Sebastian Vettel may have missed out on securing a third win of the season in China today, but Red Bull left Shanghai happy with a strong team result.
Team-mate Mark Webber, who started from eighteenth, drove an excellent race, recovered to third, joining Vettel on the podium.
“My start was not the best and for some reason it seems the left hand side of the grid is worse here than the right hand side,” explained Vettel. “It wasn't brilliant and I lost positions to Jenson and Lewis.
“After that it was about being patient; I think we treated the tyres better in the first stint, we could have stayed out, but there wasn't reason to at that time, so I came into the box and came out first. It was a surprise that Jenson came into my garage in front of me – I hoped he would carry on.We had something similar two years ago with a Toro Rosso – I don't know what attracts people to stop in our garage! Fortunately it had no effect and the guys kept their heads.
“We came out in the lead and tried hard to stay on two stops. The middle stint should really have been a little longer, but at the end of the race I found myself out on the hard tyre and could see Lewis coming closer and closer. I tried to defend as best I could, without losing too much time to the guys behind, but he found his way past.
“It was a difficult race and we had a couple of mistakes, but we still finished second and third, which is a strong result. Congratulations to Lewis and Mclaren, they did a good job and it just shows that in one race, if you try something a bit different and make a small mistake, there is someone to beat you. It was a good race for us and we can learn a lot from today.
“Mark had a good race and had good pace. With two stops, you have to be patient and look after your tyres, but it didn't work today.”
Webber said that his tyres in the first stint did not allow him challenge effectively, but once he had changed to the soft Pirelli compound, he could begin to scythe his way through the field.
“We decided to start on the prime tyre, which we know is not the most desired, as it doesn't have the characteristics of the hard tyre in terms of duration and things like that,” explained the Aussie. “So, we got that out of the way, but it was quite tricky actually, as even with the guys I was with, everyone wasusing DRS at the same time. I made a mistake in Turn 2 on my in-lap and then we came in as there wasn't much left in the tyres and our race started from there.
“To see P17 on your board after 15 laps you think it might not happen, but suddenly I felt very comfortable with the car. I had a few sets of tyres left from qualifying, so that helped – and maybe that's the way to do it! Miss qualifying and go from there! But, all joking aside, I think the guys have done an incredible job – it's a back to back race and we haven't had the smoothest run with my car, but I haven't given up. That drive today was for them and everyone back at the factory. Congratulations to Lewis and it was a good day for us in terms of points for the team.”
Christian Horner explained why Vettel was kept on a two-stop strategy, even as McLaren and Mercedes were demonstrating that three stops was the optimal way to run this particular race, and also congratulated Webber on his efforts. “After losing out a little bit at the start by dropping behind both McLarens, we elected for Sebastian to go onto a two stop strategy,” he said. “It nearly paid off for us and we got within four laps of making it work but, ultimately, he just didn't have enough grip to defend that podium place. Second is still a fantastic result and means a lot of points, which are well deserved.
“With Mark, we effectively ran his race in reverse starting on the prime tyre and running a three stop strategy. It was a phenomenal recovery by him to get onto the podium, so an awesome job and strong pit stops from the team. We had one scare when Jenson stopped in our pit box at the first stop, but overall it is a very strong team result.”