Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Kimi Raikkonen fires Chinese GP warning to Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Raikkonen fires Chinese GP warning to Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel

"We were quicker in the race in the last race, but they were able to hold on".

A Ferrari mechanic suffered a double leg fracture in Bahrain last time out, as Kimi Raikkonen was released too early, while Haas endured a double retirement in Australia after tyres were not fitted correctly.

Lewis Hamilton cast doubt on his Mercedes team's Chinese Grand Prix chances today, after Sebastian Vettel led a Ferrari front-row lockout in qualifying yesterday with his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in second.

"It's going to be a long race, we try to stay out of any issues and then see how it goes". The Silver Arrows pair were half a second slower than Ferrari in the top ten shootout, with Hamilton abandoning his final lap after a mistake at the penultimate corner. "The vehicle felt okay, but I don't really have the answer for it". "I think if we do our homework, if we get the vehicle balance right and we get everything together, then it should be a good weekend - I don't see why not".

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"I don't know if we can challenge", he told Sky Sports. "It's obviously cooler. It's a different track, so I think, honestly, the first two races have been quite different, so it's not that straightforward to predict the third one". If the season so far is anything to go by, different tracks will suit different midfield teams resulting in some intense racing for the lower constructors' positions. "To have that much of a gap (over Mercedes), it is a surprise".

On a circuit still damp from overnight rain, the 33-year-old Briton twice ran onto water-logged artificial turf on the shoulder, spinning out wildly at one point.

The Shanghai International Circuit is expected to be a lot warmer today than yesterday's windy and cold conditions.

"It should be hotter tomorrow", Hamilton said, "which could turn everything on its head". However, he might still be viewed as a favorite on Sunday despite missing pole position.

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Mercedes has been at the front of the grid for the last six Chinese Grands Prix, with Hamilton himself on pole for four of those occasions.

The third row will be made up of the two Red Bull cars, showing the dominance over the last several seasons of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull.

The Red Bull pairing of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo start fifth and sixth respectively, meaning the stage should be set for a fascinating run to the first corner. With both teams now appearing to be evenly matched in terms of engine power and straight-line speed, Bottas admits Mercedes has work to do in terms of improving its understanding of the Pirelli tyres and general improvements to its chassis and aerodynamic performance.

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