Mercedes endured a bittersweet weekend at the Chinese Grand Prix. While both cars were considerably off in the Qualifying session finishing behind both of the Ferraris, Bottas showed some respectable pace in the race. Lewis Hamilton was in a no man’s land the major part of the race. Bottas was quick to jump over fellow Finn, Kimi Raikkonen at the start of the race and further managed to perfect the undercut on Sebastian Vettel, the then race leader to come ahead of him after the first round of pits.
Lewis Hamilton on the other hand slipped back at the start having being overtaken by Max Verstappen. He was upto third position after the first pit stops, only to lose the position to a charging Daniel Ricciardo. Mercedes were caught napping in the safety car period, something the Red Bull duo took considerable advantage of at the Chinese Grand Prix
“I was in no man’s land. I had no pace. I was just trying to hold on for whatever I had,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.
“Obviously, we’ve got a tough battle ahead of us, particularly on my side. I’ll say my side, but also us as a team, we’ve been underperforming.
“Yesterday and today have been a disaster on my side, so I’ve got to try and rectify that and get myself back into normal performance mode. Otherwise more valuable points will be lost.
“I’m thankful for a couple of incidents that happened ahead today, kept us kind of in the battle.”
Toto Wolff said he believed Valtteri deserved the victory after successfully foiling the Ferrari’s plan of using Raikkonen to slow him down. He lamented the bad timing of the safety car for the defeat.
I think Valtteri would have deserved to win the race,” he said.
“He had a great day, great driving. But the luck has been going against us in these first couple of races, and today again. We had a safety car at the wrong moment.
“It shakes everything up and the two Red Bulls were bold enough to pit for tyres. We thought track position was more important.
“We got it wrong, they got it right, and they deserved to win.”
“Lewis’s tyre was a medium with at that stage barely 10 laps on. Our calculation predicted that the medium would last until the end and putting on a new soft, we thought, wouldn’t give you such a performance advantage. Much more than we expected.
“Now looking back it would have been for sure the right strategy to pit for the second soft. But nobody in the team, including myself, thought it was the right thing to do.”
But not all went wrong for Hamilton and Mercedes at the Chinese Grand Prix as his championship rival Sebastian Vettel finished further down in 8th place following a collision with Max Verstappen.
Vettel now leads the championship by 9 points with 54 points. Hamilton is second with 45 points and Bottas third with 40 points.