'Sorry guys', Albon says after stunning crash at Chinese Grand Prix

Arnold Nichols
April 15, 2019

Hamilton, the five-time and defending champion, led for the entire race after the quick start for his 75th career victory.

It was not clear if the vehicle could be repaired in time for qualifying later on Saturday.

The Finn had a close call with team mate Antonio Giovinazzi with Raikkonen accusing the Italian of nearly hitting him on objective over the team-radio.

Valtteri Bottas followed team-mate Hamilton home for Mercedes to secure their third one-two finish in as many grands prix.

Albon said that he had been "a bit too greedy".

"I felt I could go faster (than Leclerc) but it was a bit hard for me to find a rhythm and locked up, losing the advantage I gained".

"'I think I lost it in the start, honestly", Bottas said.

"Obviously, being quick in FP3 doesn't really help you that much as it's Qualifying that counts, but there are still positives to take away". The team's execution was flawless and they will be confident in having made a very strong start to the season having now scored three consecutive one-two finishes.

Lewis Hamilton leads Valterri Bottas. 2019 Chinese Grand Prix Sunday
Lewis Hamilton leads Valterri Bottas. 2019 Chinese Grand Prix Sunday – Wolfgang Wilhelm

"I would have preferred to have spun to the left side of the track, but the vehicle went to the right and I hit the wall".

"Valtteri was quick all weekend- the start was where I was able to make the difference".

Australian Daniel Ricciardo finished seventh, earning his first points of the 2019 Formula One season, but Renault teammate Nico Hulkenberg didn't finish. It was Hamilton's sixth victory on the Shanghai circuit. The drivers are not free to race, and Leclerc has to accept a No. 2 role to Vettel for the season. "It's a shame for him but at that stage of the race Mercedes were slightly faster and we simply tried to give Sebastian a go and see if he could keep the pace of Mercedes", he explained.

"Well, let's put it this way, I knew the moment it was happening that I would have to face these questions", Vettel said.

Bottas acknowledged he was done in by his slow start, with Hamilton racing ahead out of the first turn and then running out front for the entire 56 laps. By Lap 27, Bottas had a number of fast laps to his name that concerned Hamilton who wanted to pick up that extra point. The two Red Bull drivers, Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly, will make up the third row in what F1 is billing as its 1,000th Grand Prix, dating from 1950 at Silverstone in southern England.

"I understand the feeling of Charles, it's a shame for him, but at that stage of the race, the Mercedes was likely faster and we made a decision to give Sebastian a go and see if he could have kept the pace of the Mercedes, which was key at that stage of the race", said Binotto.

Binotto went on: "I think that if Charles is upset, then he is right to be upset, and we should accept it". The opening lap saw the virtual safety auto (VSC) being deployed as Torro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat slid and bounced to crash into Carlos Sainz and Land Norrris' respective McLarens.

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