Shanghai, April 14 (IANS) Fernando Alonso took Ferrari’s first victory of the season here Sunday at the Chinese Grand Prix, the third race of this year’s Formula 1 World Championship, having it comfortably sewn up with a big lead of 10.1 seconds ahead of a close battle for second place between three other drivers.
This is the second victory for Alonso in China, who won here at the 5.451 km Shanghai International Circuit in 2005. The only other double winner here is Lewis Hamilton, who won it in 2008 and 2011, reports Xinhua.
Alonso, starting from third on the grid, took the lead early in the race from Mercedes driver Hamilton, who started from pole, and slowly eased away from the pack coming across the finishing line in one hour, 36 minutes and 26.945 seconds.
Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus lost places at the start to the two Ferraris but the Finn, winner of the season opener in Australia, came home second, just 2.1 seconds ahead of Hamilton, who also finished on podium.
World Champion Sebastian Vettel was narrowly held off to fourth place by just 0.2 second across the finish line. The German, who won for Red Bull two weeks ago in Malaysia, recorded the race’s fastest lap with 1:36.808 but his RB9 lacked straight-line speed.
British driver Jenson Button of McLaren got a great start but only managed fifth ahead of Felipe Massa of Ferrari while Daniel Ricciardo came out an impressive seventh.
Mark Webber, starting from the pits, retired with a loose right rear wheel after having to pit by the end of his 15 laps, following a collision with Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso. Nico Rosberg’s race was also aborted with a suspension issue after the German drove his Mercedes WO4 into the pits four times in 22 laps.
Force India’s Adrian Sutil retired even earlier as the German stopped his run after five laps with a broken rear wing, caused by collision by Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez, and brakes catching fire. Gutierrez also retired after the accident.