- China among best races in F1 history - report
- Vettel must race 'Webber-spec' exhaust in Bahrain
- 'Results crisis, not Vettel crisis' - Danner
- Rivals must 'count on Mercedes' now - Rosberg
- Hamilton hints not intention to leave McLaren
- Ferrari eyes big step forward for Barcelona
- Grosjean 'not relieved' despite easing pressure
China among best races in F1 history - report
Statistically, the Chinese Grand Prix raced straight into the history books as one of the most exciting F1e events of all time.
"For me, we are having some of the best races in Formula One history," agreed Jenson Button after finishing Sunday's Shanghai race behind Nico Rosberg.
Finland's Turun Sanomat newspaper reports that only three Grands Prix in the history of the sport played host to more individual overtaking moves.
The report said there were 72 passes in total on Sunday, not including the first corner of the race. Seven of the moves were on Kimi Raikkonen on one lap, after the Lotus driver's Pirelli tyres gave up the ghost.
Last year in Shanghai, there were 63 passes. So far in 2012, there were more overtaking moves in China, Malaysia and Australia compared to the same races last season.
Canada 2011 still stands as the site of the most passes during a single grand prix, at 89.
In second place are the 1983 US grand prix and the 2011 Turkish grand prix (79 passes), followed by China last weekend.
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh is celebrating the spectacle of the 2012 season so far.
"Who's going to predict who will win?" he said, referring to this weekend's grand prix in Bahrain. "I won't.
"We've had three very different races and I think we are going to have potentially 20 very different races this year."
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Vettel must race 'Webber-spec' exhaust in Bahrain
Sebastian Vettel's 2012 struggle looks set to continue for now.
It has emerged that, despite the reigning back-to-back champion preferring the launch version of the RB8, Red Bull has decided that Vettel will drive the latest specification of the car's exhaust layout in Bahrain this weekend.
In China, the team allowed Vettel to go back to the previous spec, while Mark Webber qualified better and finished higher with Adrian Newey's latest developments.
"He can't get the confidence he needs with the car," admitted Dr Helmut Marko on Austrian Servus TV, "and this makes him make uncharacteristic mistakes."
Nonetheless, Red Bull has decided that the 'Webber-specification' exhaust is the right way forward.
"We will go on with the Mark Webber car," Marko confirmed.
As for why the team's Australian driver feels more comfortable in the updated car, Marko surmised: "Mark is less sensitive to the (car's) behaviour.
"He just needs four wheels, but it's different for Vettel," he said.
'Results crisis, not Vettel crisis' - Danner
It is wrong to say Sebastian Vettel has entered a period of "crisis" after winning two world championships on the trot.
That is the insistence of Christian Danner, a former Grand Prix driver who now commentates on German television RTL.
"It's a results crisis, not a Vettel crisis," he told the news agency DAPD.
He is referring not only to Red Bull's failure to win a race so far in 2012, but the fact former pole position-king Vettel was outqualified in Australia, Malaysia and China by his teammate Mark Webber.
Webber, meanwhile, has out-scored Vettel at the last two races, and is eight points ahead in the drivers' standings.
Referring to 24-year-old Vettel, Danner insisted: "Great racing drivers, just like other great athletes, have always shown that they develop strongly even in defeat."
The finer detail of Vettel's season so far is that he has struggled so much with the race version of the RB8 car's exhaust layout that the team rolled out the pre-season specification for the German driver in China.
Webber, meanwhile, ploughed on with Adrian Newey's latest specification and performed better in Shanghai.
"There are some characteristics about the upgraded car that weren't particularly suited to his (Vettel's) style of driving which is to carry a lot of speed into the corner," team boss Christian Horner is quoted by Reuters news agency.
Rivals must 'count on Mercedes' now - Rosberg
Mercedes' rivals must now count the German team as a serious contender, Nico Rosberg has said after winning his first Grand Prix in China last weekend.
Shanghai was also the scene of the 26-year-old's first pole and the first works Mercedes victory for over half a century, but Rosberg warned that the W03 is not likely to dominate from now on.
"It's a really interesting season so far," he told Bild newspaper.
"Until now nobody has really known who is in front, and suddenly we are on top!
"But we can't think that we will drive around everybody at the next race. We still have (tyre) problems in the race, that's for sure, but the others also need to count on us now," said Rosberg.
"We are going to be fast in qualifying at all the races; that's our trump card. And now we know that if we execute the race properly, then we can do it (win) again."
Hamilton hints not intention to leave McLaren
Lewis Hamilton has hinted again that he sees his future with McLaren.
Just prior to the new season, the 2008 world champion indicated he would like to renew his deal with the Woking-based team in the early phase of this year.
Hamilton's current contract runs out at the end of 2012.
Asked by British media if he is being persuaded by his boss Martin Whitmarsh to stay, the 27-year-old answered: "I don't need persuading.
"The team are doing fantastic. I could not be happier in the team."
Also asked if it would be hard for him to leave the team he has spent his entire career with, Hamilton admitted: "Yeah. I don't feel like walking away."
The Briton had a tumultuous 2011 season, but so far in 2012 he has appeared happy as he raced onto the podium at the end of every grand prix.
"Everything is better this year," said Hamilton. "The team is better, the car is better, I am a lot better. I have got my dad here (in China) and that is not fake; we have a real, real good bond now.
"Things are great and that's reflected in my performances."
Jenson Button, who already has a deal in place for 2013 and beyond, indicated he would like Hamilton to remain his teammate.
"It's good to have competition, it drives the team forward," said the 2009 world champion.
As for when the new deal might be done, Hamilton said the timeframe for talks is open "so long as it is before next year".
Ferrari eyes big step forward for Barcelona
Ferrari is looking ahead to Barcelona next month, as the famous Italian team plans to begin putting a difficult start to the 2012 season behind it.
Test driver Marc Gene, who is travelling to the Grands Prix this year, said the F2012 was "born well" but fell behind the other leading teams as the winter pre-season progressed.
"From here it will take time to improve it," he told the Spanish newspaper Diario Sport.
"The next big developments will arrive in Barcelona, although at every race the team is making improvements and we know already that the main problem is aerodynamics.
"It's a car that also has its virtues, as it adapts well to the wet and also warms up the tyres well, but it is a car with a lot of 'drag'; we need better top speed and traction," said Gene.
He said, however, that with at least an eight-tenth per lap dry circuit deficit to the ultimate pace, the F2012 is not likely to step to the front of the grid even with a big raft of developments for the Spanish grand prix.
"I have to admit that it (eliminating the entire gap) would be the most dramatic improvement I've seen in the 13 years I have been in formula one.
"(Improvement) throughout the season is much more feasible. I know that we are working on a very big package and even more positive is that we have the test at Mugello beforehand."
Gene said the best car in the field at present is the McLaren.
"That is the car that works best if you take together all the different elements. Maybe not the fastest in qualifying, nor in the wet, but today it's the best car on the grid," he said.
Fernando Alonso said he is hoping the F2012 becomes "3 or 4 tenths" better at Barcelona.
"All the teams will bring updates," he is quoted by Finland's Turun Sanomat, "so if we could improve 5 or 6 tenths, while the others get only a couple of tenths, it will be better for us."
And Spain's Marca quotes Felipe Massa as saying: "I do expect a much better car in Spain; faster, better balanced and better traction."
Grosjean 'not relieved' despite easing pressure
Romain Grosjean insists he is not feeling "relieved" after the Chinese GP.
The Frenchman, who returned to F1 this year after an abortive start to his career in 2009, showed good pace in Australia and Malaysia but failed to see the end of even the opening lap.
In China, therefore, the pressure was on the reigning GP2 champion to finally record a result, and he duly finished sixth - his first ever points in F1.
"Relieved? No," the Swiss-born driver told RMC Sport.
"No, the work has just paid off. There is no need to put your head on upside down after two races (in 2012). We all know there are ups and downs in motor racing."
Nonetheless, 26-year-old Grosjean admitted it "felt good to fight with Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren (in China) - it's great!"
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