Spaniard Fernando Alonzo roared to a dorminant victory in the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday to give Ferrari their first win of the Formula One season.
In a dry race dictated by tyre choices and frequent pit stops, the Ferrari driver beat Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen by 10.1 seconds to make amends for crashing out of the previous race in Malaysia.
Lewis Hamilton, who after yesterday’s qualifying race started in pole position completed a trio of world champions on the podium with third place for Mercedes.
Fernando Alonzo now ranks third in the overall ratings on 43 points after three races- six points behind Raikkonen and nine adrift of Red Bull’s triple champion Sebastian Vettel. In the constructors’ standings, Ferrari cut Red Bull’s lead to five points after Sunday’s victory.
It was the 31st victory of Alonzo’s career; now 4th in the all- time lead alongside Britain’s 1992 champion Nigel Mansell. Sunday race marks the second time Alonzo will be winning in China and his first since Germany last July.
“The team did a perfect job with the setup of the car,” Alonzo said.
“It was a fantastic race for us from the start. There were no big problems and the tyre degradation was better than expected. It feels great,” the double champion said after a battle involving four different leaders in the first seven laps.
“In the two races we’ve finished we have got second place and victory so our start to 2013 season is very good.”
Raikkonen started second on the grid but a painfully slow getaway saw the Lotus driver fall behind two Ferraris as the field engulfed him.
Vettel finished 4th, 0.2 seconds behind Hamilton after a thrilling chase to the chequered flag that was a highlight of an afternoon that saw drivers more often passing themselves rather than racing flat out.
McLaren’s Jenson Button, finished 5th to ensure five championships in the top five places.
It was again a frustrating race for Red Bull’s Mark Webber, who started from the pit lane after running out of fuel in the qualifying rounds. The Australian lasted just 18 of the 56 laps, pitting twice and breaking his front wing in a collision with the Red Bull- owned Toro Rosso of Frenchman Jean- Eric Vergne.
Webber accepted the blame, and was penalised with a three place grid for next weekend’s race in Bahrain.