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Sunday images from the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix
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VB77 celebrates 100 in Shanghai

Apr 152018

Valtteri Bottas could have been forgiven for not wanting to take part in the podium celebrations at the Chinese Grand Prix, for it looked like a sure-fire win for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Team in the Finn's 100th Grand Prix start.

Within striking distance of the chequred flag, Valtteri looked to have taken the win thanks to some quick thinking by the Silver Arrows tacticians, as he squeezed past championship leader, Sebastian Vettel, with a well-timed and perfectly executed pitstop.

But a safety car deployment, and a strategy move from their rivals saw Daniel Ricciardo recover from sixth place to take the win, while Valtteri was on the second step of the podium.

Valtteri, who had driven well all weekend and had qualified in third place, was understandably disappointment to miss out on winning his fourth race, having also narrowly missed out on a win in Bahrain. However, he is staying positive than he can record his first win of the season, and with Azerbaijan Grand Prix up next, he knows that anything can happen in Baku.

Valtteri said: "It did not feel like winning a podium but like losing a win. Coming home second is not what we aimed for after the beginning of the race and the successful undercut. The team did a really good job; the pit stop was absolutely perfect and came at the right moment. We lost the race under the safety car.

 

"When it came out, Sebastian and I were already past the pit entry, so we were a bit unlucky - the cars behind us could react, but we didn't have any choice and they could get fresh tyres. Nearly winning both last weekend and this weekend is the worst feeling - but it makes both me and the entire team even hungrier. Thankfully there are a lot more races to go."

 

Valtteri's teammate and current world champion, Lewis Hamilton was in fourth place to set a new Formula One record of 28 consecutive finishes in the points. Lewis did well to remain on track following another close shave with Max Verstappen, but he too did not benefit from the fresh tyres when the safety car was deployed.

 

In typical fashion, there was no hiding from his responsibility as a four-time world champion and delivered his verdict on a disappointing weekend and also promised to identify the areas where both he and the 2018 spec Mercedes W09 EQ Power+ can improve before reaching Baku.

Lewis said: "It was another difficult day at the office. I was trying to hold on, but my tyres were done, so I had no chance of keeping the Red Bulls behind. Saturday and Sunday felt like a disaster from my side. I just haven't had the pace and I struggled with the car.

 

"We've been underperforming but I'm not going to let my head drop because I know we have a tough battle ahead of us. I need to get back to my normal level of performance before I lose more valuable points.

 

"It could have been worse, Max did me a favour today in terms of the points standings, but it's a weekend to forget, that's for sure. Now we need to work hard to understand why we have been struggling and start the climb back to the front of the field."

Race result:

1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 56 1h35m36.380s

2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 56 8.894s

3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 56 9.637s

4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 56 16.985s

5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 56 20.436s

6 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 56 21.052s

7 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 56 30.639s

8 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 56 35.286s

9 Carlos Sainz Renault 56 35.763s

10 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 56 39.594s

11 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 56 44.050s

12 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 56 44.725s

13 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 56 49.373s

14 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 56 55.490s

15 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 56 58.241s

16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 56 1m02.604s

17 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 56 1m05.296s

18 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 56 1m06.330s

19 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 56 1m22.575s

20 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 51 Not running

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