Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber failed to build on their impressive qualifying results in today’s Chinese Grand Prix.
Although both drivers started on the front row of the grid, the changeable weather conditions relegated them down the order – ruining any chance of either driver being victorious.
Sebastian Vettel managed to finish sixth, after an eventful race which featured the German driver dicing with a variety of the sports big names.
Team-mate Mark Webber was eighth and complained of his RB6 handling poorly in the changeable track conditions.
Red Bull will hope to regroup and launch a charge for the title from Spain onwards.
Sebastian Vettel – 6th: “It was a difficult race – on nearly every second lap there was a car to pass or I got passed. I lost quite a bit of time with the first pit-stop, but we fought our way back and ended the race in sixth. We started on pole, with a one/two actually, but we didn’t finish there. I think today it was very chaotic and to take sixth can be quite important. Obviously our main competitors finished ahead, so that’s not nice. We struggled quite a lot in some of the conditions with the car, it was okay when we were in clean air, our pace was decent, but it’s very on and off in these conditions. It’s a lot just to maintain your track position. I had battle with Lewis (Hamilton) in the pit lane. At the stop I was ahead; I don’t know why he pulled to the left and was keen to touch me. I hoped I didn’t get a puncture from that I don’t really understand why he did that as I was a bit ahead of him and had the advantage anyway.”
Mark Webber – 8th: “It was a difficult race for us and we got a bit blown away we weren’t quick enough, simple as that. There were very changeable conditions during the race, I know it’s the same for everyone, but the cars are very sensitive when it’s not going one way or the other. So, an interesting grand prix. We know where we lose out in these difficult conditions and we will improve it. I went for another set of intermediates towards the end of the race to try and make up some places. I thought it might work, it did, but then we weren’t quick at the end.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal: “It was a very chaotic race today. Both drivers elected to stop early on when the rain came. Unfortunately Mark hit the front jack and damaged his front wing, which ultimately cost both drivers a bit of time. Then, a few laps later as the circuit dried, they ended up coming back in for slicks. Seb got out ahead of Lewis and then they rapidly caught Sutil but, as Seb was passing Sutil, Hamilton got back past him. He lost quite a lot of time at that stage during the race. After the restart, Mark got pushed wide a lost quite a few positions. We took a gamble and opted to put him onto another set of intermediates early. By doing that he was able to leapfrog the cars ahead of him. Unfortunately the tyres were very worn by the end of the race, but it elevated him from twelfth at the time to eighth. Sixth and eighth isn’t the result that we were looking for from first and second, but it is such a lottery in chaotic conditions and they are still valuable points. It’s not often you get a race like that and when you’re first and second you’ve got everything to lose, rather than everything to gain. Things went right for McLaren today, with Lewis on an identical strategy to our guys. So, well done to them and we’ll fight back at the next race.”
Fabrice Lom, Renault, Principal Engineer Track Support: “I hope people enjoyed the show. I’m sure it was a very good race to watch from the outside, but for us it was bad. We recovered a small amount of points, but it was much less than we expected to get here. The good thing is that the engine behaved correctly in these difficult situations, which is always good. We now just have to focus on the next race; we have three weeks to find more pace and be stronger.”