April 15, 2018 / 2:20 PM / 4 months ago

Motor racing-Team by team analysis of the Chinese Grand Prix

April 15 (Reuters) - Team by team analysis of Sunday’s Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai (listed in current championship order):

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MERCEDES (Valtteri Bottas 2, Lewis Hamilton 4)

Mercedes pushed Ferrari off the top by a point, despite going three races in a row without a win for the first time since 2013. Bottas has now been runner-up in two of three races this season and is only five points behind Hamilton, whose trajectory is downwards: second, third and now fourth. Hamilton did set a record of 28 successive points finishes.

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FERRARI (Kimi Raikkonen 3, Sebastian Vettel 8)

Vettel’s bid for three wins in a row started from pole position but was ended by a strategy error and collision with Red Bull’s Verstappen, an incident the Dutch driver took the blame for. Raikkonen played an assisting role to Vettel but ended up with his 93rd career podium.

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RED BULL (Daniel Ricciardo 1, Max Verstappen 5)

The former world champions leapfrog McLaren with their first win of the season and sixth of Ricciardo’s career. The Australian had started sixth after nearly missing out on qualifying due to an engine change. Verstappen started fifth and could have won had he not tangled with Hamilton and Vettel, the latter earning him a 10 second penalty which meant he was demoted from fourth to fifth.

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MCLAREN (Fernando Alonso 7, Stoffel Vandoorne 13)

Alonso, starting 13th on a one-stop strategy, continued his run of scoring points in every race this season but dropped to fifth in the championship. He had the pleasure of overtaking Vettel’s Ferrari on the penultimate lap. Vandoorne lost places at the start and then suffered from strong vibrations in the closing stages.

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RENAULT (Nico Hulkenberg 6, Carlos Sainz 9)

Hulkenberg started seventh, Sainz in ninth. Both drivers pitted for fresh soft tyres during the helpful safety car period after earlier stops. Sainz felt he would have got Vettel with one more lap.

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TORO ROSSO (Pierre Gasly 18, Brendon Hartley retired)

Hartley was the only retirement of the race, in the pits with a gearbox problem after he and Gasly had collided. The team blamed that incident on a miscommunication with the drivers instructed to swap places due to different strategies. Gasly got a 10 second penalty and two penalty points for the collision.

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HAAS (Kevin Magnussen 10, Romain Grosjean 17)

Magnussen’s point leaves Haas just one behind Toro Rosso. The Dane started 11th on a one-stop strategy and ran as high as seventh but he and Grosjean lost out when others pitted for fresh tyres during the safety car period.

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SAUBER (Marcus Ericsson 16, Charles Leclerc 19)

Leclerc spun off on his second stint and damaged the car’s floor. Ericsson also lost a few positions after going off track.

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FORCE INDIA (Esteban Ocon 11, Sergio Perez 12)

Esteban was on course to finish in the points on a two-stop strategy until the safety car shook everything up. Perez ran into trouble on the opening lap and was on the back foot from then on.

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WILLIAMS (Lance Stroll 14, Sergey Sirotkin 15)

Still no points for the former champions. Stroll made an impressive start and was up 12th at the end of the first lap. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)

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