Chinese GP 2016
APRIL 17, 2016
Sunday Team Quotes
Nico Rosberg (1st): "It's been a fantastic few days for me here in China. First of all, the fans have been amazing from the moment I arrived. They're so enthusiastic, which gives us drivers a very special feeling. Then, racing wise, it was an almost perfect weekend. Only the start could have been better - but luckily I was able to pass Daniel later on the straight and from then on I could build up a gap. I must say, I've never had a better balance in my car than I had today. It was really perfect, so a big thanks to everyone who helped me achieve that. I also want to thank all the women in my life - my wife, my daughter and my mother. Their support is unbelievable and that's really what makes it possible for me to be doing what I'm doing. I'm a very happy man today and, after three races I can be really pleased about how my season has gone so far. But it's a very long year ahead and there's a lot of points still on the table, so I'm not losing my focus. Now I look forward to Russia, where I started my good run of qualifying results last year. Hopefully I can get on a nice run like that again."
Lewis Hamilton (7th): "That was definitely a difficult weekend. I got a good start - but it's always tricky being at the back and trying not to get caught up in the domino effect of any contact at the first corner. I tried to avoid whatever happened in front of me but I just got tangled up in it. It was just a bit unfortunate, really. From there it was always going to be a battle - but I had a lot of fun fighting back through! There were plenty of overtakes, from what I can remember! I gave it everything I had and P7 was about the limit. There was nothing left in the tyres at the end and, although it's pretty good for overtaking here, I had quite a lot of damage to the car which made it difficult to get close on the brakes. From what I could feel there was definitely some aero loss and possible suspension damage too, as the car seemed to be flexing all over the place. But that's racing - it happens sometimes and at least I still managed to get a few points on the board. It's a pretty big hit points-wise today - but I'll just have to do what I can to make it up over the next few races. Onwards and upwards..."
Paddy Lowe: "Starting on Lewis' side, one of the debates we actually had overnight was whether to do a bit more work to the car and start him from the pit lane, which ironically would have been a better decision in hindsight given what happened at the first corner. Equally, Lewis had by far his best start of the season, which ironically contributed to him being caught up in the cascade of collisions ahead of him. So, a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances all round put him on the back foot straight away. We could see that there were problems with the car - both aerodynamic and mechanical - affecting him through the low-speed corners in particular. Under the safety car, we chose to perform consecutive pit stops with Lewis to get rid of the SuperSoft and enable us to run the rest of the race on the Soft, which was the stronger race tyre. As it transpired, his first set of softs were cut from the first corner incident - something we were unaware of at the time - which meant we were then forced to run the medium at the end of the race, rendering our SuperSoft eliminating tactic redundant. So, overall, Lewis did a great job to recover what he could with a car that was significantly underperforming. On Nico's side, he actually had a less good start, losing a place into the first corner - although he was obviously running a less grippy tyre compound than the cars around him. He was, however, able to re-pass Daniel quite quickly once DRS became available and went on to have a straightforward race from there - running a soft / soft / medium strategy as intended from the beginning. An uneventful race from his perspective - but that's not to underestimate the top job he did to manage the car safely within its limits and claim a well-deserved third victory of the season - and the 100th Formula One podium for the Silver Arrows in the process. We now look forward to Russia - targeting a clean and successful weekend on both sides of the garage."
Toto Wolff, Technical Director: "That was a rollercoaster race today. Nico enjoyed the perfect weekend: he was totally dominant this afternoon, always in control of his performance and did really a flawless job. For Lewis, the circumstances couldn't have been more different. He got a great start, tried to stay out of trouble in the first corners and still got collected by a Sauber, who was avoiding another car coming back on track. His front wing was lodged under the car for a while, which damaged the leading edge of the floor and cost him a chunk of downforce for the rest of the race - though it was hard to know exactly how much during the race. We did something different with him under the Safety Car, cycling through the SuperSoft tyre with no loss of position, in order to open up some strategic options later in the race. He put in a great recovery drive and pulled off some great overtakes - but the damage to the car meant the tyres didn't last as long as we had hoped and made it hard to catch cars through Turn 13 before the back straight. He still did a great job and kept charging to the end - but it was damage limitation again for him this afternoon. We are just three races into the longest season in Formula One history, so this isn't the time to be looking at Championship tables or points gaps. We just need to keep scoring points right now, continue to work on our reliability after some wobbles this weekend and keep working very hard to bring more performance to the car and Power Unit. Today looked like it could have been a three-way fight with Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull if our rivals had a cleaner race - so there is no margin for us to relax."
Sebastian Vettel (2nd): "What happened at the first lap, in the end, is a racing incident. From my side I didn't really know where to go, I was sandwiched between Kimi and Daniil. Obviously I am terribly sorry for what has happened, I mean touching the car with the same colors is not right. It was a shame, because it destroyed both of our races, Kimi's and mine. At the end of the day we've been lucky because we were still able to continue. The safety car helped us to sort of come back. Kimi locked up in turn one. I tried to go inside to pass him. Daniil was behind me. He had a better start and was lining up for the same move initially. I was determined to overtake Kimi. Daniil was determined to overtake me. Kimi came back from the left, Kvyat came from the back from the right and I was reacting to him. I tried to back out of it, going off throttle and hitting the brakes, but there was no way, so I had contact with Kimi which is a shame, the car was damaged after that, but obviously a great recovery by the Team, which managed to stay calm initially and then change the nose while the safety car was out. Overall we had great pace, good strategy, fantastic pit stops, I couldn't have asked for more after this poor first lap. Hopefully in Russia we have a smoother race!"
Kimi Raikkonen (5th): "I have no idea of what happened at the start, I suddenly got hit and spun. I had a puncture in the left front tire and a front wing damage, but I managed to get back to the pits. Once I went back on track I found myself more or less in last position, the car felt a bit tricky, but I tried to do my best to charge thorugh the field. At the beginning I struggled a bit, but then I managed to recover some places. Obviously the fifth position is not ideal and not what we were looking for, but after what happened it's not a disaster. Seb came to apologize to me afterwards and it's obvious he didn't run into me on purpose. Unfortunately this does not change things for the race but it's only the third round of a long season..."
Felipe Massa (6th): "That's not the position I wanted to have. I was a little bit unlucky with the red flag, but tomorrow in the race you never know. We have to try and do the best we can. I hope choosing the right tyres will have a positive effect, we will see tomorrow, but I'm not really happy with my position."
Valtteri Bottas (10th): "It was a good qualifying for me, and as a team I think fifth was the maximum position. It felt great to do the lap on my second run in Q3, it was clearly my best lap of the weekend, so that was a good feeling. It's always nice to finish qualifying knowing you've made the most out of it and as a team I think we are in a good position for tomorrow."
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: "If we start with the positives, and I think there were plenty of them, It was a really great lap from Valtteri. He dragged the most out of the car and I'm very happy with that, as was he when he crossed the line. So that's absolutely fantastic. We've actually moved up a bit, in respect to the frontrunners, as we've made up a bit of time through some good car changes here. They're starting to pay dividends and help us learn more about the car. On the other hand, Felipe was desperately unlucky but we have a free tyre choice starting from 11th tomorrow."
Red Bull-Tag Heuer
Daniil Kvyat (3rd): "I really enjoyed the race today. Our pace was very strong and to get this result at this track where we didn't expect to be so strong is really great. The car is performing really well, the chassis is easy to drive and with further upgrades coming to the power unit, we should be in an even stronger position. I think it was a fair move on Vettel. I saw the gap and I went for it. We didn't touch, unfortunately for him, Kimi was on his other side. For me it was a logical move and it paid off with a podium. It's a nice boost for our side of the garage after a couple of tricky races. It's also good for the team to be consistently fighting for podiums this year. It's very encouraging for the season. I'm a very happy man today and it's nice to carry this feeling heading into my home grand prix in Russia."
Daniel Ricciardo (4th): "I think there were some incidents on the first lap and I remember on my second lap there was a little bit of debris here and there. But it didn't seem like there was one big bit which I caught so it was still unexpected when I was coming through Turn 11 and 12 and was feeling the rear start to slide so I just came on the radio straight away to let them know the tyres were gone. The puncture became noticeable when I got on the straight as I could feel the car start to wobble and then my tyre went. Then the safety car put us even further back so that was like a double whammy, which felt like getting punched in the stomach by a heavy weight. But in the end the second part of the race I drove probably one of the best races of my life. The package is really promising for sure. Right now, three races in every weekend we've shown our strength at some point and it's been a strength we didn't think we'd have this early in the season, so it definitely feels more like 2014 when we had potential. I felt like I would have sprayed champagne today and part of me is smiling because I am optimistic that will happen this year so that's a really good feeling and I'll keep fighting."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It's been a great day for the team, especially after that unfortunate start. For Daniel to take the lead and then get that puncture was desperately unlucky after he hit some debris. The safety car then came out at exactly the wrong time for him and put him on the back foot, but it was a fantastic recovery drive. Dany took up the baton and drove a fantastic race, racing with Sebastian for a large part of the race to achieve his second podium. A third and fourth place finish, lots of constructors points so yes, a great day for the team."
Sergio Perez (11th): "Today things didn't go our way and the timing of the safety car didn't help me. The start of the race was really good and things looked very promising. I was up in third place when the safety car came out and we had no option but to pit, which dropped me back into the pack. I had to fight hard because the cars around me were on different tyres and there were some quick cars recovering as well. All of this took a lot of the life from my tyres. There were some entertaining battles during the race and we put up a good fight, but the points finish slipped away in the final part of the race. I think we chose the right strategy and made good choices, but the race didn't go our way. It's also clear that we need to keep doing our homework to come back stronger for the next few races."
Nico Hulkenberg (15th): "It was a frustrating race in the end, even though the start and the first few laps were great. As the lights went out, I rocketed from P13 up to fifth place, picking up one place after the other. The safety car threw all this good work out the window because I had to stack in the pits behind Checo and dropped right down the order. The dirty air affected us, we had some faster cars coming through and this destroyed my tyres. In fact, tyre degradation was the main story of the day and we appeared to suffer more than some others, which is why I went backwards in the second half of the race. The time penalty was an added blow, but in the end it didn't make a huge difference to my result: the rules say you shouldn't slow down coming in, but in the heat of racing it's hard to gauge if that is giving you an advantage. Ultimately, we didn't have the pace to get back into the points: it's something we have to work on and do better in the coming races."
Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer: "It's disappointing to come away from today's race empty-handed, especially when you consider that we were so well placed in the early laps - up in third and fourth places. The safety car was unfortunate from our perspective as it cost us our track position and left us fighting through traffic to try and recover. We stuck to the planned three-stop race for Sergio and for a while it looked as though we might come away with points. However, he suffered with high degradation on the medium tyres toward the end and dropped out of contention with a handful of laps remaining. With Nico, we threw the dice and switched him to a four-stop strategy, but having lost so much track position from the safety car and subsequent time penalty, his race was heavily compromised. I think this weekend has shown us that we have inherent pace in the car, but we need to work hard to make sure we can deliver that pace consistently over a race distance."
Kevin Magnussen (17th): "It was a pretty steady race for me really. I had a decent start and then I didn't actually have much action; just passing people on strategy so no one was really fighting hard. This isn't a weekend that we will be very happy about but it's definitely one that we can learn from. There's a lot we still don't really understand so once we do, we'll be a stronger team. We knew it was going to be a tough start, we're not panicking."
Jolyon Palmer (22nd): "The start was good today, as was the first lap - we made up a lot of positions. From then on though, it was a tough day. The balance of the car was all over the place, tyre degradation was bigger than usual and the pace wasn't as good as previous races. We need to look in the data really, and I'm definitely happy to move on to the next race."
Fred Vasseur, Racing Director: "It has been a tough race for the team and we suffered a lot with tyre degradation. Kevin was disadvantaged by the fact that he had such limited running in the dry which meant limited time to refine set-up. This made it difficult to manage the tyres in the race. Jolyon started on the soft tyre, and we opted not to bring him in during the safety car period. Unfortunately, he had real difficulties warming these tyres up afterwards which cost him a number of places and moving him to a four-stop strategy would have cost too much time in the pits. We will investigate why we lost so much tyre temperature and performance after the safety car period. We must now look forward to the next Grand Prix and continue to learn, work hard and improve."
Max Verstappen (8th): "A race full of action! At the start, I had a good first reaction but then I wasn't able to keep my position unfortunately. From then on it was very tricky, and the Safety Car didn't help as I lost even more ground with our double pit-stop, which meant I was at the back of the pack... But I stayed calm, overtook the rivals one by one and in the end, to cross the line in eighth position is something that if someone had told me at the beginning of the race I wouldn't have believed! I also think the team did a great job strategy wise, we were able to charge through the field and score some more points."
Carlos Sainz (9th): "What an eventful and exciting race! There was plenty of action and I enjoyed it out there today - we had fights with Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, which are the battles we want to be having. A P9 in the end aren't that many points, but it's good to finish with both cars in the top 10 and keep adding to our tally. Maybe we could've finished a bit higher up, but we lost a lot of time behind Force India in the pit-lane during the first pit-stop... Overall, it was good fun out there today, we were able to do a lot of overtakes and our pace was decent. I'm now looking forward to our next race in Russia in two weeks' time!"
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "The Chinese Grand Prix was a very exciting race from start to finish. Both Max and Carlos did a really good start, but unfortunately Max lost some places in the first corner as he had to back off because of the crash between the two Ferraris. Carlos was in a good position until the Safety Car came out when he was then heavily stopped by Hulkenberg, who slowed down massively in the pit-lane and this caused us to lose a lot of places. Nevertheless, both drivers were able to catch-up and crossed the line in P8 and P9 - a very satisfying result. Both cars scored points, we showed that the car is competitive and that the team and drivers did a good job. I'd like to thank everyone for this and we are now looking forward to the race in Sochi where we also expect quite a good performance from our side. Today we saw that the midfield is very close together - it's a fight between Williams, Force India, Haas, ourselves and McLaren, who is also closing-up. This means that we have to be fully concentrated for the next races. Finally, I'd like to congratulate Daniil Kvyat for finishing on the podium. It's also great to see that four Red Bull cars are within the first nine top-finishers in today's race."
Marcus Ericsson (16th): "I think it was a decent race, I made a good start, and had a good first lap. When the safety car came out, we went for a bit of a gamble and decided to try to do the rest of the race on just two stints of medium tyres. But it felt like we didn't really have the pace we hoped for on the mediums. We have to analyse everything and see if we could have done something different strategy-wise. In our situation you sometimes need to try to take a chance and it could have worked out. Apart from that, I think it was a strong race, with no mistakes from my side. I felt like the driving was good, but we still need to find some more performance in the car."
Felipe Nasr (20th): "It was a difficult race for me this weekend, especially as it was compromised after the start at turn 1. I got hit, which resulted in my front right tyre having a puncture and in a nose change. That cost me a lot of time in the race, because I couldn't recover the lap I lost in the safety car period. So this meant, I had a lot to catch up in the race. Anyway, I still feel that we have a lot to do in the car to bring back the pace, because I am still struggling with the same issues that I've been having in the last couple of events. I have confidence in the team that we can get the performance back."
Fernando Alonso (12th): "Today wasn't easy. We didn't quite have the pace to record a good result and finish in the points. We chose a two-stop strategy and tried to benefit from that, but the early Safety Car didn't help us, and our race didn't really work out as planned after that. That's the way it is, but it's a shame. We need to look in detail at the areas in which we need to improve - we ran among a lot of different cars this afternoon, so we should have some useful reference points from which to gauge our respective strengths and weaknesses. On a positive note, today's race was the first proper long run I've completed in this year's car - I didn't ever finish a 50-lap stint during testing, and I retired early in Melbourne because of the accident. There's a long way to go, but we'll keep improving. I'm already looking forward to the next race."
Jenson Button (13th): "My start was good: I made up a lot of places and was able to take the battle to the other cars. Our pace on the Option tyre during the first stint was also pretty good - it was fun racing the quicker cars. When the Safety Car came out, there was mayhem in the pit-lane because Nico [Hulkenberg] was trying to slow everyone down to help his team-mate. After that stop, we seemed to be sitting in a strong position, but we were running the Medium compound, and we just seemed to stand still compared with the others. We tried to do a two-stopper - which didn't work out - so then we decided to fit the Option for the final stint. Given our position just outside the points, we thought we might as well give it a go. Perhaps fitting the Option at the end was the wrong choice - I could have stayed out until the end on the Medium, but I decided to have some fun by fitting softer [ie, faster] rubber - but it just couldn't make its performance last to the end. Still, as I say, it was worth having a crack at it."
Eric Boullier, Racing Director: "Ultimately, we didn't have quite enough race pace to score points today, especially with such scant attrition ahead of us. Having said that, both Fernando and Jenson maximised their race strategies, the fact that they finished more-or-less nose to tail after 56 hard-driven laps underlining that Fernando had efficiently mined the most out of a two-stop approach while Jenson had pugnaciously realised the maximum available out of his necessarily more dynamic three-stopper. Moreover, although we still need to find more straightline speed, the power units in both our cars performed with commendable reliability throughout all three days of today's grand prix, yesterday's qualifying hour, and all the practice sessions that preceded them. So our friends at Honda should be lauded for that achievement. Equally, we're encouraged by the power unit developments they have in the pipeline, and as a result we're confident that our overall performance will continue to improve apace. Operationally, we made no mistakes all weekend, and our pit-crew performed with their customary aplomb. Well done, guys. Last but not least, it's encouraging to note that, when we fitted Options to Jenson's car for his fourth and final stint, he immediately began to fly, clocking the then-fastest lap of the race on lap 46, a spirited circumnavigation of the Shanghai International Circuit that was thereafter eclipsed by just two other drivers."
Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda: "Throughout the eventful weekend of changing weather conditions and qualifying red flags, the drivers and the team have performed at their best, and it was a positive weekend to bring two cars home. We are obviously disappointed that we could not score points, but I think the race result is a good indication of where we currently are. The entire team did solid work today which will hopefully lead to better results in the future races."
Pascal Wehrlein (18th): "It was a good race, with some positives to take away. Once again we were fighting with some other cars and managed to overtake a few as well. The start went well and then the first few corners were a bit hairy with cars and debris all over the place. We did well to avoid the chaos and made up 17 places from the start to be 4th for a few laps. That was a nice feeling, although I knew it would be short-lived. The car was working fine but I think 18th place is where the car is right now at this event. At the end we saw the chance to gain on Magnussen, which is why we went for the Supersofts. It was a good feeling to be hunting him down but we only had a limited window on those tyres and it wasn't quite enough in the end. Everyone finished, so with no DNFs we got ahead of four other cars on merit, but we have to make a good step forward now to make a big difference in the races ahead."
Rio Haryanto (21st): "In the early part of the race we were in the mix with Sauber, as we have been at various parts of the weekend, and also with Haas, but towards the end we were just lacking pace a little bit. I managed to hold off Palmer until the end which was good, so while I'm happy that we managed to get both cars to the chequered flag again, I was hoping for more of a fight today. The signs are good though and I think we know what we need to do to improve and make that possible. My thanks to my crew and the team and let's keep pushing for Russia."
Dave Ryan, Racing Director: "Both drivers did a great job today and made the best of the car's potential. The opening lap mlee presented a few opportunities for a while and it was nice to see Pascal riding as high as 4th and Rio in 8th. These situations shake out eventually, although Pascal did hold on to the top 10 for a good few laps and fought hard to stay in touch with our immediate competitors until the flag. For his final stint we saw an opportunity to reel in Magnussen, who was on old Soft tyres in the dying stages of the race, so we opted for Supersofts which enabled Pascal to take a good chunk out of the Renault, getting the gap down from 10s to as little 3.8. It wasn't quite enough in the end but it was a good feeling to be racing all the way to the finish. Rio didn't have the pace to close up to Nasr, so the objective with him in the final stint was to keep Palmer at bay, which he did quite easily. In short, a better day than yesterday and not a bad outcome, getting two cars to the finish. However, we need to do better and try to get on top of the issues that are holding us back."
Esteban Gutierrez (14th): "It was fun out there today and to finish the race was a big step. I think we can now build on this performance as we prepare for Russia. I really want to thank the guys because they're doing a great job. The pit stops were fantastic, really consistent. Unfortunately, we didn't have DRS (Drag Reduction System), so it was difficult to overtake, but overall it was a solid race. We now need to finish inside the points and that's what we'll be focusing on, so I'm really looking forward to the next one."
Romain Grosjean (19th): "It was a horrific race. The start was terrible when (Marcus) Ericsson turned into me and got my front wing. From there we had the safety car and I thought, 'OK, we still have a chance to do something.' But the balance in the car was nowhere near good. I don't know what happened. Somehow, it's positive that we had such a difficult race, because we can analyze what we did wrong, what we did right and what we could have done differently. From there, we can come back stronger. It's a difficult one after the two first races. Not the birthday I was hoping for."
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: "A difficult race for us, but we took two cars to the finish. The drivers did their jobs. Romain was unlucky at the start, losing part of his front wing. He had to come in for a wing change, which lost him track position and time. The car afterward was very difficult to drive. Good for Esteban finishing 14th. He finished his first race for Haas F1 Team. I think we learned a lot this weekend, and all that we've learned we'll take to Russia and see what we can do there."