The Finns racing in the 2015 Formula One season, Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, finished fourth and fifth respectively in Malaysia, with Räikkönnen recovering remarkably in a race that saw him forced to an unscheduled pit stop due to a puncture after the starting lap.
Swedish Marcus Ericsson, meanwhile, had a Malaysian Grand Prix that did not go according to planning; unable to complete the race after an early mistake causing the F1 car to slide off the track and getting stuck in the gravel. Safety car out and the Swede’s racing for the day was over.
Marcus and his race team, Sauber, is however upbeat, awaiting the Chinese Grand Prix with optimism. He is positive about being able to score points again. The third round of the of the 2015 FIA Formula One World Championship takes place from the 10th to 12th April on the Shanghai International Circuit.
“The track in Shanghai is a circuit I know from last year, but it is not an easy one with a mixture of high-speed and low-speed corners. Before some corners hard braking is required, so braking stability for the car is important. I believe the set-up of the car will be similar to the one we had in Malaysia, as the layout of the track has some related characteristics. The weather conditions will be different, as it is not as hot as in Sepang, which will also have an influence on the tyre management. I have a good feeling travelling to China, because we have a competitive car. We are looking forward to getting to Shanghai to continue improving as well as scoring points again. I am confident it is going to be a positive weekend for us,” said the Swede.
“Despite two very opposite outcomes, the first two races of the season were a boost for the motivation of everybody in the Sauber F1 Team, and we are now heading to Shanghai with a lot confidence for being competitive again. We’ll be back to mild ambient temperatures, thus Pirelli has allocated the medium and soft compounds for the race. We are all looking forward to this race,” said Sauber’s Head of Track Engineering, Giampaolo Dall’Ara.
Kimi Räikkönen, who in Malaysia fought his way back up the order to finish just off the podium, said: “We had a pretty poor weekend in terms of things going wrong. I had a good speed but in qualify it didn’t go well and then today, after a poor start where I had too much wheel spin right off the line, I found myself fighting with all the other drivers and I had a puncture on the rear left tyre while battling Nasr at the last corner, which means I had to go one full lap before coming back to pits with no tyre. At that point my floor had got a little bit damaged, I had to do a full lap with no tyre and then, even if the safety car helped us, I had to start from way back behind. We did our best and the forth position was the maximum we could achieve.
And on the win of team mate Sebatian Vettel: “We knew from winter testing that we have a good car, so it did not come as a total surprise, and probably the track with these high temperatures suited us. I don’t know how it will be in other circuits, but the car has been strong so far, not yet as we want but we have a good package, and we are getting stronger.”
Ferrari Formula One team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said: “This is no one-man win: it’s a success for the whole team, which has been working impeccably at all levels. Seb was just unbelievable today, and Kimi was able to put on a fantastic charge from the back. The whole team has showed a great deal of discipline, just like a Swiss watch-or should I say, an Italian one!”
Valtteri Bottas (Williams) who finished fifth in Malaysia commented: “ It was a nice race in the end. I was always in the wrong place at the start and lost a lot. I made the most of the performance of the car and it was nice to be able to race Felipe at the end. We know we have some work to do; we need to learn from our mistakes and keep progressing. Some upgrades that are due shortly will hopefully be a step in the right direction.”
And looking ahead: “China is a good fun circuit to drive. The long and high speed corners give it a good character, plus it has a very long back straight which aids overtaking and makes the races more interesting. There is a lot of support for the Finns in China which is great to see and they are passionate about Formula One too.
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering, Williams, was happy: “It was a good team performance and we finished with the maximum points on offer considering the pace of the car. It was a tough race in the heat but there are areas of the package that we have to improve. We made a good recovery from a difficult Saturday and it was good to have both cars racing each other, although at one stage they were a bit too close.”
After China, Singapore Grand Prix will be the next time the 66th season returns to Asia. Early-bird tickets are on sale until 30 April 2015. race fans can enjoy significant savings of up to 25% off regular ticket prices for the eighth instalment of the world’s first Formula One™ night race to be held on 18, 19 and 20 September.