Kimi Raikkonen wrapped up victory in the Chinese Grand Prix that will be remembered for Championship leader Lewis Hamilton’s unfortunate (or fortunate, depending on whose fan u are!) retirement. McLaren’s Fernando Alonso finished 2nd with Felipe Massa in 3rd place. In a race that started off in a light drizzle but ended in dry conditions, Lewis Hamilton led for most of the initial sessions and even after the initial pit-stops, he was 5 seconds clear of 2nd placed Kimi Raikkonen. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were a further 15 seconds behind. There were a few mid-field battles with several drivers trading places throughout the wet n’ dry race. When the initial showers eased off, almost all the drivers only refuelled and chose to stick to the same tyres with which they had started race. A second spell of rain was forecast later on and McLaren chose to keep out Lewis for as late as possible. By that time Kimi had caught with Lewis and only a couple of yellow flags stopped him from overtaking. He did manage to overtake Lewis later on as the McLaren was severely hampered by rapidly graining tyres. This happened to become Lewis’ undoing and as he was coming into the pits, he took a left turn and owing to zero grip on his rear tyres, the car slid into the gravel trap thus ending Hamilton’s quest for wrapping up the drivers’ championship in Shanghai!
Hamilton’s retirement meant that race leader Kimi Raikkonen and second-placed Fernando Alonso had to go all-out for victory to minimize the lead and they did just that – Alonso managed to keep Massa at bay and then launched a late attack for first place. But Kimi managed to keep his lead intact and they finished the race in that order. Down the field, Toro Rosso had a great day as Sebastian Vettel finished 4th and teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi 6th. Jenson Button drove a fiesty race to finish 5th. Nick Heidfeld and David Couthard were the last point-scoring finishers.
The result means that the drivers’ championship is very much alive going into the last race of the season at Interlagos in Brazil. Hamilton still leads with 107 points to Alonso’s 103 and Kimi’s 100. But the odds are still in Lewis’ favor! A win in Brazil will see Lewis wrap up the title but for Alonso to be champion, he must win and hope Lewis finishes ho higher than 3rd. Kimi has an even uphill battle…he must win and hope that Lewis finishes no higher than 6th and Alonso no higher than 3rd!!! A DNF for either driver will further spice things up! What an end to a fiesty season! Go Kimi Go!!!