What the teams said – Race day at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix

What the teams said – Race day at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix
What the teams said – Race day at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix

Kick Sauber

Not to be for Bottas, who pulled over midway through the race with a smoking engine to bring out both the VSC and then the Safety Car, as that stricken Kick Sauber proved trickier to recover than first thought. Zhou did see the checked flag on an emotional day on home soil, unable to challenge for points after a couple of sticky pit stops. The team gambled on another late stop for softs to see if he could climb back through the field, but he only managed P14 in the end.

Valtteri Bottas, DNF

“Today marks a rather disappointing ending to a very promising weekend: starting from P10 put me in a good position to fight for points, and the race was going well overall until I suddenly lost drive and my engine turned off – something we’ll have to thoroughly investigate in the upcoming days. It’s quite unfortunate, while there was still a long way to go, I was fighting with Nico [Hülkenberg] who made it into the points. It’s tough to accept, but this is racing, and many more opportunities will arise: our pace is improving and as a team, we’re making small steps on many fronts all the time. We’ve been around P10 the entire weekend and were able to learn a lot about our car and our upgrades that will allow us to maximize our potential. As we keep doing those steps, I’m looking forward to racing in Miami again, a track I have enjoyed a lot in the last years.”

Zhou Guanyu, 14th

“This weekend has been an amazing experience: for years, I dreamt about racing at home and finally I was able to do it. To see the passion and the love from everyone on the stands was something I’ve never experienced before: the in-lap, in particular, was something I won’t ever forget, seeing so many people cheering and shouting your name. I made sure I waved at every grandstand, at every corner with fans. As much as I treated this as a regular race weekend, the emotion was undeniable and it really got me in the end, especially when I stopped in Parc Ferme: it was a special moment, topping off the honor of being the first ever Chinese driver to race in a Chinese Grand Prix.

“The race was tough, especially in the first stint where I didn’t have a lot of grip and I was sliding all over the place, but we did manage to recover well. Finishing the race isn’t what makes me happy – it’s to do so fighting my way through the field, giving everything and leaving nothing behind. Unfortunately, starting from the back we knew breaking into the points would be difficult, but we can focus on some positives, such as our pace; and, of course, the great improvement done by the team and the crew in the pit stops, which were mostly clean. At the end, we chose to go for a cheeky stint on softs: we knew we’d be able to keep the position we were in if we didn’t stop, so we gambled to switch to softs and see if we could improve even more. We did a lot of overtakes, the car felt good and it was nice to fight my way through. Given the pressure of this weekend, I am happy with the job I have done. The whole weekend was positive, yesterday afternoon and today a bit tougher but we gave it all.”

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative

“This hasn’t been the race we expected, it hasn’t been the race we wanted. Before going into the analysis of the race, it’s worth acknowledging the important page that Zhou, together with the team, has written for the history of motorsport and Formula One in China. Testament to this is the support of all the spectators throughout the whole weekend, from Thursday onwards: it was something impressive, that went beyond our expectations. We saw how much the popularity of Formula One is increasing in China thanks to Zhou, and we’re proud that our team could be part of this with him. We expected a tough race for him, starting 16th, but he had good pace and fought well in the many battles he had. We adopted an aggressive strategy in the closing stages, switching to soft tires to give him more performance: unfortunately, there were no points for him today, but it was important to show he could fight and be competitive against the cars around him.

“It was a disappointing end of the race for Valtteri, who was fighting with Nico [Hülkenberg] for a place in the top ten. He had a solid opening stint on medium tires, and the choice to move to hards was the right one: unfortunately, his race was cut short by a drivetrain issue, something we will investigate. It was a big disappointment as he had the pace to finish in the points, which would have been a deserved result for him and the team. Finally, a positive side to today’s race was the consistency in our pit stops, in which we were able to achieve the goal we had set for ourselves for this weekend. It’s an improvement that will give confidence to our pit crew too. Now, we set our sights to Miami with the awareness we can go there for a strong weekend.”

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