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F1 - Race - 2017 Spanish GP team quotes

Team quotes

14 May 2017 - 19h06, by Olivier Ferret 


- Felipe Massa finished 13th and Lance Stroll 16th at the Spanish Grand Prix
- Lance made a good start on a set of new soft tyres, avoiding the action to move up from P18 to P13 on the opening lap
- After a great start, Felipe and Fernando Alonso made contact at turn two, resulting in a front-right puncture for Felipe and an early pitstop for a new front wing
- Lance made his first pitstop on lap 12 for a new set of soft tyres
- On lap 33 Felipe and Stoffel Vandoorne made contact at turn one bringing out the virtual safety car as Vandoorne retired
- Both drivers made their final stops under the virtual safety car for medium tyres
- On the penultimate lap Felipe passed Lance for P14 and went on to finish 13th, while Lance fell back in the closing stages to finish 16th
- Felipe is now ninth in the Drivers’ Championship, while the team is now sixth in the Constructors’ Championship with 18 points, one point behind Toro Rosso

Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer

It was tough day, particularly with the various incidents at the front, making it a bad day to not be up there in the points. Felipe had a fantastic start and gained several places, but unfortunately he came into contact with Fernando, which caused a front-right puncture. That ruined his race. His pace in clean air was very strong: He was matching Daniel lap-for-lap on his first stint. I think we had the potential to have a very good result. For Lance, he finished the race without incident and he was able to learn more about tyre management and race craft. We hope he can continue to progress in Monaco.

Felipe Massa

I’m so disappointed. I had a fantastic start, passing Perez and Alonso on the straight, and then I got to turn one and saw the incident ahead. I then got to turn two and Alonso was suddenly on the outside of the corner, we touched and I picked up a puncture, which ruined my race. We had a big opportunity to finish fourth today, which I think I could have done because we had good pace. It’s really painful because we lost so many points today as a team.

Lance Stroll

It was not a great race. I have had better ones and I just found it frustrating. The start was good as were the first couple of stints on the soft tyres and I had a good pace at the beginning, but we just struggled on the mediums and started to lose grip. I didn’t feel great in the car and couldn’t get it feeling the way I wanted. It was just one of those races, but I am sure it will be better next time. At every race I get more and more confident, but this weekend was just a tough one.

Toro Rosso

Carlos Sainz

“What a good race, I’m very happy! It was a bit chaotic at the start – we managed to gain a couple of positions but I then ran wide into Turn 2 in order to avoid the accident… I therefore lost some of the positions I had gained, but we were P9 and from that point onwards it was a full-on attack race to try and recover. We managed to do just that and finished P7 after starting P12, a great result! I really enjoyed it out there today because we were always faster than the car in front and never looking in the mirrors. It was also amazing to have such big support from the fans – I was feeling it! I was pushing the whole time, going for the cars I had in front, trying different ways of attacking both on track and in the pit-lane and we managed to do a very complete race weekend. During my in-lap at the end of the race I looked up to my grandstand and it was amazing to see them all so pumped up and cheering me on – I’d like to thank everyone for this amazing support. Talking about thank-yous, I need to make a special mention and congratulate all the pit-stop guys – they’ve improved the pit-stops so much this year and this was a key part of the race today. I now have a surprise for them in the garage in order to thank them in a proper way: let’s enjoy some good Spanish ham and beers together! Well-deserved by everyone!”

Daniil Kvyat

“It feels great to finish in the points today, I’m proud of myself and my engineers! We didn’t give up after a difficult day yesterday and followed a great strategy to go from last to P9! Of course we need to analyse and find out what happened yesterday, because we can’t afford qualifying sessions like this to happen anymore, but today’s race was fun. I was able to overtake many cars at a circuit where normally it’s not easy to do so and enjoyed every lap of the race a lot, so I’m very happy. These points are very welcome after a tough weekend! Thanks everybody!”

Franz Tost (Team Principal)

“A good race for us today: to finish P7 with Carlos and P9 with Daniil is a great result for us. Both the drivers and the team performed really well after a disappointing qualifying session yesterday but it’s positive to see that no one gave up on the challenge and at the end, what counts is the race! It seems that all the upgrades that we brought here to Barcelona this weekend worked well. Especially in the race, we saw some good overtakes and we are now back to fifth position in the Constructors’ Championship, which is always our target for the season. Regarding the strategy, we made very good decisions and both drivers did a great job. I always said that this race could be a good one for us, where we needed to score as many points as possible, as this track suits the set-up of our car and it’s pleasing to see that we could actually do so. I believe the same is true for the next race in Monaco, so let’s approach it in the same way and get ready for it now.”

Force India

Force India scored 22 points in today’s Spanish Grand Prix as Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon raced to fourth and fifth places.


“It has been an incredible day for us and I’m very proud of our team and the job we have done all weekend. Everything worked out for us and we have come away with some big points. We made the most of the opportunities that came up and we were there when it mattered to pick up the points. I didn’t make the best start, but I stayed out of trouble and made it safely around the first lap. Then I kept my head down, managed my speed and controlled the race to bring the car home. The only small issue was a slow pit stop, but I had enough time to the car behind and it didn’t make a difference. So big congratulations to the whole team because it hasn’t been an easy weekend in terms of finding a car set-up. To be leaving here with a fourth place feels amazing and gives us big confidence for the rest of the season.”


“I’m really happy today. Fifth place is a great result for me and, together with Checo in fourth, a fantastic day for the team. It’s a great ending to a weekend where we worked incredibly hard and it’s a nice reward for everybody in the team. The car was fast in qualifying and we were on the pace straight away yesterday. We kept pushing and we showed good speed in the race as well. Sure, there were some circumstances this afternoon that helped us, but you need to be ready to take the opportunities when they come your way. Once we had made it through the first lap chaos, we had the pace to easily keep ahead of all the cars behind and we could manage our race. I feel we maximised what we could get out of today: the team are doing everything right at the moment and that’s what makes us so strong. There’s still a lot we can achieve this year: we are always there when it counts and the car is consistently fast. Scoring points every time we go out is what really matters for the championship so we need to keep up this consistency.”


“A fantastic result for everybody at Sahara Force India. The 22 points scored strengthen our hold on fourth place in the championship and continue our 100% points-scoring record in every race this season. We are now the only team to have achieved this and that’s a huge credit to the hard work of the race team and factory. It was a fairly routine race from our perspective with mature drives from Sergio and Esteban. They kept their noses clean and managed their pace to bring home our best result of the year so far. This consistency is a real strength of the team and we can feel very satisfied with our performance over the first quarter of the season.”

Haas F1

Haas F1 Team earned another point-paying result when driver Romain Grosjean finished 10th in the Spanish Grand Prix Sunday at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya. It was nearly a double-points effort for the American outfit, as teammate Kevin Magnussen ran among the top-10 before a cut tire on the penultimate lap forced him to pit. He finished 14th.

Both drivers made the most of the start when the typical chaos of turn one unfolded. With Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen making contact, along with Williams’ Felipe Massa and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso coming together, Haas F1 Team’s drivers seized the opportunity.

Magnussen and Grosjean picked their way through the carnage to rise to eighth and 10th, respectively. After Magnussen left the grid in 11th and Grosjean in 14th, both drivers were suddenly in the top-10.

Joining them in the top-10 was Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr., who twice mounted spirited charges on Magnussen – the first on lap four and the second on lap 10 – only for Magnussen to close the door each time.

Sainz remained sandwiched in ninth between eighth-place Magnussen and 10th-place Grosjean, even after Magnussen and Sainz pitted together on lap 13. Sainz made another attempt to get around Magnussen when he put his right-side tires in the grass as the duo came off the pit lane and onto the track. Again Magnussen remained out of reach.

With a new set of Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tires on his Haas VF-17, Magnussen held steady and returned to eighth as pit stops cycled through, creating a two-second gap over Sainz by lap 26. Grosjean, meanwhile, was only a second behind Sainz in 10th after emulating Magnussen by pitting for used softs on lap 19.

The chance of a double-points finish began to unravel when the Virtual Safety Car (VSC) deployed on lap 33 for Stoffel Vandoorne’s stricken McLaren in turn one. Magnussen’s advantage over Sainz was gone and after making their final pit stops, Sainz emerged ahead of Magnussen. Grosjean pitted a lap later.

When the race went back to green on lap 37, Magnussen and Grosjean, each of whom were shod on new White medium tires, were 10th and 11th, respectively. Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein, who was on a single-stop strategy, was the other driver ahead of the two Haas F1 Team pilots.

A rare mechanical problem sidelined the front-running Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas on lap 39, allowing Magnussen to climb to ninth and Grosjean to return to 10th.

However, Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was rising, and he passed Grosjean for position on lap 43, dropping Grosjean out of the top-10. Then on lap 65 of the 66-lap race Kvyat made contact with Magnussen, cutting the left-rear tire on Magnussen’s VF-17. Forced to the pits to make a quick change and finish the race, Magnussen dropped to 14th and Grosjean inherited 10th, picking up a single point.

Winning the Spanish Grand Prix was three-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton. It was the Mercedes driver’s 55th career Formula One win, his second of the season and his second at Barcelona. Hamilton’s margin of victory was 3.490 seconds over Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. The victory cut Vettel’s lead in the championship standings to six points with still 15 races remaining.

Five rounds into the 20-race Formula One schedule, Haas F1 Team is eighth in the constructors standings with nine points, five behind seventh-place Renault and four ahead of ninth-place Sauber. Grosjean is 12th in the driver standings and Magnussen is 14th.

Formula One takes a weekend off before returning to action May 25-28 for the Monaco Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco.

Romain Grosjean

“Well, it’s good for the team to score a point, but a shame for Kevin with his puncture to lose P9. I had a good start, then into turns one and two there were a lot of cars spinning. I had to go on the astroturf to avoid them. If that hadn’t been the case, I’d have been next to (Nico) Hulkenberg or in front of him and the race would’ve been different. The pace was there on the softs, but I was always into traffic. On mediums – I really struggled to get those tires to work. There’s a lot of work we can do. I was happier with the car today than yesterday, but still we have to work hard to get a good run home.”

Kevin Magnussen

“It’s annoying. We could’ve had the points with both cars, so it’s pretty disappointing. There was some contact there with Kvyat. I would’ve been fine, but I got a puncture from the contact. I gave it everything I had today. If we had finished in the points, that would’ve been a good result for us. I’m very disappointed not to do that.”

Gunther Steiner

“A disappointing end following a good start to the race. We were in good positions, the car was going well on the soft tires, and then the Virtual Safety Car came out. We lost all our momentum. It just came out at the wrong time. We went too early onto the medium tires, not as planned. The medium tire – we just couldn’t get it to work. The guys lost a few positions and then Kevin had a puncture. The only good thing coming out of here is that we got a point. We should have more, but that’s racing.”

Renault F1

Renault Sport Formula One Team secured its best-ever finishing position of sixth place thanks to a strong drive from Nico Hülkenberg in the Formula 1 Gran Premio de España Pirelli 2017 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Nico made a demon start from thirteenth to seventh, then his pit crew were able to assist in him making a further position during the 66-lap race. Nico’s finish is one place better than the team’s previous best, seventh thanks to Kevin Magnussen in last year’s Russian Grand Prix. Jolyon Palmer endured a tough Grand Prix employing a three-stop strategy from his P17 start to finish in fifteenth. Thanks to today’s result, Renault Sport Formula One Team moves to seventh position in the Constructors’ Championship.

Nico started the race in P13 on new Soft tyres, changing to scrubbed Softs on lap 15 and then new Medium tyres on lap 33.

Jolyon started the race from P17 on a new set of Medium tyres, pitting on the first lap for a new set of Softs, then stopping for further new Soft tyres on laps 21 and 42.

Nico Hülkenberg

“P6 is a great result for us and very rewarding too. It’s been our lucky day with some of the top cars out at the start, but also later on in the race too, so we clearly benefited from that. At the same time, we were there at every opportunity to do a good job and the guys did a great second pit stop to enable us to pass the Sauber. I feel very comfortable in the car but we still have work ahead of us to catch up our closest competitors.”

Jolyon Palmer

“We went for an aggressive strategy today given my starting position on the grid. I think it’s fair to say it didn’t bring us the reward we wanted. I wasn’t able to get the pace out of the car when it was needed, however we were going better on the final set of tyres. My job now is to sit down with my engineers and analyse the race whilst we also have a good look at the car too. I’m determined that we will do better in Monaco.”

Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director

“A fantastic race result after a difficult qualifying session yesterday. It goes to show, you should never let your head go down and you should always maximise every opportunity. Nico took advantage of a great start, the pit crew delivered exactly what was required during the race and also a bit of luck fell our way. We showed good execution of strategy and pit stops and our race pace was better than that of our competitors, Haas, Williams and Toro Rosso. It is positive that we continue to improve in these areas, however we still have to work hard to understand how to maximise the performance of the R.S.17; this weekend was rather unusual for us because our race pace was better than our qualifying performance. For Jolyon it was a tough Grand Prix and we are dedicated to understanding what we can do to improve this. We head next to Monaco, a circuit which presents very unique challenges, eager to continue the team’s upward trajectory.”


The McLaren-Honda team was unable to capitalise on the upgrades brought to the first European race of the season at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Stoffel made a good start from the final slot on the grid, moving up to 15th by the end of the first lap. Despite a fierce battle and a strong passing manoeuvre on Jolyon Palmer, Stoffel – like Fernando – struggled to maintain his place within the pack during the first round of pit-stops, and settled into 16th place until lap 32. At Turn One, Felipe Massa was unsighted as he closed in along the pit straight, and he and Stoffel made contact, the resultant suspension damage to Stoffel’s car forcing him to retire from the race. Stoffel will take a three-place grid penalty in Monaco for the incident.

Despite his strongest grid slot of the year, Fernando lost his seventh position on the opening lap, after being pushed wide by Massa into Turn Two and taking a trip across the gravel. He lost ground and dropped down the order, ending the first lap in 11th place. The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya being a relatively high speed track, the MCL32 wasn’t able to progress through the field, and Fernando lost positions through the first and second round of pit-stops, after which he spent much of the afternoon in 15th place. A spirited drive and an unplanned final pit stop on lap 51 allowed him to find better pace in the closing stages, and he moved back up to finish his home race in 12th position.

Fernando will tonight fly to Indianapolis for the first practice session tomorrow morning ahead of his Indy 500 debut. Meanwhile, Jenson Button will visit the McLaren Technology Centre this week to drive the simulator again, before deputising for Fernando in the Monaco Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.


“The race didn’t go as we’d planned. We were a little bit unlucky with the contact in Turn Two with Felipe [Massa] and then we were behind Daniil [Kvyat] for too many laps in the mid part of the race, but even without that I think we didn’t have the race pace to be in the points today to be honest.

“I’m a little disappointed, but at least we finished the race, and hopefully this is the first sign of a step forward in reliability. We now need to prepare better the next Grand Prix.

“Tomorrow at 9.00am I need to be at the Brickyard, and at 12.00pm noon I’ll be in the car for first practice. So I now have 14 hours to rest, nine of which will be spent on the plane, so we need to switch into Indy mode now, and for the next two weeks my full focus will be on that.”


“I haven’t seen the [Massa] incident properly on TV yet. I wasn’t really expecting Felipe [Massa] to be there – I think I left enough space for him to be able to pass – but unfortunately we made contact and my front wheel broke, so that was the end of the race for me.

“I don’t want to blame anyone, and in my personal opinion it was just a racing incident.

“The manoeuvre on Jolyon [Palmer] was my first overtake this season, so at least I got something out of the race. The fact that that move felt so good shows that our package still isn’t strong enough, and we’re still not in a position to fight with the others. But we’ve taken a step forward for this race with the upgrades we brought here, and some areas are definitely improving, but in the race we’re still struggling a bit. Hopefully we can carry some more improvements into the next race.

“I don’t want to make any predictions for Monaco, but the chassis has been improving, and hopefully we’ll bring a couple more updates that will pay off. We’ll have to wait and see, and try our best; that’s all we can do at the moment.”


“After our encouraging qualifying pace yesterday, it goes without saying that we’re very disappointed today.

“Through no fault of his own, Fernando got involved in Felipe’s [Massa] lap-one ‘off’, and immediately dropped half a dozen places as a result. He pushed as hard as he could thereafter, but the gap proved unbridgeable and he ended up driving a lonely race to 12th place.

“After being awarded a 10-place grid penalty as a result of the team’s decision to replace some elements of his car’s power unit this morning, Stoffel was forced to start the race from 20th and last place. From there he drove the first third of the race very hard and very well, working his way up to P16 by lap 20, the highlight being a strong passing manoeuvre on Jolyon’s [Palmer] Renault.

“Unfortunately, his good progress came to a halt on lap 33, when contact with Felipe’s Williams damaged his suspension and rendered his car undriveable.

“So, results-wise, today is a day for us to forget, but there are positives to be taken from the weekend nonetheless, not least our solid qualifying pace. It’s clear that the MCL32 is a chassis that our drivers can really lean on – and that quality augurs well for Monaco, on whose sinuous streets we’ll do battle with our rivals once again in two weeks’ time.”


“After yesterday’s good qualifying with a great performance by Fernando at his home grand prix, today’s result turned out to be disappointing for all of us in the team.

“Fernando was running well despite having an unfortunate incident on the first lap and finding himself back down the grid. He never gave up and showed encouraging pace while chasing the cars in front. I’m disappointed as I think today his pace was good and we were competitive enough to get some points.

“It was a tough race for Stoffel. He had to start from the last row and then retired in the middle of the race. I think he’s having a challenging time at the moment but we’ll overcome the situation together with him.

“Next up is Monaco, and it will be a big opportunity for us. It’s a very technical circuit and a real drivers’ track, so here’s hoping Stoffel and Jenson will run well there.”

Red Bull


“I’m happy to be back on the podium today, it’s the first one of the season for me which is nice but actually the race was quite a lonely one. I didn’t have any real battles and my race was more about trying to keep a rhythm and maintain concentration. I got a bit fortunate with Valtteri’s problem towards the end of the race which bumped me up to third, but of course I’m still happy to be up there again and see all the smiles from the team. Today we will enjoy the podium but tomorrow we need to understand how to further close the gap to Ferrari and Mercedes. I want to take the positives from this weekend, we will keep working hard and chipping away. I don’t think it’s impossible to catch the leaders at some point, maybe it will take a little longer than we had hoped but we will get there. I think I got the maximum out of the car today and moving on to Monaco we will have a few more updates, which will hopefully give us another step, and at that track it’s fair to say anything can happen.”


“An unfortunate start to the race which ultimately finished it also. I tried to go around the outside as there was plenty of room there. If Valtteri had not touched Kimi, we all would have had enough room to get through that corner. Due to the contact it meant Kimi lost control and slammed into me, but it wasn’t his fault. Sometimes you have a bit of luck, like last year, sometimes you don’t as we can see this year. It was shame to not be able to take part in the race after the incident as I think with this weekend’s upgrades it could have been fun and we could have got a good result. After an unfortunate race for me it’s important to focus and look ahead to Monaco, I’m hoping we can continue to improve and have a good fight there.”


“Daniel drove a good race today, quite a lonely race for him and unfortunately we didn’t have the pace to go with the leaders but we obviously benefitted from Bottas’ retirement for him to record his first podium of the year which was great to see. Max made a good start and after committing to the outside of turn one he was the unfortunate victim of Valtteri hitting Kimi who in turn went into him and broke his front suspension causing his retirement, a great shame for him. Looking at the weekend as a whole, we’ve definitely put some performance on the car, as we have done after every race this season but we are well aware we’ve still got a lot to do. Now we look ahead to the most prestigious race on the calendar in Monaco and hope we can continue the performance trend and put in a positive show there.”


Mixed emotions after tense Barcelona battle, as Lewis claims victory but Valtteri retires

- Lewis took his 55th career victory today – his second at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and second of the 2017 season.
- Valtteri experienced his first retirement as a Silver Arrows driver with a mechanical failure on lap 39
- Lewis set the fastest lap of the race for the third time this season – the 50th Formula One fastest lap for the three pointed star
- Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (161 points) lead the Constructors’ Championship by eight points from Ferrari (153 points) in P2
- Lewis (98 points) closes the gap on Sebastian Vettel (104 points) to just six points in the Drivers’ Championship, with Valtteri (63 points) a further 35 points back in P3

Lewis Hamilton

It’s been a really good weekend and a great way to bounce back from Russia. It was the rawest fight that I can remember having in a long-time. I loved it, this is why I race. This is what made me get into racing in the first place. This is what the sport needs to be like every single weekend. To have a close battle like that with a four-time champion is awesome. I lost out on the start and had to watch Sebastian fly by. He was so fast out in front and it was such a push to keep in touch with him and not let him pull away. I was able to manage my tyres in the first stint and keep relatively close, then it was tricky to keep up on the Medium tyre and then after the second stop. We came out so close together which was super tight into Turn 1. He didn’t give me much space, it was close! I thought Seb would get me at the end of the final stint but I was able to do it. I have to congratulate my team today, with the strategy and the pit stops, as well as everyone back at the factory that has worked so hard to deliver these upgrades, enabling us to be so close in this fight with Ferrari.

Valtteri Bottas

It’s been a tough weekend. We had problems straight from practice, when we had to swap to the old engine on Saturday morning. Then today we had an engine failure in the race. We don’t know any more than that at this stage. We knew it was a risk switching back to the old Power Unit in terms of the mileage but we didn’t if we wanted to qualify yesterday. At least we got more points than Ferrari today in spite of the retirement. The first corner was very tight. I had a good start but there was no were to go. I tried to avoid the collision but I touched Kimi. Lewis was on a different strategy while I was running long. We tried to execute a one-stop which is why I was lapping slower at that point. It could have been a rewarding strategy but with the Virtual Safety Car the guys in front had a free pit stop. We should have both been on the podium today. It’s always disappointing when you don’t finish but we’ll pick ourselves up and move on.

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

That was an epic Grand Prix. Racing simply doesn’t go more wheel to wheel – and we were treated to some fantastic racing for the win. Today’s win was one for the whole team: an amazing drive from Lewis, great calls by our strategy team, good defensive driving by Valtteri, the fastest pit stops of the race and a quick, consistent upgraded car. Everything clicked and came together for us. It wasn’t an easy race after we lost position at the start: we were on the back foot, so when Vettel covered the early undercut, we sent Lewis long and took the medium tyre – to give us options at the end with another set of softs. Then we made perfect use of the VSC and took a risk to run nearly half the race on a set of softs: we thought it would work out but it was always going to be tight. After that, it came down to some brilliant driving and then managing the tyres and engine just right to the final lap. But it was not a perfect day: we lost one car with a technical failure and Valtteri struggled with a damaged car after the contact at Turn One. In spite of that, he drove well and the one-stop approach could have worked out for him until the VSC happened. But it was a day when only one Ferrari finished, so in spite of the retirement, we built up our championship lead. But this was Lewis’ day with a supreme drive. People have been asking me if Lewis is now back. The truth is he has never been away – and today’s showed it.

James Allison, Technical Director

Grands Prix like that are why we go motor racing. Winning is always lovely. But when you win a proper 12 round heavyweight fight in this kind of style, and along the way answer all sorts of questions about tyre degradation, following other teams and the car’ s handling – and then see a driver at the peak of his craft like Lewis was today – there’s nothing better than that. It was a body blow not to get our second car home and we will be looking carefully at what happened to Valtteri. But the sweetness of winning is some compensation for the bitterness of that retirement.


“Thanks everyone, the car was very good and very quick today.” That was Seb’s message to the team over the radio, similar in fact to what he had to say after qualifying. Scuderia Ferrari leaves Spain with Vettel still leading the championship, while Kimi had the misfortune to be the first retirement, after a collision on the opening lap. In the five races so far this season, the Scuderia has always finished on the podium.

This race was one of the best of the year. A perfect getaway from second on the grid saw Seb move ahead of Lewis Hamilton and into the lead. Things did not go so well for Kimi: at the first corner, he was tapped from behind by Bottas and that pushed him into Verstappen which meant the Iceman had to pull over to the side of the track with broken front left suspension.

Seb pulled away in the early laps and behind him, Hamilton reacted. For the opening laps, the gap stayed around the 2 second mark and then it looked as though the Mercedes man was trying to close with the intention of pulling off an “undercut” by pitting early to emerge in front. Ferrari reacted, bringing Seb in on lap 14, fitting another set of Softs. Vettel rejoined behind Ricciardo. At the start of lap 16, he passed the Red Bull under braking and set a fastest lap of 1’24”901.

Hamilton pitted on lap 21 and went for the Medium tyres, while Seb was attacking Bottas who was doing everything he could to keep ahead. Lap 35 and Seb dived to the left, went onto the grass and got by at Turn 1, so the Vettel-Hamilton duel was back on. Lewis was 4” down but on the harder rubber. On lap 33, Vandoorne closed the door on Massa, went off the track and the race went into Virtual Safety Car mode. Hamilton came in on lap 37 and soon after the race was on again. Seb went for the mandatory set of Medium tyres.

Hamilton was passed on the straight and yet again the duel resumed. Seb pushed hard, really hard in the first two corners. The SF70H hung onto the lead, while Bottas retired. Seb made the most of getting through the backmarkers to also be able to use the DRS down the main straight. But with a clear track, Lewis made the most of his tyre advantage and the moveable wing to get ahead finally on lap 44.

But the fight wasn’t quite over, because Seb’s rival had to look after his softer tyres. “Keep your head down,” engineer Ricky Adami advised his driver. But there were no more opportunities for attempting one final assault. The next episode in this thriller will unfold in Monaco in a fortnight.

Maurizio Arrivabene

“Shame for the end result, but we leave Spain knowing that we can count on a car that is solid and very quick. Seb’s race was very good from the start, and he was able to lead for many laps. In the last stint, despite being on Medium tires, he held off Hamilton until he had to give way to his main rival, who could take the best of DRS and Soft compound. More time was lost behind Bottas and also because of the Virtual Safety Car, which ended just when we had to pit to cover Hamilton’s move. Kimi’s race did not last long, as he was rammed at the first corner. That’s racing, and we must keep our concentration and humility, as we are aware that there is still a lot of work to do and so much to improve. The championship is still a long way and we are already focusing on the next race at Monaco.”

Sebastian Vettel

“My start was good, I saw Lewis struggle with wheelspin, and kept looking in mirror to see if anybody else had a better start. The first stint went ok, then we had to pit, otherwise they might have got us with an undercut. My second stint was also pretty good: I managed to get close to Valtteri who was all over the place with his tyres. He blocked me, in the end I managed to get past, but by then I had lost an awful lot of time. Then in the last stint we did everything we could, the car was good, it was close with Lewis. I am happy when we have the chance to race the Mercedes cars, we can be very happy but not entirely happy today. The most important thing, though, is that we were in the fight; the team is in great form, we need to improve because we want to be ahead of them.”

Kimi Raikkonen

“I made a good start, but on the main straight I got blocked once by Bottas. I chose to lift and go a little bit on the left to leave him space, but, I don’t know how, he hit me on the right rear corner , my car jumped and I end up going into Verstappen. There was nothing me or Max could have done, when you get hit from behind in that way there’s no way to avoid the collision. I’m pretty sure Valtteri had enough space. Unfortunately my race ended there. Obviously it’s very disappointing, we had been running quite well all weekend and I was happy with the behavior of the car.”


The Sauber F1 Team had an unexpected surprising result at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. Pascal Wehrlein saw the chequered flag in P7 after starting the race from P15. The German got a five second penalty due to a mistake at the pit entry before his only pit stop, classifying in P8 at the end. It is Wehrlein’s best result of his Formula 1 career so far. Marcus Ericsson also put in a good performance finishing the race in P11 – close to the points. After an overall challenging weekend, the Swiss team scored the first points of the season, maintaining P9 with four points in the constructors’ championship.

Marcus Ericsson

“For me personally I felt good in the race, but I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. My pit stop just finished once the virtual safety car phase started, so I lost some time there. It is not going my way at the moment. Nevertheless, huge congratulations to the whole team – to everyone here at the track and also in the factory. Today we have been rewarded for the hard work – it is great for the team that Pascal scored four points. Overall it is nice achievement.”

Pascal Wehrlein

“It was a very good race for me today. I am really happy that the performance of the car was there, as well as the strategy with only one pit stop perfectly worked to the end of the race. We could not have expected such a result after the practice sessions. It feels very good to finish this race surprisingly in the points. I want to thank the whole team, as everyone has done a great job throughout the whole weekend. Now I hope that the further updates on the car will also move us forward in Monaco and that we can repeat such results.”

Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal:

“A great result for our team – with a perfect strategy behind it. Both drivers have put in a good performance. Pascal managed to have an excellent race, whereas Marcus also made the most out of the car. Today’s result proves that we are in the right direction and that there is definitely potential in our car. We are curious about what comes next in Monaco when further aero parts will be introduced.”

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Photos - 2018 Chinese GP - Race (708 photos)
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Photos - 2018 Bahrain GP - Pre-race (285 photos)
Photos - 2018 Bahrain GP - Saturday (716 photos)
Photos - 2018 Bahrain GP - Friday (625 photos)
Photos - 2018 Bahrain GP - Thursday (364 photos)

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