Sunday team by team: Part 2

Sauber had gone into the Chinese Grand Prix with high hopes for a decent result after securing its best qualifying performance of the season. But the team struggled far more with tyre graining than it had expected, which saw the team's challenge fade pretty early on. Felipe Massa briefly ran fourth early on but faded pretty quickly to come home eighth, while Giancarlo Fisichella stayed out of trouble to grab seventh.

GIANCARLO FISICHELLA: "I'm happy with seventh place, because my tyres were graining really badly from the start. After each stop the car was very, very competitive on new tyres and the balance came back again, but when the tyres started graining I was two seconds slower than the car's true potential. Considering all that, scoring points with both cars is a great result."

FELIPE MASSA: "I had a fantastic opening lap. I really enjoyed my fight with Button and was very happy to overtake him again after he had gone past me. But after two laps I had incredible graining on the tyres and the car was understeering so much I was holding everyone up. I'm actually surprised that I didn't lose more places. After the stops I could push hard again and catch up, but over the final seven laps I had a flat spot on a front tyre and it was so difficult turning into right-hand corners that I was afraid I might not finish. It was a good fight with Coulthard at the end, and I'm happy to score another point in the circumstances."



Jaguar did itself proud with its dedication and effort over the Chinese Grand Prix amid the backdrop of its off-track problems - but sadly there was no reward of points at the end of the weekend. Christian Klien's race in the lightweight R5B ended early on after a collision with Michael Schumacher at the final hairpin broke his rear suspension. Mark Webber tried to recover from his qualifying disappointment but could manage no better than 10th.

MARK WEBBER: "I knew that the race was going to be tough and it was. The car felt well balanced and the team had done an excellent job ahead of the race. I made a good start and took Juan-Pablo Montoya by the first corner. From that point on until the end of the race I did everything I could to make up places. I was struggling for traction at times but given the pace of the Renault and the Ferrari behind me I was pleased to finish in tenth."

CHRISTIAN KLIEN: "I made a good clean start off the grid and was pleased to make it round the first corner without incident. The R5 was feeling well balanced and competitive and I was enjoying the race. When I was on lap 12 on the long straight I could see the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher a long way behind me. As I neared corner four I looked again for Michael and I could not see him and consequently then turned in only to make contact with his car. I carried on and came in to pit as normal but it was clear that my race was over. The rear suspension had been damaged in the incident and it was impossible to continue."



More disappointment for Toyota as it failed to capitalise on the slightly improved form of its TF104B to close the one-point deficit it has to Jaguar in the constructors' championship. Olivier Panis's chances of points were over almost before the race started when his anti-stall mechanism kicked in at the start, leaving him almost at a standstill on the grid. He eventually finished 14th while Ricardo Zonta was forced out of the race with a gearbox failure.

OLIVIER PANIS: "The problem at the start of the race ended a good chance for a points scoring result in today's Chinese Grand Prix. Basically, the anti-stall kicked in unexpectedly and the car would not get going, so I was at the back of the field heading down to the first corner. All I can say is that we will work hard together to try and find a solution for the future."

RICARDO ZONTA: "I had a great start and a really good first lap, during which I managed to overtake some other cars and gain several positions. I was happy with the performance of the car and my speed in the race was quite competitive, so I was able to fight with David Coulthard and Giancarlo Fisichella. Even if I did not have the opportunity to overtake the cars in front of me, I was putting some pressure on them. After my last pit stop I lost my fifth gear and I had to come back to the garage, where unfortunately the race finished for me. A disappointing end as I think that we could have scored minimum one point today."



Nick Heidfeld may have finished unlucky 13th but he had a big grin on his face following the race after beating Olivier Panis's Toyota and having duelled with Michael Schumacher for some of the race. Timo Glock struggled with tyre graining and had a spin to come home 15th.

NICK HEIDFELD: "I'm quite happy with the race and it was good fun, especially at the start where I made up some places. After that I was pleasantly surprised at how well I was able to keep up with the cars in front. Unfortunately after the first pit stop, with the second set of tyres, it got a bit worse because I experienced a lot of graining on the front tyres which took a long time to disappear and that's why I lost some lap time. In the end I just worked really hard to keep Panis behind me and I'm happy because I think it's a good achievement for us."

TIMO GLOCK: "My race was a bit difficult. I had a bad start compared to Nick, with more wheel spin than normal. The first five laps I experienced graining and understeer and watched Nick speed away ahead of me. After that when the tyres came back, the lap times were pretty good and I could get closer to Nick again. I pushed a little bit too hard at the end of the first stint and had a spin that kind of ended my race because after it I couldn't close the gap to Nick. That was bad but on the positive side, the lap times were good and consistent. After the second stop I lost some grip and the car was oversteering, but having said that I was able to do my fastest lap on the last lap. Overall I am satisfied with myself because the car was nervous and I didn't find a good rhythm. It's good to have done another race - it was my aim to finish and I did it."



Not the best of races for Minardi, which was left with little to cheer about at the end of the afternoon. Gianmaria Bruni suffered a front puncture on lap 10 and then lost a wheel later in the race, which forced him to retire. Zsolt Baumgartner recovered from hitting his mechanics in the pit-lane during one of the stops to come home a distant 16th.

ZSOLT BAUMGARTNER: "For me, this was one of the most difficult races of the season. I struggled with the balance of the car after each of the pit stops, although it then gradually improved as the stints wore on and I was able to set more competitive lap times. I was probably too easy letting the quicker cars overtake during the race, as I lost a lot of time this way. I was upset about the incident during my last stop, when I hit one of my mechanics, but the surface of the pit stop area was very slippery and the brakes locked up as I came in. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt, although there are one or two bruises to be seen. This is a challenging circuit to drive, and I am happy I was able to finish the first-ever Grand Prix in China."

GIANMARIA BRUNI: "I was in front of my team mate at the start, but then Glock blocked me and Zsolt got ahead. I decided the best strategy then was to maintain a good pace, avoid making any mistakes and bide my time. Unfortunately, I suffered a puncture on lap 10, but was able to make it back to the pits for an earlier-than-scheduled stop. I lost a lap in the process, but was then able to reduce the gap to Zsolt pretty steadily over the following two stints, before the front wheel came loose. This is a very nice circuit and I am upset that I wasn't able to finish the race today, but there was nothing I could do - we just had bad luck, and will have to hope it improves in Japan."

shares
comments
Bruni Upset after Tyre Problem
Previous article

Bruni Upset after Tyre Problem

Next article

Ferrari President Praises 'Perfect' Barrichello

Ferrari President Praises 'Perfect' Barrichello
Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver Plus

Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver

Many doubted Lewis Hamilton’s move from McLaren to Mercedes for the 2013 Formula 1 season. But the journey he’s been on since has taken the Briton to new heights - and to a further six world championship titles

Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era Plus

Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era

OPINION: With teams outside the top three having struggled in Formula 1 in recent seasons, the rules changes introduced in 2022 should have more of an impact this season. How well Haas does, as the poster child for the kind of team that F1 wanted to be able to challenge at the front, is crucial

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff Plus

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

OPINION: Although the central building blocks for Mercedes’ recent, long-lasting Formula 1 success were installed before he joined the team, Toto Wolff has been instrumental in ensuring it maximised its finally-realised potential after years of underachievement. The 10-year anniversary of Wolff joining Mercedes marks the perfect time to assess his work

Formula 1
Feb 1, 2023
The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate Plus

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

Alpine’s signing of Pierre Gasly alongside Esteban Ocon revives memories of a famous all-French line-up, albeit in the red of Ferrari, for BEN EDWARDS. Can the former AlphaTauri man's arrival help the French team on its path back to winning ways in a tribute act to the Prancing Horse's title-winning 1983?

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021? Plus

How do the best races of F1 2022 stack up to 2021?

OPINION: A system to score all the grands prix from the past two seasons produces some interesting results and sets a standard that 2023 should surely exceed

Formula 1
Jan 31, 2023
Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022? Plus

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who was the fastest driver in 2022? Everyone has an opinion, but what does the stopwatch say? Obviously, differing car performance has an effect on ultimate laptime – but it’s the relative speed of each car/driver package that’s fascinating and enlightening says ALEX KALINAUCKAS

Formula 1
Jan 30, 2023
Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return Plus

Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

He has more starts without a podium than anyone else in Formula 1 world championship history, but Nico Hulkenberg is back for one more shot with Haas. After spending three years on the sidelines, the revitalised German is aiming to prove to his new team what the F1 grid has been missing

Formula 1
Jan 29, 2023
The potential-laden F1 car that Ferrari neglected Plus

The potential-laden F1 car that Ferrari neglected

The late Mauro Forghieri played a key role in Ferrari’s mid-1960s turnaround, says STUART CODLING, and his pretty, intricate 1512 was among the most evocative cars of the 1.5-litre era. But a victim of priorities as Formula 1 was deemed less lucrative than success in sportscars, its true potential was never seen in period

Formula 1
Jan 28, 2023