Race: Force India, Williams, Sauber, Toro Rosso

Date published: April 15 2018

It was a point-less Sunday in Shanghai for Force India, Williams, Sauber and Bahrain stars, Toro Rosso.

Force India

Esteban Ocon: “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.”

Sergio Perez: “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.”

Williams:

Lance Stroll: "It 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."

Sergey Sirotkin: "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."

Sauber:
Marcus Ericsson: 
“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.”

Charles Leclerc: “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.”

Toro Rosso:
Pierre Gasly:
"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."

Brendon Hartley: "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."