Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Lewis Hamilton fastest on one of his favourite tracks

Ferrari Has A Good Base Line – Kimi Raikkonen Raikkonen disappointed with “painful” Chinese GP
Cary Erickson | 14 April, 2018, 10:24

Lewis Hamilton thinks the Shanghai circuit will make it hard for him to take his first win of the year at Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix.

Hamilton of Mercedes clocked 1 minute, 33.999 seconds in the morning on the 5.451-kilometer circuit.

The four-time world champion was only a tenth of a second slower than pacesetter Lewis Hamilton in Shanghai, but that was enough to see the German as low as fourth on the timesheets as the top two teams were locked together. As the Formula 1 track layouts differ, we will get a better perspective of the outright package that Ferrari and Vettel have this season. "We were there two races but it's no good having maybe the fastest vehicle if we're not winning with it", said Ricciardo.

"I still believe we are the best team".

Sebastian Vettel admits his Ferrari vehicle has yet to hit the "sweet spot" despite a closely fought practice ahead of the Chinese GP on Friday.

Mercedes need to counter the early-season pace and form of Vettel, who somehow managed to last 39 laps on severely-worn tyres in Bahrain to take a 17-point lead in the standings ahead of Hamilton.

A software glitch by Hamilton's Mercedes team cost him a certain victory in Australia last month, while one week ago in Bahrain, a grid penalty following a gearbox change ruled him out of contention.

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Vettel, the season points leader, put in a best lap of one minute and 33.018 seconds on a windy and wet Shanghai International Circuit, almost a half second ahead of his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

As both Mercedes and Ferrari cars seemingly teed up a shoot-out for pole position on Saturday, Max Verstappen finished fifth in the order. Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was sixth.

"By the end of the day the pace was looking good and I think we can be happy with the car's performance".

The defending champion had a spin in first practice but bar that had a faultless day although ended second practice early due to the rain.

McLaren could be facing a fine from governing body the FIA after Stoffel Vandoorne, 14th fastest, had to stop on the track with a loose wheel.

Hamilton said he thought he had been ahead for most of the corner where they clashed but that once he accepted defeat he gave Verstappen the required room - only for the young Dutchman to hold him out wide unnecessarily, until they touched.