|Least tyre wear on the Lotus F1 2013 challenger|
The difference between Australia and China will be the option tyre. Pirelli supplied the Pirelli red supersoft tyres for Australia while they are bringing the Pirelli yellow soft tyres for China.
The circuit design at Shanghai, with mainly slow speed corners and a few medium speed corners thrown in mean that the cars can easily damage their rear tyres with all that excess torque going to the rear wheels on those slow speed corners, especially the unusually long turn 1. This coupled with the cooler temperatures and smooth track surface results in a lot of graining as it takes more time for the tyres to get upto temperature. But with the Lotus E21 seeming to manage its tyres better than most other teams, we are willing to bet that they can claim the top spot on the podium and if Romain keeps it clean, there is no reason why he can't fight for a spot in the top three as well.
We expect the Ferrari's, Red Bull's and the Merc's to be fighting for the podium as well, with all three of them having shown good pace in the first two races of the year. In terms of tyre wear, the Ferrari seems to have the edge on the Red Bull and Mercedes. Massa has lost positions in both races only due to strategy mistakes and he has had a good start to the year, leading his team's #1 driver into the third Grand Prix of the year.
Mercedes seem to be benefiting from their FRIC suspension system this year, and were it not for mistakes with fuel strategy they could have taken the fight to the bulls in Malaysia. Red Bull are always a force, and in a dry race with cold conditions we would expect them to suffer a little less than the Merc's. Great pace on a single run means that we can expect them to be on the front row of the grid come Sunday, but the great multi-21 saga means that we can expect them to treat us to quite a show into the first two corners of the race if the two teammates are side by side.
Our predictions for 2013 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix Qualifying* -
1. Vet 2. Ham 3. Web
Our predictions for the 2013 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix Race* -
1. Rai 2. Alo 3. Ham 4. Vet 5. Ros 6. Mas 7. Web 8. Hul 9. But 10. Sut
* - Predictions are based on current form and will be revised based on practice results, before we go into qualifying.