Jensen Button led a McLaren one-two at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai in another example of inspired decision making.
While the Red Bull team had qualified first and second on the grid, they had to settle for sixth and eighth due to a combination of bad weather and bad luck. Vitaly Petrov and Robert Kubica had reasonable drives for Renault with seventh and fifth respectively, and Fernando Alonso managed to finish fourth despite heading into the pits more times in one race than most drivers would manage in a season – including a penalty for jumping the start.
But while Nico Rosberg had a great drive to finish third (team-mate Michael Schumacher was tenth), it was the two McLarens that stole the show. And although Lewis Hamilton continued his lifelong mission to reintroduce overtaking into F1, it was Button that was the winner after sticking with the same tyres after an initial rainstrom just a couple of laps into the race. That put him right up to second behind Rosberg, who he then passed on the road.
Following on from a similar situation in Australia, where an inspired tyre choice led to victory, it seems as if Button is the first driver who could truly inherit the title of ‘The Professor’ from French former F1 star Alain Prost. Hamilton is too much of a racer, and Michael Schumacher appears to still be recovering after proving it’s potentially easier to go from two wheels to four than the other way. The only other contender would be the legendary Ayrton Senna, but his domination also seemed to come from a superiority of talent rather than thoughtfulness.
Tommy Hill took the win in race one at Thruxton from the HM Plant Honda of Josh Brookes. Hill’s Worx Crescent Suzuki team-mate Yukio Kagayama took a welcome third for the always entertaining and often injured Japanese rider. Stuart Easton and Michael Rutter rounded out the top 5, with David Anthony winning the Evolution class for MIST Suzuki (who are inviting financial support to keep racing).
The second race saw Brookes turn the table to win from Hill, with Stuart Easton filling the podium, Ryuichi Kiyonari in fourth, and Martin Jessop in fifth. David Anthony sealed the double in the Evo class in 17th overall. James Ellison joined Neil Hodgson in the absent riders list, after breaking his femur in a high speed crash in final practice at Thruxton.
It’s looking like we can probably rule out any Ford challenge for the umpteenth year in a row as Citroen’s Sebastien Loeb has won the Rally of Turkey, which is his third win in a row. Second place went to Petter Solberg who has had a brilliant run of form since being given a top spec Citroen after his privateer showing last year. Mikko Hirvonen took third.
Early leader Sebastien Ogier (Citroen) was demoted with a puncture, whilst Dani Sordo (Citroen) would have claimed the podium spot until he crashed out. Former F1 star Kimi Raikkkon (Citroen) had a great drive to take fifth. Ken Block didn’t have a great time, going out in the first test on Friday and eventually finishing 24th overall.
Ryan Hunter-Reay won the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach for Andretti Racing, beating Britain’s Justin Wilson. Hunter-Reay is the first American driver to win an IndyCar series race since his last victory back at Watkins Glen in JUly 2008. Australian Will Power finished third for Team Penske, the first race he hadn’t won this season.