The FORMULA 1 2018 HEINEKEN CHINESE GRAND PRIX was won by Daniel Ricciardo ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen. What looked like a shoe-in for Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel turned out to be no such thing as spins, over and undertakes as well as pitstops delivered an unexpected, but for the championship, welcome win for Red Bull’s ‘shooey’ drinker from Australia. World champion Lewis Hamilton was 4th.
It was a race when the driver with all the cards to win changed three times: first Vettel, then Bottas and eventually Ricciardo. And it could have been four, if Max Verstappen had been more patient in finding the right moment to attack
All was looking good for Ferrari and Vettel until the 19th lap when Mercedes called Bottas in for a tyre change. This forced Ferrari to mirror their rival team strategy and Vettel was duly called in. Timing is all in F1 and this time Ferrari did not get it right as Vettel exited the pit lane on fresh rubber with the sight of Bottas streaming past him to take first place.
A collision between the two Toro Rosso cars brought out the Safety Car and this is when Red Bull with courage and cleverness, decided to benefit from the mishap to its junior team. In came Verstappen and Ricciardo for a ‘double-stack’ pitstop, which was successful and sowed the seeds for Ricciardo’s win. Verstappen could have been in the position to win, considering the pace he and his teammate had on Soft tyres compared to the others on Mediums, but after a contact with Hamilton and then a balletic spin with Vettel – for which he was given a 10-second penalty – he ended the race in a disappointing 5th place. The Ferrari driver paid an even higher price to Verstappen’s move as he had to deal with a slightly damaged car and finished only 8th a race he had started on pole.
Red Bull’s double pitstop could have been mirrored by Mercedes, but instead they left Hamilton out, effectively ending his chances of finishing on the podium. Ricciardo took charge on lap 45 and drove all the way to the finish line and into the arms of his ecstatic pit crew and race engineers, who had already earned his gratitude by fixing his Renault engine in Saturday’s qualifying session. This he acknowledged from the podium during the traditional post race interview, a huge smile painted on his face as his 6th career win began to sink into him.
After the first three races, Vettel is still the leader of the Drivers’ Championship (54 points), but his margin on Hamilton is now only nine points, with Bottas five more points adrift. Even though they have not yet won a race in 2018 – it’s the first time in the V6-hybrid engine era that they are not on the top of the podium for three races in a row – Mercedes took back the lead of the Constructors’ Championship with 85 point, just one more than Ferrari while Red Bull is third with 55.
This weekend was the first time Formula 1 brought the sport to the centre of Shanghai with day time events and evening music shows. On Friday, 20 million people followed top international DJ’s Armin Van Buuren as he performed a live set from the Jing’an Kerry Centre. On Sunday fans were able to watch the race live as it was streamed over giant screens to the city. The Our Stage Pass released on Heineken Official WeChat account which was maxed out within five minutes, while the WeChat Moment Ad reached over 10 million views.
The Dutch DJ also did a first-ever garage set before the race, in a session that was also streamed live on social media. Van Buuren worked with Ricciardo and Verstappen to create a warm-up set list which he mixed live in the Red Bull garage prior to the race.
Van Buuren was not the only celebrity at the Shanghai International Circuit. Actress, entrepreneur and TV personality Carina Lau Ka Ling who is making a film with double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso and 1978 F1 World Champion Mario Andretti, started the Grand Prix by pressing the button alongside race director Charlie Whiting and also had the honour of waving the chequered flag from the pitwall as Ricciardo crossed the finish line 56 laps later, watched by many of her 17.8 million followers on social platform Weibo.
China’s first generation Internet icon, fashion blogger, stylist, creative director and trendsetter Cherry Gun delighted her 1.8 million followers by interacting with fans and other celebrities in the paddock and paddock club. These included basketball stars Yi Jianlian, who played NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks, New Jersey Nets, Washington Wizards and Dallas Mavericks as well as being a four-time Olympian, and Li Gen, from China’s 2016 Olympic basketball team and then Xinjiang’s Flying Tigers; mega rock band Linkin Park; and Yuyu Zhangzou, an international blogger, influencer and a columnist for InStyle China.
Heineken teamed up with influential media partners to launch the first ever Formula 1 Grid Crew program in China. The crew of 20 included KOLs and fans, who have taken the “When You Drive, Never Drink” pledge.
Formula 1 2018 Gulf Air Grand Prix Top Ten Final Classification 1st
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
|Drivers’ Championship||Constructors’ Championship|
|1||S. Vettel||54||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport||85|
|2||L. Hamilton||45||Scuderia Ferrari||84|
|3||V. Bottas||40||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||55|
|4||D. Ricciardo||37||McLaren F1 Team||28|
|5||K. Raikkonen||30||Renault Sport Formula One Team||25|
|6||F. Alonso||22||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||12|
|7||N. Hulkenberg||22||Haas F1 Team||11|
|8||M. Verstappen||18||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team||2|
|9||P. Gasly||12||Sahara Force India F1 Team||1|
|10||K. Magnussen||11||Williams Martini Racing||0|