The 2017 Chinese Grand Prix proves one thing – adding any form of water will always bring excitement. Good old Bernie was onto something with the sprinklers.
But with him gone, they won’t be introduced anytime soon, and we’ll just have to savour one of the better races.
Sure the second half was duller than the first, but you can’t have everything, especially after an action packed first half which saw some great racing and overtaking between the front runners. Except for Lewis Hamilton that is, who led from start to finish.
But was he the star of the day, and who was the dud of the day?
Onto our Good, Bad and Ugly for the 2017 Chinese Grand Prix.
For each of the listed below, we assign points to be used for the overall Good, Bad and Ugly for 2017. Where the winner will get the Martini Medal, and the ultimate loser will get the Pedro Chaves Ribbon.
It is one point for Good, one point for Bad, and minus 0.5 for the ugly. The ultimate best and worst of the weekend get a bonus point. As does the Free Practice Hero, a driver who rarely gets a chance to shine except for the occasional FP session.
The below have been posted before at the Fox Sports Academy, and to read our thoughts in full, so why not head over there and boost the numbers. To save plagiarising our own stuff we gave to Fox Sports, we have a small summary of the thoughts below.
An obvious one to start. He had as good a weekend as one could have. Took Pole, led every lap, and did it reasonably easy.
Resumes customary position at the top of the Drivers Championship, and the Mercedes looked better on the more standard track of Shanghai than the Albert Park layout.
Won a few more fans by interacting with fans after Free Practice 2 was cancelled. Although it is only what Nascar drivers do at every meeting. Something the new US owners will hopefully try and improve in F1.
Could have been a candidate for a bad weekend after being knocked out in the first part of qualifying after being stuck behind the Giovinaazi crash. He had to start 17th on the grid.
It didn’t take long for him to get back towards the front. By the time the Virtual Safety Car came out to assist in retrieving Lance Stroll’s Williams, he was up to 7th. By Lap 5 he was fourth.
His move on Daniel Ricciardo on Lap 11 was impressive, and the way he held off his more senior team mate at the end of the race for the last podium spot was equally impressive and gives him the upper hand at Red Bull.
Did all he could on the day, second place being good enough behind Lewis Hamilton on a good day.
His move on Kimi Raikkonen was quality and proved a point of who the boss is at Ferrari in 2017. As if anyone wasn’t already aware.
Won the Best of the Rest title for the 2017 Chinese Grand Prix by finishing seventh, and was the only car outside the Top 3 on the same lap at the end of the race.
The Spaniard was the only brave driver to start the race on slicks, and after running wide at the first corner and a subsequent spin it could have been much worse. But he recovered nicely for his second point scoring drive of the season. He sits just 2 points behind Daniel Ricciardo.
Almost won the prize of best of the rest, and still appears to trying his best under tough conditions. Another car failure not long after Carlos Sainz got past sums up the season, and possibly his McLaren Honda stint.
After impressing in Australia with a late call up, he was required to stand in for Pascal Wehrlein again n China but unlike at Albert Park where he was quietly impressive, his China effort made the highlights for all the wrong reasons.
His qualifying crash ruined a few driver’s hopes for escaping Q1 on Saturday, and then he doubled up by damaging a Sauber for the second day in a row on Pit Straight. Not to be too hard on the young Italian who has participated in just two full P3 sessions and two races and qualifying in his F1 career.
Jolyon Palmer had another weekend to forget and would have had this all to himself before the race on Sunday. Palmer was in the bottom 6 for both P3 and qualifying with the usual array of issues, while his new team mate Nico Hulkenberg made it into Q3 and qualified 9th.
Nico Hulkenberg, known for his wet weather talent, was high up early, but a poorly timed switch to dry tyres, followed by a five second penalty for passing under the Virtual Safety Car, then a ten second penalty for passing under the proper safety car ensured he would join his team mate in midfield and pointless obscurity of 12th and 13th.
For not getting any closer to a move up the grid or finishing a race.
Whilst Daniel did a fine job for Red Bull over the weekend, he will be worried about the gap in the dry in qualifying of Red Bull to the Ferrari and Mercedes. Nearly a second and a half to Pole and a almost a second to Kimi in fourth one place ahead. Currently they are closer to the cars behind than the ones in front.
With the wet track on Sunday for the race, there came the chance to shine where the current car would not necessarily allow them to get so close. However he was outshone by his team mate during the race, and couldn’t get past him in the dying stages missing out a podium.
Spinning off behind the Safety Car is never a good look. Although he recovered well to finish 6th, the mistake will give his critics some ammunition that he isn’t quite up to an absolute front running car.
Got doited by his own team when it came to pitstops for tyres. An early stop would have seen him second. Instead he finished behind the Red Bull after his stop was too late. And it appears he is fast becoming the team’s number two driver.
When stewards decided to take no further on Sergio Perez for his clash with Williams’ Lance Stroll.
In years gone by, that would have very likely have been a penalty for the Mexican Force India driver, but with this new era of leniency taking precedence in the stewards room he was absolved of all of the blame, and it was classed as a racing incident.
Good news for more potential overtaking as the ruling means drivers may not be a scared of getting a penalty for a bad attempt as previously.
ULTIMATE WINNERS AND LOSERS
Here’s where an extra bonus point is added and subtracted for the very best and very worst. Plus a valuable one point for the Free Practice hero of the weekend, to the driver that got a chance to shine where they normally never get the chance to in big sessions.
WINNER – Lewis Hamilton – first win and made it look easy really. Can’t do anything more.
LOSER – Anotnio Giovinazzi – consecutive crashes in Qualifying and Race.
FP HERO – Max Verstapen + Lance Stroll. Red Bull driver was a second and half quicker than 2nd in the shortened FP1 session. Lance Stroll had his best session in FP3, up to 8th. Pity about the race.
2017 MARTINI-CHAVES MEDAL FOR GURGLER BEST/WORST OF THE YEAR
3 Points – Sebastian Vettel
1.5 Points – Lewis Hamilton
1.5 Points Max Verstappen
1 Point – Felipe Massa
1 Point – Carlos Sainz
1 Point – Fernando Alonso
0.5 Point Lance Stroll
-0.5 Point – Valtteri Bottas
-1 Point – Antonio Giovanazzi
– 1 Point – Kimi Raikkonen
-2 Point – Jolyon Palmer
-2.5 Points – Dan Ricciardo
1 Point – Ferrari
1 Point Toro Rosso
1 Point Force India
-0.5 Points – Red Bull
-1 Points – Haas
-1 Points – McLaren
-1 Point – Renault