Recapping all of the news and notes following Thursday in Shanghai, here is Michael Lamonato's paddock notebook.

Lewis Hamilton lamented that if Ferrari’s power advantage over Mercedes in Bahrain were an accurate representation of the state of affairs, it would be harder to catch up compared to a chassis deficit. “I think it’s probably a combination of a couple of things, but closing that gap on straight-line speed is not something you’ll see close up particularly quickly.”

Max Verstappen revealed Red Bull Racing had identified its Bahrain Grand Prix issues as being down to a problem with mechanical set-up, which has now been rectified. He admitted that had he and the team realised sooner, he would’ve been “fighting closer, and for sure we would’ve finished third in Bahrain”.

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– After Renault’s double retirement near the end of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Nico Hulkenberg revealed all Renault-powered cars will be running “the redesigned MGU-K”. Hulkenberg will also adopt a new complete power unit after his “failure on the PU side”, though he didn’t venture further into what problem befall his RS19.

– One year on from his storming Chinese Grand Prix victory with Red Bull Racing, Daniel Ricciardo has admitted he doesn’t yet have the confidence to pull off his grip-defying late-braking moves in his new Renault machine. “For now it is a bit more on a knife edge in that area,” he said. “I’m trying to figure out where the limit is … but I’m still going to try and go for it. I still want my competitors to fear me!”

Carlos Sainz said he’s excited to start working with incoming McLaren F1 director Andreas Seidl after having a conversation with him in Bahrain. The Spaniard said he liked seeing that Seidl was “fired up” and impatient to join the team, giving him a very good impression. Seidl will formally join McLaren at the expiry of his Porsche gardening leave on 1 May.

– Sainz also said he didn’t feel a need to talk to Max Verstappen after his effectively race-ending crash with the Dutchman early in the Bahrain Grand Prix, writing it off as a racing incident. He added that, “When I go for a move, I’m not thinking if it’s Max or if it’s Kimi or if it’s anyone else."

– After two races of unpredictable midfield action, no-one is willing to wager where their team sits in the pecking order, with the picture still to murky. Lando Norris said of McLaren that, “We’re in a decent position; I probably wouldn’t say we’re the best of the midfield teams,” while Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi added that, “I’m sure the car is there — we have a good package, we just need to put to all together and I’m sure we can have a good result”. Daniil Kvyat concluded, “Wherever you start from this year, there is always a chance to score points”.

– Guenther Steiner was in fine fettle in China, dismissing Red Bull Racing principal Christian Horner’s commentary that “the fuel from Ferrari smells like grapefruit juice” by responding, “At the beginning of the season we had a meeting with Ferrari and they asked us which flavour we wanted — our guys like raspberries, so we had raspberry flavour!”

– Addressing the more serious matter of his team’s rapid pace drop-off during the race in Bahrain, Steiner went so far as to admit the team had discovered in the post-race test that the car had been set-up poorly to manage its tyres. “One of the two,” he quipped when asked whether the trouble were tyres that were running too hot or too cold.

– Several drivers are commemorating the 1000th F1 world championship race with unique helmet designs, but when asked if he was following suit, Kimi Raikkonen deadpanned, “I wanted to have an open-face helmet but there were some regulation issues."

– Kimi Raikkonen, Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean were asked about the age-old F1 adage that having a child costs a second per lap in performance, but all three fathers denied this was the case. Romain Grosjean noting that he’d be easily qualifying in the top 10 if each of his three children were costing him so dearly.

George Russell said he caught up with Williams co-founder and now team consultant Patrick Head on Wednesday. Sir Patrick is still gathering information about the woes befalling the team, and Russell said the key area in need of addressing was that “Everything has to work together …that’s what we are missing at the moment, that’s what he’s trying to come in and help achieve”.

– Formula One will reveal a commemorative coin for the 1000th race with precious metals asset firm Rosland Capital. Veteran F1 journalists Roger Benoit and Giorgio Piola will also be celebrated for their long service to the sport, having attended 739 and 811 races respectively.

 

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