With Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel starting side-by-side on the front row at the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday, the stage was set for a wheel-to-wheel duel between the long-dominant Mercedes and a newly competitive Ferrari.
A chaotic start to the race on a wet track added to the drama as Hamilton coasted to victory for his fifth title in Shanghai and first of the 2017 Formula 1 season.
Starting from pole position, Hamilton led from beginning to end to capture the race in 1 hour, 37 minutes, 36.158 seconds and pull even with Vettel atop the driver's standings with 43 points. Two weeks after beating Hamilton at the season-opening Australian GP, Vettel had to settle for second place this time, finishing 6.2 seconds behind his rival.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen drove a masterful race through traffic to move up from 16th position on the starting grid to third place, fighting off a spirited challenge from teammate Daniel Ricciardo on the final lap.
On Firstpost Pole Position, Formula 1 bloggers Kunal Shah and Mithila Mehta analysed all the action from the Shanghai International Circuit. "One thing that China did show us was that we genuinely have a Ferrari vs Mercedes battle in 2017. I may be a little biased if I say it's going to be more of a Hamilton vs Vettel fight all the way through the season," Shah said.
"This race has put to rest all the fears about overtaking. So maybe now there are lesser number of overtakes than before, but the quality of every overtake is just mind-blowing. This was such an exciting race because we have such amazing battles on top and down the order," Mehta said summing up the race action.
"The unpredictability of who will win this season bodes really well for the sport as well as the fans. The conditions were apt to add to the unpredictability. The first seven laps saw 66 pit stops, which is again good because teams and drivers were trying to find the right compound, given that the conditions were constantly changing. And it's the unpredictability that will bring fans back to Formula 1.
"The conditions surely mixed up the race. Thanks to the weather, there wasn't a single lap where you weren't glued to the television. And the strategy became even more important because of the weather conditions," Mehta added.
Shah and Mehta also discuss Max Verstappen's aggressive style, and his ability to spin an unfavourable starting position to his advantage. Watch the entire episode in the video above to know more about what we most enjoyed about the second race of the 2017 Formula 1 season.
Updated Date: Apr 09, 2017 17:58:08 IST