip in to entertain.  Esteban Gutierrez gave a late welcome back present to Adrian Sutil, Romain Grosjean carried on with his self reform, Jules Bianchi continued to impress and Christian Horner tried to give the impression that he was in control.

In all seriousness though there has been a most strange non-occurrence over the past 3 races.  When writing this page, I was expecting to be faced with the complications of a safety car by now, but alas, it has now been absent for 3 races which must be some sort of a record for the start of the season.  This is highly likely to continue into Bahrain as well!

So what really happened?

As there is now no Michael Schumacher on the grid to make rookie errors, it has now been left to the rookies.  Gutierrez misjudged his braking in a heavy car on lap 5, taking out Adrian Sutil.  He was on the harder, medium tyres at the time in a net 11th position (Daniel Ricciardo had already pitted for tyres), and is therefore awarded the position ahead of Paul Di Resta, 9th.  Esteban Gutierrez remains where he finished; in the gravel.

Sutil Rear Wing
Bob ‘the builder of fast cars’ Fernley’s new rear end design wasn’t proving very effective.

Lap 15 saw friendly fire of sorts as Mark Webber dived up the inside of Jean-Eric Vergne, leading to the inevitable collision.  Vergne who had been running in 12th at the time turned his car around and continued running so nothing changes for him.   Webber lost his wheel (lap 18), after the enforced pit stop so in some ways, many of his woes were his own doing.  His best hopes for the race would now have been the small points, but here he remains retired.

The following lap to Webber and Vergne, Raikkonen had a nibble at Perez, but nothing too much to report in this.  Both drivers continued happily on their way.

Nico Rosberg had been running as high as 5th before his forced retirement on lap 23.  Due to the blistering pace at the end, he would almost certainly have been passed by Sebastian Vettel, but surely would have held station in front Jenson Button.

A fairly uneventful race, with no big decisions to be made for this page just yet.

A New path for tyre strategy

It’s not unlike the Red Bull team to try something completely different to the others…that’s why they’re triple world champions.  However, when nobody else manages to make the soft tyres last more than 3 laps, their effort should be commended.  One thing that became obvious was Vettel’s absolute trust in what Rocky, his race engineer, told him highlighting the good relationship they have.

Vettel Pit Stop Shanghai

This weekend must also have given immense pleasure to Nico Hulkenberg to finish ahead of Perez.  There are still many who say the McLaren drive should have gone to the German, and these kind of performances will add weight to those claims.

This leaves the revised results table looking like this:

Revised Race Position Driver Result comparison Points Points Difference Grid Position
Start RevisedPosition
1 Fernando Alonso = 25 = 3 1
2 Kimi Raikkonen = 18 = 2 2
3 Lewis Hamilton = 15 = 1 3
4 Sebastian Vettel = 12 = 9 4
5 Nico Rosberg RETIRED 10 +10 4 5
6 Jenson Button -1 8 -2 8 6
7 Felipe Massa -1 6 -2 5 7
8 Daniel Ricciardo -1 4 -2 7 8
9 Adrian Sutil RETIRED 2 +2 13 9
10 Paul Di Resta -2 1 -1 11 10
11 Romain Grosjean -2 0 -2 6 11
12 Nico Hulkenberg -2 0 -1 10 12
13 Sergio Perez -2 0 = 12 13
14 Jean-Eric Vergne -2 0 = 15 14
15 Valtteri Bottas -2 0 = 16 15
16 Pastor Maldonado -2 0 = 14 16
17 Jules Bianchi -2 0 = 18 17
18 Charles Pic -2 0 = 20 18
19 Max Chilton -2 0 = 19 19
20 Giedo van der Garde -2 0 = 21 20
21 Mark Webber = 0 = 22 21
22 Esteban Gutierrez = 0 = 17 22

Below, the revised World Drivers’ Championship:

Driver Revised WDC WDC Points Difference
Position Points
Sebastian Vettel 1 52 =
Kimi Raikkonen 2 47 -2
Fernando Alonso 3 43 =
Lewis Hamilton 4 37 -3
Nico Rosberg 5 33 +21
Felipe Massa 6 26 -4
Mark Webber 7 24 -2
Jenson Button 8 19 +7
Romain Grosjean 9 6 -5
Adrian Sutil 10 6 =
Paul Di Resta 11 5 -3
Daniel Ricciardo 12 4 -2
Nico Hulkenberg 13 1 -4
Sergio Perez 14 0 -2
Jean-Eric Vergne 15 0 -1
Pastor Maldonado 16 0 =
Valtteri Bottas 17 0 =
Esteban Gutierrez 18 0 =
Jules Bianchi 19 0 =
Max Chilton 20 0 =
Charles Pic =21 0 =
Giedo Van Der Garde =21 0 =

*Those with 0 points will not be ordered
**Adrian Sutil (-2) and Paul Di Resta (+2) correcting the team orders from Australia

What they would have said

Vettel’s strategy would have been praised for making up the places he lost by not qualifying in Q3.

Nico Rosberg would be within touching distance of the WDC summit.  It must be demoralising for him 3 races in, and already a mountain to climb whilst his new team mate claims his second podium.  Do the great make their own luck?

The pressure would once again be on Romain Grosjean as he struggled to keep pace with his teammate, not even picking up points on here.

Quote of the Day

The New Thought leader and teacher Christian Larson once said, “Take pride in how far you have come, and have faith in how far you can go!”


A somewhat inspirational figure, he continues to guide many, even after his death, through his books and speeches.  Apparently Fernando has some of them on his iPod.  Maybe that’s what helped him to his first victory in 14 races, retaining a positive attitude throughout.

2 responses to “Victims of Circumstance: Shanghai 2013

  1. I’m pretty sure Alonso has more words of wisdom from Ferrari’s own tyre Samurai Hirohide Hamashima on his iPod 😉

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