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Notebook – Chinese Grand Prix – Review

Daniel Ricciardo has taken his first win of the season, following an action-packed and eventful Chinese Grand Prix.

Verstappen’s messy afternoon

Max Verstappen saw a gap as he went into the hairpin and goes for the move as Sebastian Vettel also turns into the hairpin when they get around to the apex they touch. Both of the cars then spin and they made contact.

It looks as if Vettel struggled into the corner, but it was an over an opportunistic move that Verstappen made on Vettel. Verstappen we know goes for any gap, and that’s what he is known for, but he needs to learn when to go for it.

Following the incident, the Dutchman was awarded a ten second penalty for the collision which moved him back to fifth place. We know that Verstappen can race well and win, but lately, we have seen him be a bit scrappy with his race craft.

Verstappen told ESPN “I could see them struggling on the tyres. I tried to brake late into the corner and locked the rears a bit and hit him, so that was of course my fault.”

“It’s not what you want and of course it’s easier to say afterwards yeah I should have waited, probably would have been the best idea but unfortunately it happened.”

After his second incident in a week, he remains defiant that he doesn’t need to calm down, saying “does it really mean I have to calm down? I don’t think so. It’s just very unfortunate those things happening. I just need to analyse everything and try to come back stronger for the next race.”

I can win a title – Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo says that his victory in the Chinese Grand Prix proves that he could win a title if he was given the right tools. The Red Bull driver pulled off great overtakes on Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas.

For all his talent this was only Ricciardo’s sixth F1 win, his emergence coinciding with Red Bull’s post-2013 dip, but the Australian is desperate for more so he can maximise his talent and fight for championships.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Ricciardo said “It’s a fun way to win for sure. I really feel like, just give me a chance to be in a title hunt and I really believe I’ll take it. I feel I can capitalise on opportunities and I guess today was a good example.”

His win came a week after retirement in Bahrain and he nearly missed qualifying because of an engine failure and says it “crazy” that a week later that he won a race.

Hamilton “in no man’s land”

Lewis Hamilton says he was “in no man’s land” as he took fourth in the race, and says he needs to work out why Mercedes were off the pace. The four times champion finished fourth in the race and out scored his championship rival Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton started the race from fourth, but following a bad start he dropped back to fifth and then struggled to recover lost ground. He told BBC News “”I just didn’t have the pace. I have to figure out what it is. I can’t have disaster weekends like this.”

The Englishman also said that the team failed to react to the safety car, while Red Bull reacted to it Mercedes chose to leave Hamilton out on track. That what allowed Ricciardo to go onto win. He added “It is a tough battle ahead of us. From my side and also the team, we have been underperforming.”

“Yesterday and today have been a disaster on my side. I have to try to rectify that and get myself back in normal performance mode or more points will be lost. [I’m] thankful for a couple of incidents ahead, otherwise more valuable points would be lost. That kind of kept us in the battle.”

Vettel battle “not fair”

Fernando Alonso says that the battle he had with Sebastian Vettel was “not fair” because of the damage to the Ferrari.

The Spaniard erased the six second gap to Vettel in the closing stages of the race, after the German crashed into Max Verstappen causing visible damage to his car. Alonso has admitted after the race that the pass was not a fair reflection of the cars’ actual respective pace.

“It was good. Obviously it was not a fair fight because Sebastian had damage on his car and I was a little bit quicker on the corners,” said Alonso.

“I was surprised when I saw a Ferrari not going too fast at the end. I asked what was the problem and apparently, he had damage on his car so he was struggling a little bit on the corners.

“He was running very wide in the corners, so in the first opportunity I saw the door open and went for it. And in the end, at one point the track finished so he kept going until there was grass, so you need to back off at one point.”

Vettel went off as a result of running out of room when Alonso overtook him, but the German said he was just happy to make it to the end of the race. “I was very vulnerable so he could have passed me another time,” Vettel added.

“I think the way he dived in was now or never, and I obviously had to back off, otherwise we would have just crashed. I was just happy to finish.”

Toro Rosso’s communication crash

Toro Rosso’s drivers Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly have said there collision was caused by miscommunication about a planned change of position.

The Frenchman who was on fresher tyres was coming up behind Hartley half way through the race, as he attempted to go down the inside at the hairpin they collided. After tge race, Gasly told the media  that he believed Hartley had been instructed to let him by – and that he was caught by surprise when the Kiwi turned for the corner as normal.

“They told me on the radio ‘okay, Brendon is going to let you pass, at the end of the straight’. So I expected him to let me by, I went on the inside.

“I expected him to leave me a bit of space to turn, and finally when he started to turn like normally and I was on the inside, was too late and there was nothing I could do. I tried to brake and avoid him, was way too late, we made contact and basically, that was it.

“It was a shame, because of course, the last thing you want is to have contact with your teammate, just a shame, but I think we misunderstood each other.”

Hartley said that he tough he had agreed to allow Gasly to pass on the exit of the corner rather than on entry, like they had done earlier in the race. “”We switched positions on the first stint as well because I was struggling on the ultrasofts, I let him by on the exit of Turn 14 and the second time I was asked, I planned to do the same.

“But my feeling is he must have thought that I was opening the door on the entry, which was not the case.”

The incident yielded a 10-second penalty for Gasly and two penalty points on his licence. “I mean, there was nothing we could do,” said Gasly about the sanction,

Tweets and social media

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, P1 “Holy everything. Starting to come down.. Slowly. Thank you for the kind words. Today meant a lot.”

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, P2 “2nd today 🏆 The team did amazing job today, but today was not for us. We won’t give up 💪🏼 #VB100 #VB77 #F1 #ChineseGP”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, “Lots of learnings from this weekend. I am so grateful to the fans for their incredible support out here, #TeamLHChina, thank you so much 🙏🏽. The full focus is now on Baku and to push for the top result there. @MercedesAMGF1”

Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, P “The pace was good today and we were on top of the midfield, so not a bad day overall. Eight points, we’ll take that home. It was an entertaining one, that’s for sure! ✌🏼 @RenaultSportF1 @F1 #ChineseGP #RSspirit #teamwork”

Carlos Sainz, Renault, P “Very fun race and good points for the team. I felt more comfortable with the car but you have to keep improving! To by Baku! // fun race with good points for the team @RenaultSportF1. More comfortable with the car but we need to keep improving the feeling! Baku Next!” (Translated from Spanish)

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Jack Fielding
Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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