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Sport Hit or miss? Chinese Grand Prix F1 team ratings

14:41  16 april  2018
14:41  16 april  2018 Source:   autosport.com

Formula 1: Vettel defends Hamilton over rude Verstappen remark

  Formula 1: Vettel defends Hamilton over rude Verstappen remark Sebastian Vettel launched a strong defence of Formula 1 rival Lewis Hamilton over comments the Mercedes driver made about Max Verstappen straight after the Bahrain Grand Prix .Hamilton was heard calling Verstappen "a d**khead" in the F1 drivers' room before the podium ceremony, prompting questions about it in the post-race press conference.But when Hamilton was asked about what he said, race winner Vettel interjected and expressed sympathy for his rival. © LAT Images Vettel defends Hamilton's Verstappen remark "Can I answer that?" Vettel said.

Hit or miss? Chinese GP team ratings © LAT Images Hit or miss? Chinese GP team ratings

How did Formula 1's 10 teams get on during the Chinese Grand Prix weekend? Find out with our verdict on the full grid.

Mercedes - Miss

Bottas stopped 'brutal' Ricciardo causing collision © LAT Images Bottas stopped 'brutal' Ricciardo causing collision

Is the 2018 Mercedes a diva after all? Bahrain was too hot for its tyres on a qualifying lap; China was too cold. It was half a second off Ferrari; something Lewis Hamilton admitted was "very strange".

But as in Bahrain Mercedes came on strong in the race and it looked like a classic 'undercut' pit strategy with a scintillating Valtteri Bottas out-lap would net the Silver Arrows' first win of the season. But the team undid its good work by not pitting Lewis Hamilton under the safety car, and not having new soft tyres to bolt on in any case. Bottas didn't have that option as he was already past the pit entry, and he lost out to Daniel Ricciardo for the win.

Hamilton: Inexperience costing Max

  Hamilton: Inexperience costing Max Lewis Hamilton has warned Max Verstappen is losing too many points for Red Bull due to inexperience after their clash in Bahrain.The Red Bull driver has spun twice in the opening two events of the new 2018 season and retired from the Bahrain GP on Sunday after a clash with Hamilton caused irrevocable damage to his car.

Ferrari - Miss

Hit or miss? Chinese GP team ratings © LAT Images Hit or miss? Chinese GP team ratings

China's qualifying felt like a watershed. Ferrari took its second front row lockout on the bounce and appeared to cement its status as the team to beat across all types of track. Its advantage over Mercedes surprised both teams.

Sebastian Vettel also dominated the opening race stint but then Ferrari's day unravelled. It got some bad luck, not least with Max Verstappen's assault of Vettel, but twice it was lethargic on strategy - allowing Valtteri Bottas to get ahead with an undercut then not pitting Kimi Raikkonen (Vettel was past the pit entry) under the safety car. Its use of Raikkonen as a pawn to hold up Bottas earlier in the race seemed extreme too.

Hamilton moves to settle Verstappen dispute 'to show respect'

  Hamilton moves to settle Verstappen dispute 'to show respect' The dispute between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen from the Bahrain Grand Prix has seemingly been ended in China.World champion Hamilton accused the Red Bull driver of disrespecting him following an early collision at the Bahrain Grand Prix, although Verstappen insisted upon arriving in China for the third race of the season that there was nothing in the incident.

Red Bull - Hit

Hit or miss? Chinese GP team ratings © LAT Images Hit or miss? Chinese GP team ratings

Finally Red Bull was able to show its much-vaunted 2018 race pace, and it demonstrated what else is exceptional about the team - getting Daniel Ricciardo into qualifying in the nick of time after a double quick engine change, being sharp as a tack on race strategy and twice pitting both cars within seconds of each other.

It got a race win for Ricciardo and probably it should have been a one-two but for Max Verstappen's frolics. Red Bull was content with its qualifying pace as well, particularly with the narrow gap to Mercedes, though it again lost out on the straights.

McLaren - Miss

Alonso: 13th is McLaren's 'maximum' © LAT Images Alonso: 13th is McLaren's 'maximum'

Fernando Alonso suggested McLaren's Bahrain struggle was track specific but in China it replicated its Sakhir qualifying result - 13th and 14th and Alonso's best was eight tenths off that of Nico Hulkenberg's Renault. Focus is shifting to a lack of aero efficiency; boss Eric Boullier admitted the car's targets may have been set too low. Its only crumb of comfort was that it was at least ahead of Honda this time.

Ferrari explain pit-stop incident as Raikkonen impresses in Shanghai

  Ferrari explain pit-stop incident as Raikkonen impresses in Shanghai Kimi Raikkonen overcame his Bahrain pit-stop incident to go second fastest in Friday's practice ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix.Francesco Cigarini suffered a double leg fracture after Kimi Raikkonen was given the green light to leave the pits before his left rear tyre had been replaced during last Sunday's race.

Come the race things were a bit better, particularly for Alonso who converted a long first stint to a seventh place finish even though the safety car didn't work for him.

Renault - Hit

Hit or miss? Chinese GP team ratings © LAT Images Hit or miss? Chinese GP team ratings

Nico Hulkenberg has been a model of consistency lately, starting seventh in the last six races and this time his qualifying best was just six tenths off the nearest Red Bull. He followed it up with another rapid race and substantial points haul, finishing as best outside of 'the big three' teams in sixth. Team-mate Carlos Sainz backed up him in ninth, not quite pipping Sebastian Vettel, though the pace gap to Hulkenberg remains conspicuous. Renault likely is the team with the clearest claim to best of the rest.

Toro Rosso - Miss

Hit or miss? Chinese GP team ratings © LAT Images Hit or miss? Chinese GP team ratings

Toro Rosso came back to Earth with a bump in China. Pierre Gasly didn't get out of Q1 and lamented a "massive step back" after his Bahrain tour de force, while Brendon Hartley did little better by qualifying 15th. The pair left little impression on the race either other than by colliding with each other, which Gasly was penalised for. In mitigation it was put down to a "miscommunication" about whether Hartley was going to cede the place.

Haas - Miss

Hit or miss? Chinese GP team ratings © LAT Images Hit or miss? Chinese GP team ratings

Given how Haas started 2018 this one can be considered a disappointment. Kevin Magnussen missed out on Q3 while Romain Grosjean did little better by starting 10th. Magnussen fought around the head of the midfield in the race but not pitting under the safety car cost him and he sank to finish 10th. Grosjean finished a frustrated 17th after being ordered aside early for Magnussen as well as having to make a late tyre change. Both drivers reckoned the safety car was ill-timed for them.

Max Verstappen's errors remind Red Bull F1 team of Sebastian Vettel

  Max Verstappen's errors remind Red Bull F1 team of Sebastian Vettel Max Verstappen's mistakes remind his team boss Christian Horner of when four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel was first racing for the Red Bull Formula 1 team .Verstappen tipped now-Ferrari driver Vettel into a spin in the closing stages of last weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, one week after clashing with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain.Vettel stepped up to the Red Bull senior team in 2009 and went on to win four F1 titles, but his first championship-winning season featured some high-profile errors.

Force India - Miss

Hit or miss? Chinese GP team ratings © LAT Images Hit or miss? Chinese GP team ratings

After a tricky start to 2018 with difficult development Force India showed a few signs of returning to its customary form in China. Sergio Perez bagged eighth on the grid, something he called "magic", though Esteban Ocon didn't join him in Q3 and started 12th. The pair's race didn't recover after Perez was pushed wide on the first lap which compromised Ocon too. Neither driver could get into the points and bemoaned that the cards didn't fall their way.

Sauber - Miss

Hit or miss? Chinese GP team ratings © LAT Images Hit or miss? Chinese GP team ratings

Another team to return abruptly to reality in China. The Saubers filled the back row of the grid after a messy qualifying including Marcus Ericsson getting a (theoretical) grid penalty for not slowing under the yellows caused by team-mate Charles Leclerc spinning. And there was no repeat of Ericsson's Bahrain race strategy triumph as the Saubers finished 16th and 19th with Ericsson ahead. Leclerc again spun and it emerged after the race his car had floor damage.

Why Kimi Raikkonen is Ferrari's real F1 2018 benchmark

  Why Kimi Raikkonen is Ferrari's real F1 2018 benchmark Sebastian Vettel has won two of the first three races of the Formula 1 season, but his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen is the real benchmark of Ferrari's strength at the start of 2018 .As a four-time world champion who is younger and has considerably better recent form, it is no surprise to see Vettel being an opportunist on Mercedes' bad days and the benchmark on Ferrari's good ones.However, Raikkonen's rise from distant number two to consistent frontrunner at the start of this year is much more at odds with his recent history.

Williams - Miss

Hit or miss? Chinese GP team ratings © LAT Images Hit or miss? Chinese GP team ratings

Williams's woe continues - 16th and 18th on the grid, Sergey Sirotkin pipping a Toro Rosso, was meagre improvement on Bahrain. Lance Stroll popping up in 12th place on lap one was about the only highlight. The Williams pair finished 14th and 15th with Stroll ahead, despite splitting strategies. It remains the only team with no points.

Ferrari clearly happy to compromise Kimi Raikkonen - F1's Symonds .
Formula 1's chief technical officer Pat Symonds says Ferrari proved its only focus is Sebastian Vettel winning the drivers' championship with Kimi Raikkonen's compromised China strategyFormula 1's chief technical officer Pat Symonds says Ferrari proved its only focus is Sebastian Vettel winning the drivers' championship with Kimi Raikkonen's compromised China strategy.

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