Renault Sport Formula One Team endured a frustrating Heineken Chinese Grand Prix with Nico Hülkenberg finishing 12th and Jolyon Palmer finishing 13th after an eventful 56 lap race at the Shanghai International Circuit. Nico’s Saturday qualifying performance was undone by an early pit stop for dry tyres being followed by an incident on track requiring a Virtual Safety Car, which negated any advantage the strategy could have provided. The same Virtual Safety Car also undid the potential of an early stop for dry tyres for Jolyon Palmer. The pair crossed the finish line just two seconds apart at the chequered flag.
Nico started the race in P7 on new Intermediate tyres, changing to a set of fresh Soft tyres at the end of the first lap then a set of scrubbed Supersofts on lap 33 where he also served a 15-second combined penalty for overtaking under the Virtual and actual Safety Car.
Jolyon started the race from the pit-lane after pitting at the end of the formation lap to change from intermediate to new Supersoft tyres. He stopped for new Soft tyres on lap 30.
Nico Hülkenberg, #27, R.S.17-02: Started P7, finished P12
“We took a risk right at the end of the first lap and came in for slicks as the track was really dry everywhere apart from the main straight. As I exited the box though, Stroll crashed and the Virtual Safety Car came out, and in damp conditions if you can’t push, you lose all the tyre temperature. I lost all grip; it was like driving on ice and I spun a few times… From there it just went wrong, the VSC pretty much ruined our strategy and so the race. It’s a shame because I think it could have worked out very nicely for us today.”
Jolyon Palmer, #30, R.S.17-01: Started P20 (from pit-lane), finished P13
“It was a difficult race. We made the right call to pit at the end of the formation lap but I hit a wet patch when racing a Toro Rosso, then the tyres lost temperature under the Virtual Safety Car, so it was a very difficult first stint. On the plus side, the car ran reliably and I have a race distance under my belt now. Now we reset and head to Bahrain with the objective of a much better weekend.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director
“Ultimately, this has been a frustrating weekend for us. We showed strong potential with our P7 on Saturday, however the race did not deliver the results we wanted. The early Virtual Safety Car meant we were immediately on the back foot as we’d already pitted Nico to cover the threat from those behind. He then also received a penalty. Jolyon suffered from the same Virtual Safety Car affecting his strategy and after that we were on damage limitation. We are disappointed to end the second Grand Prix with no points, however the positives are that we showed both pace and reliability here. We need to harness our potential better in the coming races.”
Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen started P17, finished P3
Daniel Riccardo started P5, finished P4
Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen staged a fantastic bounce-back through the order from 17th on the grid to a podium finish, only just beating hard-charging team-mate Daniel Ricciardo to third position in the Chinese Grand Prix. Both drivers battled with the Ferrari pairing of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen during the course of an action-packed 56 laps.
Red Bull Racing leave China in third position in the Constructors’ Championship with 37 points. Max sits in third position in the Drivers’ standings with 25 points with Daniel sixth on ten points.
Carlos Sainz started P11, finished P7
Daniel Kvyat P9, DNF
Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz drove an inspired Chinese Grand Prix, with a number of race fastest laps to his name and a seventh placed finish at the Shanghai International Circuit. Carlos started the race from the grid on Supersoft tyres and despite a few sideways moments was able to work up the order. He set race fastest laps on both the Supersoft and Soft tyres as well as having some memorable battles. Daniel Kyvat’s race from ninth on the grid ended early with just 18 laps completed.
The team leave China fourth in the standings with Carlos seventh in the Drivers’ standings.