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In quotes - Sunday in Shanghai

12 Apr 2015

Mercedes back on top; Williams struggling to fight for the podium; another tough Grand Prix for Red Bull and Renault - there was plenty to talk about after 56 laps of the Shanghai International Circuit. All ten teams report back on an eventful afternoon in China...

Force India

Sergio Perez - 11th

"We raced very hard today, but in the end it wasn't quite enough to come away with some points. With the strategy we looked at all the opportunities and switched to three stops quite early in the race, which was the right decision. I was able to push hard all the time with the aggressive strategy and fight with the cars ahead of me. In the final part of the race I was catching Ericsson, but he was just too far ahead to make up the ground. We are still not where we want to be in terms of competitiveness, but there are definitely some positives to take because we made an improvement compared to our performance in Malaysia."

Nico Hulkenberg - DNF

"It is disappointing to end the race early, especially considering our previous record of solid reliability. It would have been interesting to see how our race would have developed because I made some good progress on the opening lap when I went around the outside of a few cars and then got a good run at Kvyat, which put me up in P12.  We had the pace to keep up with the Toro Rossos and Saubers, so it was positive to see our pace being more competitive. It is still too early to say what caused my retirement: the engineers are looking at the issue and still investigating. All we know at this stage is that I lost drive and had to park the car."

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal

"We leave China with mixed feelings after a busy race. Sergio performed really well and was unlucky not to see his performance rewarded with a point. He was in a number of battles and was able to compete on more or less an equal footing with some of our direct rivals, which offers an encouraging view for the coming races. It was a shame to lose Nico due to a technical issue, especially as he had made very good progress in the first part of the race. Like Sergio, he was showing some really good pace and it would have been interesting to see where he would have finished had he continued. Throughout the weekend, there have been some encouraging signs regarding our performance and we can build on these as the development of the VJM08 continues."


Marcus Ericsson - 10th

"First of all, another great achievement for the team. Our target was to get both cars into the points, and in the end we managed to achieve that objective. My race was quite tough with a lot of fights all through it. I hoped our race pace would have been a bit stronger. I was struggling a bit to get the front tyres to work properly, so I could not maintain the pace the way I wanted to. Nevertheless, there were some great fights out there. I think I had a good race, and I am really happy to have finished in the points."

Felipe Nasr - 8th

"It was a great day for the team, as both cars scored points. I am very pleased for everyone. It was not an easy race for us, we were fighting against Lotus and Toro Rosso, and they seemed to have a better pace than us. For myself, I extracted everything I could  from the car and also the strategy, so we can be satisfied with this result."

Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal

"We can be very happy with this result. We started the race in a promising position, however, it was a tough Grand Prix. The drivers had to deliver a lot and fought very hard, and this was also against competitors who were faster over this weekend. A big compliment to the drivers and to the whole team who did a great job. We started the race from points positions, and we were able to bring both cars home in the points. It's great that we achieved our goal today."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering

"I think we can be satisfied with the result. We were targeting having both cars in the points and we finally achieved it. The race was not an easy one. The tyre strategy was open until  the end, so that's why we decided to go for a split second stint. The drivers drove well and maximised the result. It's a good feeling for the  whole team to be back in the points with both cars."


Felipe Massa - 5th

"We had a good race today and I managed to get the most out of the car. The team performed very well but we just don't have the raw speed to catch the cars in front. I will work on my start as that is really the only thing that went wrong for us. We have scored the most amount of points available to us today."

Valtteri Bottas - 6th

"It was a lonely race for me today. I struggled for race pace throughout, but as a team we got the best result we could have achieved. I would have liked to have kept Kimi behind for longer after getting in front of him at the start, but he made a good move on me to retake the position. There is quite a bit of work to do to catch the cars ahead, but it's only race three, so there is plenty of time."

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

"The team did a great job and maximised the performance of car. Fifth and sixth is accurate of the pace we had today. The pitstops were excellent and our race strategy was very good. We just need to continue working on the pace of the car."


Will Stevens - 15th

"A great race for me and the team and one which shows how far we've come in a very short space of time. Obviously it feels really good for me to be racing again and to finish the race with both cars is so important for us at this stage of our development. We always knew that when we sorted out the challenges we'd have a reliable car. I didn't get the best of starts but those sorts of issues are easily resolved and I'm sure we'll see a lot more progress over the next few races."

Roberto Merhi - 16th

"I'm really pleased that we've completed another race and this time with both cars, steps which are really important for the team. Looking back across the whole weekend we've made a lot of progress since Malaysia and the pace is improving all the time from session to session. I hope we can continue this progress in Bahrain next weekend."

John Booth, Team Principal

"The whole team can feel really proud of what we've achieved in China this weekend. Our target was to get both cars to the chequered flag and it's a great feeling to have achieved that and to see the progress we've made in every session. The pace is also starting to come now - we were much better off in the race today - so there is a lot to be satisfied with and a lot to look forward to."

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo - 9th

"We got into anti-stall on the start, which hasn't happened before; we have to look and see what happened. It's frustrating, that shaped the race and in the traffic we struggled to get by. At least some positives are that we learned a few areas where we need to improve and the smart guys in the team can find a solution. I had a little battle with Daniil, I don't know if I was optimistic in trying to get past, we were on different race strategies but we'll sort it out in the debrief. We underachieved today, but hopefully we find something in the next few days and have a better result in Bahrain."

Daniil Kvyat - 12th

"This weekend has been a bit tricky, and not the happy ending we would have liked. I saw a lot of smoke coming from the rear of my car, I am not sure what happened but the team are investigating. It's not an easy situation, but we have to stay strong, I am with the team and we will all work on it together, and we'll keep our heads high heading into Bahrain." 

Christian Horner, Team Principal

"It was a frustrating afternoon for us. Daniel had a poor start which put him in the back of the field. Daniil had a reasonable start; we took the different strategic option to start on the hard tyre which struggled to warm up in the early laps, and then his race was unfortunately cut prematurely short with an engine failure. Daniel recovered reasonably well to finish ninth after making some decent overtaking moves, but today's results were not what we were looking for."

Thierry Salvi, Renault

"Obviously a difficult weekend reliability-wise. Daniil had an ICE problem that is under investigation as we need to fully understand the issue before the next race. Daniel worked hard to recover from a very bad start. We have to stay focused on the reliability first to fix our issues as quickly as possible."

Toro Rosso

Carlos Sainz - 14th

"It was a very difficult race for us today. We started on Prime tyres, but the track was very green and dirty at the beginning, so we immediately suffered a considerable lack of grip. While I was really pushing hard to be on top of Force India for the first stint, unfortunately I made a mistake. It's a real shame! From then on, as soon as we put the Soft tyres on, the balance came back and I was feeling comfortable with the car. Unfortunately we had an issue with the gearbox, which we still have to investigate, which made us lose more time. Without that problem I think we could've been in contention for points." 

Max Verstappen - 17th

"It's a disappointing way to end what was being a great race! To be running in the points positions but then have to stop the car so close to the end of the race is very frustrating. I'm obviously not happy with the final result but as a team we did the best job possible today. The car was performing well and even though we are lacking some top speed, the braking and the downforce we have on the car is really good and that helped me to complete some good overtakes, which I enjoyed a lot."

Franz Tost, Team Principal

"The strategy with Max, who started on the Option tyres, worked very well and he had a very strong first lap where he was able to overtake a few rivals. From then onwards he drove very competitively and showed a great performance by overtaking and controlling his direct competitors. Unfortunately, with four laps to go, we had an issue with the drivetrain which meant he had to retire. We now have to investigate what the exact reason is. Regarding Carlos, it was a pity to see him spin after his good start. Later on, he lost some more valuable time because his gearbox went into neutral and we now have to find out why this happened. For sure the race result is quite disappointing for us because the team showed a good performance and I think that we would have deserved to finish at least with Max in eighth position. But this is Formula 1 and this is part of the game. As we know that we have a fast car, we are now looking forward to the Bahrain Grand Prix next week, where we will hopefully have a successful race weekend."

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 track support leader

"Until the race we had had a relatively good weekend. We had not made the most of qualifying, but Max' race pace was very impressive and he was able to catch and overtake several cars and move up into the top ten. Carlos had a spin early on in the race and struggled to recover with the traffic. Max' problem appears to be an ICE failure that happened suddenly. We've not had this problem before in either the dyno or on track and need to look into it for Bahrain."


Fernando Alonso - 12th

"This wasn't the easiest race for us. We weren't very competitive at the beginning, then we had a few issues with the aero behaviour of the car, which slowed me down in the middle stint, but I was able to push a bit harder on the soft tyre at the end of the race. 

"We still need to learn a lot more about this car in order to extract its maximum, but an afternoon like today was extremely useful for us as it enabled us to better understand the car. It was a useful race for me too: my longest stint during winter testing was 12 laps; in Malaysia, I did 22; and here I completed the race, so this is a step forward. Hopefully, we can improve again for Bahrain."

Jenson Button - 13th

"Today wasn't too bad – we're still fighting at the back of the field, which is a shame, but it's positive to see that we're progressing. My middle stint on the Option tyre wasn't too bad – I don't think our pace was too bad at all on the softer tyre – but the Prime was a bit trickier in those closing laps. A lot of that was due to all the blue flags and traffic I encountered – they meant the tyre temperatures dropped off quite a bit through the stint. It wasn't easy. 

"Regarding the collision with Pastor, I thought there was room on the inside – a collision is something you never want to see happen. It was just a misjudgment, I guess. Still, we go to Bahrain hoping for more progress, although the circuit configuration doesn't suit us, so heading to Europe will hopefully work out a little bit better for the team. We need to improve at every race because we're quite a way back."

Eric Boullier, Racing director

"First, it's a real positive for the entire team that we managed to get two cars to the finish with no issues whatsoever during the race. I think that's a great reward for Honda, and we should congratulate them – today's double-finish is the result of an enormous amount of hard work, much of which goes unappreciated, so I want to personally thank everybody working in Woking, Sakura and Milton Keynes for their efforts. It's great that we're starting to make solid progress. 

"Second, our race pace showed further improvement: Jenson drove strongly in the middle stint, and Fernando was reasonably quick relative to the others in the final stint. 

"Fighting towards the back of the pack still isn't where we want to be. We know we're not in a position to fight for points yet – but, little by little, we're getting there. And we must keep pushing to ensure there are improvements coming for every race."

Yasuhisa Arai, Honda R&D senior managing officer – chief officer of motorsport 

"After today's result, it finally feels like we've left this long period of winter testing behind us, and started the season proper. To get both cars to the finish of the race is one more item off our list, and we'll now continue to push forward race by race to achieve the targets that we've set for ourselves. 

"It may appear that we've only achieved a minor objective, and we know there's a lot of work ahead, but the whole team deserves credit and thanks for all of their hard work."


Romain Grosjean - 7th

"It's the best we could do today and it's satisfying to have achieved the team's first points of the season. I'm proud of everyone at Enstone and at the track. It wasn't an easy circuit for us, with a lot of front limited corners that we don't particularly like, but we had a strong start, and most of the stints were good too. We've made a good job improving the car race after race and it's great to finally score points. The next race could be promising too!"

Pastor Maldonado - DNF

"I made a great start and we were running strongly early on however later I had a braking issue which made it harder to battle. We also have to understand why the brakes locked-up so easily coming into the pits. We lost a lot of time here and it compromised the rest of my race. It was a fantastic battle with Jenson and we were passing each other very cleanly; a good, fun, exciting battle. Unfortunately, it looks like he got his braking point wrong and went into the back of me. This can easily happen when you're fighting for position, braking off-line and using DRS, so it's just one of those things. Certainly our race pace is good, if we qualify a little higher we should be set for a very good time in Bahrain."

Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal

"It feels great to gets points on the board and get that particular monkey off our back. Romain performed strongly all weekend and his seventh position is just reward. It wasn't such a good race for Pastor. He made a fantastic start, but suffered later in the race with braking and also racing contact from Jenson. The team is buoyed by Romain's result and we're looking forward to increasing our tally in Bahrain." 

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director 

"That was a solid race from us which illustrates where we expected to be fighting from the start of the year. Both cars were looking in very good shape for a seventh and eighth finish, and it was a great result from Romain meaning our first points on the board. We achieved our target of overtaking the Red Bull and both of the Saubers with Romain, who delivered everything required. Pastor had a much more difficult race despite a strong start and clearly had potential to finish comfortably in the top ten too." 


Sebastian Vettel - 3rd

"All in all we can be really happy. It is only race three and the steps we have made so far are really impressive. Third and fourth place for the Team, makes me really happy, I would have obviously loved to put more pressure on Mercedes: after the first and second stop we were able to be right there, but in the last stint they were able to pull away quite a lot. Basically we are closer than four weeks ago, which is positive, but there is still a lot to do. But what's very positive is also the fact that we stayed ahead of all the other Teams. Second for us was not really possible today, you have to accept that our opponents were quick. For Bahrain, we hope to get again a bit closer. We have a strong car no matter which condition, that is the feeling."

Kimi Raikkonen - 4th

"Considering that my position on the starting grid today was not ideal, fourth place is a good result. My start was ok, I had quite a good jump off the line, and at the first corner I decided to go inside and at the end of the corner I was in the right place and managed to take the Williams under braking - my car is really good at that - and managed to pass them. The car was quite good today; the first set of tyres was a bit tricky, but I think it was the same for everybody, and then the next two sets were ok. Towards the end of the race I was catching up, I knew I had the speed and I thought I still had good tyres. I could still have had a chance to try and fight for podium but the safety car came in and we know we cannot change that. Today we got close to the podium, from the next race on we have to have a better weekend, doing everything right in qualifying, and we'll do our best. As a team we scored the maximum today, we know we are behind Mercedes, but we have to be happy with the result. From tomorrow on we have to make another step to be able to challenge them every weekend; we'll keep working hard as we have done since last year. We trust the way the team is working: now we have to be patient."

Maurizio Arrivabene, Team Principal

"Today we ended up where we were supposed to be, so we can say we achieved our target. I never promised we'd be making miracles to anyone. Our strategy was to get as close as possible to Mercedes, getting ready to take advantage of any mistake from them. It was no surprise to see that they were strong. Temperatures were different from Friday's long runs, and this affected the behavior of the tyres. I am very happy for Kimi and, above all, I'm happy for Seb's third podium finish in a row. The boys in the garage did a splendid job, today it was easier to get things wrong than to make the right thing. I don't have the crystal ball and I can't tell what our competitors will do in the next races. But I do know that we'll try our best."


Lewis Hamilton - 1st

"I'm really happy. It was a great race and really positive to have a clean weekend throughout every session. The team did a great job. Going into today we expected it to be close with Ferrari as they had been good on the tyres on their long runs. The goal was to run my own race and manage the tyres as best I could; I was driving as hard as I could within the constraints of the tyres and just trying to stretch out the Option stints for as long as possible. I never really had a threat from Nico but I didn't do anything intentionally to slow him up. Before the second stops I was able to put in a few fast laps to build the gap which I really enjoyed. Then, it was a case of managing the life of the Prime tyre to the finish. Overall, I've just got to say thank you to the team for a smooth weekend. We dialled the car in where I wanted and that helped me deliver out there today. It's a great feeling to win again in China in front of all these amazing fans. Their support has been incredible all weekend, so 'xiexie' to all of them!"

Nico Rosberg - 2nd

"It was great to beat the Ferrari and the team has done a great job since Malaysia. But I'm also a bit frustrated today, as I saw how much of a difference four hundredths of a second to Lewis in Qualifying can make. Lewis managed his tyres a lot in the middle stint and that put me at risk with Vettel right behind. But the team adapted to box me earlier for the second stop and stay ahead of the Ferrari after he had pitted to try and jump ahead through the undercut on new tyres. So that worked out - but I then had a long final stint to do and the tyres were beginning to give up in the final laps. I'm sure we will sit down and discuss it all now. But in general it's up to me to change the situation. I just need to make a better job on Saturday."

Toto Wolff, Mercedes-Benz head of motorsport

"That was a great victory for the team but not an easy one; it was as challenging a race as we anticipated this morning. At the start of the race, we had the pace to pull a little gap to the Ferraris, but they were really strong today. We had to keep the Option tyres alive long enough and asked the guys to drive in an intelligent way. We chose to stick with the Option for the second stint and had to once again look after them to make them last far enough. We had some good communication during that part of the race, telling each driver what they needed to do to keep the one-two finish safe, and then we switched the pit-stop order for the final stops to protect Nico against Vettel by stopping him before Lewis. But it's clear from today's race what a big jump Ferrari has made over the winter. They were competitive in Malaysia, very strong here in the opening stint and they will be quick in Bahrain, too. Tonight, though, we can take a moment to appreciate a job well done - then get our heads down and start working for Bahrain next weekend."

Paddy Lowe, Mercedes' executive director (technical)

"A fantastic result for the team to get another one-two finish. Malaysia was not only a good reminder of how difficult it is to win a Grand Prix, but also how much we don't like not winning! This weekend we went out there to improve on our performance and everybody did a great job to achieve that. Ferrari pushed us very hard indeed - especially in the first stint. We were pleasantly surprised to see that Sebastian (Vettel) was the first to fall away and pit on the first set of option tyres. We were then able to shadow his strategy and bring home the one-two. It certainly wasn't comfortable and the pressure was very much on both the drivers and the crew to nail the necessary laps and pit stops respectively. It was a great group performance and a well-earned team result."