No Shanghai surprise but Ferrari confirm challenge

Lewis Hamilton powered to victory in a chaotic Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai yesterday, taking swift revenge for his defeat by Sebastian Vettel in the Formula 1 season-opener. His Ferrari team pulled him into the pits to change to slick tyres on just the second lap following the deployment of the virtual safety auto as Lance Stroll was punted out of the race by Sergio Perez.

"Get in there Lewis!

But it was Vettel who had the more consistent pace: while the Ferrari was in the 1:35s 14 times over the last 17 laps, Hamilton could only better 1:36 on ten occasions".

"That's a great race, mate".

"The cold helped us here", said Hamilton after his win in China.

Hamilton's so-called "bromance" with Vettel has become a defining storyline of the new season, but the Briton is not anticipating a messy break-up even if their title battle goes the distance this year. We were both pushing and those last 20 laps we were really exchanging times.

"That's what racing is all about". The good news is that Bottas had good pace and was matching some of Hamilton's lap times at various stages.

"Naturally, he wants to kill me out there, and vice versa, but outside the auto there is an admiration for the other's achievements and the way that they drive".

It was the eighth career podium finish for the youngster Verstappen, who has so far started in 42 grands prix.

The triple world champion and the teenaged Red Bull driver engaged in some light-hearted banter on the podium, withHamilton, while summing up the race, hesitating mid-sentence and seemingly forgetting Verstappen's name before calling him "this young guy here".

"Grazie a tutti!" said Vettel over the radio. "I think I overtook nine cars in the opening lap so it was a very good race for me", Verstappen said.

"We need to start scoring bigger points to stay in the fight, but it's going to be a long year. We couldn't prove that, but next time we will".

"Lewis was quick. full stop", Vettel conceded.

"So where are we gonna finish.?" "But if we find ourselves in a situation where Ferrari is fighting for victory in the championship, then our drivers are well aware of the rules of the game". "These were quite good temperatures for me [in China] with our auto".

With Vettel sixth after the restart, he found himself stuck behind teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who was still on the Intermediate tire and working to pass Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo. Valterri Bottas was sixth, followed by Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso), Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and the Force India's of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon. To get our vehicle ahead of a Ferrari and a Mercedes is a good day's work. "It was very slippery out there and he lost it and the race was gone". The first incident of the race happened on the opening lap itself, when Force India's Sergio Perez collided with the Williams of Lance Stroll, spinning the latter's auto on to the gravel.

  • Julie Sanders