Arrivabene: Ferrari finally able to challenge Mercedes

ยฉ XPB 

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene has hailed the Chinese Grand Prix as further proof that Ferrari will be able to challenge Mercedes for the 2017 championship.

Sebastian Vettel had to settle for second place in Shanghai this week. However, Arrivabene insisted that it proved the team's victory in Melbourne had been no fluke.

"We're finally able to fight with the Mercedes. This is the good news," Arrivabene said on Sunday.

He felt that a win had been possible in China. However the timing of the safety car for Antonio Giovinazzi's accident on lap 4 hadn't worked in Ferrari's favour.

Vettel had already pitted for fresh tyres under an earlier virtual safety car for Lance Stroll's retirement. Race leader Lewis Hamilton had stayed out, but was now free to come in to make his own stop without losing position.

The Mercedes was indeed able to rejoin in the lead. Meanwhile Vettel had to work his way forward after restarting from fifth place when the race resumed on lap 8.

"We had bad luck with the Safety Car. But in a race like this, sometimes you are lucky sometimes you are not," Arrivabene told Sky Sports F1' Martin Brundle.

"This is the beauty of the Formula 1 championship this year," he added.

Vettel was able to finish in second place, but it was a less happy experience for Raikkonen who came fifth. The Finn was unhappy about being left out too long on old tyres by Ferrari before making his second and final stop.

Arrivabene wasn't expecting to have to assuage Raikkonen's unhappiness over the next few days. "Kimi at the beginning of the season is always like this you remember," he said.

Having also narrowly missed out on the podium in Australia, Raikkonen is now fifth in the drivers' championship with 22pts, almost half that of Vettel. But Arrivabene said it was too early to start thinking about team orders.

"We are in the early stage of the championship," he said. "The drivers know very well the rules of engagement.

"I'm sure that if we find ourselves in the situation of fighting for the championship - now is too early to talk about that - then we'll take our decision.

"Every race is its own story, but it's going to be fun in Bahrain," he added. "We'll see!"

GALLERY: All the pictures from Sunday in Shanghai

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