The 2018 Chinese Grand Prix started off quite normal. Max Verstappen had some great overtaking manoeuvres in the first few corners then all drivers turned on their fuel safe mode for about 32 laps.
Then the safety car period caused by the collision of Toro Rosso drivers Gasly and Hartley changed the race from boring to a super exciting one. Red Bull Racing made a very quick decision to pit both drivers to attack the leaders. Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo pushed forward and passed all 5 cars in front to win the 2018 Chinese GP.
Below you can read all drivers comments regarding this legendary race:
“That was fun, a lot of fun and I just about believe it now. From where we were yesterday you would not have believed we would be here today. For me this is a massive reward but for the mechanics and engineers, they really earned this victory. Not only for the pit stops and strategy today but for getting me out in Qualifying yesterday which enabled me to get in the fight for victory, they should be very, very proud. The problem in free practice wasn’t their fault but they did all the hard work and made today happen.
At the start of the race I thought we could fight for a podium but I didn’t really expect a win; then after the safety car and when I could see the way the race was going I knew we had a chance. Once I had a sniff of victory I wasn’t going to let it go. The team made a very quick decision to stop both cars under the safety car and it was a winning decision.
I have lots of emotions. On the in lap I was just smiling and I didn’t have many words, then on the podium I was nearly in tears and in the press conference I was just thinking about the whole race and also about last week; how disappointed this sport can make you feel but also how high it can make you feel. Now we can all go and celebrate tonight.”
“Not the result I wanted today, we missed a great opportunity for a double podium. I tried to pass Lewis on the outside but there were too many marbles and I went a bit wide, it was a shame as I was in a good position but ended up losing a position to Daniel.
It was still an open race with the possibility to finish first and second but unfortunately I made some mistakes. Seb was struggling a bit on the tyres so I knew I had an opportunity, I tried to take him on the inside but locked the rears and ended up hitting him.
I am disappointed with myself that this is the outcome of the race. The team executed everything perfectly today, we had a great strategy and the car was behaving well so it is a real shame. It isn’t going my way at the minute so I’ll go away and analyse this and hopefully come back stronger. A massive well done to the team on such a strong weekend and of course to Daniel on the race win.”
"This is disappointing; today doesn't feel like winning a podium but like losing a win. Coming home second is not what we aimed for after the beginning of the race and the successful undercut.
"The team did a really good job, the pit stop was absolutely perfect and came at the right moment. We lost the race under the Safety Car. When it came out, Sebastian and I were already past the pit entry, so we were a bit unlucky - the cars behind us could react, but we didn't have any choice.
"They could get fresh tyres, but I ended up doing nearly 40 laps on the Medium, so of course it was slower in the end.
"It's very close between Red Bull, Ferrari and us, so we need to make sure we keep developing our car.
"Nearly winning both last weekend and this weekend is the worst feeling - but it makes both me and the entire team even hungrier. Thankfully there are a lot more races to go."
"It was another difficult day at the office. I was trying to hold on, but my tyres were done, so I had no chance of keeping the Red Bulls behind.
"Saturday and Sunday felt like a disaster from my side. I just haven't had the pace since yesterday and I struggled with the car.
"We've been underperforming but I'm not going to let my head drop because I know we have a tough battle ahead of us. I need to get back to my normal level of performance before I lose more valuable points.
"It could have been worse, Max did me a favour today in terms of the points standings, but it's a weekend to forget, that's for sure.
"Now we need to work hard to understand why we have been struggling and start the climb back to the front of the field."
"It was quite a painful race and not a very enjoyable one. At the start I had a good jump, but then I had to back off and this cost me a few places. After the pit stop the car was pretty fast and the feeling was good; at that point we were behind, but I could see the other cars at the end of the straight.
The safety car helped us, at that time we had fresh tires. I would say it took us back in the race. In the end I had a decent speed with the Mediums against the guys that were on the same tires, but getting close to them and try to follow was really tricky.
For sure we were faster than Valtteri, but when you get close it becomes more difficult, you lose so much grip in the process and lose so much downforce, especially in this kind of circuit. I just couldn’t get enough of a run on him. Today we take the third place, but obviously when you start from the first row it’s far from ideal. We’ll try to do better next time."
"I was lucky to end my race. After a collision like the one I had, I think we could have even stopped there. Obviously, the lucky thing is that the car was still working, even if the balance was gone.
We lost the lead after the pit stop and that was not ideal. We were quite sure we would have come out in front, but we didn’t. The timing of the Safety Car was bad for both me and Valtteri, because we had no chance to react.
After that it was clear that Red Bull was faster and I think there was no point to resist much at the way Daniel approached from behind, and then the same happened with Max. I gave him some room just in case he had a bit of tire lock-up, but then obviously he had a big one and that’s why we crashed.
I think he realised he was wrong. We were both lucky to continue but it was not necessary. However, I appreciated the fact he came to me straightway because that’s the way to solve things like this, face to face. But obviously this is not the result we were looking for."
“Everyone seemed to have low grip at the start with cars sliding all over the place. We were on a two-stop strategy from the beginning, so we had to make the tyre last, while maintaining strong pace. It paid off well, the safety car played to our hands and made things easier, but even without the safety car I think we would have come out on top.
The pace was good today and we were on top of the midfield, so not a bad day overall. Eight points, we’ll take that home. It was an
entertaining one, that’s for sure!”
“Double points for the team again this year! Well done! I made a really good start moving on one of the Red Bulls but he squeezed me out on the first lap, moving back a couple of places behind Nico.
From there we managed to cover two-stops with the aid of the safety car. On my last stint, traffic behind Alonso and Magnussen degraded my tyres too much and I had to save them in order to have a better opportunity at the end of the race.
It was really close with Vettel…had there been another lap I would have had him. Overall I’m happy to score more points but I still need to work hard with my engineers to get full confidence with the car.”
“Again, on Sundays we seem to deliver better than any other day, which is good as this is when points are given out.
“It was a well-executed race from our side – P13 at the start and P11 after the first lap. The Safety Car didn’t play into our hands as we were on a one-stop strategy and we’d just pitted onto good, fresh tyres which were going to take us to the end, but the Safety Car gave everyone else the opportunity to pit.
“We had good battles with Haas and Ferrari, even though the latter wasn’t really a fair fight as Sebastian [Vettel] apparently had damage on his car and was struggling in the corners. We caught up with him, saw that the door was open in one corner, so we went for it.
“P7 is a great result for the team after a difficult weekend, but there’s no doubt that we have to improve. Our pace wasn’t there all weekend and we were still not fast enough in the race.
“It was great to see more people here in the grandstands than in previous years, thanks to the Chinese fans!”
“I didn’t have a great start today and lost a few places on the opening lap. I managed to make three solid overtakes to make a few positions back before the pit-stop. The question for us was whether to make one or two stops when racing the other cars around us, and unfortunately our one-stop strategy didn’t really pay off in the end because the others around us benefitted from pitting under the Safety Car.
“We thought there might be more opportunities at the end, but we didn’t have the pace and I felt a strong vibration in the car which made the last few laps difficult.
“It wasn’t the day we were hoping for, but despite this, we still showed that our race pace today was stronger than our qualifying pace. We’re working hard to improve this and our performance on Saturdays, and hopefully we can have a stronger weekend in Baku.”
“I just got unlucky with the safety car. Our strategy was paying off to begin with, but then we got the safety car at a bad time. We didn’t get the advantage out of the strategy that we would’ve had otherwise.
I don’t know if we should’ve pitted. It was a tough choice. I just think the safety car came at a very unlucky time and it meant we couldn’t score more than the one point. That’s still okay, but we had hoped for a bit more.
It’s a long season and, hopefully, we’ll keep scoring points. I’m proud of how we’re performing as a team. We need to keep that up.”
“We made a ballsy strategy going on the ultrasofts to mediums. Unfortunately, the misfortune kept going with me because I knew from the safety car in the middle of the race – when I was on the very long stint on the medium – we were not going to pit.
I knew it would be very difficult at the restart, and it was. I tried to hang on to P11 as long as I could but, eventually, the two Force Indias passed me. We came in for another set of ultrasofts for the last 10 laps.
They were encouraging as there was very low degradation, and the car felt really good. I knew things were going to be very difficult at the safety car, though.”
“We were so close to scoring points today, but the events of the race didn’t really help us. It was a messy start and we lost some time, and we didn’t make any progress.
The race was starting to come back to us because we pitted early and the two-stop strategy looked to be working well. We were on course to finish in the points until the Safety Car came out.
After that it was a big push until the end of the race, but I was stuck behind Grosjean for too long and he defended very well. Ultimately this cost me the chance of overtaking Magnussen and getting back in the points.
It’s another race where things didn’t play into our hands, but the pace was competitive so we focus on the positives.”
“It was another race ruined on the first lap. The start was chaotic and I ran into a lot of trouble. I was pushed wide by a Renault at the exit of turn four and lost a lot of places there.
That pretty much ruined our whole weekend. We were suddenly on the back foot, on the weaker tyre and there was very little I could do.
We got close to the points and the team made a strategy call that gave me an opportunity to try and pass Kevin [Magnussen] but there was not enough time. We can focus on the positives: we are getting closer to our competition.
Yesterday we took a step forward; we made another improvement today and I am confident that once we get to Europe we can start picking up some stronger results.”
t was a great start again and, like in Bahrain, I made up five or six positions at the start. Then after that I believe we raced the maximum out of the car.
We were not very lucky with the safety car, because the guys on two stops got a free pitstop in front of us. I think the Force Indias were possible to beat today, not on pure pace, but with the good start and everything.
It was a bit of a shame, but I am really happy with the race. We got our strategy done and I believe we got everything out of it today.
"It was a difficult race. I had nothing to lose so I had to fight at the start. I tried to get some positions but when you’re right in the midfield it’s difficult to do something and I think I could have managed better. Afterwards I really struggled to find the pace.
It was quite difficult to find the window with the tyre and it was a very tough first stint. At some points when I was in free air for a few laps it was stabilising a bit, but overall it was really tricky. We pitted for a new set of mediums and then new softs under the safety car.
I don’t know what happened to them but they had far less grip than the mediums so we lost quite a bit with that, then we were just trying to get to the end of the race."
“I had a good start today, but lost a few positions after I went slightly off-track in one of the turns. Overall, the race had two phases.
The first part was on soft tyres; I was struggling quite a bit as the balance did not feel great. After changing to the medium tyres, I caught up with the lower midfield and could keep up with their pace.
Once we look at the data, we can start our preparations for the next race in Azerbaijan.”
“It was not an ideal race today. I started on a set of soft tyres. I was quite happy with my pace, and managed to advance to the midfield.
Shortly after I changed to the set of medium tyres, I spun into the gravel. I picked up some damage to the floor, and started having some trouble with the balance of the car. Unfortunately, I lost a couple of positions there.
We will look at our data and make sure that we are ready to do the best job possible in Baku.”
"It was a difficult weekend for us overall because we never found the pace since Saturday morning. We knew the race would be difficult after the performance we had in qualifying and the car was quite tricky.
Today things didn't really work out for us, so we have plenty to analyse between the two weekends and try to understand why we were fast in Bahrain and why we struggled in Shanghai.
I apologise to Brendon for the contact we had, the team told me that they were going to switch our positions so I went on the inside of the back straight thinking he would give me space. Unfortunately, I don't think he saw me and once I was on the inside there was nothing I could do.
We lost a lot of time after that, I broke my front wing and the steering bent at the end of the race, so it was really difficult to drive and we couldn't do much from there. We have some work to do to get ready for Baku, it's a track I know and like so I'm looking forward to getting there."
"It was a tough day for us, at the beginning of the race I had no grip on the Ultrasofts so that compromised our strategy. Starting near the back of the grid we tried alternating strategies to give us a better chance but unfortunately that didn't work.
I think the accident with Pierre was down to a miscommunication. The team asked us to swap positions because we were on completely different strategies, so I was going to let him by on the exit of Turn 14 like I did at the start of the race. The second time we had to change positions I planned to do the same but I got hit from behind at the apex.
Then towards the end of the race I had to retire because the team saw an issue with the gearbox. In the end it was a long afternoon."
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