Lewis Hamilton achieved his second successive podium for MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS with a battling third placed finish at the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.
Lewis started from pole and completed a three-stop option/prime/prime/prime strategy, stopping on laps 5, 21 and 37 while Nico was following the same strategy and had stopped on laps 5 and 19, followed by a further stop on lap 20 due to puncture but the team was forced retired his car on lap 21 when a problem with the rear anti-roll bar was identified.
It was a good race for me today and whilst I would have loved the win, I´m really happy with third place and being on the podium for the second race in a row. Fernando and Kimi were just a little bit too fast for us during the race and my tyres were shot at the end trying to keep ahead of Sebastian. I could see his car getting bigger and bigger in my mirrors so it was nice to be able to hang on for the third place. The guys did a great job this weekend to get us where we were; on pole and finishing third. We got the absolute most out of the car we had and that´s very satisfying. We´re not quite there yet in terms of overall pace but everyone is working so hard and I know we can do it.
The race was tough for me today and with my set-up I had an unexpected level of under steer which made it difficult to drive. After my second pit stop, the feeling got worse and I had one front wheel in the air during the corners. The rear anti-roll bar, which influences the balance of the car, had broken so unfortunately we had to retire the car. It´s a shame and I´ve had a difficult start to the season with two DNFs. But it´s good to have the next race in just seven days time so hopefully we can put this result behind us with a strong weekend in Bahrain. It was great for the team to get another podium today.
We didn´t quite enjoy the balance with the car today that we were expecting. Clearly the track had moved away from us and perhaps more towards one or two other teams. Certainly we didn´t have as good a balance in the race as we had on Friday. With Lewis, we did the best we could with the car we had today and he drove extremely well. We needed to keep the stints as evenly balanced as possible to make sure we had adequate tyre life, however, even with that, it became very close with Sebastian at the end. Nico was running with the same issues a few places back when a problem with the rear anti-roll bar meant we had to stop the car. Overall we can be confident that we´ve made another step forward this weekend, and the fact that we´re all a little disappointed with third is a measure of the ambition and expectations of the team.
Well done to Lewis for the second podium finish in the last two races. He drove a very good race, just fending off Sebastian who had reeled him in on his option tyres over the last five laps. Starting from pole obviously raises expectations, however we knew that tyre management would be very critical for us today. During practice and qualifying, the track conditions suited us better than in the race today and, as a result, the balance of the car changed and wasn’t as good for both drivers. Unfortunately Nico had to retire from the race on lap 21 with a broken anti-roll bar and we will analyse the reason for this. We will work hard to make sure that technical problems like the ones Nico experienced do not happen again so that both drivers can score points in the Bahrain Grand Prix next weekend.
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