It was a very happy Sebastian Vettel that was standing on the second step of the rostrum at the Shanghai International Circuit on Sunday afternoon, the German's grin that broad you could have worn he was the winner and not Lewis Hamilton. It was almost a mirror image of the Australian Grand Prix podium when Hamilton's second place finish made him just as elated.
The race got underway on a damp track, with Seb making an early stop to change from Intermediate to Soft tyres, but immediately after that the Safety Car came out because of Giovinazzi's accident and wiped out the advantage of the German driver's tactical move, as all the drivers had to come through pit lane. Seb then put on a show, passing Kimi, Ricciardo and Verstappen, before closing on the leader Hamilton right at the end, crossing the line in P2.
“We can be happy with today's results. The race was a lot of fun, very entertaining,” he smiled. “Conditions were tricky at the start, you never know what can happen in those moments, so I was perhaps a bit too conservative. Then we chose to change tires since the track was quickly drying out, so that we could take advantage from the slicks; but luck was not on our side as the safety car came in right after. I can't say how much this affected the final result, it was still a long way from there to the finish, but I think it had an effect. “
“rom then I had to work my way through the field, and I had a tense wheel-to-wheel fight with Ricciardo. I like this way of overtaking, when gaining position comes at a price and not simply by opening up the DRS. At that moment though, the gap to Lewis had widened, and I kept pushing to keep some pressure on him, while asking my engineer what pace was needed for me to catch him. I think that pace-wise we were a match today, sometimes he was faster, sometimes I was: if we can fight with Mercedes also in Bahrain that will be again good news. We can still improve.”