Hamilton fastest in China GP practice but Ferrari close behind

Howard TerryApr 14, 2018

Vettel also said that he does not think Ferrari have been particularly smart on their way to back-to-back victories in 2018, just that their preparation has been spot on.

Lewis Hamilton now stands second in the points tally after his rival Sebastian Vettel took two back to back victories in Australia and Bahrain. "This should be a good track for us but I think it's going to be close".

Practice Three gets underway at 4am BST tomorrow morning before qualifying starts at 7am.

"It has been a good day", said Hamilton. "But, it's good to see all the times so close".

"It's the same as I get back from a day like today and it's nearly a team of them - there will be a group here and a group back at the hotel and they're coordinating: "okay, he's left" and there will be a group there at the restaurant.it's sweet!"

Cape Town - Sebastian Vettel believes Mercedes are the team to beat heading into the Chinese Grand Prix weekend, with weather conditions expected to suit.

The Shanghai International Circuit is a favourite of the reigning world champion, having secured pole six times and claimed victory five times.

With such drastic swings in momentum race-to-race, Vettel and teammate Kimi Raikkonen's hopes of breaking Mercedes' stranglehold can not be written off based on past form. With his triumph in Bahrain, Vettel became the first Ferrari driver since Michael Schumacher to open the season with successive wins for the Maranello-based squad.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel has won the first two races with Hamilton second in Australia and third in Bahrain.

Verstappen ended Friday practice in Shanghai 0.341s off Hamilton's fastest time. The former champions have finished on the podium in China in the last two years.

Red Bull finished the session fourth and fifth with Daniel Ricciardo edging Max Verstappen by 0.131s, albeit 0.538s off Hamilton's benchmark time. The Briton is hopeful that his actions will bode well for the future as they are certain to come up against each other on more than a few occasions during the course of the season.

"I was in the auto, so I felt it, saw it", he told a news conference. "Melbourne we saw one, last weekend. this weekend we need a clean weekend, nearly a boring couple of sessions, qualifying and race - just to see what the potential of this auto really is".

"We've got the team, we have the abilities and capabilities, it's just about putting our minds to it and pulling together." he continued.

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