• IN WORDS: Lewis & Valtteri's China Debrief

Lewis and Valtteri talk us through their take on a challenging race weekend in China...

'We were giving it everything'

Despite a fantastic performance from Valtteri in his 100th F1 race start, he was powerless to hold off Daniel Ricciardo's late charge for the lead and had to settle for a frustrating P2.

"I think the overall feeling is definitely disappointment because we are here to win and we didn't, even though we were leading quite a big part of the race," he admitted afterwards.

"Especially how everything went in the beginning. Then, at the pit stop, the team did a perfect job and I also felt that I maximised the in-lap.

"The pit stop was the quickest we have had for a long time and also the out lap was really good. We were giving everything we had and it kind of felt like we deserved victory... but not today."

Lewis struggled in Qualifying and it was a similar story in the race. But he nonetheless claimed a healthy haul of points with P4.

"We lacked pace from Saturday onwards," he said. "Everything was good on Friday and then the car kind of turned upside down. It was unstable and didn't turn into the corners. There was a lot of performance that we were losing.

"I definitely feel like I was on the top of my game this weekend. I came prepared exactly the same as always. I just struggled with the car and was uncomfortable on Saturday and Sunday. We have to try and figure it out."

'It was only a matter of time'

Both drivers battled the charging Bull in the second half of the race, with Ricciardo powering towards the front on fresh Softs after his Safety Car pit stop.

"He was really closing in quickly and there was a big pace difference," explained Valtteri, who was eventually overhauled from the lead despite some strong defensive driving.

"I think they had a really strong car and on top of that they had fresh tyres at that point. Seeing how the pace disappeared afterwards, it was only a matter of time."

Lewis was surprised by the pace of the Red Bull, even on new tyres. "I don't know if anyone expected them to be as quick as they were," he said.

"I mean, after the Safety Car, I stayed out and initially thought this was good. I was right behind Sebastian and maybe I had a chance.

"I looked in my mirrors and the Red Bulls were right behind me on brand new tyres. I'm like, 'how the hell did that happen?' I knew that they would come by, I was already struggling."

'I'm so hungry for the win'

For Valtteri, it was his second runner-up finish in a row. But, the Finn felt it was his best weekend of the season so far and is determined to keep the momentum going.

"Overall, Melbourne could have been the strongest weekend for the team - pace-wise," he said. "For me personally I think China was my strongest weekend.

"Qualifying was good. We just couldn't match Ferrari but against my team-mate it was fine. In the race, the pace was good.

"It really felt like I could get everything out of the car but unfortunately the result wasn't what we wanted.

"I'm looking forward to Baku. It's another great opportunity. Now it's two races in a row that I have been so close to winning. I'm so hungry for the win.

"It is competitive this year in F1. We are facing a big challenge. We know we can still improve in many areas and I think it is only a matter of time before we get everything perfect and the win will come.

"But it has not been ideal first three races. If we need to find any positives from today I think we made good progress with the points in the Constructors' Championship."

'Everyone is going to keep pushing'

It was a tough weekend for Lewis, but his targets remain unchanged - and he knows just how hard the team will be working to get back to the top of the podium.

"My goals are obviously still the same but it is clear from this weekend that we are not the quickest," the Brit said. "We've lost performance since Melbourne and maybe more so even this weekend.

"We have some improving to do but it is not impossible. What this team has shown over the years is that we are great at staying united, continuing to battle along and keep working.

"Everyone here and back at the factory is just going to keep pushing hard as possible.

"I'm also pushing very hard trying to encourage them, so they know which kind of areas with the car we are struggling most and can really look into it.

"I'm going to keep the constructive pressure on the guys. But they already have pressure because they want to win as much as us."