Hamilton's win shows Red Bull can be beaten - or does it?
Going into the Chinese Grand Prix on the weekend, world champion Sebastian Vettel was hoping to make it three out of three.
After winning the season-opener in Australia and adding the Malaysian Grand Prix, the German Red Bull racer was favourite to become the
first Formula One driver since seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher in 2004 to score a hat-trick of victories from the start of the
season, but even though he started from pole, it was former world champion Lewis Hamilton in a McLaren who topped the podium at the end of
the race in Shanghai, prompting many to ask the question whether Red Bull was really as invincible as they had seemed in the first two
Even Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber, who stormed from 18th on the grid to finish a brilliant third, said that he was glad to see Vettel's
run come to an end.
"Congratulations to Lewis. It was good that someone finally... of course Seb is in the same team, but he's been on a phenomenal run
and we're all here together fighting for victories," said Webber. "Shame McLaren won in a way, but also we can't let Seb get too
far away. It was a good day for racing, I think."
However, in a way it was Webber's race that showed that celebration about the end of Red Bull's domination might be somewhat premature.
Once Webber was - as he put it himself - feeling comfortable with the car, he started flying through the rest of the field and neither
Jenson Button in the second McLaren, nor the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg were able to put up any resistance as the Australian passed them with
only a few laps remaining. Undoubtedly he would have passed his team-mate too had there been enough time.
So apart from Hamilton's victory showing that Red Bull is no longer the team to beat, the Chinese Grand Prix showed that Vettel is not
infallible. In the two previous races, he held the pole position, but unlike Shanghai, he managed to convert that advantage into a
This time around, Button, who started beside Vettel on the grid, was leading by the first corner and Hamilton also overtook the
23-year-old in the first sprint off the line.
Even Rosberg was challenging hard and Vettel struggled to keep his compatriot behind him, admitting after the race that his start had not
been up to scratch.
This in turn, had forced the team into changing their three-stop race strategy to a two-stop one, which in turn allowed Hamilton with
fresher tyres to overtake him with four laps to go.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner defended their strategy though.
"If we had made just three stops behind them (Hamilton and Button), we probably would have stayed behind both of them," he
said. "So we decided to do something different to try and beat them and we thought we could make it work. We felt that was the best way
to beat them and very, very nearly did it."
Vettel, however, disagreed.
"There's an important lesson to learn. Hamilton and McLaren were too strong and not in reach with our strategy. The strategy I
picked was obviously not meant to be the best."
Even Button highlighted Vettel's choice of strategy.
"Getting strategy right is very important, as you can see by Webber finishing up behind his team-mate. Sebastian started on pole,
Webber was 18th."
But with a 21-point lead in the standings, Vettel is still in the drivers seat in the championship race and as he turns to Turkey for the