Felipe Massa finished sixth and Valtteri Bottas 10th in today’s Chinese Grand Prix. Felipe gained three places on the opening lap and managed his strategy and tyres well. He fought hard throughout and was able to hold off the Mercedes of Hamilton to finish sixth. Valtteri lost out at the start after avoiding a collision between two Ferraris. He ran as high as second despite the safety car disrupting his strategy, but came under attack by drivers on fresher tyres late on and crossed the line 10th.
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: It was a difficult race to read with the safety car and people on very different strategies. To come out of that with the car that started 10th finishing sixth means we did a good job with the strategy. We tried to minimise the stops and that was definitely right if you look at what happened with Felipe. He drove a great race and it was good to see him hold off Hamilton. To keep a faster car behind for that length of time, and to actually pull away because he managed his tyres well, was pleasing to see. Valtteri had to go wide at Turn 1 on the first lap, which put him right down the pecking order in 10th, so it was a game of catch up from there on in. His race was going pretty well until the safety car. He was a little bit off colour at the end on the mediums, so we need to have a look because that’s completely not like him. He’s usually very good at saving the tyres and getting the most out of them, so we’ll look at what happened and come back stronger for the next race. It was a good reaction from the team, on the back of Bahrain, to come and have a sensible weekend. We made some very good decisions on car set-up, which perhaps gave us a little more pace in the midfield. We still need more pace because this is not where we want to be, another two or three tenths would make a big difference.
Felipe Massa: It was a good race. I spent the whole race fighting with other cars and we got our strategy right. I was worried about my strategy when the safety car came out, because I had no idea if it would work or not, but actually after the safety car the pace was really good straight away, so I managed to build a good gap to the other guys. We managed the tyres perfectly today. I am really, really happy with my performance, it was a very enjoyable race.
Valtteri Bottas: It was a disappointing race. I was blocked at the start because of the crash between the Ferraris and lost many positions. The beginning of the race was looking alright, the pace was pretty good on the soft tyres, but once I went on to the medium tyre the pace was not there and I was struggling with overall grip. We need to check and see if everything was alright with the car, but it was difficult out there today in the last stint.