After yet another wild finish to a Formula 1 race this season, it was the fan-favorite Fernando Alonso who stole the show Sunday and cruised to the win at the 2013 Chinese Grand Prix at the Circuit of Shanghai.
While Alonso was clearly the cream of the crop at the third race of the 2013 Formula 1 season (won by 10 seconds over second place), the battle behind him was as intense as it gets.
Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel all were fighting for the second-place position throughout the last lap, but a strong push from Raikkonen in the closing moments ensured his second-place finish.
Hamilton just missed out on second but managed to edge Vettel at the very end to take third place and the final position on the podium. There were just 2.4 seconds separating second from fourth at the finish line.
Perenial contenders Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg were forced to retire early with issues; Webber crashed into Jean-Eric Vergne, had a loose tire and was forced to start from pit road because of running out of gas in qualifying, while Rosberg had suspension issues.
Pit stops were once again an issue, as Alonso and his team’s strategy obviously had the advantage Sunday. While the lack of pressure of having such a large lead helped, it’s clear that Alonso’s crew is one of the best in the sport.
After such a wild race, the F1 standings for the season have Vettel still on top in the hunt for a championship, Raikkonen three points behind in second, Alonso nine points behind in third and Hamilton 12 points behind in fourth.
The next race on the calendar (fourth race of the season) will be the Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir, Bahrain, on April 21 (ET). The interesting track layout and unique landscape will make this one of the most interesting races of the season.
Results via ESPNF1.com.
1. Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari-Ferrari
2. Kimi Räikkönen (FIN) Lotus-Renault
3. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes-Mercedes
4. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull-Renault
5. Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren-Mercedes
6. Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari-Ferrari
7. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Toro Rosso-Ferrari
8. Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India-Mercedes
9. Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus-Renault
10. Nico Hülkenberg (GER) Sauber-Ferrari
11. Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren-Mercedes
12. Jean-Éric Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso-Ferrari
13. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams-Renault
14. Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams-Renault
15. Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia-Cosworth
16. Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham-Renault
17. Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia-Cosworth
18. Giedo van der Garde (NED) Caterham-Renault
Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes-Mercedes
Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull-Renault
Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India-Mercedes
Esteban Gutiérrez (MEX) Sauber-Ferrari
The Sahara Force India race team had a few amazing pictures of its racers on the course, but the photo of Paul Di Resta holding off his competition was the best of the day:
Sahara Force India @ForceIndiaF1
A nice #ForcePic of @pauldirestaf1 holding Massa at bay for several laps during the Chinese Grand Prix #FeelTheForce http://t.co/wrICBgNBv22013-4-14 09:27:14
Twitter user NicoleNinaF1 grabbed a great picture of Sunday’s winner Fernando Alonso as he was celebrating with the trophy on stage:
Race winner Fernando Alonso celebrates on the podium !!! You did it,well done !!! FERNANDO ALONSO Number One! #F1 http://t.co/Mn9MRs7kRF2013-4-14 10:06:50
After a wild race, Sky Sports F1 Twitter account described the final battle for a podium spot and just how intense it was:
Sky Sports F1 🏎 @SkySportsF1
What a race to the finish that was between Hamilton and Vettel. Lewis got the final podium place by two-tenths of a sec. #skyf12013-4-14 08:43:23