Chinese GP: McLaren & Button Happy Despite Icelandic Volcano Chaos

Yoosof Farah@@YoosofFarahSenior Writer IIIApril 18, 2010

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 18:  Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes celebrates in parc ferme with team mates and girlfriend Jessica Michibata after winning the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit on April 18, 2010 in Shanghai, China.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Formula One will have to adjust its travel plans after the volcanic ash courtesy of Iceland has grounded all UK flights and caused airport mayhem all over northern Europe.

The vast majority of teams will face lengthy delays leaving Shanghai after the Chinese Grand Prix as they are based in areas affected by the eruption of the volcano, wonderfully named "Eyjafjallajokull."

Clearly a massive logistical move, transporting all of the equipment, including the cars themselves, back to the team bases is already a big enough problem as it is, with the major flight delays providing no help whatsoever.

However, if there's any team who wouldn't mind getting stuck back in Shanghai for a few days, it's British-based McLaren Mercedes.

Britain's finest current drivers in Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton secured a rather unexpected McLaren one-two, especially after a disappointing qualifying session in which the pair only gained fifth and sixth place on the grid.

Button once again managed his tires to perfection, making the right calls like he did in Melbourne at the Australian GP, and successfully picking his way out of the tricky conditions to gain top place on the podium.

Meanwhile, Hamilton's driving and subsequent second place in Shanghai epitomised his aggressive yet determined racing style, in which he frequently got the better of lacklustre Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher.

Needless to say, it hasn't been a glowing return to the sport for the Ferrari legend, with many questioning why Schumi even returned to Formula One in the first place.

Mercedes GP teammate and fellow German Nico Rosberg has had the better of him all season and has look much the more accomplished driver.

And speaking of Germans, it all seems to have gone wrong yet again for the uber talented, Malaysia race winner Sebastian Vettel.

A Red Bull one-two in qualifying has become a familiar Formula One story as its becoming increasingly apparent Red Bull Racing have devastatingly quick pace.

However, that pace hasn't been converted to Championship points, with reliability issues and now strategy problems affecting the Red Bulls.

For Vettel and Mark Webber, a delay in Shanghai is the worst they could've asked for; having to remain at a place where they'll no doubt be haunted by what was, and what could have been.

As for Renault, drivers Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov secured some valuable points for themselves and the team with their fifth- and seventh-place finishes respectively, as they pushed the likes of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and the two Red Bulls right to the limit.

It was undoubtedly a good day for them, unlike Ferrari and most notably Felipe Massa, who was left fuming after being overtaken coming into the pits by teammate Alonso.

A shrewd move by Alonso, but one that wouldn't have won him any fans, as he left his teammate behind him and subsequently got him pushed down into a disappointing ninth position.

So in the end, an entertaining race it turned out to be at the 2010 Chinese Grand Prix, as the rain played havoc with many teams' strategies and allowed for some good television entertainment for the spectators at home and at the circuit.

The Formula One circus will now turn to Europe, as Barcelona and the Circuit de Catalunya await the motorsport drama to unfold.

Well, it won't turn to Europe right now, of course, thanks to the volcanic ash, but you get the idea.

Thankfully the next GP is three weeks away, as the travel plans of McLaren-Mercedes team principal Martin Whitmarsh will no doubt consume some valuable time.

"It will be a challenge [to get all the equipment back to base], but we'll find a way, even if it is the trans-Siberian railway," he said.


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