Mercedes blames 'tyre issue' for lack of pace

Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Chinese Grand Prix

And while Ferrari will have been more than happy to feed off their rivals' misfortune, with wins for Vettel in the two opening rounds, their qualifying performance in Shanghai put daylight between the teams.

The young Dutchman was subsequently handed a 10-second penalty that was added to his race time, while Vettel dropped down to sixth place.

Speaking after the race, Verstappen confessed that he had got it wrong.

"I think he got it".

"I said to him "look, the races are long and you threw your podium away". Not what I want. I'll say my side, but also us as a team.

Having been involved in two contact incidents in two consecutive races, it would appear that Verstappen needs to asses his aggression levels or his judgement.

But pushed on whether he needed to turn the aggression down, Verstappen said: "It is easy to comment". It's not going the way I like of course, but does it really mean I have to calm down? I think it was all fair.

The result was a remarkable turnaround from Friday practice where Mercedes had held a slight edge in one-lap pace and a significant advantage in long-run pace. I was very happy with the settings I had from the beginning. "I left a little bit of room as well".

"I had no intention to resist because it was clear with Daniel [Ricciardo] as well that there was no point doing so".

"We're lacking grip, and you can fall out of the window by the tyres getting too hot, or by the tyres being too cold", Wolff told Sky Sports F1.

"So I didn't want to compromise my race to the guys behind".

Both lost positions but while Vettel was biggest loser on paper, Marko reckons Verstappen cost himself a shot at the victroy. "But he made a mistake, locked up - it happens with a tailwind down that straight - I guess he misjudged and compromised both our races".

With Verstappen apologizing for the incident, Vettel revealed what he said to the 20-year-old after the race but doesn't believe age plays a part in the incidents.

"For sure we were faster than Valtteri, but when you get close it becomes more hard, you lose so much grip in the process and lose so much downforce, especially in this kind of circuit". "He could have shot his front off, get yourself a puncture or whatever". The Ferrari driver finished half a second ahead of both Bottas and Hamilton at a track where, until yesterday, you had to go back to 2011 for the last time a non-Mercedes vehicle occupied the front slot on the grid.

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