Tag Archives: Sauber

Ericsson to remain at Sauber for the 2017 season

All rights reserved to Sauber Motorsport AG.

All rights reserved to Sauber Motorsport AG.

On Monday, the Sauber team has confirmed that Marcus Ericsson will remain at the team for 2017.

The announcement therefore extends Ericsson’s stay at Sauber to a third season. The news was widely expected in the F1 paddock due to his close ties to the team’s new owners, Longbow Finance.

In a statement to the media on Monday, Ericcson is excited to see what Sauber can achieve with its new backers under the new regulations in 2017. Ericsson stated the following:-

‘It is great news that I will be racing for another year for the Sauber F1 Team. I have spent two years with Sauber now, and I really feel at home. A big thanks to everyone within the team for trusting in me again. From a personal point of view, I have developed a lot as a driver during my time at Sauber. We have had ups and downs, but we always stick together and work as hard as we can.

‘Since the new ownership, there has been a positive push in the team, so it will also be exciting to go into this new era. Many motorsport experts are becoming part of Sauber, which is a good sign for the future. For 2017 my aim is to build on my performance from the second half of this season, and to continue working hard with the team. I cannot wait for the 2017 season, so that we can make our way up to the midfield with the objective to score points on a regular basis.’

Also in a statement to the media on Monday, Sauber Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has praised Ericsson for the commitment he has demonstrated in the difficult 2016 season. Kaltenborn said the following:-

‘We are very pleased to announce that Marcus will remain our race driver for the Sauber F1 Team in 2017. During the current season Marcus has again showed he is willing to go that extra mile in order to make progress. He went through very difficult times with us, but managed those very well. In the last two years, he has made significant steps in regards to his personal development, proving his skills on as well as off track, especially when circumstances are not easy.

‘He is not only a good driver, but also an important team player who understands how to work with the team and how to motivate everyone with his positive attitude. Formula One goes into a new era in 2017, and I am confident that we can count on Marcus to bring the team back into the competition.’

The announcement also said Sauber will announce Ericsson’s 2017 teammate “in due course”. Felipe Nasr, who scored two valuable points for the team in Brazil, is yet to be signed for another season with the team.

Gutierrez in talks with Sauber and Manor

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After being dropped by Haas for Kevin Magnussen in 2017, Esteban Gutierrez revealed in an interview to the media yesterday that he has already began talks with Sauber and Manor for a drive next year.

With the vacant seats at Renault and Force India already taken, the Mexican’s options have now narrowed down to just Manor and Sauber, admitting that the American team’s decision to delay their line-up for next season hurt his chances of securing a seat.

When asked yesterday by the media why he and Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn were seen chatting on Sunday morning, Gutierrez confirmed it was about his future in the sport. He said the following:-

‘You know what the two options are that are available, so we are in talks with them. Nothing is really decided yet but I think in the next week we will see some progress.’

He was then further asked by the media if he was also in talks with Manor for Esteban Ocon’s race seat, Gutierrez answered with the following:- ‘Yes, as well.’

Nasr: Disappointed with my performance today

All rights reserved to Sauber F1 Team

All rights reserved to Sauber F1 Team

In an interview with the media shortly after qualifying for the Singapore GP today, Sauber driver Felipe Nasr was not very happy with ending the session in eighteenth place.

With Nasr struggling to extract pace and performance from the Sauber, his team mate Marcus Ericsson put in a credible performance to qualify sixteenth ahead of his 50th GP start in Formula One.

In his interview with the media this afternoon, Nasr was understandably disappointed with his performance today, even though he was comfortable with the car’s balance beforehand but will not give up in the race tomorrow. Nasr said the following:-

‘It was a disappointing qualifying for me. I was surprised by the drop of performance in qualifying, as I felt comfortable in the car during the free practice sessions. We went in the right direction in regards to the car’s balance. Then in qualifying I struggled with the rear grip on my first try; on the second set of tyres I felt that my tyre temperatures were not in the right working window. Anything can happen here in Singapore, so we keep fighting.’

Ericsson to start his 50th GP in sixteenth place in Singapore

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At his 50th Grand Prix weekend Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson qualified in sixteenth place on the grid for the Singapore GP tomorrow.

In his interview with the media shortly after qualifying today, Ericsson is happy to have reached Q2 ahead of his 50th GP start and is happy with the performance he put in today. Ericsson stated the following:-

‘It is positive that I reached Q2 today. Overall it has been a difficult weekend for me, as I haven’t been able to get a good feeling for the car during the practice sessions. Therefore, it makes it even nicer that we managed to make it into the second qualifying session. It is a good effort, but we need to keep pushing to close the gap to the midfield.’

Ericsson receives a grid penalty ahead of the Belgian GP

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Shortly after FP1, it was announced that Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson has incurred a ten-place grid penalty after the team fitted his car with new power unit components ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Ericsson’s Sauber was fitted with its fifth internal combustion engine and fifth energy store of the season ahead of first practice, but a new turbocharger means he has now used six of that component, resulting in a ten-place penalty.

Given Sauber’s recent qualifying performances, it is likely to put Ericsson at the back of the grid, where he could line up alongside Lewis Hamilton, who is also due a grid penalty. After first practice Hamilton had incurred a 15-place penalty, but if Mercedes opts to stockpile components in order to avoid further penalties at future rounds, the amount of places he drops down the grid could increase.

Sauber confirms sale to Swiss Investors

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It was announced on Wednesday that the Sauber team has secured its future in Formula One by confirming its sale to Swiss investors, which will keep the team on the grid following recent financial troubles.

There have been months of speculation about new investors coming on board at Sauber, with the team confirming on Wednesday that Longbow Finance S.A has taken over. The deal will have no bearing on the company or the team’s name, though it does result in founder Peter Sauber retiring from all functions.

Monisha Kaltenborn will stay on as team principal and CEO while Sauber’s place on the board as chairman is taken by Longbow Finance’s Pascal Picci.

In a statement to the media on Wednesday, Peter Sauber, who originally formed the team in 1993, said the following:-

‘Monisha Kaltenborn and I yesterday signed an agreement which secures the future of the Formula One Team and the Sauber Group. I am very happy that my courageous investment to buy the team back, which I made six years ago, with the intention to secure the base in Hinwil and the place in Formula One has proved to be correct.’

Sauber’s financial struggles have been no secret in recent months, with the team making late payments to its employees earlier this season. In her own statement to the media on Wednesday, Team boss Kaltenborn hopes Wednesday’s announcement is the catalyst for a return to form for the Swiss team. Kaltenborn said the following:-

‘We are very pleased that by reaching an agreement with Longbow Finance S.A., we can secure the future of Sauber at the pinnacle of motorsport. We are convinced that Longbow Finance S.A. is the perfect partner to again make the team competitive and successful in Formula One.

‘At the same time the new structure will allow us to finally further expand our third party business in which we commercialise our know-how. This solution is in the best interest of our employees, partners, loyal suppliers, the base in Hinwil and for the Swiss motorsport. We are very grateful that Longbow Finance S.A. believes in the competences, efficiency and capabilities of Sauber Group, and we look forward to a new exciting future.’

Sauber cancels Silverstone test

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It was announced this morning by the Sauber team has decided not to take part in the upcoming Silverstone Formula 1 test next week.

Sauber have been struggling financially has not introduced any significant upgrades for its C35 car since the start of the season. The team was hoping to run an upgrades package between Canada and Britain, but that did not happen.

Now Sauber has announced that since its new aero package will not be ready in time for Silverstone, it will not take part in the post-British Grand Prix test that takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

In a statement on Twitter, the team announced the news as follows:-

“As we introduce the #C35 aero package at a later stage, testing in Silverstone is cancelled considering cost effectiveness,”

Sauber had already missed the previous in-season test at Barcelona. At the moment, Sauber is last in the standings, having yet to score a point.

Sauber late to pay their staff for the third consecutive month

All rights reserved to Sauber Motorsport AG.

All rights reserved to Sauber Motorsport AG.

It was announced late this week that the Sauber Formula 1 team has failed to pay its staff salaries on time for the third successive month.

Cashflow problems meant February and March salaries were paid around a week late. The situation has repeated itself for the month of April but Sauber hopes a solution will be found to ensure all employees are paid.

The team is pushing ahead with plans to compete in the Spanish Grand Prix, where it will run a new specification of the Ferrari engine.

Sauber have also confirmed that they will not take part in the in-season test in Barcelona which follows the race on Tuesday and Wednesday, because it has no new aero updates.

Marcus Ericsson said in Russia that he does not expect car developments for “another two or three races at least”.

With the team is struggling financially with team principal Monisha Kaltenborn working hard to find new sponsors to boost its budget. Technical director Mark Smith left the team on the eve of the season while head of track engineer Tim Malyon left after just over three months in the job.

It is clear that things at Sauber are not what they would like and all they can do is keep doing what they have do in order to survive and remain on the grid where they belong.

2016 Russian Grand Prix Race Review

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On Saturday, we saw Nico Rosberg taking Pole Position for the Russian Grand Prix ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas.

After qualifying, it was announced that Lewis Hamilton will be taking a five place grid penalty due to MGU-UK problems that affected his qualifying. For more information about this, please read my article here:- https://jonesonf1.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/hamilton-goes-back-to-melbourne-spec-engine-for-the-russian-gp/.

The start of the Russian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The start of the Russian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The Russian GP is underway! Nico Rosberg gets a good start off line but heading into Turn 1 was chaos. Sebastian Vettel was clipped from behind by Danill Kvyat, the man he angrily blamed for causing a Turn 1 collision in China, which bumped him into the other Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.

Vettel’s misery was compounded at the next corner when Kvyat slammed into the back of him again which then spun the Ferrari into the wall and out of the race. This then triggered an expletive-laden radio message from Vettel who you could understand the way he reacted even though many fans disagreed with Vettel blaming Kvyat for the China incident. But on Lap six of the race, Kvyat stopped to serve a ten-second stop-go penalty in front of a grandstand of home fans.

Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg colliding with each other on Lap 1. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg colliding with each other on Lap 1. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

While the battle between Kvyat and Vettel was ongoing, Haas F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez clipped Nico Hulkenberg, spinning the Force India driver around and also collecting the Manor of Rio Haryanto. While the Haas driver recovered to the pit lane for a new front wing, the incident ended the race for both Hulkenberg and Haryanto.

The safety car was deployed for two laps and after the restart, Rosberg still lead the field ahead of Valtteri Bottas reclaimed second position from Kimi Raikkonen while Lewis Hamilton overtook Massa for fourth.

Lewis Hamilton on Lap 5 of the Russian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton on Lap 5 of the Russian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

On Lap five, Hamilton dove down the inside of Raikkonen at Turn 5 to move up to third with a brilliant move, but Bottas’ Williams was a harder obstacle to overcome and the battle was on between both of the drivers.

Nico Rosberg leads the Russian GP on Lap 6. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg leads the Russian GP on Lap 6. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 6 of the race saw Rosberg leading the field by 2.5 seconds. There is a battle for twelfth between Nasr, Button, Wehrlein, Kvyat and Ericsson ongoing on the track. But Kvyat and Ericsson were battling each other hard for fifteenth place; with both drivers defending well from each other but Kvyat is then able to get past him despite having no traction in the corners.

We then see a battle between Raikkonen and Bottas for position on the track which both drivers defended well. But then Raikkonen finds himself under threat from Hamilton and is able to pass him for third place in Lap 7.

Lewis Hamilton after passing Valtteri Bottas on Lap

Lewis Hamilton after passing Valtteri Bottas on Lap 16. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Hamilton was finally released into second when Bottas pitted on Lap 15, but by then was 15 seconds behind leader Rosberg. Hamilton then pitted himself for soft tyres a lap later and was just beaten to Turn 2 by Bottas, though he passed the Williams driver at the same point one lap later.

By Lap 18, Rosberg still leads ahead of 15.1 seconds ahead of Raikkonen. After the pitstops on Lap 21, Raikkonen now finds himself in a net third place; with Hamilton now moving into second place and hoping to close the gap to his team mate for the lead of the race. Rosberg then pits himself on Lap 22 and still remains in the lead of the race ahead of Verstappen who hasn’t stopped yet.

Carlos Sainz Jr on Lap 26 of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Carlos Sainz Jr on Lap 26 of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 26 of the race saw Sainz Jr being under investigation by the stewards for forcing another driver off the track when he was trying to pass Palmer for track position and is then given a 10 second penalty for the offence. Ricciardo and Magnussen are battling each other for tenth place on the track as Rosberg still leads the race.

A few laps later, the battle for sixteenth between Nasr, Wehrlein and Kvyat is ongoing. Wehrlein tried to get past Nasr for position but made the move from too far behind and Nasr is able to defend. But the next lap sees Kvyat passing Wehrlein with a good move and is now seventeenth place.

Kevin Magnussen in the battle for eighth place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Kevin Magnussen in the battle for eighth place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 29 sees the battle for eighth between Magnussen, Grosjean, Ricciardo and Sainz Jr building up nicely. Ricciardo passes Magnussen, Magnussen regaining the position as Grosjean sees an opportunity to pass Ricciardo which he does and Sainz Jr gaining on them all the time.

Two laps later sees Perez passing Sainz Jr for track position. Lap 35 saw Max Verstappen while running sixth in the race having to retire his Toro Rosso due to engine problems. Lap 36 still sees Rosberg leading the race ahead of Hamilton by 8.2 seconds; with Hamilton catching Rosberg quickly now.

With Sainz Jr getting a 10 second penalty, both McLaren drivers could get points and it will be interesting to see how the final third of the race unfolds. It has now been reported that Hamilton has a water issue problem with his Mercedes engine and has been asked to take it easy for the remainder of the race.

Nico Rosberg wins the Russian GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton in second place and Kimi Raikkonen in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg wins the Russian GP ahead of Lewis Hamilton in second place and Kimi Raikkonen in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

But Rosberg leads Hamilton on the final lap of the race by 20.7 seconds and wins the Russian Grand Prix which is his seventh consecutive win in F1, his fourth of the season and his eighteenth win of his career.

Hamilton is a credible second 25 seconds behind Rosberg, Raikkonen finished in third place 31.9 seconds behind Rosberg, Bottas was a credible fourth 50.2 seconds behind Rosberg and Massa finished fifth 1.14.4 seconds behind Rosberg.

Alonso was sixth 1 lap behind Rosberg, Magnussen was seventh 1 lap behind Rosberg, Grosjean was eighth  1 lap behind Rosberg, Perez was ninth  1 lap behind Rosberg and Button was tenth 1 lap behind Rosberg.

Nico Rosberg leads the Drivers’ Championship with 100 points, Hamilton is second with 57 points, Raikkonen is third with 43 points, Ricciardo is fourth with 36 points, Vettel is fifth with 33 points, Massa is sixth with 32 points, Grosjean is seventh with 22 points, Kvyat is eighth with 21 points, Bottas is ninth with 19 points and Verstappen is tenth with 13 points.

Mercedes lead the Constructors Championship with 157 points, Ferrari is second with 76 points, Red Bull are third with 57 points, Williams are fourth with 51 points, Haas are fifth with 22 points, Toro Rosso are sixth with 17 points, McLaren are seventh with 10 points, Force India are eighth with 8 points and Renault are ninth with 6 points.

Conclusion

I feel that McLaren have had an good weekend and have shown that they can still race near the front when they have the opportunity to do so. Alonso getting sixth place has been the biggest surprise of the race. Fernando drove a superb race to gain sixth yesterday despite a defensive race and it is very well deserved. And for him to secure this result shows that he did a brilliant job and has shown that despite not having the outright pace to challenge their rivals; he drove a great race to claim this result today and showed why he was signed by the team.

With Button gaining a point in tenth, I was very happy for him especially after battling through the grid to achieve it and racing hard. But with both drivers scoring points, this weekend has been great for them and for both drivers to get their first points of the season is fantastic and showing that even though it is still clear that the McLaren team have a lot of work to do in order to try and extract performance from their car, they are making small gains that have paid off yesterday.

Perez did an okay job to get ninth place and had a great battle to get there after battling with Verstappen, Sainz Jr, Ricciardo and Buttonfor most of the race. This point for himself and Force India are vital and only shows just how much promise he has as a driver if he has the car underneath him to do so and that he is a talented and promising racing driver.

Grosjean battled his way through yesterday to get eighth place.  He battled his way through the field and created some great overtaking moves to get there. Grosjean may not have had the weekend that he wanted with Haas this weekend but he did the best that he could do and picked up some more points for the team and also started his season well.

Magnussen had a bit of an action packed yet defensive race to finish seventh, scoring his first points of the season and Renault’s first points since returning to the sport as a works based team. But there is still a lot of work to be done but the fact that Magnussen managed to score some much needed points for himself and his team will help him prepare for the rest of the 2016 season.

Massa did a great job to get fifth place today after battling with his team mate and Hamilton today. But in a race where many expected him to finish and to maintain the momentum he has so far, he has managed to gain some points for the team and put himself in good stead for the rest of the 2016 season.

Bottas did a great job to get fourth place yesterday and deserves a mention. He drove a solid race today despite not winning the battle with Lewis and he did a great job to secure some much needed points for his team after a good performance this weekend and it is clear that the car was working well for them as a result. This will only help him prepare for the rest of the 2016 season.

Raikkonen deserves a mention. He drove a solid race to third place and battled his way through to get these points which just solidify Ferrari’s status in the Constructors Championship. But he needs to keep the momentum going and see if he can get back to the front in Barcelona in two weeks time.

Hamilton drove a solid race to finish second today. He may not have had the race he wanted; and didn’t have a chance to try and get past but he did a great job to secure a podium today. What a fantastic job from him and this will only give him a slight satisfaction heading into the next race in Barcelona.

All that is left to say about this race is that Rosberg deserved to win at Sochi and he needed to in order to show that he cannot be discounted as a driver.  His driving was brilliant and controlled throughout the race. Mercedes has built on the results that they have gained so far since pre-season testing and have shown that they are just the best team on the grid at the moment. All credit to Rosberg for doing a superb job this weekend and winning his seventh consecutive race and his third race of the season.

With Barcelona not far away, many will wondering if this season will be Rosberg’s at last or can Hamilton or Vettel challenge him for wins along the way. But what is for certain is that Formula One is building up rather nicely.

2016 Chinese Grand Prix Race Review

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Chinese Grand Prix - Race Day - Shanghai, China

Yesterday, we saw Nico Rosberg taking Pole Position for the Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen.

After qualifying yesterday, the stewards announced that Nico Hulkenberg will receive a three place grid penalty as a result of his incident in Q2. If you want to read more about this, then please read my article here:- https://jonesonf1.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/hulkenberg-handed-three-place-grid-penalty/.

Also, Lewis Hamilton has had to change his engine after qualifying yesterday after problems with ERS. If you want to read more about this, then please read my article here:- https://jonesonf1.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/mercedes-change-hamiltons-engine/.

The Chinese GP is underway!

The start of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The start of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo have great starts. Valtteri Bottas runs wide going into Turn 1. But both Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel into Turn 1 crash into each other, with Raikkonen going off the road. This crash then affects Lewis Hamilton who has damage to his front wing and is caught underneath the car.

Lap 2 sees Ricciardo leading Rosberg by 0.7 seconds. A battle for eighth then starts between Felipe Masa, Jenson Button and Valtteri Bottas at the hairpin; with Button keeping Massa at bay.

Nico Rosberg leads the early stages of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg leads the early stages of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

At this stage of the race, Rosberg is on the soft tyres and can just follow the Red Bull of Ricciardo and was planning to make his move on the Australian driver when Ricciardo suffers a left rear puncture and has to pit at the end of the lap.

The Safety Car leads the grid on Lap 4 of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The Safety Car leads the grid on Lap 4 of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 3, we saw a battle between Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz Jr and Sebastian Vettel for fourth place just as the Safety Car is deployed to clear up the debris on the track and many taking the opportunity to pit for fresh tyres. During this period, Hamilton pits twice for tyres and many were wondering what strategy Mercedes are doing with the British driver.

Lap 9 saw the Safety Car leaving the circuit and we are racing once again in China.Valtteri Bottas passes Rio Haryanto. In the space of six corners, Daniil Kvyat makes up two track places to fourth and Sebastian Vettel makes a move on Nico Hulkenberg and makes his way up the grid. At the hairpin, there’s action everywhere and places changing up and down the grid.

Nico Rosberg leading the Chinese GP after the Safety Car period. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg leading the Chinese GP after the Safety Car period. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Rosberg still leads the race ahead of Massa by 2.2 seconds. Into Turn 1, Jenson Button passes Jolyon Palmer for track position as Lewis Hamilton tries to pass Kevin Magnussen for position. There is a battle for sixth between Esteban Gutierrez, Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas. We then see Kvyat and Palmer making a good moves on Hulkenberg into the next few corners for track position.

On Lap 11 at Turn 6, Bottas and Vettel make contact with each other and then at the hairpin, there was four drivers abreast searching for track position. By Lap 12, Perez is up to fifth place, Pascal Wehrlein is starting to go further back down the grid and Vettel is also making his way up through the field and is catching Perez.

Daniil Kvyat in the early stages of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Daniil Kvyat in the early stages of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 12 saw Kvyat passing Massa at the hairpin for second place at this stage of the race and is having a great drive so far; especially when the spotlight has been on if he has what it takes to be at Red Bull. At this stage of the race, the battle for eighth included drivers such as Wehrlein, Button, Ricciardo, Sainz Jr, Hamilton and Gutierrez; with the latter driver losing two places within a couple of corners and Vettel passes Perez at the hairpin and Button passes Wehrlein for position.

The battle for fourth on Lap 14 between Alonso and Vettel was great to watch, with Vettel trying to pass Alonso at the hairpin and Alonso trying to come back at him straight away; showing that McLaren-Honda have been making small solid bits of progress since last year and is now in fifth place.

Max Verstappen in the early stages of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Max Verstappen in the early stages of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Rosberg still leads the race ahead of Kvyat on Lap 16 by 8.8 seconds. Lap 16 saw Hamilton getting into the top ten after passing Button for track position. Three laps later, Button and Verstappen are battling with each other for eighth place, with the young Dutchman catching him very quickly indeed.

A battle between Kvyat, Verstappen and Vettel was building up on the track and by Lap 20, all three drivers were together and were wanting to pass each other. The next lap saw Kyvat, Button and Vettel battling for fourth place; with Vettel gaining very rapidly on Button and passing him relatively easily at the hairpin.

Nico Hulkenberg running in the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Hulkenberg running in the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The stewards then announce that Hulkenberg is under investigation for driving unnecessarily slowly in the pitlane as his team mate Perez the following lap will be investigated after the race for an unsafe release. But Hulkenberg does receive a five second time penalty for the offence and has the choice to take it in the race or be added to his race time at the end of the GP.

On the track, the battle for seventh includes drivers such as Bottas, Ericsson, Ricciardo, Sainz Jr and Raikkonen; with drivers swapping and changing places all the time; even though Alonso appears to be going backwards as Button loses fourth place to Massa on Lap 25.

Carlos Sainz Jr in the second half of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Carlos Sainz Jr in the second half of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

As we approach the second half of the GP, Rosberg is leading comfortably at the front by 17.9 seconds and the battle for ninth between Sainz Jr, Raikkonen and Hamilton builds up and the battle for fifth between Button, Perez and Bottas continues and Button manages to keep both drivers at bay until Perez takes Button on the outside with a good move and Bottas passes Button the following lap.

In the early stages of the second half of the Chinese GP, Ricciardo passes Perez for position as Alonso loses a place to Verstappen. Sainz Jr, Raikkonen and Hamilton are engaged in a battle for seventh place on the track. By Lap 33, Vettel is catching Kvyat for second place at this stage in the race. Two laps later, Hamilton passes Perez on track for ninth place.

The battle for third goes Vettel’s way on Lap 37 and passes the Russian driver for position and puts a lot of faith in him as a driver despite what happened on Lap 1 of the race as Verstappen and Massa battle for sixth place. Verstappen, Massa, Bottas and Hamilton are battling each other for fourth place, with Massa trying to pass Verstappen which he does on Lap 40 and Hamilton and Ricciardo passing Bottas not long after this.

Nico Rosberg leading the latter stages of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg leading the latter stages of the Chinese GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 41 sees Rosberg leading the race ahead of Vettel by 26.8 seconds. In the next few laps, we see Raikkonen passing Perez for eighth place, Ricciardo catching Hamilton and Massa for fourth place and in a great move on the outside of the hairpin on Lap 43, Ricciardo takes fifth place away from Hamilton and the following lap takes fourth away from Massa.

There were still battles ongoing down the track in the final stages of the race but the one that got our attention was the battle for fifth between Massa, Hamilton and Raikkonen; with all three drivers literally all together and trying to pass each other as well. In the end, Raikkonen passes Hamilton on Lap 47 for sixth place and Massa for fifth the following lap.

With battles still going on down the field between the McLaren drivers for twelfth place, Massa and Hamilton battling for sixth and Bottas, Verstappen and Sainz Jr for eighth place which Bottas loses the place after going in too deep at the hairpin.

Nico Rosberg wins the Chinese GP ahead of Sebastian Vettel in second place and Daniil Kvyat in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Nico Rosberg wins the Chinese GP ahead of Sebastian Vettel in second place and Daniil Kvyat in third place. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

On the last lap, Kvyat passes Massa for seventh place. But Rosberg leads Vettel on the final lap of the race by 38.2 seconds and wins the Chinese Grand Prix which is his sixth consecutive win in F1, his third of the season and his seventeenth win of his career.

Vettel is a credible second 37.7 seconds behind Rosberg, Kvyat finished in a brilliant third place despite what happened on the first lap 45.9 seconds behind Rosberg, Ricciardo was a credible fourth 52.6 seconds behind Rosberg and Raikkonen finished fifth 1.05.8 seconds behind Rosberg.

Massa was sixth 1.15.5 seconds behind Rosberg, Hamilton was seventh 1.18.2 seconds behind Rosberg, Verstappen was eighth 1.19.2 seconds behind Rosberg, Sainz Jr was ninth 1.24.1 seconds behind Rosberg and Bottas was tenth 1.26.1 seconds behind Rosberg.

Nico Rosberg leads the Drivers’ Championship with 75 points, Hamilton is second with 39 points, Ricciardo is third with 36 points, Vettel is fourth with 33 points, Raikkonen is fifth with 28 points, Massa is sixth with 22 points, Kvyat is seventh with 21 points, Grosjean is eighth with 18 points, Verstappen is ninth with 13 points and Bottas is tenth with 7 points.

Mercedes lead the Constructors Championship with 114 points, Ferrari is second with 61 points, Red Bull are third with 57 points, Williams are fourth with 29 points, Haas are fifth with 18 points, Toro Rosso are sixth with 17 points, Force India are seventh with 6 points and McLaren are eighth with 1 point.

Conclusion

I feel that McLaren have had an good weekend and have shown that they can still race near the front when they have the opportunity to do so. But with both drivers struggling all weekend long on long run pace, it is still clear that the McLaren team have a lot of work to do in order to try and extract performance from their car that they need in order to get back to competitive ways once again as quickly as possible for the rest 2016 season.

The biggest surprise this weekend for me was Kvyat getting third place in the race. I do feel that Daniil drove a superb race to gain third today despite a defensive race and it is very well deserved. And for him to secure this result at the third GP shows that he did a brilliant job and has shown that despite not having the outright pace to challenge their rivals; he drove a great race to claim this result today and showed why he was signed by the team.

Bottas did an okay job to get tenth place and had a great battle to get there after battling with Verstappen, Sainz Jr and Hamilton for most of the race. This point for himself and Williams are vital and only shows just how much promise he has as a driver if he has the car underneath him to do so and that he is a talented and promising racing driver.

Massa battled his way through today to get sixth place today.  He battled his way through the field and created some great overtaking moves to get there. Massa may not have had the weekend that he wanted with Williams this weekend despite what happened with his team mate in the race, but he did the best that he could do and picked up some more points for the team and also started his season well.

Hamilton had a bit of an action packed yet defensive race to finish seventh. But he managed to score some much needed points for himself and his team and even though he couldn’t beat his team mate, he still managed to get a result from the weekend and will help him prepare for the rest of the 2016 season.

Verstappen did a great job to get eighth place today after battling with his team mate and Hamilton today. But in a race where many expected him to finish and to maintain the momentum he has so far, he has managed to gain some points for the team and put himself in good stead for the rest of the 2016 season.

Ricciardo did a great job to get fourth place today and deserves a mention. He drove a solid race today despite his puncture and he did a great job to secure some much needed points for his team after a good performance this weekend and it is clear that the car was working well for them as a result. This will only help him prepare for the rest of the 2016 season.

Sainz Jr did a credible job to finish ninth today. Sainz Jr has managed to struggle to extract pace and performance from the car this weekend; and I feel that the results that Carlos achieved so far in the season will only spur him on to get better this season as the pace is there.

Raikkonen deserves a mention. He drove a solid race to fifth place and battled his way through to get these points which just solidify Ferrari’s status in the Constructors Championship. But he needs to keep the momentum going and see if he can get back to the front in Sochi in two weeks time.

Vettel drove a solid race to finish second today. He may not have had the race he wanted; and didn’t have a chance to try and get past but he did a great job to secure a podium today. What a fantastic job from him and this will only give him a slight satisfaction heading into the next race in Sochi

All that is left to say about this race is that Rosberg deserved to win at Shanghai and he needed to in order to show that he cannot be discounted as a driver.  His driving was brilliant and controlled throughout the race. Mercedes has built on the results that they have gained so far since pre-season testing and have shown that they are just the best team on the grid at the moment. All credit to Rosberg for doing a superb job this weekend and winning his sixth consecutive race and his third race of the season.

With Sochi not far away, many will wondering if this season will be Rosberg’s at last or can Hamilton or Vettel challenge him for wins along the way. But what is for certain is that Formula One is building up rather nicely.