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Formula 1 China ... Hamilton takes his 75th career victory in the historic 1000th Grand Prix


The start

The start

 

Shanghai, 14 April 2019

A third place for Sebastian Vettel and a fifth for Charles Leclerc: that was the outcome of the Chinese Grand Prix, the one thousandth race in the history of Formula 1, for Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow, held today at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Off the grid, Sebastian got away better than poleman Valtteri Bottas and attempted to go down the outside of the Finn at the first corner, but that resulted in Charles going past him on the inside. The cars in front were running at a slightly better pace than the SF90s, which is why, after 10 laps, the team asked the drivers to swap positions to see if Sebastian could match Bottas’ pace. Max Verstappen’s early pit stop then forced the team to bring Sebastian in to cover it, sending him out on the Hard compound, so that he would not end up behind the Dutchman, who did manage to get back on track ahead of Charles.

Sebastian pitted for a second time on lap 35, this time fitting the Medium tyres, as did Hamilton and Bottas, the latter now finding himself behind Charles. Leclerc’s second stop came on lap 43 and he rejoined almost 15 seconds off Verstappen.

In the closing stages, Vettel consolidated his third place behind Hamilton and Bottas, while Charles closed much of the gap to Verstappen, but not enough to try and secure fourth place. Ferrari is second in the Constructors’ championship on 73 points, while Sebastian is fourth in the Drivers’ on 37, with Charles fifth on 36. The next race is the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on 28 April.

Sebastian Vettel #5
“We are happy we got the podium, but overall we can’t be satisfied because we were too slow today. We were hoping to be in a much better place and be a match for Mercedes, but we were not. Also it was a shame we didn’t manage to finish third and fourth, In terms of calls from our pit wall today, the priority always lies within the team and Charles and I are both aware we are driving for the team. We can do our own race but first of all we have to ensure Ferrari is in a position to fight with its rivals. I think we have a good car and we are still not able to unlock its potential completely. We are learning a lot about it and it’s important to do many laps to get a better feeling for it. We are getting an ever clearer picture of what we are lacking at the moment, so I think the next few weeks will be important for us, so that we can get on the right road for the coming months”.

Charles Leclerc #16
“Today’s race wasn’t one of my easiest, since it looks like we didn’t have a good enough pace to fight at the front with our competitors. My start was good, then I think both Seb and myself were struggling with the tyres. We swapped positions and I thought he would have pulled away but he didn’t and this didn’t help my tyres because I had a bit of overheating and I lost some time. On  my second set of tyres I hoped I’d be able to go all the way to the end, but unfortunately had to stop again and so lost a place. We will sit down all together in order to understand what could have been done better and I’m sure we will come back stronger at the next race”

Mattia Binotto Team Principal
“Mercedes has been fast throughout the whole weekend, since Friday. They were fast yesterday in qualifying and fast today. We had a completely opposite situation from the one we faced two weeks ago in Bahrain and this shows that we could again have things going the other way around in two weeks time. Things are changing from one weekend to the next and therefore we need to look at the championship thinking that every race may be different. Our decisions on strategy were taken to try to maximize the teams’ result. We will go back to Maranello and look at all the data, try to understand what didn’t work this weekend in order to improve. We need to further develop the car and understand where the limits are, then come back stronger for Baku. It’s again a completely different circuit and we need to approach that race with a positive attitude to do our best.”

Lewis Hamilton
It’s not been the most straightforward of weekends, but what a fantastic result for the team, everyone’s worked so hard for this. Coming here we didn’t know exactly where we would stand with Ferrari, as they’d been so quick in Bahrain. Valtteri has been quick all weekend and did a great job today. To have a 1-2 together is really special for the 1,000th Grand Prix. The start was where I made the difference and after that it’s history. The strategy has really been on point over these first three races so we need to keep that up. Team LH China have been incredible all weekend, a big thank you to them. They welcomed me from the moment I arrived at the airport, at the hotel every morning and night every single day, and then at the track too. A big thank you to everyone who’s supported me. You can still see it’s very close between us all. I really have no idea how the next races will turn out but I’m super excited for them.

Valtteri Bottas
For us as a team it’s really been a perfect start to the season; we could not have imagined to get three 1-2s in a row, so a big thank you to everyone for their hard work. We managed to maximise on every single opportunity which is great to see. For me personally today has been a bit disappointing as I was on pole, but then lost the race at the start. There’s a white line just outside the starting box and I had some wheelspin when I went over it and lost the position to Lewis. It’s all about details in this sport, so unfortunately that detail decided the rest of the race. On the positive side, we did have a strong race pace here in Shanghai, much better than in Bahrain. I think that we’re in a good position, but we need to keep pushing. This track is very unique in its layout and Baku will hold very different challenges so it’s going to be interesting again in two weeks. 

Toto Wolff
To win the 1,000th race in such a controlled way is amazing. It’s a very special win and you can tell that everyone in the team is very happy with the outcome. Based on our long run simulations we didn’t think it would be so straightforward and our advantage to Ferrari came as a bit of a surprise. They still look very quick on the straights; I’m not sure it’s just the power, our car is maybe a bit draggier than theirs, but we have to keep working on our straight-line performance. Stacking the cars for a double pit stop was a risky moment because you have everything to lose when you’re leading the race. But we thought we would lose positions if we had stopped one of the earlier. Our plan worked out perfectly; it was a well-choreographed pit stop and the team did a brilliant job. Lewis had the clutch paddle under control today and had a strong start and controlled the race from then on. Valtteri for sure won’t be happyas he had pole and the speed to win today, but the start was the deciding factor. Baku is a different ball-game, there’s a very long straight and we need to get the power and drag level there right. I think we’ll be up for the fight and I’m looking forward to it.

 

Pos

Driver

Car

Chassis #

Time/Retired

Laps

1

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes-AMG

F1 W10 EQ Power+/01

1:32:06.350

56

2

Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes-AMG

F1 W10 EQ Power+/03

+ 6.552

56

3

Sebastian Vettel

Ferrari

 

+ 13.744

56

4

Max Verstappen

Red Bull

 

+ 27.627

56

5

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari

 

+ 31.276

56

6

Pierre Gasly

Red Bull

 

+ 1:29.307

56

7

Daniel Ricciardo

Renault

 

+ 1 Lap

55

8

Sergio Pérez

Racing Point

 

+ 1 Lap

55

9

Kimi Räikkönen

Alfa Romeo

02/Ferrari

+ 1 Lap

55

10

Alexander Albon

Toro Rosso

 

+ 1 Lap

55

11

Romain Grosjean

Haas F1 Team

 

+ 1 Lap

55

12

Lance Stroll

Racing Point

 

+ 1 Lap

55

13

Kevin Magnussen

Haas F1 Team

 

+ 1 Lap

55

14

Carlos Sainz jr.

McLaren

 

+ 1 Lap

55

15

Antonio Giovinazzi

Alfa Romeo

03/Ferrari

+ 1 Lap

55

16

George Russell

Williams

 

+ 2 Laps

54

17

Robert Kubica

Williams

 

+ 2 Laps

54

18

Lando Norris

McLaren

 

retired

50

NC

Daniil Kvyat

Toro Rosso

 

Damage after start accident

 

NC

Nico Hülkenberg

Renault

 

Retired after message on steering wheel