Nel GP della Cina Lewis Hamilton ha conquistato la 54° vittoria in F1, la quinta allo Shanghai International Circuit e la prima 2017, ma anche il terzo Grand Chelem (pole position, vittoria, giro più veloce, in testa dall’inizio alla fine). Più complessa la gara di Valtteri Bottas che, partito 3°, ha chiuso 6°, dopo una sosta lenta, seguita da un testacoda sui pneumatici ancora freddi e pista bagnata, che l’ha fatto scivolare fino alla 12° posizione nelle prime fasi. Quella di oggi è stata anche la 150° gara della Mercedes in F1.
Lewis (43 punti) è in testa al campionato Piloti a parimerito con Sebastian Vettel, mentre Valtteri (23 punti) è 4°, a due punti da Max Verstappen (25 punti) in P3 e a uno da Kimi Räikkönen (22 punti) in P5. Dopo il secondo round la Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport è in testa al Costruttori (66 punti), per un punto sulla Ferrari. Ma ecco le dichiarazioni degli uomini del team:
Lewis Hamilton: “My pole lap put me in a great position and then the start was just fantastic. I’m really happy with my starts right now so I want to keep that up! During the race I needed to keep my composure in some really tricky conditions out there. After the pit stop under the Safety Car the speed was low and the tyres were very cold, so it would have been very easy to make a mistake, so I’m just grateful that I didn’t. In those final 20 laps Seb and I were just pounding around as fast as we could, exchanging fastest lap times, that’s what racing is all about. In the future there will be times when we don’t have a Safety Car and we won’t have that gap. I’m excited for that. It’s very close and there were times when it was hard to match Sebastian. It has been a fantastic weekend and I’m so grateful for the effort the team has put in for us to be where we are. It’s very overwhelming when you have a weekend like this, I’m just a single link in the chain and there are hundreds of people who are involved to put me up here on the top step. Big congratulations to everyone, especially those back home, hope they’re celebrating and feeling the spirit and the fight”.
Valtteri Bottas: “I’m very disappointed with today. I made a good start but it didn’t go so well from there. Yes, we lost some time in the pit stop but it was nothing compared to what we lost with my mistake. I was trying everything I could to get temperature in the tyres behind the Safety Car but went too aggressive and lost control of the car. It was entirely my fault. I’m really sorry for the team and the points we lost today. It took few laps to get the tyres working after the spin but in the end my pace was okay. I think we made the right choice sticking with the Soft tyre for the second stint. The car was good today – a winning car, obviously. But the laps were running out as I was getting closer to the cars in front and I couldn’t recover enough of the time I lost. I’m leaving for Bahrain tonight and I’m glad the next race comes soon. Once you’ve done a mistake it’s done, so you try to forget it and do everything you can to make up for it next time, so I will take a look in the mirror at myself and come back stronger”.
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “This was a great drive by Lewis and a great result. Pace-wise, things looked pretty good out there today in all conditions, although there wasn’t much between us and Ferrari when we were running in free air. For Lewis, it was a pretty drama-free afternoon: he was managing the pace in the right way, our strategy was spot on and, on an afternoon when there was lots of scope for making mistakes, he didn’t put a foot wrong. As for Valtteri, his spin behind the Safety Car was unfortunate and cost him a lot of time. Mistakes like this happen but it was encouraging to see he had the pace in the car after that and could at least battle back to the position he held before the spin. Now he needs to forget about it and concentrate on the next race. Overall it’s now 1:1 for us against Ferrari and the development race is on. This is just the beginning…”.
James Allison, Technical Director: “Every single victory in Formula 1 feels great but this one is particularly satisfying after coming away from Melbourne without the win – it’s nice to get that monkey off our back. Our strategy calls were all tidily executed in what was a complicated race early on with the wet-dry track. Lewis drove faultlessly today but Valtteri unfortunately paid a heavy price for a small mistake behind the Safety Car. He raced well from that point forwards but his Grand Prix was heavily compromised by his early spin. We head to Bahrain on a high but we know we will be back to square one in terms of fighting a very strong opposition. We know that we will have to be absolutely on top of our game to do well there. All focus now on the next race and trying to repeat this great result”.