Hamilton Braced for Ferrari Battle

Ricciardo storms to the front and wins 2018 Chinese Grand Prix image

Ricciardo storms to the front and wins 2018 Chinese Grand Prix image

In this picture, Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP looks on in the paddock during previews ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai, China, April 12, 2018.

"We are only two races into the new season, but I arrived here thinking I want to win the next 19", Hamilton said.

"So yeah, I'm just looking forward to get started again here, because we have a good package, and there are a lot of good things coming".

"The balance of the auto is good but we have some fine-tuning to do on it tonight".

Mercedes and Ferrari are firmly on top, but at this point, and at this circuit, does anyone really know what's going to happen? We need to bring our A game every weekend, especially given how close it is. "But if we do, like this weekend, and we find the sweet spot, then I'm pretty confident that we can do well there as well".

As the first 2 practice sessions of the Chinese Grand Prix wraps up, it is advantage Hamilton as he topped the timesheets.

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel had to settle for fourth, around 0.108 seconds slower that his rival's best.

He needs to make it win number six on Sunday, with Vettel having won the season's opening two races in Australia and Bahrain to open up a 17-point lead over Hamilton in the overall standings.

Hamilton has won five times in Shanghai, more than any other driver, and Mercedes are hopeful they can get their error-plagued season back on track with a win this weekend.

Hamilton stuck to his opinion, but the Red Bull driver accused the Briton of taking the easy route and blaming the younger inexperienced driver while deeming it a racing incident when questioned Thursday during the driver's press conference in China. Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was sixth.

"But it has been a good day, we got through all the laps that we needed and got some good feedback about the vehicle".

Sebastian Vettel was unable to unlock the same pace as his teammate and was forced to settle for P6 ahead of Kevin Magnussen who continued his excellent start to the season by once again outshining teammate Romain Grosjean.

Hamilton was highly impressive in setting the fastest time in the first session on Friday, but the frontrunners closed in the second.

There was little drama in the session, which was hit by rain in the closing stages.

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.

"Ferrari are going to be hard to beat here", he added.

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