Timo Bernhard: The perfect race for Porsche in Shanghai

Pole, fastest lap, race win and the successful defence of the manufacturers’ title one race before the season finale – Shanghai couldn’t have gone any better for our car #1 and for the whole Porsche Team.

Timo Bernhard: The perfect race for Porsche in Shanghai
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard
Race winners #1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
Podium: Race winners #1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
Podium: race winners #1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley, second place #6 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, third place #5 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima

As we have already seen in the last few races, the field was extremely close together and especially Toyota didn’t make it easy for us in China.

I enjoy the track in Shanghai, even though it isn’t an easy one to drive. The first corner doesn’t really float my boat: the snail-like right-hander seems endless, it's getting tighter all the time and it is slow.

After that, the lap features very different cornering speeds. There are some mid-speed corners and a few corner combinations especially for which you have to position the car precisely.

Crucial pole after early drama

In the practice sessions, we tested various set-up options and made some steps in the right direction. Our lap times were competitive on single fast laps as well as on long runs.

In the second session, we had a small problem that cost us some time, but afterwards we managed to get the most out of the session and did a lot of set-up work for the race. We got a better understanding for the tyres and got several parameters right in their operational window. 

The track was very dirty in the beginning but improved over the course of the weekend. We knew from free practice that we would be fast on a single lap and Brendon [Hartley] and Mark [Webber] managed to translate this speed perfectly in qualifying.

In the early stages of the session there was some excitement when Brendon’s first lap was deleted because he exceeded track limits in the last corner. Mark did a mega lap to put us back into contention, and Brendon secured pole for us with his second lap. It was an awesome team effort and everyone kept their cool.

Balancing race

The race on Sunday went very well for us too. Brendon had a great start and we were able to keep the lead and then extend it. I was second in the car and did a double stint. The number #6 Toyota with Kamui Kobayashi driving was really strong.

The traffic in the race was a real challenge and very often the limiting factor as you had to constantly balance between being aggressive or rather defensive when lapping slower cars. Our car ran absolutely smoothly, we had fast pit stops, the right strategy and got the win in the end.

I am extremely happy to have won another race with my two teammates and for the whole team it’s an amazing achievement to have been able to defend the manufacturers’ title.

Every member of the team at home in Weissach and at the race track has worked relentlessly over the whole season and it wouldn’t have been possible without them. 

Now it’s onto the final race in Bahrain, where our sister car is fighting for the title in the drivers' championship. It will also be the last race for Mark, Brendon and I as teammates. I think I can speak for Brendon and myself that Mark will sorely be missed as a teammate and friend.

Also with Audi leaving the championship at the end of this season we’re losing a highly respected competitor in the WEC. Bahrain will without a doubt be another cracking race which you shouldn’t miss!

shares
comments
Rebellion confirms Oreca 07 for LMP2 switch
Previous article

Rebellion confirms Oreca 07 for LMP2 switch

Next article

Analysis: The state of play in the LMP1 driver market

Analysis: The state of play in the LMP1 driver market
Load comments
Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021 Prime

Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021

Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez scored a second successive FIA World Endurance Championship title in the #7 Toyota, as its new Le Mans Hypercar went unbeaten. Motorsport.com recaps how each of the four classes in the 2021 season were won and picks out the best LMH and GTE drivers

WEC
Nov 28, 2021
The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending Prime

The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending

OPINION: The deeply unsatisfying ending to a brilliant World Endurance Championship GTE Pro battle in Bahrain had Ferrari provisionally heading back from the desert as the victor. But Porsche plans to appeal the outcome, which rests on a number of confusing elements that have yet to be satisfactorily explained.

WEC
Nov 9, 2021
How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint Prime

How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint

The Ferrari versus Porsche fight for the FIA World Endurance Championship's GTE Pro title had been a finely-poised affair, right up until Alessandro Pier Guidi's punt on Michael Christensen in the closing stages of the Bahrain 8 Hours handed Ferrari a provisional title, pending Porsche's appeal. Here's how the controversy played out.

WEC
Nov 8, 2021
The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster Prime

The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster

The 1-2 finish achieved by Toyota at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was a result that will have surprised few, given its status as pre-event favourite. But the result was anything but straightforward, as worsening fuel pressure concerns required the team's drivers and engineers to pursue "creative fixes" on the fly. Here is the full story of how it reached the end without a lengthy pit visit

Le Mans
Nov 3, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Prime

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment.

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Prime

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights.

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021