It was Jenson Button in the McLaren that took the victory at this weekends China Grand Prix followed by his team-mate Lewis Hamilton in second and Nico Rosberg in third for Mercedes.
Light rain began to fall just before the start of the race as the Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber took their first and second place slots on the grid.
It was Fernando Alonso that slotted into third place for the Ferrari team as the lights changed but was later given a drive-through penalty for what was considered a jump start.
A three-car tangle in the opening stages of the race brought out the safety car after Vitantonio Liuzzi made a mistake at turn 6, spinning across the track and collecting Sebastien Buemi and Kamui Kobayashi on the way for the first three retirements of the day.
With the safety car on track many of the drivers took the opportunity of entering the pits to fit intermediate tyres although it wasn’t long before those drivers realised there mistake. While Button, Rosberg, Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov decided not to pit, Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso’s tyres were destroyed after just a handful of laps.
As the drivers returned to their pit garage, Hamilton and Vettel were seen coming down the pit entry side-by-side, they were both released and again ran side-by-side towards the pit exit. After being investigated it was decided that it was deemed ‘a racing incident’ with both drivers being reprimanded for what was considered driving in ‘a dangerous manner’.
As the cars rejoined the track after the second rain shower had sent them back to the pits, Button was still leading the race, building up a gap at the front until the safety car was once again deployed after a coming together between the Force India of Adrian Sutil and the Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari, resulting in a broken nose cone for the Spanish driver.
As the safety car went off track on lap 25, Button backed-up the pack seeing Webber forced off track by Hamilton as they battled to get away at the front. Hamilton carved his way through the field to be back in third position by lap 29 passing Michael Schumacher, Petrov and then Kubica.
The drivers were forced to return to their garages again for fresh intermediate tyres, with Hamilton managing to make a jump on Rosberg as they exited the pits.
Towards the end of the race, the tyres were practically bald, causing Button to run off track although he had built-up enough of a gap to hold his position at the front and take the chequered flag for his second win of the season followed by the second McLaren of Hamilton in second.
Rosberg took the final step of the podium ahead of the Ferrari of Alonso in fourth, Kubica in fifth and Vettel in sixth. Webber looked set to take seventh position until he was pipped at the post by Petrov on the penultimate lap, putting him back in eighth but still ahead of the second Ferrari of Felipe Massa and Schumacher in tenth.
There were the inevitable retirements during the course of the race with Jarno Trulli going out on lap 26 after his Lotus developed hydraulic problems. Timo Glock failed to start the race after his Virgin Racing car wouldn’t start as he lined-up on the grid, and then again as he waited to leave the pit lane as the race got underway. Lucas di Grassi and Pedro de la Rosa also both failed to finish the race, the Virgin racing car having problem with it’s hydraulic system and the BMW Sauber car developing engine problems.
Here’s the results;
1. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 56 laps 1hr 46m 42.163s
2. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes +00m 01.5s
3. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes +00m 09.4s
4. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 11.8s
5. Robert Kubica Poland Renault-Renault +00m 22.2s
6. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault +00m 33.3s
7. Vitaly Petrov Russia Renault-Renault +00m 47.6s
8. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault +00m 52.1s
9. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari +00m 57.7s
10. Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes-Mercedes +01m 01.7s
11. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes +01m 02.8s
12. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Williams-Cosworth +01m 03.6s
13. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari +01m 11.4s
14. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Lotus-Cosworth +1 lap
15. Nico Hulkenberg Germany Williams-Cosworth +1 lap
16. Bruno Senna Brazil HRT-Cosworth +2 laps
17. Karun Chandhok India HRT-Cosworth +4 laps
Rtd Jarno Trulli Italy Lotus-Cosworth 26 laps completed
Rtd Lucas di Grassi Brazil Virgin-Cosworth 18 laps completed
Rtd Pedro de la Rosa Spain BMW Sauber-Ferrari 17 laps completed
Rtd Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 0 laps completed
Rtd Kamui Kobayashi Japan BMW Sauber-Ferrari 0 laps completed
Rtd Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Force India-Mercedes 0 laps completed
Rtd Timo Glock Germany Virgin-Cosworth 0 laps completed