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Mercedes, Ferrari closely matched at Shanghai Friday practice

14 April, 2018, 13:45 | Author: Joan Malone
  • The four-time world champion takes a hat to sign as he mingles with fans on Tuesday

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.

Hamilton finished second and third in the first two races in Australia and Bahrain.

Hamilton and Bottas, for example, set foreboding times in the first free practice sessions, recording the fastest and third-fastest times respectively on the soft-compound tyre whereas the second-placed Raikkonen and the rest of the frontrunners all used the ultrasoft tyre.

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.

Bottas, too, was struggling.

"It has been a good day", said Hamilton, who has won the Chinese Grand Prix five times in his career.

"I feel hungry, we are not a wounded beast, and I still believe we are the best team with the potential to win races and fight for this world championship". We were quicker in the race in the last race (Bahrain) but they (Ferrari) were able to hold on.

Kevin Magnussen's Haas was sixth quickest, about where the team is now expected to be after a strong start to the season, but the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were seventh and eighth just a day after technical director Andrew Green explained that the auto had a fundamental imbalance issue.

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

"The auto doesn't feel much different so I think they have just turned it up".

The pit walk is tomorrow (Friday 13) from 5.30pm-7pm and for your chance to win a pair of passes enter our competition by scanning the QR code below to follow the official Time Out Shanghai WeChat (ID: timeoutshanghaieng) and send us a message saying "I want to win F1" with your name, mobile number and WeChat ID. It will be interesting to see how their reliability will be, as it will be for Renault and us.

"A little bit of fine tuning on the short runs to get the balance better and we should be alright".

"I am thinking and wondering", said Hamilton.

"The first lap I made a few mistakes, lost the rear in Turn Three and again in Turn Six".

"I don't know if we can challenge".

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