Lewis Hamilton dominates practice for the Chinese GP

Hamilton was quickest today before a race where he has high hopes of achieving his first victory of the season

Much like Bahrain, Raikkonen appeared to have a pace advantage over Vettel - even taking provisional pole in Q3 - but admitted second place was "far from ideal" after failing to improve in the final sector on his last lap. However, he might still be viewed as a favorite on Sunday despite missing pole position. "The auto was really incredible". We've got some good feedback about the auto.

"I lost the rear of the vehicle on my first lap so I was a bit beaten up, but I know if I get a tidy lap and have a bit of magic I could push it". "It was really good".

"I don't know if we can challenge, we're half a second behind today".

The duo were spotted talking not long after the race and Vettel has revealed the contents of that discussion.

"At the moment it's not going the way I like of course, but does it really mean I have to calm down? See what it brings".

Lewis Hamilton had a scrappy session, featuring a number of errors including a huge 540-degree spin, and was fifth, a second off the pace of his title rival.

The Briton, second in Australia and third in Bahrain, had gone into the weekend determined to claw back at least some of his deficit to the German at a track that Mercedes have dominated in recent years.

"Not yet where I wanted to be", said Vettel.

Their only solace was that they were quicker than the Toro Rosso cars, which use the Honda engine McLaren rejected at the end of last season on the basis that it was the only thing stopping them competing close to the front.

Nico Hulkenberg was best of the rest for Renault in seventh but was 1.4 seconds off the headline time. "The tracks are quite different to each other and to have that much of a gap is a bit of a surprise". They have a struggle to get that ready for qualifying.

The Haas of Kevin Magnussen was in 11th, ahead of Esteban Ocon's Force India. The upside for the eliminated Dane and Frenchman, however, is that both will be able to start on the advantageous soft tyre as opposed to the ultrasofts that their higher-placed teammates will be forced to use. Despite a management reshuffle and an emergency debrief following a lack of pace in Bahrain, both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne once again failed to progress to the top-10 qualifying shootout, lining up 13th and 14th on the grid. Max Verstappen will start from the No. 5 spot and teammate Daniel Ricciardo will start in the sixth position. "We got through all the laps that we needed". Hamilton, however, aborted his final quick run in Q3.



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