Preview : Chinese Grand Prix

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 18:  Kimi Raikkon...
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I avoided the websites until ITV’s recorded showing of this morning’s qualifying at Shanghai. Lewis Hamilton put his McLaren on pole in a repeat of his qualifying performance at Fuji. Next to him is Kimi Raikkonnen. You can only hope Lewis learnt from Japan and will not chase the Ferrari too aggressively if he falls behind. However, Felipe Massa is right behind Hamilton so the pressure is on. Hamilton needs a decisive result ahead of Massa to protect his 5 point lead and take the Driver’s Championship – he could do it this weekend ahead of the final round in Brazil in a week; where Massa is predicted do well on home turf. Poor old Robert Kubica had a terrible time with the handling of his BMW, pushed down to 12th on the grid (moves to 11th with the penalty metered out to Red Bull’s Mark Webber for changing his engine). There is no doubt that the Sauber driver has otherwise demonstrated his class and could prove a strong challenger next season. Renault’s Fernando Alonso nabbed 4th and, having no love for the Brit, made no secret of his intention to help Massa tactically to snatch the Championship from Hamilton.

Pos Driver

  1. Lewis Hamilton – McLaren-Mercedes
  2. Kimi Räikkönen – Ferrari
  3. Felipe Massa – Ferrari
  4. Fernando Alonso – Renault
  5. Heikki Kovalainen – McLaren-Mercedes
  6. Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault
  7. Nick Heidfeld – BMW Sauber
  8. Sebastian Vettel – STR-Ferrari
  9. Jarno Trulli – Toyota
  10. Sebastien Bourdais – STR-Ferrari
  11. Nelsinho Piquet – Renault
  12. Robert Kubica – BMW Sauber
  13. Timo Glock – Toyota
  14. Rubens Barrichello – Honda
  15. Nico Rosberg – Williams-Toyota
  16. David Coulthard – Red Bull-Renault
  17. Kazuki Nakajima – Williams-Toyota
  18. Jenson Button – Honda
  19. Adrian Sutil – Force India-Ferrari
  20. Giancarlo Fisichella – Force India-Ferrari

The qualifying timings show just how close the racing is this season. Tomorrow’s race is forecast to be run in the wet – which may play to Lewis’s strengths – so race strategy will be huge in determining the final result. As will Hamilton’s ability to keep his nerve and drive tactically. Fantastic stuff ! An early start in the morning for race fans over here.

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