Chinese Grand Prix 2018 qualifying

Pierre Gasly

Pierre Gasly , The Canadian Press

As the Formula 1 track layouts differ, we will get a better perspective of the outright package that Ferrari and Vettel have this season.

"They are going to be hard to beat", said the 2017 world champion.

Vettel holds a 17-point lead over Hamilton coming into the Chinese Grand Prix and the Briton can not afford to fall further behind his rival in the title race this early in the season.

Hamilton finished the session with the fastest time - 0.007s ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen - as the top four cars were split by just over a tenth of a second over one lap.

"That was very much a fortunate scenario for them, but they capitalised on it".

Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was third, followed by current season leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari, with a mere 0.108 seconds separating the top four. I was super happy to be back in the points.

The Mercedes driver told reporters at the Chinese Grand Prix that he had sought out the 20-year-old Red Bull driver and shaken hands.

Defending champion Hamilton will be keen to get his title assault back on track after mixed performances in the opening rubbers, and his strong performance in the first running of the weekend will provide him with the confidence that he can do just that.

The Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were fourth and fifth quickest, the Dutchman setting his time just 0.131secs off the Australian despite tyres damaged in a spin and trip through the gravel trap at the last corner. But, we have been a successful team for a long time and what's really important is that we all stay on our toes.

"We all need to bring it and this is even more crucial this year, because it is magnified". I want to win the next 19 races somehow. "Ferrari have nearly been flawless, and we are working on being flawless".

"The next race they did a good job, but not the whole job". This is definitely a sport that... you got to a hockey game and they don't mind they have punch-ups and stuff, it's cool. They have really picked up their engine programme and taken a big step this season. F1 cars are the pinnacle of racing technology and we have two pairs of pit passes up for grabs for you to see how it all works in amongst the action and behind the scenes.

Meanwhile, as in Bahrain qualifying last Saturday, a Williams propped up the order with the team's tough start of the season not showing an immediate signs of changing in Practice One.

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