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Expect a tight battle to be fastest qualifier

Hamilton faces a fight to repeat Melbourne pole

Lewis Hamilton enjoys some downtime during the fog-hit Chinese Grand Prix practice
1 of 1

Sky Sports F1, 8am Saturday

Practice update

Little to report!

Just 15 minutes of the scheduled three hours of Friday practice took place thanks to heavy fog between the Shanghai circuit and the nearest hospital meaning the medical helicopter was unable to fly.

For what it's worth Red Bull's Max Verstappen topped a wet practice one ahead of the Williams of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll. Only 14 of the 20 drivers set a time during the curtailed session with champoionship leaders Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton not among them.

Qualifying advice

He looked a little fortunate with the timing of pitstops, but Vettel was a deserving winner of the season-opener in Australia two weeks ago. The Ferrari looked more than a match for Hamilton's Mercedes as Vettel patiently followed the Silver Arrow before the pitstops.

However, Hamilton had set pole position by a convincing margin around Albert Park and is a 4-5 favourite to go fastest in Saturday's qualifying session.

Shanghai is more of a conventional circuit than Melbourne, and Vettel may be able to get closer this week.

The track is dominated by one of the longest straights on the calendar, so we should see whether recent theories that the new Ferrari engine is more than a match for the Mercedes power unit are true.

Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas could also get in the mix after an impressive first outing for the team in Australia.

The best betting approach could be to bet on a close fight for pole position, with the 11-4 about the gap between first and second being under 0.15 seconds.

Recommendation
Qualifying winning margin under 0.15 seconds
1pt 11-4 bet365

Shanghai is more of a conventional circuit than Melbourne, and Vettel may be able to get closer this week
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