• Melbourne, Race – Toto: “We need to keep our heads down and work hard to improve further”

Lewis finished his first race for the team in fifth place today whilst team-mate Nico had to retire his car following an electrical problem midway through the race.

Starting from third on the grid, Lewis finished in fifth position after converting to a three-stop strategy mid-race. He stopped on laps 13, 31 and 42, using supersoft tyres for the first stint and the medium compound thereafter. Nico was forced to retire from third position on lap 27 following an electrical problem.

“We had a very good opening stint of the race” said Ross, “making the supersoft tyre last until lap 13 for Lewis and lap 14 for Nico. That convinced us that a two-stop strategy was feasible this afternoon. However, the balance on the medium tyre was not what we needed. Having committed to two stops, and adjusted our pace accordingly to preserve the tyres, the decision to convert to a three-stop strategy compromised Lewis relative to those cars who had gone for three from the start.

The behaviour of the tyres is something we will have to think about and understand over the next days. Nico was running strongly when he was forced to retire. We saw a drop in voltage from the battery and that stopped the car.

Overall, we have made a good step with the car and learned a lot this afternoon. If we can put the pieces of the puzzle together, we have the ingredients to race well.”

Toto felt that we “learned a lot this afternoon. We had to switch our strategy from two to three stops, which of course compromised Lewis in terms of his pace and also the final result.

As for Nico, we need to work hard to ensure that technical failures do not cost us the chance of strong finishes. We can see that we have a solid basis to work from, now we need to keep our heads down and work hard to improve further.”