After the positives from the Baharain GP it was a frustrating weekend for all in China
Warmer conditions on race day increased hopes of a return towards the Bahrain level of performance in China, with the chassis having not responded well to the cold on Saturday.
Recovering a strong result was always going to be tough however, with Brendon starting from 15th and Pierre 17th in a closely-matched midfield. A difficult start left both cars running together in 18th and 19th on the opening lap and although some progress was being made on alternate strategies, the performance level was not there for us to fight for points.
A miscommunication then led to Pierre and Brendon colliding at Turn 14, compromising both their races and limiting Pierre to 18th place while Brendon had to retire in the closing stages with a gearbox issue.
While the car was less competitive on this track than in Bahrain, the power unit ran smoothly and we will now analyse all of the information from the opening three races in order to understand how we can unlock the full potential of the power unit and chassis combination on future circuits.
TEAM VIEWPOINTS – MANAGEMENT
TOYOHARU TANABE – TECHNICAL DIRECTOR, HONDA F1
After a strong showing in Bahrain just a few days ago, we have had a much more difficult weekend in Shanghai and today’s poor result reflects that.
On the PU front, everything ran smoothly, but our overall pace was not very good and then it was unfortunate that our two cars collided. Now, after three races in just four weeks, we can assess what we have learned in order to improve for the future.
FRANZ TOST – TEAM PRINCIPLE, TORO ROSSO
First of all, congratulations to Red Bull Racing for this fantastic victory. It was a fantastic decision from the strategy side and Daniel Ricciardo took the chance. He had everything under control to win the race.
Unfortunately, Toro Rosso didn’t perform well. This weekend we struggled from the very beginning onwards – we were near the back on the starting grid, and during the race we couldn’t find the pace we needed. In addition to this, we had the collision between the two drivers because of a communication misunderstanding, which is a real shame. At the end of the race, we detected an issue on the gearbox of Brendon’s car and therefore we had to retire. Hopefully we can find the reason for this bad performance and be more competitive in Baku.
PIERRE GASLY #GAS10
It was a difficult weekend for us overall because we never found the pace since Saturday morning. We knew the race would be difficult after the performance we had in qualifying and the car was quite tricky.
Today things didn’t really work out for us, so we have plenty to analyse between the two weekends and try to understand why we were fast in Bahrain and why we struggled in Shanghai. I apologise to Brendon for the contact we had, the team told me that they were going to switch our positions so I went on the inside of the back straight thinking he would give me space. Unfortunately, I don’t think he saw me and once I was on the inside there was nothing I could do. We lost a lot of time after that, I broke my front wing and the steering bent at the end of the race, so it was really difficult to drive and we couldn’t do much from there. We have some work to do to get ready for Baku, it’s a track I know and like so I’m looking forward to getting there.
BRENDON HARTLEY #HAR28
It was a tough day for us, at the beginning of the race I had no grip on the Ultrasofts so that compromised our strategy. Starting near the back of the grid we tried alternating strategies to give us a better chance but unfortunately that didn’t work.
I think the accident with Pierre was down to a miscommunication. The team asked us to swap positions because we were on completely different strategies, so I was going to let him by on the exit of Turn 14 like I did at the start of the race. The second time we had to change positions I planned to do the same but I got hit from behind at the apex. Then towards the end of the race I had to retire because the team saw an issue with the gearbox. In the end it was a long afternoon.