Mike Stevens | Apr 18, 2011

Lewis Hamilton pulled back Sebastian Vettel's runaway lead in the world championship to 21 points by winning the thrilling Chinese grand prix.

McLaren's Hamilton passed the previously-dominant RB7 in the closing stages in Shanghai, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner revealing Vettel had KERS problems.

"At the end, Lewis was so much quicker it wasn't worth fighting so hard," he told the BBC.

German Vettel also struggled with a two-stop strategy compared to Hamilton's three, while Mark Webber in the sister Red Bull was smiling after a sensational run from 18th on the grid to finish third.

"Maybe the best thing to do is not even take part in qualifying and go from there," the Australian joked.

Hamilton's victory came less than two hours after his MP4-26 initially refused to start in the McLaren garage, and he came within seconds of having to start the race from the pitlane.

"It was not the greatest way to start out the afternoon but once it did start it went well," said boss Martin Whitmarsh.

Jenson Button, ultimately fourth at the flag, featured early but lost ground, also when he accidentally drove into the Red Bull pit area for a new set of tyres.

"I was looking down and when I looked back up I could see I was in the wrong place," he said.

"It was one of those races where there was a lot of overtaking and action, but I wasn't quick enough."

Hamilton's victory ended a four-race winning streak for Vettel.

"I think we tried too hard staying on two stops," said the German. "We did a couple of mistakes but still finished second so I'm very happy with that."

(GMM)

 

Webber On The 2011 Chinese Grand Prix

“We decided to start on the prime tyre, which we know is not the most desired, as it doesn’t have the characteristics of the hard tyre in terms of duration and things like that. So, we got that out of the way, but it was quite tricky actually, as even with the guys I was with, everyone was using DRS at the same time," Webber said.

"I made a mistake in Turn 2 on my in-lap and then we came in as there wasn’t much left in the tyres and our race started from there. To see P17 on your board after 15 laps you think it might not happen, but suddenly I felt very comfortable with the car. I had a few sets of tyres left from qualifying, so that helped – and maybe that’s the way to do it! Miss qualifying and go from there!"

"But, all joking aside, I think the guys have done an incredible job – it’s a back to back race and we haven’t had the smoothest run with my car, but I haven’t given up. That drive today was for them and everyone back at the factory. Congratulations to Lewis and it was a good day for us in terms of points for the team.”

Follow Mike Stevens on Google+