Sebastian Vettel heads into the Chinese Grand Prix aiming to return to winning ways having finished fourth and fifth in the opening two races of 2019.
The Scuderia Ferrari driver came into the season expected to be at the front of the field after a strong pre-season testing programme, but a lacklustre display in Australia was followed by a mistake-strewn Bahrain Grand Prix, which resulted in the German finishing well adrift of the podium places.
Looking ahead to the race at the Shanghai International Circuit this weekend, Vettel expects it to be once again one of the more difficult and technical tracks on the calendar, with two of the corners – the opening turn and turn thirteen that leads onto the long back straight – very important to get right.
“The Chinese GP has been on the calendar for quite a while and it’s held on one of the most technical and difficult tracks of the year,” said Vettel. “Two of the corners are especially important: the first one and the one leading to the very long straight, over a kilometre in length. They’re both very technical and it’s difficult to find the right line because the track there is also very wide.
“They are challenging, not only in qualifying when you need to do just one lap, but also in the race.”
Vettel feels making the Pirelli tyres last will be important in China, and he hopes to turn around his season in style by taking his first victory at the circuit for his current team, having only once taken the chequered flag first, which came ten years ago for Red Bull Racing’s first ever win.
“Looking after tyres is one of the key points in Shanghai, it’s the most important job to do on Sunday in order to be fast for the whole race,” insisted the German. “In the past I’ve had some good races here with Ferrari, coming very close to winning.
“Maybe this time we’ll get that little bit of luck, so that we can really celebrate the thousandth Formula 1 race.”