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Lewis Hamilton drives Mercedes AMG Petronas to 3rd place in 2013 Chinese GP

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Mercedes AMG Petronas 2013 China (1)The 2013 Chinese Grand Prix saw team Mercedes AMG Petronas start the race more favourably than finish it. Lewis Hamilton qualified in P1, and finished his race in 3rd place today. This is his 2nd consecutive podium for the team, after finishing in 3rd place at Malaysia in the earlier race. Lewis Hamilton’s race strategy was a three-stop option/prime/prime/prime layout that saw him make a dive to the pit lane on on laps 5, 21 and 37.

Nico Rosberg qualified in Q4 and was following the same race strategy having stopped in laps 5 and 19, followed by a stop on the next lap itself. In lap 21 the car was retired when rear anti-roll bar problem was identified. There’s no doubt that Mercedes did a great job of the quick succession pit stops both drivers took.

After today’s 3rd place finish, Lewis Hamilton’s drivers’ standings sees him placed 4th with 40 points. Nico Rosberg has now retired in 2 of his 3 races. His points stand at 12 after finishing in 4th place at the Malaysian Grand Prix. On the points chart he is tied with Jenson Button with both drivers placed in 7th and 8th place now. Mercedes AMG Petronas stands at 4th place in the constructors’ standings, with 52 points.

Nico Rosberg said, “The race was tough for me today and with my set-up I had an unexpected level of understeer which made it difficult to drive. After my second pit stop, the feeling got worse and I had one front wheel in the air during the corners. The rear anti-roll bar, which influences the balance of the car, had broken so unfortunately we had to retire the car. It’s a shame and I’ve had a difficult start to the season with two DNFs. But it’s good to have the next race in just seven days time so hopefully we can put this result behind us with a strong weekend in Bahrain. It was great for the team to get another podium today.”

Lewis Hamilton said, “It was a good race for me today and whilst I would have loved the win, I’m really happy with third place and being on the podium for the second race in a row. Fernando and Kimi were just a little bit too fast for us during the race and my tyres were shot at the end trying to keep ahead of Sebastian. I could see his car getting bigger and bigger in my mirrors so it was nice to be able to hang on for the third place. The guys did a great job this weekend to get us where we were; on pole and finishing third. We got the absolute most out of the car we had and that’s very satisfying. We’re not quite there yet in terms of overall pace but everyone is working so hard and I know we can do it.”

Ross Brawn said, “We didn’t quite enjoy the balance with the car today that we were expecting. Clearly the track had moved away from us and perhaps more towards one or two other teams. Certainly we didn’t have as good a balance in the race as we had on Friday. With Lewis, we did the best we could with the car we had today and he drove extremely well. We needed to keep the stints as evenly balanced as possible to make sure we had adequate tyre life, however, even with that, it became very close with Sebastian at the end. Nico was running with the same issues a few places back when a problem with the rear anti-roll bar meant we had to stop the car. Overall we can be confident that we’ve made another step forward this weekend, and the fact that we’re all a little disappointed with third is a measure of the ambition and expectations of the team.”

Toto Wolff said, “Well done to Lewis for the second podium finish in the last two races. He drove a very good race, just fending off Sebastian who had reeled him in on his option tyres over the last five laps. Starting from pole obviously raises expectations, however we knew that tyre management would be very critical for us today. During practice and qualifying, the track conditions suited us better than in the race today and, as a result, the balance of the car changed and wasn’t as good for both drivers. Unfortunately Nico had to retire from the race on lap 21 with a broken anti-roll bar and we will analyse the reason for this. We will work hard to make sure that technical problems like the ones Nico experienced do not happen again so that both drivers can score points in the Bahrain Grand Prix next weekend.”