Ferrari at the 2013 Formula 1 Chinese Grand PrixEnlarge Photo
He was followed by Lotus’ Kimi Räikkönen and Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton, who earned second and third place respectively.
It was an action-packed race that saw several drivers in the lead, due mostly to the varying tire strategies that were in play.
Hamilton, starting on pole, led the race initially but faced fierce challenges from Alonso and fellow Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, who, like Alonso, was able to capitalize on a bad start by Räikkönen.
By lap five, both Ferrari drivers got past Hamilton and shortly after they were into the pits to switch from Soft to Medium tires.
Several other drivers, including reigning world champion and current points leader Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing, utilized a different strategy that saw them start with the Mediums, which meant they would have to change much later in the race to the Soft compounds.
Vettel made the most of the situation, finishing fourth after starting as far back as ninth on the grid. Sadly for his team-mate Mark Webber, the Aussie had to deal with a minor impact with Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne on lap 14 and then a lost wheel on lap 17, which put him out of the race.
McLaren’s Jenson Button, also pitting late, was next to finish after fourth-placed Vettel, and was followed by Massa in sixth, Torro Rosso’s other driver Daniel Ricciardo in seventh, Force India’s Paul di Resta in eighth, Lotus’ other driver Romain Grosjean in ninth and Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg rounding out the top ten.
Sadly for McLaren newcomer Sergio Perez, the young Mexican hasn’t had a chance to make his mark yet. He had a minor collision with Räikkönen on lap 16 and could only finish the race 11th fastest.
Last year’s winner in Shanghai, Mercedes AMG’s Nico Rosberg, was forced to retire on lap 21 due to a problem with his rear anti-roll bar, his second DNF after only three races this season.
“It couldn’t have gone better than this today," Alonso said after the race. "Along with the second place I got in Australia, this result shows that the car is competitive and that we are working in the right direction to always be in the fight for the podium."
The results mean that the F1 circus this weekend heads to Bahrain for the fourth round of the championship with Sebastian Vettel still leading the Drivers’ Championship with 52 points, followed by Räikkönen with 49 points and Alonso moving up to third with 43 points.
In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing remains in the lead with 78 points, followed by Ferrari with 73 points and Lotus with 60 points.