Jason Craig and Vikki Howe provide live coverage of the fourth round of this year’s F1 World Championship from the Shanghai International Circuit.
17:00pm: Wow! What a race. Fully deserved winner in Jenson Button who once again made the correct call when it mattered. Both he and the McLaren team will be thrilled with the result. Before we clock off from the Shanghai International Circuit, we’d just like to say a huge thank you to the Sauber Team, in particular Sven Schaefer, and Coventry University automotive lecturer, Andrew Noakes for making this possible. That’s your lot!
16:56pm: Button now leads the drivers’ standings by ten points from third placed Nico Rosberg, while Lewis Hamilton is in third. All in all, a great day for the McLaren team.
16:50pm Jenson Button wins the 2010 Chinese Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton is second and Nico Rosberg of Mercedes is third.
16:49pm: FINAL LAP
16:46pm: The gap is closing between the two McLarens, but it is Button’s race to lose now.
16:42pm: One of Ferrari’s mechanics is deep in conversation with the BMW Sauber team about the engine failure in one of the Swiss team’s cars. Remember: they are powered by engines built and developed by the ‘prancing horse’. Kamui Kobayashi, meanwhile, was the innocent victim of an opening lap accident. Hard luck, son.
16:36pm: The rain is still pouring down, but even that is failing to slow Button’s frantic pace. The reigning world champion now leads Hamilton by 6.2 seconds, though it emerges the latter’s front left tyre is balding very quickly. Rosberg still leads Alonso – by 1.2 seconds.
16:30pm: It’s all going on at the front. Having closed the gap on Button to 2.6 seconds, the former Brawn driver responds by increasing that by four tenths, though he had to scream at his team via the in-car radio for information on his fellow countryman’s pace. Alonso, meanwhile, has been steadily rising up the field and is now just 2.9 seconds behind Rosberg. If he can finish third, it would be a fantastic turnaround for the Spaniard.
16:23pm: That McLaren one-two is back on after Hamilton moved up into the runner-up spot on lap 39 after the 2008 World Champion emerged from the pit lane ahead of Nico Rosberg. A cheap way to loose a position, really. Button’s lead is increasing by the lap, and currently stands at 3.7 seconds.
16:15pm: Lewis Hamilton looks more suited to the World Rally Championship right now. As he heads into the pits, the tail of his McLaren breaks free having applied a bit too much power, but he gathers it together and is back on his way. He leaves with a fresh set of tyres, with Button, Rosberg and Alonso following suit.
16:13pm: With Hamilton having moved his way up into third position, there is every chance of a McLaren one-two finish, but Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg stands in their way – and the German driver is holding firm.
16:04pm: Apologies for the lack of posting, the CU Today team is being well looked after in the Sauber Team’s HQ with food and drink galore. As for the racing, Button now leads Rosberg, albeit by 2.1 seconds.
15:50pm: Remember the argy bargy between Hamilton and Vettel? A decision is to be taken come the end of the race by race stewards.
15:46pm: The safety car is back out, giving those at the back of the field an opportunity to play catch-up. It all looks a bit slow, but I read somewhere that the driver of that fancy Mercedes is hitting above and beyond 140mph in certain sections!
15:41pm: The rain is back – and this time with a vengeance. As Jaime Alguersuari comes into the pits, his damaged front wing breaks loose leaving some debris on the entry. Time for the safety car…
15:35pm: He might have the greatest of respect for him off-track, but Lewis Hamilton is having a real tussle with Michael Schumacher, again at turn 14, but the German is aware of the danger and opts for a defensive line.
15:32pm: Another disappointing day at the office for the Sauber team as their second driver, Pedro de la Rosa is forced to retire from the race soon after his Japanese team-mate, Kobayashi.
15:30pm: Not to be outdone, Button’s team-mate Lewis Hamilton sets the fastest lap of the race with a 1.43.276. The rain seems to have passed – for now – as the track is starting to quickly dry out. That drive through penalty has dropped Alonso down to eighth, more than a minute and eight seconds off the frontrunners’ pace.
15:25pm: Good news for British fans. Reigning World Champion, Jenson Button of McLaren is currently in second, and has closed the gap to Nico Rosberg of Mercedes to 2.9 seconds on lap 10.
15:23pm: Bad news for the Sauber team: De la Rosa’s Ferrari engine cries enough and on the eighth lap he is forced to call it a day.
15:20pm: A quick up-date on the top three: Rosberg leads from Button with Kubica in third position for Renault. Sauber’s Pedro de la Rosa is currently in fourth.
15:16pm: Incredible! Drivers are even tussling for position heading into and going out of the pitlane, including Hamilton and Vettel. Naughty, naughty.
15:15pm: Stewards find that Alonso did indeed jump the start and so will have to complete a ‘drive through’ within the next three laps. Advantage Red Bull?
15:10pm: The leading trio are all in as the rain begins to chuck it down, though they settle for intermediates. Meanwhile, a stewards’ investigation is underway with Fernando Alonso allegedly jump starting the race. The BBC sport website reports that Jenson Button told his team the Spaniard couldn’t have secured such a good start otherwise. Watch this space…
15:05pm: And we are, “Go, go, go’! in China. It’s the Ferrari of Alonso who leads from the two Red Bulls who are pushing hard. And would you believe it? The rain has finally arrived – as Sauber predicted – and drivers are taking advantage of the safety car ,which is currently out on track by changing to intermediate tyres. Could this be Sauber’s race?
15:03pm: Oh dear oh dear. Bad news for Timo Glock of Richard Branson’s Virgin Racing who stalls his engine on the warm-up lap. He has to get going before the field returns or he will be starting from the pitlane!
15:00pm: One piece of interesting news to emerge from the Sauber garage is that their two drivers’ cars have been set-up for a wet race, as opposed to the bone dry conditions on track right now. A quick glance to the god’s shows that there is certainly cloud in the sky, but whether it turns into precipitation is yet to be seen. We live in hope, though.
14:50pm: Everyone around this majestic 3.387 mile circuit listens to the Chinese national anthem as it rings out around the track, which is received with rapturous applause. We are almost set…
14:45pm: Some interesting facts about the Sauber team coming up: they have amassed 503 points in F1 from 289 race starts, their first of which was in 2008 at the Canadian GP. They have also been on the podium 16 times and sat on pole position once. Last year’s total points haul was 36, and they are hopeful of securing their first of the season today.
14:35pm: Welcome from BMW Sauber-Ferrari’s HQ in a rather warm and humid Shanghai International Circuit. Red Bull’s Sebastien Vettel is on pole position for the fourth round of the World Championship. Sauber’s Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi occupy seventeenth and fifteenth on the grid respectively.