14 April 2019

Four hours after the race...

Mercedes left China with a third consecutive 1-2 finish - a real surprise given Ferrari's dominance in pre-season testing.

But it has not been as easy as it sounds, as Ferrari should have won in Bahrain but made a mess of things. In China it never looked like Ferrari was in with a chance and the Scuderia  got itself into a pickle when it ordered Charles Leclerc to let Sebastian Vettel through on the 11th lap of the race. Leclerc did not sound very happy and when Vettel made no progress, he pointed out on the radio that he was losing time. Did it matter? Yes, because Leclerc will have left China thinking that the team is going to help Vettel whenever it can - which will probably cause problems in the future.

Poleman Valtteri Bottas said that he lost the race at the start when he had some wheel-spin on paint on the road... Lewis went ahead and never looked under threat. When Ferrari converted from a one-stop strategy to a two-stop one, Mercedes followed and the team then pulled off a sublime double-stacked second stop on lap 36. The message was clear: Don't mess with us. We're Mercedes. And don't you forget it.

Having messed up Leclerc's race, allowing Max Verstappen to get ahead of him because of the time lost behind Vettel, Ferrari ended up with third and fifth places.

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