Race Notes: Felipe Massa finished 14th whilst Lance Stroll’s first ever Chinese Grand Prix was cut short after contact from Perez on the opening lap put him into a spin at Turn 10.
It was a chaotic start with the vast majority of the grid starting the 56-lap race on Pirelli’s intermediate tyres after a wet start to the day. The drying track meant Felipe soon switched onto the soft compound, taking the opportunity under the virtual safety car due to Lance’s incident.
Unfortunately, Felipe struggled to get enough grip to maintain position and soon lost positions in the race. A disappointing day for the team leaves Felipe eighth in the Drivers’ Championship whilst Williams Martini Racing moves down to sixth in the Constructors’ Championship.
Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer: It was a tough day for us. It was always going to be a difficult and long afternoon in these mixed conditions. Unfortunately, Lance’s race ended very quickly after being hit from behind at Turn 10, which was a shame after his strong qualifying result yesterday. On Felipe’s side, it was an incredibly painful afternoon and he was lacking in grip throughout. There are lots of things we would have done differently with hindsight. I think everyone was planning on a one-stop race with dry tyres but almost the entire field needed to do an extra stop. Unfortunately, we just weren’t able to show the real pace of the car today, so there’s a lot of work and analysis we need to do back at base in order to come back stronger in future. These are the days where we need to convert our disappointment into constructive development.
Felipe Massa: I’m really disappointed today as everything went wrong for us. I had too much wheelspin at the start, and then behind the safety car we had five slow laps on the dry tyres, so they were completely cold. I wasn’t able to drive in the proper way because it felt like I was driving on ice. That was the worst part; we lost so much time and so many positions. Then we tried to risk stopping before the others to see if we could pass people and keep up the pace, but I couldn’t. We need to carry on trying to do what we did in the first race in Australia and qualifying here. Now we will look forward and concentrate on Bahrain.
Lance Stroll: I was hit from the rear at Turn 10 and that was the end of my race. I was in front, knew the corner was mine and had to turn in eventually. It was just unfortunate as that was my race over. I got hit and then the car was broken, most likely with a puncture and damaged suspension. While today was difficult, we have some positives to take out of this weekend, as the qualifying was good even if the race was not what we wanted. But it is still early days and there are a lot more opportunities. I am now looking forward to Bahrain next weekend and that is what I am concentrating on now.