Sun: McLaren, Red Bull, Merc, Ferrari

Date published: April 17 2011

Lewis Hamilton won the Chinese GP ahead of the two Red Bulls, Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg and the Ferraris…

Lewis Hamilton won the Chinese GP ahead of the two Red Bulls, Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg and the Ferraris….

McLaren:
Lewis Hamilton: “I’m still struggling for words – that really was one of my best races. Before the start, I was sat in the car and thinking, ‘Okay, let’s go,’ but the car wouldn’t start. I didn’t question what was going on, I just wanted to stay calm and not add to everyone’s stress. When I finally left the garage, I drove down the pitlane watching the light and hoped it wouldn’t turn red – and it didn’t! It’s never been that close before. It’s rare to have battles like the ones we saw today; you really had to think about the situation, and I loved that challenge, but having to overtake people made things so much sweeter. At the end, it was tough to get past Sebastian – even though he was getting slower, he never looked like getting out of shape. It was always going to be difficult to follow him onto the back straight, so I wanted to get him before then – I wasn’t expecting to overtake where I did, but I had the grip to keep ahead, and I made it stick. Looking back at these three flyaways, it still feels absolutely amazing to have a car beneath us that can compete. We’ve still got some way to go to close the gap to the Red Bulls, but we had the better strategy and were able to execute it really well. The team will keep on pushing as hard as ever as we head into the European season. I feel so proud: this race is in my top three of race wins, it’s up there with Silverstone and Monaco in 2008. I exist and I live and I breathe to win: I love winning and I just couldn’t be happier.”

Jenson Button: “Firstly, I want to say congratulations to Lewis – he had good pace and drove a great race today. It was also a fantastic job by the whole team. I had a pretty interesting race – I lost out to Sebastian at the first pitstop when I mistakenly pulled into his box. I was looking down at the steering wheel to adjust a switch: when I looked up, I thought I was in my pitbox, but then I saw the Red Bull pitcrew in front of me! But that moment didn’t really change my race at all. We saw a lot of action out on the track today, but we just weren’t quick enough today. For some reason, I really struggled to look after the rear tyres, and fourth place was the best I could get out of my car today. Nowadays, getting strategy right is very important. I didn’t have a clue where I was going to finish: I could have been seventh, I could have been second. Nonetheless, fourth position is a good result, all things considered. Now I’m looking forward to getting back to MTC and improving the car for the next race. We’ll be pushing as hard as ever, and this victory will be a great motivator for everybody back in Woking – they’ll all be wearing their Rocket Red Victory T-shirts.”

Red Bull:
Sebastian Vettel: “My start was not the best and for some reason it seems the left hand side of the grid is worse here than the right hand side. It wasn’t brilliant and I lost positions to Jenson and Lewis. After that it was about being patient; I think we treated the tyres better in the first stint, we could have stayed out, but there wasn’t reason to at that time, so I came into the box and came out first. It was a surprise that Jenson came into my garage in front of me – I hoped he would carry on. We had something similar two years ago with a Toro Rosso – I don’t know what attracts people to stop in our garage! Fortunately it had no effect and the guys kept their heads. We came out in the lead and tried hard to stay on two stops. The middle stint should really have been a little longer, but at the end of the race I found myself out on the hard tyre and could see Lewis coming closer and closer. I tried to defend as best I could, without losing too much time to the guys behind, but he found his way past. It was a difficult race and we had a couple of mistakes, but we still finished second and third, which is a strong result. Congratulations to Lewis and Mclaren, they did a good job and it just shows that in one race, if you try something a bit different and make a small mistake, there is someone to beat you. It was a good race for us and we can learn a lot from today. Mark had a good race and had good pace. With two stops, you have to be patient and look after your tyres, but it didn’t work today.”

Mark Webber: “We decided to start on the prime tyre, which we know is not the most desired, as it doesn’t have the characteristics of the hard tyre in terms of duration and things like that. So, we got that out of the way, but it was quite tricky actually, as even with the guys I was with, everyone was using DRS at the same time. I made a mistake in Turn 2 on my in-lap and then we came in as there wasn’t much left in the tyres and our race started from there. To see P17 on your board after 15 laps you think it might not happen, but suddenly I felt very comfortable with the car. I had a few sets of tyres left from qualifying, so that helped – and maybe that’s the way to do it! Miss qualifying and go from there! But, all joking aside, I think the guys have done an incredible job – it’s a back to back race and we haven’t had the smoothest run with my car, but I haven’t given up. That drive today was for them and everyone back at the factory. Congratulations to Lewis and it was a good day for us in terms of points for the team.”

Mercedes GP:
Nico Rosberg: “Naturally I’m disappointed with the race today as we know that we didn’t make the most of our opportunity out there. We’ve made a big step with the car this weekend which is really nice to see and we will have better races in future. Leading the race for such a long time was a great feeling but we had issues with the fuel consumption which made it really difficult to fight for position. We could have had a podium finish or maybe more today, but we will learn from this together as a team and make sure that we get the results next time.”

Michael Schumacher: “That was a lot of racing in one Grand Prix this afternoon and very exciting! I had a lot of fun this afternoon and I’m so pleased to see the hard work of our guys paid off this weekend. We have made a big step forward with our car and it worked very well. We are heading towards the first race in Europe now and will bring some upgrades to Istanbul which should help us to improve even more. It is good to leave Asia with a positive feeling.”

Ferrari:
Felipe Massa: “It’s a real shame not managing to finish this race in a better position. It really seems that, from qualifying to the race, we discover another car: yesterday, we were not competitive, today we fought with the leaders right to the end. Unfortunately, on the hard tyres we could not defend position all the way to the end. The strategy? Now, it’s easy to say that we were not on the right one, but we are a team and we take our decisions