After seeing their apparent domination of Formula 1 come to a screeching halt in Malaysia, the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team will arrive in China this weekend knowing they have a fight in the hand following the resurgence of Ferrari, and both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are looking to get back to winning ways.
Hamilton was frustrated to finish the Malaysian Grand Prix in second place behind Sebastian Vettel, but felt he did all he could in the circumstances. He has a good record at Shanghai, winning three times including in 2014, and feels the track in China suits his driving style as he looks for win number four this season.
“Malaysia was a tough weekend,” reflected Hamilton. “It always is with the heat – but with car problems on Friday, rain during qualifying on Saturday and a race which didn’t go to plan on Sunday, this one was particularly challenging.
“I think ultimately we made the best choices we could – but there is always room for improvement and we’ve been working hard to analyse everything for the next race in China.
“Shanghai is one of my favourite locations – simply because of the fans. I don’t know how, but from the moment we land at the airport they know we’re there. It really is amazing to see the support we get.
“The circuit itself is a different challenge to Albert Park and Sepang – but it’s one I really enjoy and it suits my driving style quite well. I won the race last year and have only finished outside of the podium places twice, so the target is definitely to build on that and get back to the front.”
Rosberg was disappointed with his performance in Malaysia but has fond memories of China, having taken his maiden pole position and Formula 1 victory at the circuit in 2012. He is determined to get his season back on track this weekend on a circuit he feels suits his driving style.
“The last race weekend was not great for me,” revealed Rosberg. “I didn’t get my lap together in qualifying, then losing time in the pits made it a tough race to fight back and try to catch Lewis.
“We’ve definitely learned some lessons and it’s time to take that to the track in China. Shanghai is a great circuit for me. It’s where I got my first pole and my first win back in 2012 – my third season with the Silver Arrows.
“It’s not been a perfect start to my sixth year with the team and I’m determined to turn that around this weekend. Of course, my team-mate will have other ideas – and so will my compatriot in the red car, I’m sure. But this is a track that has always suited me well, so I’m aiming to put in a strong weekend.”