CHINESE GP – RACE
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Finish Position: 3rd, Start Position: 16th
“That was a very special race. When I woke up this morning I never expected to be on the podium. It was a very good first lap, I passed nine cars I think which is very positive. The conditions really helped me get past the cars as quick as I could, that was important as I knew it would only dry up and get tougher to pass. I always enjoy driving in the wet so I made the most of the fun conditions early on. I think in the first eleven laps I got up to seventh place which set me up for a strong finish. We were a bit unsure of how the balance of the car would be towards the end of the race as I didn’t run much yesterday in Qualifying and the temperature is a lot lower today. We had quite a bit of understeer but just about managed to hold on to third place. These balance issues combined with being within two seconds of another car in the closing stages of the race made it really hard to drive, there were blue flags out but I still couldn’t get past, this needs looking into. The battle with Daniel at the end was hard as my car was not fun to defend in. I’m glad we hung on and obviously it was a great race to watch and for the team. I think on pure pace in the dry we are still a bit slow for a podium but all things considered today we definitely MAXED it out.”
DANIEL RICCIARDO, Finish Position: 4th, Start Position: 5th
“I have mixed emotions, it’s obviously disappointing to miss out on the podium as it was so close today but as a team it’s a good result to finish third and fourth. I lost a lot of time in the first stint as I struggled to keep my front tyres alive and that pretty much put us out of a podium position. After the first pit stop I had good balance and speed which meant I could claw some time back and close the gap to the leaders. Towards the end of the race I could see that Max was struggling with his tyres but as soon as I got close to him I also began to struggle with mine. The team let us race but even though I was in the DRS zone I was not really close enough to pull off a convincing move. I had a look but the inside lines were still quite slippery into the hairpin and I was honestly never really close enough to make a move stick. It was also quite noticeable that the DRS effect is far less on the cars this year which didn’t help.
“As a team we should be pleased with the result and we learnt a lot today but we still have some work to do to close the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari.”
CHRISTIAN HORNER, Team Principal: “A great performance by the team today, taking advantage of the slippery conditions at the beginning of the race Max was able to make a great start and had an amazing first lap to come round in seventh and from there both drivers were in great shape. The right strategic calls under the safety car allowed us then to get our cars into second and third ahead of both Ferraris. Great work from the pit crew today. Max then made a fair move on Daniel and looked strong at the point in the race. Daniel held off the Ferraris as long as he could before Sebastian was able to get past. As we’d elected to go with the supersoft tyre for us it always going to be a two-stop race. We then picked the right moment to go on to the supersofts and in the latter part of the race Daniel was happier with his car balance and closed down on Max and some great racing between the two of them over the last 10 laps provided an exciting finish to the grand prix. To come away third and fourth is a very positive result, and we also achieved our 100th podium as a team. Still plenty to do, but leaving China with 27 points is extremely positive.”