Hamilton: Ferrari will probably win in China

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Hamilton topped both practice sessions at the Shanghai International Circuit, but Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen narrowed the gap in FP2 to just 0.007 seconds while team-mate Sebastian Vettel was within a tenth of his major title rival.

A software glitch by Hamilton's Mercedes team cost him a certain victory in Australia last month, while one week ago in Bahrain, a grid penalty following a gearbox change ruled him out of contention.

Ricciardo said: "Overall, we aren't looking too bad and I hope we can be in the fight with Ferrari and Mercedes".

"It has been a good day", said Hamilton.

"They are rapid at the moment, that is a challenge but we will give it everything we've got".

"I obviously know what doesn't feel right in the auto, but now we need to find the answers and change that for tomorrow".

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"We saw in the race before that we've been better in general with the harder compounds and that [the softer tyres] is something we're still working on to get more out of".

"It's quite straightforward here". The Renaults were next up, with Carlos Sainz placed eighth, but McLaren were two seconds off the ultimate pace despite using the quickest ultrasoft tyres.

The Mercedes perhaps still has a small advantage, as Raikkonen set his fastest time a little later in the session when the track grip levels would have improved. Raikkonen says the decision to start on the softs was an easy one but he is still unsure how the different strategies will play out considering warmer temperatures are expected on Sunday and other teams such as Red Bull will be starting on the ultra-soft tyre.

Seasoned F1 fans have seen an very bad lot over the years in the paddock. So, I think tomorrow is going to be a close qualifying and then Sunday as well.

Haas and Renault look as though they could be locked in a battle this weekend for "best of the rest" with the quartet locking out positions seven through to 10 in opening practice as Toro Rosso look to have taken a step backwards from last weekend's high in Bahrain with Pierre Gasly only 11th quickest. The auto, even though it was quick, it wasn't easy to drive at all.

That meant Red Bull had a race against time to get the vehicle ready for qualifying and Ricciardo had only one lap in the first session to progress into Q2.

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