Vettel Takes Second at the Chinese Grand Prix
It was a race marred by coincidences for everyone – rain, tire choice, slow traffic, accidents, safety cars, pit stops, race strategy – many of which conspired to hold a very fast Sebastian Vettel back just enough behind pole sitter Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes, close but never close enough to pass. He had a very quick race, further proving the speed and reliability of the new GP Ferrari.
Kimi Raikkonen was mired even more by circumstance, with traffic, tires going away and a late pit stop relegating him to fifth place. The team, however, picked up a further 28 points.
Maurizio Arrivabene: “Today, on a track and in conditions which were very different from those we had in Melbourne, we proved that we have a strong car. Sebastian drove a very good race, and the fact that the safety car came out right after his first tire change certainly didn’t help. Perhaps, without that interruption, the result could have been even better. Now all the team is already focused onto the next race in Bahrain.”
Sebastian Vettel: “We can be happy with today’s results. The race was a lot of fun, very entertaining. Conditions were tricky at the start, you never know what can happen in those moments, so I was perhaps a bit too conservative. Then we chose to change tires since the track was quickly drying out, so that we could take advantage from the slicks; but luck was not on our side as the safety car came in right after. I can’t say how much this affected the final result, it was still a long way from there to the finish, but I think it had an effect. From then I had to work my way through the field, and I had a tense wheel-to-wheel fight with Ricciardo. I like this way of overtaking, when gaining position comes at a price and not simply by opening up the DRS. At that moment though, the gap to Lewis had widened, and I kept pushing to keep some pressure on him, while asking my engineer what pace was needed for me to catch him. I think that pace-wise we were a match today, sometimes he was faster, sometimes I was: if we can fight with Mercedes also in Bahrain that will be again good news. We can still improve.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was not a very strong race, the car felt good with fresh tires, but we seemed to lose the front very quickly and I was struggling; in a place like this that’s very tricky and gives a lot of laptime away. I feel that, even with that, we should have had a better result: maybe we could have changed the tires a bit earlier, but it’s always easy to speak after the race, now we have look at the data and understand. This result is far from ideal but this is what we have got today, hopefully next week we can make things better.”
Quotes and images from Media Ferrari.