Live Commentary: Chinese Grand Prix - as it happened

Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes during qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix on April 13, 2013
© AP Photos
Read how Fernando Alonso claimed his first win of the 2013 F1 season at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Formula 1 was in China for the third race of the 2013 season and tyre wear was set to play a key part in the race.

Fernando Alonso and Ferrari managed their rubber best to claim a first victory of the season as Lewis Hamilton came home third after starting on pole.

Read how a race full of incident right until the last corner unfolded in our lap-by-lap coverage below.


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7.31amMorning all! Should be a cracking race this morning with a bit of a jumbled grid and a circuit that usually encourages overtaking.

7.34amYesterday it was Lewis Hamilton who secured his first pole position at new team Mercedes with a dominant performance throughout. Has the Englishman got similar 'race pace' today?

7.36amAs mentioned above, Saturday was not a good day for Red Bull. Mark Webber was knocked out in Q2 as he failed to make it back to the pits because of a refuelling issue. Since then he has been demoted to the back of the grid. Championship leader Vettel also failed to have it his own way and he starts from eighth.

7.38amHowever, the German didn't actually set a time in the final part of qualifying yesterday and that means he has free choice of tyre at the start of the race. If you do set a time in qualifying then you have to start the race on that tyre.

7.39amVettel has just told Sky Sports F1 that he does have a chance of winning today as it is a "long race". He knows that the tyre degradation is going to be critical.

7.41amThe tyre wear made for an underwhelming qualifying yesterday as most drivers only set one time in each session. Let's hope for a more thrilling race today.

7.43amA bit of news from the pit lane this morning: Paul Di Resta was in serious danger of not making the race because of a fuel leak but Force India managed to sort it out and the Scot will start from 11th.

7.45amTOP 10: Anyway, here's how the top 10 line up: 1 Hamilton 2 Raikkonen 3 Alonso 4 Rosberg 5 Massa 6 Grosjean 7 Ricciardo 8 Button 9 Vettel 10 Hulkenburg

7.47amIn all honesty it looked like there would be a Mercedes lock-out on the front row but Nico Rosberg made a mistake on the final corner and will start fourth.

7.50amThe top seven drivers are all set to begin the race on the soft compound of tyres and there's a real concern about how long they will last. Rosberg tells BBC Sport: "It's not a question of how many laps you can do, it's a question of how many corners!"

7.52amExpect to see the frontrunners pitting very early then. They'll switch straight on to the medium compound and will then stay on it for the rest of the race.

7.53amTHE TRACK! Here's a little more information on the Shanghai International Circuit: One lap is 3.39 miles long and the 22 cars will go around 56 times. There are 16 turns and the highlight section is perhaps right at the start, where a quarter of those turns come very quickly in what looks like a ying-yang symbol from above.

7.55amI'd be very surprised if all 22 are still intact after the first four corners. Once we're into lap three the DRS system will be allowed and that should see plenty of overtaking on the two straights.

7.57amPREDICTION! Not long to go now and it's time for my prediction on the race. It really is very tough to call as the soft tyre could give up the ghost after very few laps. Still, I expect one of the people at the front to be good enough and I'm plumping for Raikkonen, whose Lotus is thought to manage the tyre wear better.

7.58amI've mentioned the top 10 but the biggest names further back are Sergio Perez in 12th and Webber, who starts from the pit lane. Perez is the meat of a Force India sandwich and both Di Resta and Sutil could well challenge for points today.

8amFORMATION LAP: Hamilton leads the cars out for one circuit of the track before we begin.

8.01amWill Hamilton be able to get away well and hold his position at the front. I'd be wary of Alonso and Massa in third and fifth respectively. The Ferraris often shoot off the line.

8.02amAs the 22 cars line up down the pit straight it's a sad sight to see Webber trundling down the pit lane. Can the Aussie get any points today? About to start...

Lap 1GO GO GO! The five red lights go out and we're underway in Shanghai!

Lap 1Awful start from Raikkonen, Hamilton leads ahead of the two Ferraris.

Lap 1No crashes yet, Raikkonen has dropped to fifth. Vettel still behind Button.

Lap 1Alonso is right on the back of Hamilton and looking great. Didn't I say the Ferraris start well?

Lap 2Webber is told to pit straight away so he can get rid of the soft tyres straight away.

Lap 2Raikkonen re-passes Rosberg for fourth position while a little further back Di Resta has had a trip on the grass and may have taken a shove from his teammate Sutil.

Lap 3As they cross the line for a second time Alonso has dropped a little off Hamilton and is now under real pressure from teammate Massa. How long are these tyres going to last?!

Lap 3Now that we're onto the third lap, DRS is enabled. Expect to see some overtakes on the long back straight.

Lap 3Massa has a little look but can't quite pick up enough drag to overtake Alonso. The Spaniard also has DRS behind Hamilton so that's enough to keep him in front.

Lap 4ALONSO LEADS! Both Ferraris overtake Hamilton in fact. He's really hanging on now.

Lap 5Further back it's Hulkenburg who overtakes Vettel. It's surprising how little the German world champion has done so far.

Lap 6Just as I say that, Vettel overtakes Rosberg for seventh. And both Hamilton and Rosberg pit!

Lap 6CRASH! Gutierrez locks up into the hairpin at the bottom of the pit straight and he's damaged Sutil in the process. The Force India is now on fire in the pit.

Lap 7Alonso and Raikkonen now pit and it's a sublime stop from the Ferrari team for Alonso. Just 2.6s to change the tyres!

Lap 7DRS is currently turned off down the back straight because of Gutierrez's crash. That should be turned back on shortly though.

Lap 8Massa pits from the lead and it's not such a good stop for the Brazilian as he falls behind both Raikkonen and Webber, who has done extremely well to get himself back into play.

Lap 8Hamilton is now the fastest man out there and the Mercedes looks much happier on the medium compound.

Lap 9The grid is awfully jumbled at the moment and it's very hard to tell exactly who's in the best position. Although he's back in sixth, Alonso is really our race leader as the five ahead of him haven't pitted yet.

Lap 9Hulkenburg of Williams is our current race leader ahead of Vettel. They're not far enough in front to stay ahead once they pit though.

Lap 10TOP 10: 1 Hulkenburg 2 Vettel 3 Button 4 Perez 5 Di Resta 6 Alonso 7 Hamilton 8 Vergne 9 Raikkonen 10 Massa

Lap 12Little change in the last couple of laps and it's a bit of a waiting game for the likes of Alonso and Hamilton. They know that the five in front have to stop and should resume the lead soon enough.

Lap 13It's believed that the cars who started on the medium compound will do a two-stop strategy on the mediums and then just do a lap or two on the softs at the end. Remember, under the rules both compounds have to be used in the race.

Lap 13Alonso is absolutely flying at the moment. He passes Di Resta for fifth and he's now all over the back of Perez.

Lap 14Perez has got no answer for the DRS-assisted Ferrari and Alonso now zooms into fourth. Hamilton hasn't been able to match the Spaniard's pace as he is still behind Di Resta in seventh.

Lap 14"Box, box, box" Vettel is told. That means pit, pit, pit.

Lap 15Oh deary me Sauber. Hulkenburg comes in at the same time as Vettel but it's not a good stop and Vettel gets ahead of his fellow German.

Lap 15CONTACT! Vergne turns into Webber and the Aussie has to pit while Vergne is out I think.

Lap 16MORE CONTACT! It's now Raikkonen and Perez who come to blows! "What the hell is he doing?!" screeches Raikkonen to the team.

Lap 17OUT! Webber can't get back into the race and he's going to have to retire because of a mechanical issue. Not a great couple of weeks for the Aussie.

Lap 18Crazy scenes as Webber fails to limp back to the pit. He reported that his right rear tyre was broken and it's just come off his car and rolled across the track. Luckily it avoids the cars around.

Lap 18It's now Button who leads the race but he's got a Ferrari all over his exhaust and it won't be long before Alonso is back out front.

Lap 18Replays of Webber's wheel coming off are kind of comical but it could have been very dangerous.

Lap 20Into the pit come Massa and Rosberg for their second stop. Both slip on another pair of mediums.

Lap 21ALONSO uses DRS to zoom up the inside past Button and he's back in the lead. Five seconds down the road it's Raikkonen all over Hamilton despite his damaged front wing.

Lap 22CLOSE! Raikkonen and Hamilton enter the pit together and they both do 3.7s stops to resume right next to each other just like they came in.

Lap 22The pair resume in ninth and 10th as Alonso continues to streak clear at the front.

Lap 23TOP 10: 1 Alonso 2 Button 3 Vettel 4 Hulkenburg 5 Perez 6 Grosjean 7 Ricciardo 8 Di Resta 9 Hamilton 10 Raikkonen

Lap 24OUT! Rosberg's car is retired after some problems on his second pit stop.

Lap 24Alonso pits from the lead and it's not a great stop from the Ferrari men. Button also comes in and it's a great stop from McLaren. Button is well in this.

Lap 25Uh oh! The stewards are investigating Button and Grosjean for using DRS while it was turned off. That sounds like a certain penalty.

Lap 25Hamilton is the fastest man out there at the moment as he sets a new fastest lap of 1:41.8.

Lap 25TOP 10: 1 Vettel 2 Hulkenburg 3 Alonso 4 Button 5 Hamilton 6 Raikkonen 7 Di Resta 8 Massa 9 Grosjean 10 Perez

Lap 26McLaren and Lotus breathe a sigh of relief as the stewards announce that the DRS incident will be investigated after the race. Surprising.

Lap 27Alonso now the quickest car on the track and he passes Hulkenburg for second place. A little further back Hamilton could be about to pass former teammate Button.

Lap 27Interesting words from Button as he asks his team how much older Hamilton's tyres are. He's told they're two laps older and then asks should I fight for position. "Yes fight" is the response.

Lap 28And now Vettel is told the opposite: "Do not lose time holding off Alonso." The Red Bulls know they are in a different fight.

Lap 29Down the inside goes Hamilton and that's an easy pass on his former stablemate. Expect Alonso to do a similar job on Vettel soon.

Lap 30Just a reminder of the four cars who have been retired: Webber, Rosberg, Sutil, Gutierrez.

Lap 30Hulkenburg pits from third place and Sauber go for the soft tyres. Interesting move, let's see how a new set of the yellow-marked softs fare.

Lap 31Vettel is told to pit from second place just as Raikkonen sweeps past Button for third place. Vettel pops on another pair of mediums so he'll be stopping again for some softs a little later. Hulkenburg is flying on his set of softs but they won't last very long.

Lap 32TOP 10: 1 Alonso 2 Hamilton 3 Raikkonen 4 Button 5 Hulkenburg 6 Vettel 7 Di Resta 8 Massa 9 Ricciardo 10 Grosjean

Lap 32That top 10 is probably the best reflection of the race at the moment. Alonso is clear favourite to win as he has an 11-second lead on Hamilton, who should be more concerned with Raikkonen behind him.

Lap 34Vettel is really dialled in on these new medium tyres. He's overtaken Massa, Di Resta and now Hulkenburg for fifth place.

Lap 35"Kimi's in the pit lane now Lewis so push push!" Hamilton is told. Raikkonen should now have tyres that will get him to the end of the race.

Lap 36"We need to pass Button," says Vettel's engineer and the German does just that. Easy peasy.

Lap 37A bit of pit-lane drama as Massa and Hulkenburg go side-by-side. The latter couldn't turn off his pit limiter though and it's easy for Massa to pass.

Lap 38Hamilton pits from second place and it's not good news as Raikkonen whizzes past. The Englishman will have fresher tyres at the moment and he needs to catch Kimi quickly.

Lap 39TOP 10: 1 Alonso 2 Vettel 3 Button 4 Raikkonen 5 Hamilton 6 Di Resta 7 Massa 8 Hulkenburg 9 Perez 10 Grosjean

Lap 40Alonso should make his final stop shortly. His lead back to Raikkonen and Hamilton is about 31 seconds. Plenty.

Lap 41Here he comes. It's a slow, four-second stop from Alonso and Vettel manages to get past. That's not a big concern for Ferrari though as they know Vettel has to make another stop.

Lap 42The key number at the moment is Alonso's lead ahead of the Raikkonen-Hamilton battle. It currently stands at about nine seconds but should get bigger as the duo battle for position.

Lap 43Didn't take Alonso long to retake the lead! His tyres are much newer and that's an easy pass on the pit straight. Vettel has to stop again and Button is told that Vettel is the man he is racing.

Lap 44So, the important battles to look out for as we enter the final 15 laps of the race are Raikkonen vs. Hamilton for second and Vettel vs. Button for fourth and fifth.

Lap 45Both Raikkonen and Hamilton get past Button, who shouldn't be too concerned as those aren't the men he's really fighting. Hamilton has lost a little time in his fight with Raikkonen.

Lap 47Alonso is the first man to set a lap under 100 seconds as he crosses the line with a 1:39.506. This one's in the bag.

Lap 47There's 10 laps left and still the main focus should be on Raikkonen and Hamilton. Remember, the former has a damaged front wing but it doesn't seem to be effecting his performance much.

Lap 49Hamilton remains a little over a second behind Raikkonen. Will he be able get within the one-second DRS zone?

Lap 50Out sprint the McLaren engineers for Button's final stop. How will he fare on the softer tyres?

Lap 50It's a 2.6s stop for Button and he resumes in seventh behind Massa. It looks as if Vettel is too far ahead for Button to challenge him for position in the final few laps.

Lap 51Button's brand new softs are far too quick for Massa. Expect the McLaren to zoom past Di Resta soon as well.

Lap 51Vettel remains in second but he does have to make one more stop. Button's pace is immense and that signals to Red Bull that Vettel should put his soft tyres on. Here he comes into the pit.

Lap 52FIVE LAPS LEFT and it's an average stop for Vettel but he's in a very comfortable fourth. Button's eyes will now be on Di Resta.

Lap 52However, the McLaren man's tyres already seem to be going off! It's pretty stupid just how short the life of these soft tyres is.

Lap 53And still Raikkonen manages to hold Hamilton one-second behind. Can the Englishman make a final push for second place on the podium?

Lap 54He's back to within a second of the Finn and will desperately want to stay that close before the DRS detection point. Vettel is lighting up the timing screens with some super-hot laps on those new soft tyres.

Lap 55TWO LAPS LEFT! Hamilton's DRS is open down the pit straight but he just can't get close enough to frighten Raikkonen.

Lap 55Vettel is making his soft tyres last longer than Button and he's now within four seconds of Hamilton. In for a gripping last lap!

FINAL LAPHamilton now under big pressure from Vettel.

Lap 56There's no chance that Hamilton can overtaken Raikkonen and there's loads of traffic in front! Vettel very close now.

Lap 56FERNANDO ALONSO WINS THE CHINESE GRAND PRIX!

Lap 56Hamilton just hangs on for third place ahead of Vettel. Raikkonen in second.

9.41am"Phenomenale! Grande weekend!" Alonso is told on the radio. A sublime race from the Spaniard.

9.42amWhat an incredible end to the race. Both Hamilton and Vettel made mistakes on the final couple of corners but the Mercedes just hung on to the podium position. Top 10 coming up...

9.44amFINAL TOP 10:

1. Alonso 25pts
2. Raikkonen 18pts
3. Hamilton 15pts
4. Vettel 12pts
5. Button 10pts
6. Massa 8pts
7. Ricciardo 6pts
8. Di Resta 4pts
9. Grosjean 2pts
10. Hulkenburg 1pt

9.46amAlonso is absolutely thrilled with victory as he takes a flag emblazoned with the famous Ferrari stallion and stands on top of his car waving it. Great scenes. That more than makes up for the last race in Malaysia when Alonso crashed out.

9.49amSTANDINGS! And here are the new driver standings:

1. Vettel 52pts
2. Raikkonen 49pts
3. Alonso 43pts
4. Hamilton 40pts
5. Massa 30pts
6. Webber 26pts
7. Rosberg 12pts
8. Button 12pts
9. Grosjean 11pts
10. Di Resta 8pts

9.51amAlonso bounces up to the top step of the podium and we have the Italian and Spanish national anthems before the trophy presentation and inevitable Champagne shower.

9.53amIt's all smiles on the podium and all three drivers will be pleased with their final positions. Of course, Hamilton may be gutted not to have converted pole position but on the day the Mercedes just didn't have the race pace. Raikkonen will be delighted with second after that awful, wheel-spinning start.

9.55amThat's just about it from me anyway, thanks for joining SM this morning. The next race is in Bahrain in one week's time so make sure you come back then for live text coverage of qualifying and the race. See you then.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton during the Australian Formula One Grand Prix on March 17, 2013
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TeamPoints
1Mercedes357
2Ferrari318
3Red Bull184
4Force India101
5Williams-Mercedes41
6Toro Rosso39
7Haas29
8Renault26
9McLaren11
10Sauber5
DriversTeamPoints
1Sebastian VettelFerrari202
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes188
3Valtteri BottasMercedes169
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull117
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari116
6Max VerstappenRed Bull67
7Sergio PerezForce India56
8Esteban OconForce India45
9Carlos SainzToro Rosso35
10Nico HulkenbergRenault26
11Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes23
12Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes18
13Romain GrosjeanHaas18
14Kevin MagnussenHaas11
15Fernando AlonsoMcLaren10
16Pascal WehrleinSauber5
17Daniil KvyatToro Rosso4
18Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1
19Marcus EricssonSauber0
20Jolyon PalmerRenault0
21Antonio GiovinazziSauber0
22Jenson ButtonMcLaren0
23Paul di RestaWilliams-Mercedes0
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