Sebastian Vettel continued his strong start to the 2015 Formula 1 season with his new Scuderia Ferrari employers with a third place finish in the Chinese Grand Prix, and with Kimi Raikkonen finishing fourth, it was a good day for the Italian team in Shanghai.
After his third podium finish in three races as a Ferrari driver, Vettel was happy post-China with the progress the team have made so far in 2015. He was hopeful of taking the fight to the Mercedes duo up front but ultimately knew they were too strong for him in the end, and insisted there was still work to be done to get on terms with Mercedes.
“All in all we can be really happy,” insisted Vettel. “It is only race three and the steps we have made so far are really impressive.
“Third and fourth place for the Team, makes me really happy, I would have obviously loved to put more pressure on Mercedes: after the first and second stop we were able to be right there, but in the last stint they were able to pull away quite a lot.
“Basically we are closer than four weeks ago, which is positive, but there is still a lot to do. But what’s very positive is also the fact that we stayed ahead of all the other Teams.
“Second for us was not really possible today, you have to accept that our opponents were quick. For Bahrain, we hope to get again a bit closer. We have a strong car no matter, which condition, that is the feeling.”
Team-mate Raikkonen finished fourth, and felt it was a good result having started behind the Williams Martini Racing duo, but was happy to pass them quickly. He felt he could have had a shot at passing Vettel for the final podium position late on had it not been for the safety car to intervene on the battle that was building.
“Considering that my position on the starting grid today was not ideal, fourth place is a good result,” said Raikkonen. “My start was OK, I had quite a good jump off the line, and at the first corner I decided to go inside and at the end of the corner I was in the right place and managed to take the Williams under braking – my car is really good at that – and managed to pass them.
“The car was quite good today; the first set of tyres was a bit tricky, but I think it was the same for everybody, and then the next two sets were ok. Towards the end of the race I was catching up, I knew I had the speed and I thought I still had good tyres.
“I could still have had a chance to try and fight for podium but the safety car came in and we know we cannot change that.
“Today we got close to the podium, from the next race on we have to have a better weekend, doing everything right in qualifying, and we’ll do our best.”