The Shanghai International Circuit played host to an exciting and chaotic Chinese Grand Prix today; Pascal was running as high as 4th at one stage! As was the case with the rest of the weekend, tyres were the biggest factor over the 56 laps and 6 stops made it a busy day for our pit crew.
Towards the end of the race, we spotted an opportunity for Pascal, already keeping four cars behind him, to reel in the Renault of Kevin Magnussen, running directly ahead on worn tyres. We opted for our only Supersoft stint of the race and Pascal took 6.6 secs out of Kev’s advantage over 10 laps but at the flag had to settle for 18th place. Rio came home in P21, ahead of Palmer, securing our second two-car finish of the season.
Rio Haryanto:“In the early part of the race we were in the mix with Sauber, as we have been at various parts of the weekend, and also with Haas, but towards the end we were just lacking pace a little bit. I managed to hold off Palmer until the end which was good, so while I’m happy that we managed to get both cars to the chequered flag again, I was hoping for more of a fight today. The signs are good though and I think we know what we need to do to improve and make that possible. My thanks to my crew and the team and let’s keep pushing for Russia.”
Pascal Wehrlein: “It was a good race, with some positives to take away. Once again we were fighting with some other cars and managed to overtake a few as well. The start went well and then the first few corners were a bit hairy with cars and debris all over the place. We did well to avoid the chaos and made up 17 places from the start to be 4th for a few laps. That was a nice feeling, although I knew it would be short-lived. The car was working fine but I think 18th place is where the car is right now at this event.
At the end we saw the chance to gain on Magnussen, which is why we went for the Supersofts. It was a good feeling to be hunting him down but we only had a limited window on those tyres and it wasn’t quite enough in the end. Everyone finished, so with no DNFs we got ahead of four other cars on merit, but we have to make a good step forward now to make a big difference in the races ahead.”
Dave Ryan, Racing Director: “Both drivers did a great job today and made the best of the car’s potential. The opening lap mêlée presented a few opportunities for a while and it was nice to see Pascal riding as high as 4th and Rio in 8th. These situations shake out eventually, although Pascal did hold on to the top 10 for a good few laps and fought hard to stay in touch with our immediate competitors until the flag. For his final stint we saw an opportunity to reel in Magnussen, who was on old Soft tyres in the dying stages of the race, so we opted for Supersofts which enabled Pascal to take a good chunk out of the Renault, getting the gap down from 10s to as little 3.8.
It wasn’t quite enough in the end but it was a good feeling to be racing all the way to the finish. Rio didn’t have the pace to close up to Nasr, so the objective with him in the final stint was to keep Palmer at bay, which he did quite easily. In short, a better day than yesterday and not a bad outcome, getting two cars to the finish. However, we need to do better and try to get on top of the issues that are holding us back.”