With the status quo re-instated after the Prancing Horse finally galloped again in Malaysia, Shanghai could have fallen under the description of ‘predictable’, but luckily that wasn’t the case, thanks to some terrific racing from all.

Here’s what stood out for us in China!

badgerometer-5-1No points, but…

After incredibly arduous winters for the teams, both McLaren and Manor Marussia managed to get both of their cars to the end of the race in China. Though championship points only go down to tenth, and neither team got quite that far up, it’s still a fantastic achievement in both camps.

McLaren, and more importantly Honda look like they’re starting to make progress on that supposed 150 Horsepower deficit. It’ll be a while, still, before they can properly challenge for points, but it seems like progress nevertheless.

Photo - McLaren Honda Media
Photo – McLaren Honda Media

Marussia have only ever really been able to gauge their success against Caterham, and with the green team gone, they were effectively racing amongst their selves. Still, they too can take pride in a double finish, considering they had to Ctrl + Alt + Delete their cars after software glitches in Mebourne.

   badgerometer-41

McMaldonado

It may have all ended in tears when Jenson Button snagged the back end of Pastor’s car, but for a few laps in China, we actually got to see the McLarens fight something other than power unit problems and the expectations of Ron Dennis.

Button and Fernando Alonso were both stacked up behind Maldonado’s Lotus (which, to be fair, seemed like it had a problem) at the end of the race, and provided us with perhaps the first bit of racing action for the team this year.

None of them had anything to lose, which is perhaps why they fought so hard for such an insignificant position, and indeed why there was contact.

Just a thought – rewind three years, and Alonso and Maldonado were fighting for the lead of the Spanish Grand Prix. Barmy.

Photo: Lotus F1 Team Media
Photo: Lotus F1 Team Media

badgerometer-311Marshals

Have you ever imagined a world where Rowan Atkinson’s Mr Bean character was born in China, cloned, and tasked with clearing up a stricken Toro Rosso F1 car? Well, now you need not, thanks to the antics of the boys in orange at the Shanghai International Circuit!

Max Verstappen was cruelly robbed of another points-scoring position by mechanical failure, after his STR10 ground to a halt on the pit straight, and so the officials tried to open a gap in the pit wall to free up the track. The gap could have done with being a tad wider though, as the car was repeatedly bashed into the concrete wall…

As you can see, the mechanics decided that they’d rather not lose thousands of pounds worth of Carbon Fibre thanks to some heavy-handed clearance work, so they slipped the front wing off. When the car did finally get into the pit lane, the cheer from the crowd was enormous, although at the Sett, we’d have cheered a little louder if the frighteningly-good Dutchman got to score some points.

Speaking of which…

badgerometer-21The Boy Wonder

Quite simply, Max Verstappen is awesome. He’s already silenced anyone who thought he was too young to be in Formula 1, and earned one of the most prestigious accolades in motorsport; our ‘Top Dog’ distinction. Martin Brundle has already likened him to Senna and Schumacher, and while that might be a slightly premature judgement, it’s easy to see why people are making such claims.

It looks like he’s been in the sport for years, pulling off daring but incredibly well-calculated overtaking maneuvers on the Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, and most impressively, the Force India of Sergio Perez.

He looks like the real deal!

badgerometer-11The Soap Opera Returns

The 2014 Formula 1 Season was largely dominated by the peaks and troughs of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton’s friendship/not-friendship, interspersed with a bit lot of Daniel Ricciardo smiling.

The two made up in Abu Dhabi last November, but with Nico publicly accusing Lewis of holding him up and almost making him fall into the clutches of Vettel’s Ferrari, it would seem that their spat has a good chance or returning… and isn’t it brilliant?

Hunt and Lauda, Senna and Prost, Schumacher and Montoya… Hamilton and Rosberg? History has produced epic battles when two drivers don’t like each other very much, a because they just can’t bare to come second to them. After a couple of races where many have said that Nico doesn’t look up to the fight, a bit more aggression could be enough to make this year’s championship battle just as fierce as last year’s.

Long may it continue!

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