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Team Quotes - Sunday 9 April

SEASON INFORMATION
13/01/2018

2017 Heineken Chinese Grand Prix

Team Quotes - Sunday 9 April

Mercedes GP

Lewis took his 54th Formula One victory today - his fifth at the Shanghai International Circuit, his first of the 2017 season and the third Grand Chelem (pole position, race win, fastest lap, leading every racing lap) of his F1 career.

Valtteri produced a battling drive to finish P6 after a slow stop followed by a spin on cold slick tyres in wet conditions relegated him to P12 in the early stages.

Today's race marked the 150th Formula One start the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows. Lewis (43 points) holds a joint lead in the Drivers' Championship with Sebastian Vettel, while Valtteri (23 points) sits P4 after two races - two shy of Max Verstappen (25 points) in P3 and one clear of Kimi Raikkonen (22 points) in P5.

Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (66 points) lead the Constructors' Championship by a single point from Ferrari (65 points) in P2.

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: This was a great drive by Lewis and a great result. Pace-wise, things looked pretty good out there today in all conditions, although there wasn't much between us and Ferrari when we were running in free air. For Lewis, it was a pretty drama-free afternoon: he was managing the pace in the right way, our strategy was spot on and, on an afternoon when there was lots of scope for making mistakes, he didn't put a foot wrong. As for Valtteri, his spin behind the Safety Car was unfortunate and cost him a lot of time. Mistakes like this happen but it was encouraging to see he had the pace in the car after that and could at least battle back to the position he held before the spin. Now he needs to forget about it and concentrate on the next race. Overall it's now 1:1 for us against Ferrari and the development race is on. This is just the beginning...

James Allison, Technical Director: Every single victory in Formula 1 feels great but this one is particularly satisfying after coming away from Melbourne without the win - it's nice to get that monkey off our back. Our strategy calls were all tidily executed in what was a complicated race early on with the wet-dry track. Lewis drove faultlessly today but Valtteri unfortunately paid a heavy price for a small mistake behind the Safety Car. He raced well from that point forwards but his Grand Prix was heavily compromised by his early spin. We head to Bahrain on a high but we know we will be back to square one in terms of fighting a very strong opposition. We know that we will have to be absolutely on top of our game to do well there. All focus now on the next race and trying to repeat this great result.

Red Bull

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."

Ferrari

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.

Force India

Sahara Force India scored three points in today's Chinese Grand Prix with Sergio Perez racing to ninth place ahead of Esteban Ocon in tenth.

Robert Fernley: "The first few laps were fairly hectic, but as things settled down the team managed the race extremely well to earn another double points finish. Sergio and Esteban both delivered mature drives, especially in the tricky damp conditions early on. Their varied strategies worked well, although with hindsight there were possible opportunities that would have allowed both cars to finish higher up. Both drivers enjoyed some close wheel-to-wheel racing and managed their pace when it mattered. All in all it's another solid result and we can be happy about scoring more important points at this early stage of the year."

WilliamsF1

Felipe Massa finished 14th whilst Lance Stroll's first ever Chinese Grand Prix was cut short after contact from Perez on the opening lap put him into a spin at Turn 10.

It was a chaotic start with the vast majority of the grid starting the 56-lap race on Pirelli's intermediate tyres after a wet start to the day. The drying track meant Felipe soon switched onto the soft compound, taking the opportunity under the virtual safety car due to Lance's incident.

Unfortunately, Felipe struggled to get enough grip to maintain position and soon lost positions in the race.

A disappointing day for the team leaves Felipe eighth in the Drivers' Championship whilst Williams moves down to sixth in the Constructors' Championship.

Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer: It was a tough day for us. It was always going to be a difficult and long afternoon in these mixed conditions. Unfortunately, Lance's race ended very quickly after being hit from behind at Turn 10, which was a shame after his strong qualifying result yesterday. On Felipe's side, it was an incredibly painful afternoon and he was lacking in grip throughout. There are lots of things we would have done differently with hindsight. I think everyone was planning on a one-stop race with dry tyres but almost the entire field needed to do an extra stop. Unfortunately, we just weren't able to show the real pace of the car today, so there's a lot of work and analysis we need to do back at base in order to come back stronger in future. These are the days where we need to convert our disappointment into constructive development.

McLaren

It was a short-lived Chinese Grand Prix for the McLaren-Honda team at the Shanghai International Circuit. Rain earlier in the day meant that the track was pretty damp for the start, both drivers consequently electing to start on new Intermediate tyres. Both Fernando and Stoffel made good starts - and, although Stoffel's car was tapped at the rear by another car, no damage was sustained and both he and Fernando escaped any major drama on the first lap.

On lap two, as the circuit was rapidly drying out, the team executed the perfect ‘double shuffle', pitting Fernando and Stoffel in turn for Prime tyres. Both were then released back into the pack, and both were able to make good progress on slicks, Fernando reaching sixth position by lap seven before settling into seventh place for a number of laps.

Unfortunately, however, the gods of reliability were not on the team's side, Stoffel falling foul of a fuel problem after losing power, forcing him to retire on lap 18, and Fernando suffering a driveshaft issue causing him to have to stop out on track on lap 34.

The team will now re-group before the second leg of the first pair of back-to-back races of the season: the Bahrain Grand Prix in a few days' time.

Eric Boullier: "On a damp and slippery track, Fernando judged his getaway perfectly to make a superb start from his P13 grid slot, and was in eighth place by the time of the first virtual Safety Car just a few laps into the race. By lap seven he was up to sixth, and he duly began a highly entertaining dice with his fellow countryman Carlos [Sainz].

"Stoffel had also made a bit of progress by that time, having moved up from his P16 grid slot to a solid P15, and was capably holding station with the cars around him.

"Unfortunately, those promising beginnings were soon to come to naught, when a fuel problem ended Stoffel's race after only 17 laps and a driveshaft issue put paid to Fernando's afternoon after just 33.

"From here we travel straight to Bahrain, one of our three home Grands Prix, Silverstone and Suzuka being the other two, where we hope to enjoy a better, and warmer, weekend's racing."

Yusuke Hasegawa: "Despite the result today, I think we can take away multiple positives from this weekend.

"It was very tricky race conditions, yet the team did a great job as always and managed the pit-stop strategy perfectly. Fernando had an excellent start, making up multiple positions off the line, and I think he was having a very good race up until his retirement. Stoffel also made a good start and was racing well before his day sadly ended early.

"At one point it looked like we were on our way to scoring some points, which makes it all the more disappointing that both drivers ended up retiring with mechanical issues. "In spite of that, we leave Shanghai with certain progress of our PU reliability after both the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

"We're now looking forward to Bahrain next weekend, where hopefully we can continue to build on our momentum. It's only a few days away so we don't have long to prepare, but we'll work hard with McLaren to hopefully push for a better result."

Toro Rosso

Franz Tost (Team Principal): "We saw a very interesting and exciting race today. First of all, I'd like to congratulate Carlos for his very risky decision - he was the only car with dry tyres on the starting grid! He drove a fantastic race and crossed the line in P7. Without the Safety Cars, I think he would've achieved an even better result... he certainly would have deserved it! It was great to see how he was fighting with the front runners. Regarding Daniil, he got off to a very solid start and was also able to fight for positions but unfortunately his car had a hydraulic problem. This is something that must not happen when you want to fight for a good position in the Constructors' Championship. Nevertheless, we have a competitive package and I'm positive that we can also score many points in the next races - this is what we will go for with big determination."

Haas

Haas F1 Team secured its first points-paying finish of the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship with driver Kevin Magnussen delivering an eighth-place result in the Chinese Grand Prix Sunday at the Shanghai International Circuit. It was nearly a double points finish as teammate Romain Grosjean finished 11th, one spot out of the points.

For Magnussen, it was his first top-10 since last year's Singapore Grand Prix where he finished 10th and his best result since coming home seventh at the 2016 Russian Grand Prix. It was his 15th career top-10 finish and his first at Shanghai.

The 14th running of the Chinese Grand Prix started off wet, with 19 of the 20 drivers starting the 56-lap race around the 5.451-kilometer (3.387-mile), 16-turn track on the Pirelli Cinturato Green intermediate tire. The lone driver on slicks was Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz Jr.

It was a tough start for Sainz, as the track initially proved too wet for slicks. The asphalt began drying quickly, however, and Sainz's choice seemed prescient. With a VSC (Virtual Safety Car) period after two laps for the stricken Williams of Lance Stroll, many teams opted to ditch the intermediates for dry tires and came to pit road.

Haas F1 Team was one of them, performing a double stop at the end of the second lap, first with Magnussen who was followed by Grosjean. Both took on Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tires.

Conditions remained treacherous. This was punctuated by Antonio Giovinazzi's hard crash off turn 16 which thoroughly damaged his Sauber. The accident scattered debris across the frontstraight, leading to the actual safety car hitting the track for a full-course yellow.

Mired in the back, Grosjean took the opportunity to pit, replacing his Red supersoft tires for a set of Yellow softs. Magnussen stayed out. When racing resumed on lap eight, Magnussen was 12th and Grosjean was 17th.

With fast Haas VF-17s under them and improving track conditions, Magnussen and Grosjean went to work.

By lap 10, Magnussen was ninth and eyeing the eighth-place Force India of Sergio Perez. Grosjean was 17th and attacking the Renault of Jolyon Palmer.

It was a stout midfield battle, with the Williams of Felipe Massa jockeying among Magnussen and Perez. Meanwhile, Grosjean's steady drive allowed him to rise to 13th on lap 28 as attrition began taking a toll on the other cars around him.

Magnussen made his second and final stop at the end of lap 33, donning a new set of Red supersofts and making a front wing adjustment. The time in the pits dropped him from ninth to 12th, one spot ahead of Grosjean.

Others began making their second stops, allowing Magnussen to regain some track position.

By lap 36, Magnussen was back to 10th as Grosjean made his final stop. Red supersofts were his tire choice, and he came out in 13th behind the Renault of Nico Hulkenberg.

Grosjean doggedly pursued Hulkenberg, catching him on lap 38 and finally passing him for 12th.

Magnussen had the Force India of Esteban Ocon in his sights, and overtook him for ninth on lap 40. Ocon's teammate, Perez, was next up. Magnussen eventually tracked him down and with a decisive move at the end of the massively long backstraight, powered underneath Perez to take eighth.

Grosjean displayed strength too, passing Massa for 11th on lap 53 with an efficient drive around him in turn two.

Time ran out on both drivers to make up any more ground. When the checkered flag dropped after 56 laps, Magnussen's eighth-place effort delivered four valuable constructors points. And Grosjean's 11th-place run showed that Haas F1 Team is on the cusp of earning its first double points finish.

Winning the Chinese Grand Prix was three-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton. It was the Mercedes driver's 54th career Formula One win, his first of the season and his fifth at the Shanghai International Circuit. Hamilton's margin of victory was 6.250 seconds over Scuderia Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

Two rounds into the 20-race Formula One schedule, Haas F1 Team is seventh in the constructor standings with four points, four behind sixth-place Williams and four ahead of eighth-place Renault, Sauber and McLaren.

There's no let-off on the Formula One schedule as the series immediately heads to the Middle East for the Bahrain Grand Prix April 16 at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.

Guenther Steiner: "It's great to see Kevin's team scoring their first points since the start of Haas F1 Team. For Kevin to score points on his second race is fantastic. I think Romain had a challenging weekend. In Australia it was Kevin's turn to have a challenging weekend and here it was Romain, though he wasn't lucky in Australia either. Again, I think we showed what we can do and that we are what we think we are. We just have to do it consistently. We can then look to a good season in front of us. Both drivers drove a fantastic race. I think we did more overtaking between the Haas team than the rest of the teams. I'm very proud of that, and we put on a good show. For sure, the weather played a role today, but with the different strategies applied, overtaking is possible. It's still difficult - that was proved with Romain trying to get around (Jolyon) Palmer - he made sure he was wide, but then Romain got by. It just got better from then onward. The flight home will feel a lot shorter with points in the bag. Now, we look forward to going to Bahrain."

Renault

Renault Sport Formula One Team endured a frustrating Heineken Chinese Grand Prix with Nico Hulkenberg finishing 12th and Jolyon Palmer finishing 13th after an eventful 56 lap race at the Shanghai International Circuit. Nico's fine Saturday qualifying performance was undone by an early pit stop for dry tyres being followed by an incident on track requiring a Virtual Safety Car, which negated any advantage the strategy could have provided. The same Virtual Safety Car also undid the potential of an early stop for dry tyres for Jolyon Palmer. The pair crossed the finish line just two seconds apart at the chequered flag.

Nico started the race in P7 on new Intermediate tyres, changing to a set of fresh Soft tyres at the end of the first lap then a set of scrubbed Supersoft on lap 33 where he also served a 15-second combined penalty for overtaking under the Virtual and actual Safety Car.

Jolyon started the race from the pit-lane after pitting at the end of the formation lap to change from Intermediate to new Supersoft tyres. He stopped for new Soft tyres on lap 30.

Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director: "Ultimately, this has been a frustrating weekend for us. We showed strong potential with our P7 on Saturday, however the race did not deliver the results we wanted. The early Virtual Safety Car meant we were immediately on the back foot as we'd already pitted Nico to cover the threat from those behind. He then also received a penalty. Jolyon suffered from the same Virtual Safety Car affecting his strategy and after that we were on damage limitation. We are disappointed to end the second Grand Prix with no points, however the positives are that we showed both pace and reliability here. We need to harness our potential better in the coming races."

Sauber

The Chinese Grand Prix ended in a disappointing result for the Sauber F1 Team. During difficult conditions, with light rain before the start of the race and low temperatures in general, Antonio Giovinazzi retired early on at the beginning of the race after an accident. Marcus Ericsson finished in P15, as the Sauber C36-Ferrari was not able to maintain the pace of the competitors under these conditions on the Shanghai International Circuit. The Sauber F1 Team will be on the way to Bahrain, where the next Grand Prix will take place the next weekend.

Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: "Today it was not our day - especially not for Antonio. We are glad that he is fine after the accident. The conditions were difficult, even more so without having much experience. For Marcus the race was also not easy, as we were just not able to keep up with the pace of the competitors - this race showed the weaknesses of our car. Now we focus on the next race weekend in Bahrain in one week."

Pirelli

Lewis Hamilton won on a drying track where pit stop strategy was influenced by an early virtual safety car followed by a real safety car in the opening laps. Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz was the only driver to begin the race on slick tyres, when all the other drivers started on intermediates and then moved onto slicks within the first 10 laps, using a variety of different strategies with the soft and supersoft compounds. Verstappen used a more aggressive strategy based on the supersoft to make up 13 places from his grid slot at a strategically complex race with plenty of action. After a damp start, the weather remained dry, with the fastest race lap more than four seconds quicker than last year's one. This was a bigger margin of lap time improvement compared to 2016 than that seen in Australia, despite the tricky conditions.

Mario Isola: "The teams had limited information coming into the grand prix, which presented another totally new set of conditions for the third consecutive day. So they had to react to changing circumstances. Despite the runs through the pit lane under the safety car, most of the frontrunners effectively stopped twice showing a limited degree of degradation".

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