Lewis Hamilton has struck with his first victory of 2011 at Shanghai, with Sebastian and Red Bull losing the plot and attempting a two stopper to the three stops followed by all others in the lead pack. Vettel lost the lead at the start with his KERS only providing 30 of the 80 BHP available on tap, and the Mclarens cruised through without too much trouble.
Now Vettel could have still pulled the race back had he gone with a three pit stop strategy, but Red Bull decided to put him on a two stopper instead, which in simulated conditions was three seconds faster than a three stop strategy. But that did not take into condition traffic and tyre wear rates. Also compared to the first two races, where the tyre wear imporves by about 25% in the last section of the race, at Shanghai the harder tyres on the last stint did not last very long and Vettel made no fuss whatsoever when Hamilton came upon to overtake him.
Webber on the other hand drove a brilliant race to finish with third after a dismal qualifying session which saw him have to start from eighteenth on the grid. At the end of the race he joked about how all drivers should target not making it through Q3 so that they would have all 3 sets of soft tyres available to them for race day. Soft tyres along with clean air and having to duel only with slower cars with his DRS meant Webber could make up 15 places and post a fastest lap time 1.4s faster than anybody else. It will be fun to see how other teams react to this new finding and Mark Webbers “Eureka” moment.