GPI 2017 Chinese Grand Prix - Page 90

RACE REPORT Vettel, on the other hand, lined up well out of his box and then was sluggish off the line but recovered to tuck in behind Hamilton as they exited the Turn 1 complex. Stewards noted the German’s start-line positioning but did not act on it. Real drama started early when rookie Lance Stroll clipped the Force India of Sergio Perez on the opening lap, which resulted in the Williams driver beached in the gravel, his race was over and a virtual safety car period ensued to allow marshals to remove the beached car. At this point several drivers darted into the pits for slicks, including Vettel. At this point the decision to bring in the Ferrari appeared to be an inspired one. But not long after the restart another rookie, Antonio Giovinazzi, slammed his Sauber into the pit-wall after getting it all wrong on the final turn, in the same area he crashed in qualifying 24 hours earlier. The impact was big and the debris scattered across the track forced the safety car to be deployed. This played into the hands of Hamilton who made a pitstop and resumed at the head of the field, but Vettel was not so lucky as he found himself behind the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen who had stormed through the field, as well as his own teammate Kimi Raikkonen. Verstappen was on the move, getting past Raikkonen with a sweet move then pouncing on his teammate to take second place behind Hamilton, who was about five seconds up the road at that point.