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Mercedes: Ferrari looks like very competitive again

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Ferrari looks like very competitive again
Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton continued to set the flying-lap in practice for the Chinese Grand Prix, with the Mercedes driver following up his fastest lap of the morning session with the best time of the afternoon.

The double time world champion posted a fastest lap 1:37.219 on the soft Pirelli tyre to finish four-tenths of a second clear of nearest rival Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

The Mercedes mutually insist that Ferrari looks like very competitive in China, and they expecting an exciting battle with Italian squad in qualifying and race.

Lewis Hamilton

“Today was definitely an improvement on Friday in Malaysia. It was good to get both sessions in and that puts me in a stronger position. 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

“It seems that we are very quick on one lap – but I just didn’t get my lap together on the softer tyres. 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 Ferrari 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.”

Toto Wolff

“It was a good day from a reliability point of view, with both cars running the programme like we planned and doing lots of laps. We also ran a new front wing in the morning and the correlation all looks good, so a great job done by the team back at the factory.”

“Performance wise, we look competitive over one lap – although Nico didn’t quite get his lap together today. But Ferrari are close – and closer still on the long runs. We saw in Malaysia that we need to get every detail right to put together a winning weekend, so this will be our focus tonight as we do our analysis and tomorrow in preparation for qualifying. It will be an exciting battle.”

Paddy Lowe

“We had a good day today: there were no problems to report and we completed our planned programme successfully, including the evaluation of our new aerodynamic parts. We ran the two different types of tyre at different fuel loads and gathered a lot of useful information.”

“There is a big difference between the prime and option over a single lap, which will certainly influence strategies for the rest of the weekend. Both drivers were pretty happy with the car today but Ferrari look to be similarly competitive here as they were in Malaysia, so we will have our work cut out once again.”

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