Team and drivers report on the Chinese Grand Prix, Round 3 of the Formula 1 world championship, at Shanghai International Circuit.
Jenson Button: MP4-28A-03
“I’m very happy to have finished fifth today – and the team should be too. The race was always going to be tricky: we weren’t quick enough to adopt the same strategy as the others, so we had to run longer than the rest and make two pitstops, rather than three. For us, a two-stopper was the fastest way to the end of the race. It meant I had to let others past me and protect the tyres. If we couldn’t run to our target lap, it would’ve destroyed our race. I had to cruise when I’d normally fight the others. It’s not the most exciting way to go racing, but we got 10 points today because we did it. We know we still have a lot of work to do to challenge at the front, but we can take a lot of positives away from this weekend.”
Sergio Perez: MP4-28A-02
“This was a difficult afternoon for me – there’s a lot for us to analyse, and a lot to learn. It wasn’t my best weekend in terms of pace, so there’s some work to do. Congratulation to Jenson – he drove a fantastic race today. He found a better rhythm and really made the strategy work. I couldn’t find a flow throughout the whole race and was struggling with the car. I had a reasonably good first stint and thought we could achieve a good result with the strategy, but then we encountered degradation with the tyres and that compromised our pace. We still don’t have the speed in the car, but it’s been a useful learning weekend for the whole team, we got some useful points on the board, and we head to the next race with a clearer idea of just what we can do.”
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“Jenson drove a brilliantly executed race. He was extremely controlled throughout, completely understood the requirements of the strategists, and withstood the temptation to push when the right thing to do was conserve the tyres. Obviously the team had decided to opt for a two-stop strategy – a call that gave both drivers some work to do in the race. They each had to drive in a very controlled way, look after their tyres, and be mindful that the result would be determined at flag-fall, not before. That requires a lot of discipline. The fact that we’re not yet in a position to realistically finish higher than fifth further highlighted the brilliance of Jenson’s drive. It was a long hard race for Sergio today. Starting from 12th, the strategy didn’t quite work as well for him, but he did a great job today. He’s still learning, and he’ll take a lot away from this weekend – all of which will make him come back stronger for the next race in a week’s time.”