DRIVER INTERVIEWS – 2019 Chinese Grand Prix
It may not have been as exciting as Bahrain however the 2019 Chinese Grand Prix was still a good race nonetheless – with what seems to be tension building between Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel, it doesn’t seem like Leclerc will settle for being a number 2 driver.
Mercedes on the other hand have completely progressed – dominating race weekends and showing pace which they didn’t show back in testing. The opposite is happening for Ferrari who showed serious pace in winter pre-season testing but something doesn’t seem to be ‘working’ in a way it does for Mercedes.
Whilst we all know that Ferrari do have a strong car – they haven’t found that part of the puzzle to make everything connect correctly…
There’s lots of posts on the way but take a look at what drivers had to say following the race along with photos from around the paddock.
Lewis Hamilton: ” It’s not been the most straightforward of weekends but what a fantastic result for the team – everyone’s worked so hard for this. Coming here, we didn’t know exactly where we would stand with Ferrari as they’d been so quick in Bahrain.”
“Valtteri has been quick all weekend and he did a great job today. To have a 1-2 is really special for the team and on the 1000th Grand Prix! The start was where it made all the difference and after that, it’s history.”
“The strategy has been really on point over the first three races so we need to keep that up. Team LH China – you have been incredible all weekend, a big thank you to them! They welcomed me the moment I arrived at the airport, at the hotel every morning and night, every single day and at the track too!”
“You can see that it’s still very close between us all – I really have no idea how the next races will turn out but I’m super excited for them.”
Valtteri Bottas: “For us as a team, it’s been a perfect start to the season. We could have not have imagined to get three 1-2’s in a row so a big thank you to everyone for their hard work. We managed to maximise on every single opportunity which is great to see.”
“For me personally, today has been a bit disappointing as I was on pole and then lost the race at the start – there’s a white line just outside the starting box and I had some wheelspin when I went over it and lost the position to Lewis.”
“It’s all about details in this sport, so unfortunately that detail decided the rest of the race. On the positive side, we did have a strong race pace here in Shanghai, much better than in Bahrain and I think that we’re in a good position but we need to keep pushing.”
“The track is very unique in it’s layout and Baku will hold very different challenges so it’s going to be interesting again in two weeks.”
Toto Wolff: “To win the 1000th race in such a controlled way is amazing. It’s a very special win and you can tell that everyone in the team is very happy with the outcome. Based on our long run simulations, we didn’t think it would be so straightforward and our advantage to Ferrari came as a bit of s surprise.”
“They still look very quick of course and I’m not sure if it’s just the power or our car is maybe a bit draggier than theirs but we have to keep working on our straight-line performance.”
“Our plan worked out perfectly and it was a well-choreographed pit stop and the team did a brilliant job, Lewis had the clutch paddle under control today and had a strong start. Valtteri won’t be happy for sure as he had pole and the speed to win but that start was the deciding factor.”
“Baku is very different – it’s a different ball-game. There are very long straights and we need to get the power and drag level right there, I think we’ll be u for the fight and I’m looking forward to it.”
Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen: “It was not an easy race but as a team, we did a really good job today. We planned a good strategy to undercut a Ferrari and stay ahead so we definitely maximised the result to finish fourth, ahead of Charles.”
“I had a good battle with Seb when he came out of the pits on colder tyres which was good fun. That was my one shot and I tried but after that, you could see that we didn’t quite have the pace to fight him to the end – I was pushing really hard and we can be happy with the team result.”
“We still need a bit more pace to fight Mercedes and Ferrari but I think that we’re in a good position, collecting solid points and finishing the race.”
Pierre Gasly: “I’m happy to score my first fastest lap in F1 today! We saw that we had quite a big margin behind us in the last few laps so we decided to go for it and have an extra pit stop which worked.”
“During the race, I tried to keep the rhythm, take care of my tyres and improve the feeling with the car. I’m slowly getting more confident and I think we take one step every weekend but of course, I would like to take three every time!”
“There is still a lot of work for me to do and for the next race but the good thing is that I know what I need to do to improve and what I can do better – we are quite happy to finish in the points and take the extra point for the fastest lap with us.”
“Tonight, I will make my way to the factory and spend tomorrow and the day after in the sim and we’ll work for the next race.”
Carlos Sainz: “Another frustrating day. Impossible to avoid the Toro Rosso so another thing which is out of our control that ruined the race and this time, unfortunately, involving both our cars.”
“A real sham because our race pace was good and I managed degradation as well so I think we had a chance to fight for the point – we definitely had a better race car than a Quali car.”
“I prefer thinking about the positives and being patient because things in the end will turn around. I’m quite happy with the car, very happy with the team, my engineers, my mechanics and things will turn around eventually.”
Lando Norris: “My start was pretty good, getting off the line well and making up places before I had to back out in Turn Three when I was close to Kimi. I was on the outside in Turn six and was then hit – and sent into the air!”
“That damaged the car, I lost a lot of places and had to box – that pretty much ruined our race. I didn’t have great pace afterwards due to the flooer damage but Carlos’ pace looked very good. The top-three teams aside, he looked to be the best of everyone else so there is potential with the car today but the contact ruined it.”
“Onto the next one!”
Alfa Romeo Racing
Kimi Raikkonen: “The car felt good today. We started from further back on the gird and at least scored some points. In the end, I lost the grip on the front tyres and it’s a shame because I was looking after them during the race but they got too cold and I slowed down.”
“We will continue to work and make improvements where we can and see what we can do in Baku.”
Antonio Giovinazzi: “It was a difficult weekend overall. We started the race from the back of the grid and went with a bit of a different strategy to try and gain some positions.”
“It didn’t work so well in the end and now, I just look forward to starting fresh at the next GP in Azerbaijan! I have some good memories from Baku and it will be fun to race there again. We will see what we can achieve.”
Some photos from the paddock….
Below, you can see the current driver standings – things will change throughout the season but this is what the results are following the Chinese Grand Prix.