Team and drivers report on the Chinese Grand Prix, Round 3 of the Formula 1 world championship, at Shanghai International Circuit.
Car 1 Sebastian Vettel, Finish Position: 4th, Start Position: 9th
“After the last stop, the team told me there was quite a big gap to the cars ahead, but also a big gap behind, so we thought we should go for it in the closing stages. When I came on to the long straight and saw Lewis at the other end turning into the hair pin I thought ‘well, that’s a bit too far’, but obviously we had much more speed on the fresher tyres. It was a little bit disappointing to lose out by such a tiny bit; a few corners more and we could have tried something. Nonetheless, our strategy seemed to work today. We knew it would be difficult and that it was crucial to get clean laps, but we didn’t in the first stint. I was faster than Nico (Hulkenberg) but if you follow another car you lean on your front tyres too much and it was hard to find the right compromise, but overall we can be happy.”
Car 2 Mark Webber, Finish Position: DNF, Start Position: Pit lane
“The start of the race was going okay; we elected to get rid of the soft tyre quite quickly and then came back through the field pretty well. Regarding the incident with Jean-Eric, I was coming from a reasonable distance behind, Jean-Eric was really wide, but when we came close to the apex he wanted to hit it, which he is entitled to do, but by then I was committed to the inside and the incident happened. It was a couple of laps before our pit stop window, so I had to come in early. The guys thought the tyre was fixed when we left the stop, but it came off on the out lap. We have had a few problems this weekend; I think we could have done something from our start position today, but it wasn’t meant to be.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal: “Having opted to start the race on the prime tyre, it was always going to be a different race for us compared to the cars ahead of Sebastian. Unfortunately in the first stint, after Sebastian had passed Jenson, Hulkenberg managed to pass both Jenson and Sebastian in the DRS zone, which cost us quite a bit of time. Arguably the time lost then hurt Sebastian at the end of the race – and otherwise I am sure he would have been on the podium. But, nonetheless he drove a very strong race, managing his pace and tyres very well to come extremely close to taking the final podium place on the final lap. With Mark, having taken the opportunity to change the car significantly overnight and starting from the pit lame, we elected to stop on the first lap, change his soft tyres for the hard ones, and put him into clear air. His pace thereafter was excellent, he was coming back through the field extremely well, but unfortunately an incident with Jean-Eric Vergne caused front wing damage and a puncture. After changing the nose and all four tyres, Mark reported a problem with the right rear on the out lap, which had certainly left the pit lane fully torqued up. The right rear then came detached from the car and caused Mark to retire. Until we get the car back, it’s not possible to yet conclude the exact cause.”
Thierry Salvi, Renault: “Shanghai is a tough circuit for the engine, with it getting a full work out on all levels with the combination of straights and low speed corners. Although the result is not ultimately what we would have hoped for coming into the weekend, finishing under half a second from the podium, with the starting positions we had, has to be positive.”