Monday, 27 January, 2020


Raikkonen confident he had pace to beat Hamilton

Daniel Ricciardo GETTYDaniel Ricciardo is still out of contract at the end of the year
Noah Ferguson | 13 April, 2018, 21:16

LEWIS Hamilton set an impressive early pace in Practice One for the Chinese GP ahead of Mercedes' bid to win their first race of the season this weekend.

The last time a driver failed to win the championship after winning the opening two races of a season was in 1982, when Alain Prost started lost out to Keke Rosberg.

Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas was third, followed by season points leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.

During practice in Shanghai, Hamilton finished fastest at the end of Friday's second session, though just a tenth of a second separates all four Mercedes and Ferrari drivers.

Lewis Hamilton's bid to become a six-time victor in China got off to a promising start on Friday with the Mercedes driver dominating opening practice on a cool and overcast morning in Shanghai.

After the last race, Hamilton had been caught on a microphone calling Verstappen "a d***head".

Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen and Vettel were next.

The Red Bull drivers were split by Renault pair Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr., who in turn sandwiched Kevin Magnussen, the Dane again emerging as Haas' lead challenger.

Mercedes let a win for Hamilton slip through their fingers with a calculation error around a safety auto period in Australia and Vettel won a tense battle with the Briton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas in Bahrain last weekend after being forced to change strategy.

"I just hope he's learning from whatever situation he's going through", Hamilton added.

"I've seen the forecast, but you never know", Vettel said in China.

Asked what the Dutchman's reply was, Hamilton said: 'I don't really know, there was a lot of noise, but he acknowledged me.' Doesn't sound like Max is about to temper his impetuous driving style, then. "There's no reason for me to change anything". 'I just shook his hand and said, "I'm sorry about the last race", regardless of whether it was his fault or my fault, it doesn't really matter, it's in the past'.

Hamilton is probably the favorite to win on Sunday in China.

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.

A late rain shower meant the session effectively ended 10 minutes early, although some drivers went out on intermediate tyres to get a feel for the track in slippery conditions.

"I remember it back here in 2007, it was unbearable the loss of the world whampionship here - the race after qualifying on pole and leading the Grand Prix (in Japan)".

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