Lewis Hamilton started the Chinese Grand Prix from pole – and in doing so became the first British driver to start from top spot on the grid for Silver Arrows since Stirling Moss – but in the race it quickly became apparent that he didn’t quite have the race pace to match the likes of Ferrari and Lotus.
Nevertheless he soldiered on and managed to hang onto third place, despite a last lap charge by Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton spoke after the race:
It didn’t quite work out for you there on race pace. You really dropped away towards the closing stages, under a lot of pressure from Vettel but some great racing nonetheless. Lewis Hamilton: Yeah, I’m really happy with today’s result. Great result for the team, very happy with the points. The team did a fantastic job all weekend. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the kind of pace these two have but still very fortunate to get on the podium.
It was kind of tight at the end with Sebastian closing on you and obviously you were trying to put pressure on Kimi. Tell us about it. LH: Yeah, it was a good race for me. Quite happy with third. Of course I would have liked to have won but congratulations to Fernando, he did a great job and so did Kimi. They were both a little bit too fast for us during the race. I was seeming to be able to apply a little bit of pressure to Kimi but not enough to get close to him and overtake. My tyres were shot at the end and there was nothing I could do really to hold off Sebastian. A little bit unlucky with some traffic. Still, to get on the podium, really happy. Really happy with the points as well.
We heard Ross comment on the radio at the end, saying ‘we’re not quite there yet’ but of course a good race for you. What area do you and the team have to work on to give you that little bit extra? LH: That’s a good question. I’m not really sure where we’re losing out. Today, overall pace was just not there and there’s definitely a couple of areas that we can focus on on the car but we’ve got to bring some more updates and keep on improving but the team is working on that. But at least, after this I will go and analyse a little bit and try to figure out whereabouts we’re losing the time and see if we can zone in on that and try to improve there.
With this tyre situation, is the most serious candidate for the title now Fernando and no longer Vettel? I think it’s a bit open at the moment, but obviously Fernando is doing a great job, but as you can see from the last race, you finish the last race and some of us may have those problems in the future – who knows? But it’s far too early to say, I think.