Starting from the pole, Harvick was dominant in the early stages. But after he pitted in the middle of a green-flag cycle of stops on Lap 103, a spin by Marcos Ambrose brought out the caution at Lap 110 while the cycle was still going.
Harvick got the free pass as the top driver one lap down, but had to take the Lap 119 restart in 18th place. Stuck in traffic, his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nowhere near as quick as it was in clean air out front.
He came in for another stop at Lap 157, which was slow due to a dropped lug nut off of his left front tire. But the air pressure and chassis adjustments made on that stop appeared to help him as he steadily started to make his way back up the pylon.
The comeback was complete when Harvick wrestled the lead away from Joey Logano on a restart with 60 laps to go and just as he had early in the race, he quickly pulled away from the point.
But just before Harvick was to make his final stop of the night with 29 laps to go, he radioed his team and told them the car was out of gas.
He was able to get to the pits for service, but as the final laps and stops played out, Harvick would find himself behind Gordon instead of ahead of him.
“I was paying attention to [the fuel pressure] and didn’t get enough RPM down pit road, and then I didn’t get out of my box very well,” Harvick said. “He wound up getting by me there as we came out of the pit stops.”
Harvick tried to track down Gordon over the final few laps, and on the last lap, he was making serious ground on the Hendrick Motorsports driver.
If the race had been 268 laps long instead of 267 – the 5-Hour Energy 401.5, if you will – Harvick might have claimed his third win of the year instead of Gordon claiming his first.
“[Catching Gordon] wasn’t out of the question, because I knew that when we got to traffic that his car was not very good,” Harvick said. “I just needed to time it right, and I just had too much ground to make up at that time.”
The aftermath of the Chinese Grand Prix has centered around Red Bull Racing and its two drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.
While one driver – Ricciardo – has garnered praise at every turn for a masterful drive from sixth to first in the second half of the race, the other – Verstappen – has again come under criticism for overzealous driving in the wake of contact with Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
A recap of the past news week for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, and the attention both Ricciardo and Verstappen have garnered, is below.
Ricciardo Surfaces as Outside Title Contender After Chinese Grand Prix Win
Prior to the Chinese Grand Prix, few would have labelled Ricciardo as a possible title contender, especially in the wake of a mechanical failure in the opening laps of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
However, Sunday’s victory in China not only provided a number of thrills for onlookers, it also gave Ricciardo a major boost of confidence, and he asserted afterwards that he thinks a championship push is possible.
“I really feel like, I’ve said a few times, just give me the chance to be in a title hunt and I really believe I will take it,” Ricciardo said in a piece posted on Crash.net. “I feel like I can capitalize on opportunities and I guess [China] was a good example even with a fat lip I am still pretty fast and pretty good on a Sunday.”
The victory also comes at an interesting time in Ricciardo’s career, as the 2018 season is the final one in his current contract with the Red Bull team. On the market for a new contract, Ricciardo mentioned that he’s seeking a two-year deal with whichever team he signs with.
“I don’t want to sign anything too long because I don’t know where the sport’s going,” Ricciardo said in an interview with The Times newspaper.
He added, “Ideally I’d sign a two-year contract. I think two years I can definitely be comfortable with and then see it from there. That third year will be the rule change so I will probably wait and see what happens then.”
Ricciardo also added that whether or not he returns to Red Bull is entirely down to the team’s performance this year.
“I kind of feel like if they want me to race for them they should contact me, but they haven’t,” he said. “If we win this year then I’m staying with Red Bull. It’s pretty simple. It’s really just about performance at the moment.”
Jos Verstappen Offers Constructive Criticism to Max
Max Verstappen has again come under fire for overzealous driving, and not just from rivals this time.
Perhaps most notably, Max’s father Jos Verstappen, a former Formula 1 driver in his own right, offered his thoughts this past weekend, asserting that Max needs to show more patience and a little better judgment in his overtaking moves.
“The overtake on Vettel really wasn’t on. It wasn’t possible. It was an error of judgement. In some circumstances Max just has to think more,” Jos told Ziggo Sport’s Peptalk, referenced in a Crash.net story.
However, Jos also praised his son’s driving style, noting that he hopes that part doesn’t change.
“I don’t want him to change his driving style. He passed two people at the start. He did that perfectly,” he added. That’s what we all want to see. But we don’t want to see these kinds of actions. He needs to have it under control. He needs to think.”
In addition to receiving a 10-second penalty for the incident, Verstappen also received two penalty points, bringing his total to five. A driver who gets 12 penalty points within a span of 12 months is automatically given a one-race ban.
Rubens Barrichello Recovering from Brain Tumor
Rubens Barrichello has revealed that he was diagnosed with a brain tumor earlier this year after collapsing in the shower.
“Suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my head. It seemed to be exploding, I had to fall on the ground and only after a few minutes I managed to reach my wife Silvana to ask for help. I immediately realized that it was a serious problem,” Barrichello said of the ordeal in an emotional interview.
Barrichello, whose health has appeared to improve in recent weeks, revealed that the recovery process has been nothing short of miraculous.
“I feel like a miracle. (The doctors) told me that only 14 percent of the people who suffered this type of problem then managed to recover completely.”
He added, “I am still going through exams and so on, but I am honestly great and the difficulties in life are the ones who show us how to grow and how to be better.”