Button leads Hamilton in 1-2 finish for McLaren at Formula One’s Chinese Grand PrixBy AP
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Button leads 1-2 finish for McLaren at Chinese GP
SHANGHAI — Jenson Button won the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday and took over the Formula One championship lead by beating teammate Lewis Hamilton in a 1-2 finish for McLaren.
In a chaotic race with rapidly changing weather conditions, forcing most drivers to pit at least four times, 2009 world champion Button benefited from shrewd tire strategy, needing only two stops while Hamilton had to make four.
“It was a tricky race out there and again we called it right,” Button said. “It was not just about being quick, it’s about reading the conditions.”
Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg finished third. The German driver took over the lead when he and Button elected to stay out on a dry-weather tires while most others went to wet-weather ones and soon realized they had to switch back.
Rosberg held the lead until the 19th lap when he ran wide on worn tires.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso took the lead at the start, but was quickly penalized for jumping the lights and given a drive-through penalty. He finished fourth after five trips to pit lane.
Renault’s Robert Kubica finished fifth and teammate Vitaly Petrov earned his first-ever F1 points by taking seventh.
Separating the Renault pair was pole sitter Sebastian Vettel. The Red Bull driver was shuffled back by his hasty change to wet tires and then back to dry ones, and was never in contention.
His Red Bull teammate Mark Webber enlisted the same strategy and finished eighth, ahead of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa and Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher. Schumacher, back after a three-year retirement, won this race in 2006 for the last of his record 91 victories.
After four races this season, Button leads the drivers’ standings with 60 points, ahead of Rosberg’s 50. Hamilton and Alonso are tied for third with 49 points.
McLaren also took over the lead in the constructors’ standings, with 109, ahead of Ferrari with 90. Mercedes jumped to third with 78, ahead of Red Bull with 73.
The next race will be the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on May 9.
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