RACE REPORT: 2018 Chinese Grand Prix (Including Interviews)

daniel-ricciardo-valtteri-bottas-chinese-gp

RACE REPORT: 2018 Chinese Grand Prix (Including Interviews)

Location: China

Circuit: Shanghai International Circuit

Race: 2018 Formula 1 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix

Another weekend and another race has gone by – the 2018 Formula 1 season is well under way and despite the first part of the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix being a little bit dull, things started to change after the pit-stops started and then especially when the Safety Car made an appearance.

It seems like most teams didn’t react quickly to the Safety Car announcement and other teams simply didn’t use the Safety Car to their advantage but one team which did (and it paid off) was the Red Bull Racing team and Daniel Ricciardo, who on fresher tyres, battled and made his way to P1 – winning the Chinese Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen on the other hand seemed like he wasn’t patient enough, wanting to make his way through the grid quickly, pushing his car which ended up in a lockup and him hitting Sebastian Vettel – bringing both drivers down the grid.

Valtteri Bottas had a strong race however couldn’t quite keep up with Daniel Ricciardo on fresher tyres which resulted in P2 for him – his team mate, Lewis Hamilton managed to gain on the incident with Verstappen and Vettel and overall has minimised the gap between himself and the Scuderia Ferrari driver in the Drivers’ Championship.

After a terrible start to the season and a run of bad luck, well done to Daniel Ricciardo for pushing his car, respecting drivers on track whilst battling and claiming P1 for the win.

Let’s take a look at what drivers and teams have to say following the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix.

RED BULL RACING – RACE REPORT: 2018 Chinese Grand Prix (Including Interviews)

DANIEL RICCIARDO – Finish Position: WINNER

daniel-ricciardo-chinese-gp-win

Daniel Ricciardo: “That was fun, a lot of fun and I just about believe it now. From where we were yesterday you would not have believed we would be here today.”

“For me this is a massive reward but for the mechanics and engineers, they really earned this victory. Not only for the pit stops and strategy today but for getting me out in Qualifying yesterday which enabled me to get in the fight for victory, they should be very, very proud.”

“The problem in free practice wasn’t their fault but they did all the hard work and made today happen.”

“At the start of the race I thought we could fight for a podium but I didn’t really expect a win; then after the safety car and when I could see the way the race was going I knew we had a chance.”

“Once I had a sniff of victory I wasn’t going to let it go. The team made a very quick decision to stop both cars under the safety car and it was a winning decision. I have lots of emotions.”

“On the in lap I was just smiling and I didn’t have many words, then on the podium I was nearly in tears and in the press conference I was just thinking about the whole race and also about last week; how disappointed this sport can make you feel but also how high it can make you feel.”

“Now we can all go and celebrate tonight.”

MAX VERSTAPPEN – Finish Position: 5th 

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Max Verstappen: “Not the result I wanted today, we missed a great opportunity for a double podium. I tried to pass Lewis on the outside but there were too many marbles and I went a bit wide, it was a shame as I was in a good position but ended up losing a position to Daniel.”

“It was still an open race with the possibility to finish first and second but unfortunately I made some mistakes. Seb was struggling a bit on the tyres so I knew I had an opportunity, I tried to take him on the inside but locked the rears and ended up hitting him.”

“I am disappointed with myself that this is the outcome of the race. The team executed everything perfectly today, we had a great strategy and the car was behaving well so it is a real shame.”

“It isn’t going my way at the minute so I’ll go away and analyse this and hopefully come back stronger.”

“A massive well done to the team on such a strong weekend and of course to Daniel on the race win.”

CHRISTIAN HORNER – Team Principal

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Christian Horner: “To achieve our first victory of the year here in China was the result of a fantastic team effort. A strong strategy and a great performance by the pit crew, who have done an amazing job all weekend particularly with the engine change on Daniel’s car; and Daniel drove an amazing race and fully deserved victory.”

“His passes were exemplary and the strategy really came alive for us under the safety car. We made a late call to get both cars in and again the second double stop was clinically executed and they did an unbelievable job.”

“For Max the first part of the race was going very well for him, unfortunately he lost time on the outside of Lewis, dropped behind Daniel, and then, when attempting a pass on Sebastian, he made contact resulting in a 10 second penalty which he has apologised for.”

“He still managed to bring the car home in fifth; it is a result I am sure he will be frustrated with, but performance today bodes well for the coming season.”

“Speaking of a team effort, any win begins with all of the guys and girls back at the factory and the dedication and hard work there, and that allows us to enjoy moments like this.”

MERCEDES – RACE REPORT: 2018 Chinese Grand Prix (Including Interviews)

Valtteri Bottas – Finish Position: P2

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Valtteri Bottas: “This is disappointing today as it doesn’t feel like winning a podium but like losing a won. Coming home second is not what we aimed for after the beginning of the race and the successful undercut.”

“The team did a really good job, the pit stop was absolutely perfect and we came out at exactly the right moment. We lost the race under the safety car.”

“When it came out, Sebastian and I were already past the pit entry so we were a bit unlucky – the cars behind us could react but we didn’t have any choice. They could get the fresh tyres but I ended up doing nearly 40 laps on the medium.”

“Of course, this means that we were slower in the end – it’s very close between Red Bull, Ferrari and us  – we need to make sure keep developing our car. Nearly winning both last weekend and this weekend is the worst feeling – it makes both me and the entire team even hungrier. Thankfully – there are a lot more races to go.”

Lewis Hamilton – Finish Position: P4

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Lewis Hamilton: “It was another difficult day in the office. I was trying to hold on but my tyres were done so I had no chance of keeping the Red Bulls behind.”

“Saturday and Sunday felt like a disaster from side – I just haven’t had the pace since yesterday and I struggled with the car. We’ve been underperforming but I’m not going to let my head drop because I know we have a tough battle ahead of us.”

“I need to get back to my normal level of performance before I lose more valuable points – it could have been worse, Max did me a favour today in terms of the point standings but its a weekend to forget – that’s for sure.”

“Now, we need to work hard and understand why we have been struggling and start the climb back to the front of the field.”

Toto Wolff – Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“I am sure that was a fantastic grand prix for the fans watching in the grandstands and back at home – but it was a very challenging one from where we were sitting.”

“Ultimately, the reality of today’s pace is that we lacked pace in each phase – Sebastian managed the performance in the opening stint, building a good gap to Valtteri, and the Red Bulls were significantly faster on fresher tyres after the Safety Car. The best part of our day was undoubtedly Valtteri’s drive: the pit wall called an aggressive undercut, the boys delivered a perfect pit stop and he claimed first the position over Sebastian, then the lead from Kimi with a bold pass round the outside.”

“We saw a real fighter in the car today and, while he was unfortunate with the Safety Car timing opening the door for Red Bull, he protected P2 in a perfect way. For Lewis, it was a tougher afternoon.”

“He could not make progress in the opening stint, pitted early for the medium tyre running a one-stop strategy and then was sitting in P3 after the Safety Car came in.”

“At that stage we believed that gaining track position was key as we did not see any overtaking in the first part of the race. In the end we must admit that the decision from Red Bull to pit for a fresh set of tyres under the safety car was the right call but that was not a given at that stage of the race.”

“P2 and P4 is some good damage limitation from a tricky race but it is little comfort that this puts us in the lead of the constructors’ championship as we head home.”

“We have seen the competitive picture change quickly over the past three races and it’s clear that we still have much to understand about our car and how to get the best from the tyres.”

“We have been in tough spots before in recent years and shown the right spirit to respond. We will do the same again this time.”

FERRARI – RACE REPORT: 2018 Chinese Grand Prix (Including Interviews)

Kimi Raikkonen – Finish Position: 3rd

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Kimi Raikkonen: “It was quite a painful race and not a very enjoyable one. At the start I had a good jump, but then I had to back off and this cost me a few places.”

“After the pit stop the car was pretty fast and the feeling was good; at that point we were behind, but I could see the other cars at the end of the straight. The safety car helped us, at that time we had fresh tyres.”

“I would say it took us back in the race. In the end I had a decent speed with the Mediums against the guys that were on the same tires, but getting close to them and try to follow was really tricky.”

“For sure we were faster than Valtteri, but when you get close it becomes more difficult, you lose so much grip in the process and lose so much downforce, especially in this kind of circuit.”

“I just couldn’t get enough of a run on him. Today we take the third place, but obviously when you start from the first row it’s far from ideal.”

“We’ll try to do better next time.”

Sebastian Vettel – Finish Position: 8th

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Sebastian Vettel: “I was lucky to end my race. After a collision like the one I had, I think we could have even stopped there. Obviously, the lucky thing is that the car was still working, even if the balance was gone.”

“We lost the lead after the pit stop and that was not ideal. We were quite sure we would have come out in front, but we didn’t – the timing of the Safety Car was bad for both me and Valtteri, because we had no chance to react.”

“After that it was clear that Red Bull was faster and I think there was no point to resist much at the way Daniel approached from behind and then the same thing also happened with Max.”

“I gave him some room just in case he had a bit of tyre lock-up, but then obviously he had a big one and that’s why we crashed. I think he realized he was wrong.”

We were both lucky to continue but it was not necessary. However, I appreciated the fact he came to me straightway because that’s the way to solve things like this, face to face but obviously, this isn’t the result that we were looking for.”

Maurizio Arrivabene – Team Principal

“Today’s result was definitely not the one we were aiming for, given that we were starting from the front row. Our race pace wasn’t bad, but this was a Grand Prix in which the many variables made the difference.”

“Kimi made it to the podium and Sebastian limited the damage in a car which, after the collision, was not in the best of conditions for a fight.”

“Now it’s important for us to maintain concentration and determination, already thinking about the next race in Baku.”

MCLAREN – RACE REPORT: 2018 Chinese Grand Prix (Including Interviews)

Fernando Alonso – Finish Position: 7th

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Fernando Alonso: “Again, on Sundays we seem to deliver better than any other day, which is good as this is when points are given out.”

“It was a well-executed race from our side – P13 at the start and P11 after the first lap. The Safety Car didn’t play into our hands as we were on a one-stop strategy and we’d just pitted onto good, fresh tyres which were going to take us to the end, but the Safety Car gave everyone else the opportunity to pit.”

“We had good battles with Haas and Ferrari, even though the latter wasn’t really a fair fight as Sebastian (Vettel) apparently had damage on his car and was struggling in the corners – we caught up with him, saw that the door was open in one corner, so we went for it.”

“P7 is a great result for the team after a difficult weekend, but there’s no doubt that we have to improve. Our pace wasn’t there all weekend and we were still not fast enough in the race.”

“It was great to see more people here in the grandstands than in previous years, thanks to the Chinese fans!”

Stoffel Vandoorne – Finish Position: 13th

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Stoffel Vandoorne: “I didn’t have a great start today and lost a few places on the opening lap. I managed to make three solid overtakes to make a few positions back before the pit-stop.”

“The question for us was whether to make one or two stops when racing the other cars around us, and unfortunately our one-stop strategy didn’t really pay off in the end because the others around us benefitted from pitting under the Safety Car.”

“We thought there might be more opportunities at the end, but we didn’t have the pace and I felt a strong vibration in the car which made the last few laps difficult.”

“It wasn’t the day we were hoping for, but despite this, we still showed that our race pace today was stronger than our qualifying pace. We’re working hard to improve this and our performance on Saturdays, and hopefully we can have a stronger weekend in Baku.”

Eric Boullier – Racing Director

“While today was the tough race we expected, we were still able to show our fighting spirit and bring home some more valuable points.”

“Fernando made a good start, and was up to P11 by the end of the third lap. He managed to maintain strong pace compared to those around him despite the Safety Car period, executed a good strategy, and made a couple of stunning overtakes in the final stages of the race to cross the line in seventh.”

“On the other side of the garage, Stoffel wasn’t as lucky today. He had a slow start off the line and found himself with an uphill struggle after losing a couple of places – he responded strongly though, making some solid overtakes and managing his tyres well. In the latter stages, when his competitors were on fresher rubber, he battled hard in the midfield despite suffering from a strong vibration which made the final laps tricky to manage. He gave it everything to finish in 13th but it was a tough day for him, and we hope for better fortunes in Baku.”

“We opted to run a one-stop strategy today with both drivers, knowing that our tyre management showed good potential. Unfortunately, we were a little bit unlucky with the Safety Car as many of the cars around us took advantage of the window to pit.”

“Still, we fought hard, proved to be opportunistic and used the strengths of our package to our advantage to come home with six more points.”

“Now, we head back to the factory after a long stint away, to regroup and work on preparing ourselves for the next race in Baku.”

RENAULT – RACE REPORT: 2018 Chinese Grand Prix (Including Interviews)

Nico Hulkenberg – Finish Position: 6th

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Nico Hulkenberg: “Everyone seemed to have low grip at the start with cars sliding all over the place. We were on a two-stop strategy from the beginning, so we had to make the tyre last, while maintaining strong pace.”

“It paid off well, the safety car played to our hands and made things easier, but even without the safety car I think we would have come out on top. The pace was good today and we were on top of the midfield, so not a bad day overall.”

“Eight points, we’ll take that home. It was an entertaining one, that’s for sure!”

Carlos Sainz – Finish Position: 9th

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Carlos Sainz: “Double points for the team again this year! Well done! I made a really good start moving on one of the Red Bulls but he squeezed me out on the first lap, moving back a couple of places behind Nico, from there we managed to cover two-stops with the aid of the safety car.”

“On my last stint, traffic behind Alonso and Magnussen degraded my tyres too much and I had to save them in order to have a better opportunity at the end of the race.”

“It was really close with Vettel…had there been another lap I would have had him.”

“Overall I’m happy to score more points but I still need to work hard with my engineers to get full confidence with the car.”

TORO ROSSO – RACE REPORT: 2018 Chinese Grand Prix (Including Interviews)

Pierre Gasly – Finish Position: 18th

Pierre Gasly: “It was a difficult weekend for us overall because we never found the pace since Saturday morning. We knew the race would be difficult after the performance we had in qualifying and the car was quite tricky.”

“Today things didn’t really work out for us, so we have plenty to analyse between the two weekends and try to understand why we were fast in Bahrain and why we struggled in Shanghai.”

“I apologise to Brendon for the contact we had, the team told me that they were going to switch our positions so I went on the inside of the back straight thinking he would give me space.”

“Unfortunately, I don’t think he saw me and once I was on the inside there was nothing I could do. We lost a lot of time after that, I broke my front wing and the steering bent at the end of the race, so it was really difficult to drive and we couldn’t do much from there.”

“We have some work to do to get ready for Baku, it’s a track I know and like so I’m looking forward to getting there.”

Brendon Hartley – Finish Position: DNF

Brendon Hartley: “It was a tough day for us, at the beginning of the race I had no grip on the Ultrasofts so that compromised our strategy.”

“Starting near the back of the grid we tried alternating strategies to give us a better chance but unfortunately that didn’t work. I think the accident with Pierre was down to a miscommunication.”

“The team asked us to swap positions because we were on completely different strategies, so I was going to let him by on the exit of Turn 14 like I did at the start of the race.”

“The second time we had to change positions I planned to do the same but I got hit from behind at the apex. Then towards the end of the race I had to retire because the team saw an issue with the gearbox. In the end it was a long afternoon.”

There’s lots more on the way – including the after-race driver press conference!

The Formula 1 Girl 🙂

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