As Carlos Sainz was quizzed by the media, one theme was the fact that we had out-performed our “senior” team in Sepang, but the Spaniard put that result in perspective. “I think Red Bull should be in front of us, as should McLaren, but while they are having some issues, we have to make the most of the opportunities provided to us,” said Carlos. “At the moment there is a very interesting fight between Sauber, Lotus and us and when Red Bull struggles they are also in that group, although I expect them to do better soon. This year, it’s clear we need to beat McLaren as they are struggling at the moment. We need to build up a points lead and then, towards the end of the year try to be consistent. But our team has done a very good job, moving on from the problems in the first race. Aerodynamically and mechanically, the car feels really nice to drive. This is just the beginning of the year and this is the time when we must make the most of it and try and get as many points as possible. We were well prepared for the first two races and, here in China, with very different conditions, the free practice sessions on Friday will be a steep learning curve.”

After the second round of the championship, our technical director James Key pointed out that our engine supplier, Renault, had made significant steps forward, something Sainz agreed with. “On the engine side, between Melbourne and Malaysia there was a massive improvement in terms of driveability,” explained the Spaniard. “Renault made it absolutely perfect for Malaysia, which allows you to focus on your set-up. After what we have seen from Australia to Malaysia, I have full confidence that we will see further engine improvements through the year.”

Max Verstappen arrived in Shanghai earlier than his team-mate and therefore even had time to fit in some sightseeing before starting work. “I had a nice time on Tuesday and went up that huge Oriental Pearl Tower to get a good view of the city; it’s very impressive,” said the Dutchman. “There are so many people here in this city! I am looking forward to this weekend. Physically, it should be easier than Malaysia, even if I can say I didn’t have any problems there. I’ve never raced here and so yesterday’s track walk with my engineers was my first look at the “real” track having only driven it before on the simulator. This facility is very impressive and massive and I like the track layout, which looks very technical, so I’m looking forward to free practice tomorrow.”

Like his team-mate, Verstappen feels our engine supplier is making progress. “I think the track should suit our car, as the STR10 is very good at looking after its tyres, which was a strong point for us in the extreme heat in Sepang,” he said. “But that won’t be the case in the much cooler conditions here, as it will be closer and tougher. In Malaysia, the driveability of the engine was a hundred times better than in Australia. To make such a big step forward in just one race is really impressive. Renault has more improvements for here, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do for us.”