Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says that Ferrari could mount a serious challenge at this weekend’s Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix.
Ferrari star Sebastian Vettel won the opening two races of the 2018 F1 season in Australia in March and last week in Bahrain, while Mercedes won the four previous races in Shanghai, but Hamilton believes it will be a close battle on Sunday.
Quoted by Sky Sports, Hamilton said: “They [Ferrari] are going to be hard to beat. Their straight-line speed in the last few races has been faster than ours and we have the longest straights here. So I’m anticipating they will be very, very fast.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
“They are faster than us on the straights and as quick as us through the corners. Their engine programme has really taken a big step this season. It will be interesting to see how their reliability will be – as it will be for Renault and us. This should be a good track for us but I think it’s going to be close.”
Hamilton may be without a win so far this season, but after a second in Australia and battling from ninth to finish third in Bahrain, he believes Mercedes have what it takes to retain the drivers’ and constructors’ titles this season.
“I still believe we are the best team,” Hamilton added. “We definitely have the potential to win races and to fight for this championship. But what’s important is that we all stay on our toes.”
In response, Ferrari’s Vettel told the BBC: “The first two races have been quite different so it is not straightforward to predict the next one. I think Mercedes are still the favourite going in but if we do our homework and get the car balance right, it should be a good weekend.”
2018 F1 Chinese Grand Prix guide
- When: Sunday, 15 April
- Where: Shanghai International Circuit
- Number of laps: 56
- Lap record: 1:32.238 by Michael Schumacher in 2004
- 2017 result: 1st Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes); 2nd Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari); 3rd Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing)
How to watch the Chinese Grand Prix on TV
The third Grand Prix of the 2018 F1 season will take place in China this weekend. Sky Sports F1 will show live coverage from Shanghai.
- Tomorrow: practice one (3am); practice two (7am)
- Saturday, 14 April: practice three (4am); Chinese GP qualifying (7am)
- Sunday, 15 April: F1 Chinese Grand Prix (race starts at 7.10am)
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.