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2017 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix Driver Quotes - Sunday 9 April

SEASON INFORMATION
13/01/2018

2017 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix

Driver Quotes - Sunday 9 April

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton: My pole lap put me in a great position and then the start was just fantastic. I'm really happy with my starts right now so I want to keep that up! During the race I needed to keep my composure in some really tricky conditions out there. After the pit stop under the Safety Car the speed was low and the tyres were very cold, so it would have been very easy to make a mistake, so I'm just grateful that I didn't. In those final 20 laps Seb and I were just pounding around as fast as we could, exchanging fastest lap times, that's what racing is all about. In the future there will be times when we don't have a Safety Car and we won't have that gap. I'm excited for that. It's very close and there were times when it was hard to match Sebastian. It has been a fantastic weekend and I'm so grateful for the effort the team has put in for us to be where we are today. It's very overwhelming when you have a weekend like this, because I'm just a single link in the chain and there are hundreds of people who are involved to put me up here on the top step. Big congratulations to everyone, especially those back home, I hope they're celebrating and feeling the spirit and the fight.

Valtteri Bottas: I'm very disappointed with today. I made a good start but it didn't go so well from there. Yes, we lost some time in the pit stop but it was nothing compared to what we lost with my mistake. I was trying everything I could to get temperature in the tyres behind the Safety Car but went too aggressive and lost control of the car. It was entirely my fault. I'm really sorry for the team and the points we lost today. It took few laps to get the tyres working after the spin but in the end my pace was okay. I think we made the right choice sticking with the Soft tyre for the second stint. The car was good today - a winning car, obviously. But the laps were running out as I was getting closer to the cars in front and I couldn't recover enough of the time I lost. I'm leaving for Bahrain tonight and I'm glad the next race comes soon. Once you've done a mistake it's done, so you try to forget it and do everything you can to make up for it next time, so I will take a look in the mirror at myself and come back stronger.

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo: "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."

Max Verstappen: "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."

Ferrari

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.

Force India

Sergio Perez: "It feels great to come away from an entertaining race with some more points. The start of the race was not easy because I made a very poor start and lost five or six places before turn one. As soon as I dropped the clutch, I went into wheel spin. I recovered some places during lap one, but then there was contact with Stroll in turn ten, which gave me a puncture. I don't think he saw me on the inside because he didn't give me any space. We definitely made the switch to dry tyres at the right moment and choosing the supersoft was the correct decision because I found a good rhythm straight away and overtook Massa and Kvyat. You can always look back on the strategy and see things you could have done better, but I think we finished where we deserved in terms of car pace. It's another great result for the whole team and our twelfth consecutive race in the points, which is a special achievement."

Esteban Ocon: "Finishing the race in the top ten is a good recovery, but I still feel I could have been a couple of places higher up. We had the correct strategy and started the race on the right tyre, but on lap two there was a misunderstanding with the team and I drove all the way down the pit lane without stopping for tyres. I was not supposed to come in and it cost me at least 15 seconds. It was a result of the confusion of those early laps, when everyone was diving into the pits. It's a shame to lose time like this, but in the end we scored a point and that's a positive. The car felt quite good today and finishing in tenth shows we can make a good improvement on Sundays. Next week we race in Bahrain and, unlike Melbourne and Shanghai, it's a track I know well and where I've had success in the past. I got pole in GP3 in 2015 so I have good memories from there. I am looking forward to racing there and adding to those memories."

WilliamsF1

Felipe Massa: I'm really disappointed today as everything went wrong for us. I had too much wheelspin at the start, and then behind the safety car we had five slow laps on the dry tyres, so they were completely cold. I wasn't able to drive in the proper way because it felt like I was driving on ice. That was the worst part; we lost so much time and so many positions. Then we tried to risk stopping before the others to see if we could pass people and keep up the pace, but I couldn't. We need to carry on trying to do what we did in the first race in Australia and qualifying here. Now we will look forward and concentrate on Bahrain.

Lance Stroll: I was hit from the rear at Turn 10 and that was the end of my race. I was in front, knew the corner was mine and had to turn in eventually. It was just unfortunate as that was my race over. I got hit and then the car was broken, most likely with a puncture and damaged suspension. While today was difficult, we have some positives to take out of this weekend, as the qualifying was good even if the race was not what we wanted. But it is still early days and there are a lot more opportunities. I am now looking forward to Bahrain next weekend and that is what I am concentrating on now.

McLaren

Fernando Alonso: "We started from P13 in very tricky conditions, and after a few laps we were running in sixth position. That was a big surprise and was thanks to an amazing couple of laps. I was hoping those tricky conditions would continue as other cars were spinning off here and there, and, as we said yesterday, we maximised our opportunities as we were overtaking 'for free' at some moments.

"But then, when the track started drying out, we started to lose a little bit of ground even though we were still able to hold onto P7 for some time.

"Today we proved once more how hungry we are to get a good result, but unfortunately we're still not strong enough to finish the races. The lack of winter testing means we're paying a big price now, but hopefully we can improve quickly.

"It's a shame that neither Stoffel or I could not get to the end today, and especially painful because I was in the points, but all we can do is learn our lessons and be a little bit better in Bahrain, even though the forecast is of course for no rain..."

Stoffel Vandoorne "It was a short race for me, but quite exciting at the beginning. Both Fernando and I got good starts, and were in the mix for the first few laps, although the positioning wasn't great after the pit-stops, and then after that it was a bit more tricky, but our pace was actually quite promising. When we put the slicks on, we were actually quite competitive and I was able to push when I wanted to. The car feels very good in the corners - I felt very confident and I was closing the gap to the guys in front - but as soon as it started to get drier, we really noticed the difference in speed and it made it very difficult to overtake. With the straight-line speed we have, we can't really compete with the others and it's tough out there for us to make up ground.

"On lap 17 we lost power - I don't really know exactly the reason - but I think it was a fuel problem. It's a shame we couldn't get to the finish today - the potential was there and the car felt quite competitive in the corners compared to the cars I was racing against. I felt the power drop and I could feel immediately we had very low power. It's not ideal, and obviously I would have liked to go to the end.

"There's not been many laps for me in China, but this is the situation we're in at the moment. We knew that before coming here and hopefully next weekend in Bahrain it will be better. There are still positives we can take away: the chassis is coming along, and both Fernando and I are feeling very confident to push. I hope it will get better soon - it's difficult to put a time-frame on it so we'll have to wait and see. Bahrain is a very different kind of circuit from Shanghai, and we'll do our best as usual."

Toro Rosso

Carlos Sainz Jr: "WOW! What a race, I just don't have words to describe it! On the grid I said I wanted to start the race on slick tyres and everyone thought I was completely mad! It sounds like a funny moment now, but when everyone took the blankets off the tyres and my race engineer told me that we were the only ones the supersoft tyre I doubted my decision... When you're on the grid, about to start a race, and you take a tough decision like today's, there's a lot of weight on your shoulders, knowing that you might have blown away a good result for the team... but I then said to myself, c'mon trust yourself, it's the right thing to do! I knew the start and the first four corners were going to be very tricky - and they certainly were! - but from Turn 6 onwards the track was fully dry and I felt confident - the gamble definitely paid off! But today's result isn't only thanks to this decision; it's also down to the pace that we showed in damp conditions. After the Safety Car, I saw myself catching Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes in front and I got super excited! It was just an incredible race, I felt so comfortable in the car today and to finally cross the line in P7 is a great result - I'd like to thank the team for the whole weekend, we can all be very happy!"

Daniil Kvyat: "What a shame, we had a hydraulic failure which still needs to be investigated and therefore had to stop the car. Just before that, we were struggling a bit on the Soft tyre and it was a bit hard to keep them up to temperature... So we were an easy target for everyone who was on Supersofts. It wasn't being the easiest of races, that's for sure! On the positive side, we've shown the performance is there and that we can be strong going forward. We just need to make sure we grab the points when the opportunities arise. In general I'm quite happy, it's just a shame we had a bit of bad luck today but these things happen and we just have to accept them... it's part of this sport! We're working well as a team - and this makes me feel very confident - we have the pace and I look forward to next week's race weekend in Bahrain where we will come back stronger!"

Haas

Romain Grosjean: "Yesterday was a bit of a joke and today the same guy crashed in front of me on the straight line, so I had to stop. I lost a lot of time. Then (Marcus) Ericsson at the restart left miles ahead of the car in front of me. I don't know what he was doing, so I was already on the back foot. (Esteban) Ocon pushed me on the first lap. I lost half of the right-hand side of the car. From there I just pushed as hard as I could. I couldn't really find an opening on (Jolyon) Palmer. Once I did, though, I had some good lap times. We were doing a decent job, but it was already too late. It was not easy on strategy. The guys did the best job they could. We saw the checkered flag and the lap times were looking decent. I think we had more, but it's time to look forward to the next race and, hopefully, it's going to get better."

Kevin Magnussen: "It was a good race. I had fun out there. I had a good car all the way through the race. I'd made a really poor start, so to come back from that and push, I was really happy. The car's been good today. I was able to look after the front tires, which I think was key, along with working with the team to get the car in the right window. The race was really well managed from the team. It was good strategy to get me out on the supersoft after the intermediates. You had to fight for it, in terms of passing. It's not easy, but you also have grip, so you can take different lines and get close in alternative ways. It's so much more fun when you're fighting in the points. I'm happy for the team and we're looking forward to the coming races."

Renault

Nico Hulkenberg: "We took a risk right at the end of the first lap and came in for slicks as the track was really dry everywhere apart from the main straight. As I exited the box though, Stroll crashed and the Virtual Safety Car came out, and in damp conditions if you can't push, you lose all the tyre temperature. I lost all grip; it was like driving on ice and I spun a few times... From there it just went wrong, the VSC pretty much ruined our strategy and so the race. It's a shame because I think it could have worked out very nicely for us today."

Jolyon Palmer: "It was a difficult race. We made the right call to pit at the end of the formation lap but I hit a wet patch when racing a Toro Rosso, then the tyres lost temperature under the Virtual Safety Car, so it was a very difficult first stint. On the plus side, the car ran reliably and I have a race distance under my belt now. Now we reset and head to Bahrain with the objective of a much better weekend."

Sauber

Marcus Ericsson: "I had a good start as well as a decent first lap. During the virtual safety car phase we were changing to soft tyres, even though we knew that the track was partly dry as well as still wet. After that, it was quite difficult. The conditions were tricky as well as the asphalt temperatures being relatively low, which made it difficult to get the tyres to work. Overall, I struggled with the tyres during the whole race - I never really got them into the right working window. Now I look forward to Bahrain."

Antonio Giovinazzi: "First of all, I want to apologize again to the team. They did a great job to get the car ready for the race. It was a shame that I crashed again today. A learning lesson - I just want to forget this weekend quickly."

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