Lewis Hamilton says he expects Ferrari to once again pose a threat to Mercedes during this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.
Hamilton topped both practice sessions on Friday, but says he remains wary of the pace of Ferrari, who recorded a surprise win last time out in Malaysia courtesy of Sebastian Vettel.
“It was good to get both sessions in and that puts me in a stronger position,” he said. “The team has done an amazing job to find some improvements in the car. Balance-wise it’s way better than the last race and it was generally feeling really good.
“I don’t know how long I went on each compound but it felt good on the long and short runs. The prime perhaps didn’t feel as good as the option but I’ll have to go and analyse the data to see where we are compared to the others.
“It was quite close between us and Ferrari. They look just as fast as they were last time out and Nico was quick as well, so we definitely have a race on. But I feel like I’ve got some improvements to make and I think we’ve got the pace to stay ahead.”
Nico Rosberg was second fastest in the morning, but ended the day just fifth after a mistake on his best lap on the soft Pirelli tyres.
“It seems that we are very quick on one lap – but I just didn’t get my lap together on the softer tyres,” he said.
“I tried a different line on the grass at the final corner, which was not very quick as it turns out! Obviously, that wasn’t ideal and it cost me a good lap. But Lewis showed the pace we have in the car.
“On a long run we need to analyse the data to see where we are but the Ferraris seem to be very strong again.
“In the morning I tried a new front wing and we collected a lot of data, so that was a very useful session for us. It will be a long night with the engineers to find the best setup for the race on Sunday.”
Image courtesy of Daimler