June 22, 2018

Lewis Hamilton fastest on one of his favourite tracks

14 April 2018, 01:46 | Kristopher Drake

Red Bull head to head

Red Bull head to head

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain gets into his auto during the first practice session for the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai, Friday, April 13.

Bottas finished 0.033s behind Hamilton in third, with Vettel 0.108s behind in fourth.

"Hopefully, when we go to China for the next race, we will have a better understanding of the tyres and put up a better fight against Ferrari".

"Although we missed a little bit of track time this morning, I'm feeling quite comfortable in the auto, the balance feels good so if we can improve on certain areas overnight we could be fighting at the sharp end of the midfield battle again".

"We also managed to check the vehicle in wet conditions, on Inter tyres, even though it was only for a few minutes at the end of the session".

"We spent a bit of time during the first session today working on the setup of the auto in order to understand it better", explained Verstappen.

"It's quite straightforward here because all the tyres are quite similar in pace even though we have the double step between the ultra-soft and soft".

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Though Pirelli's softer tyres will be better suited to the chilly Shanghai conditions - the track temperature hovered at around only 20 degrees all day - Mercedes has shown impressive pace on the harder tyres, which may come into their own over a race stint. Ferrari were quick and Red Bull looked really fast on the long run.

As such, it was little surprise to see the Englishman's name at the top of the time-sheets in both practice sessions, and the smart money would be on him securing a slam-dunk victory.

His closest rival in the standings was his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, who was 0.46s slower.

"I think it's in the top three of the easier tracks to overtake".

Added Bottas: "It's looking extremely close again with them (Ferrari) so I think tomorrow is going to be a close qualifying and for sure Sunday as well".

"It's a lot hotter tomorrow so it will be a challenge to see whether or not we can keep up with them". The vehicle, even though it was quick, it wasn't easy to drive at all.

Ricciardo's Renault engine failed in a cloud of flame and smoke, and Red Bull face a race against time to get the vehicle ready for qualifying at 07:00 BST.

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