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Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Lewis Hamilton fightback can start early in China

Shanghai circuit has been a Mercedes track

Lewis Hamilton (right) battles Max Verstappen in Bahrain
1 of 1

Chinese Grand Prix practice one
Sky Sports F1, 3am Friday

The Shanghai circuit, venue for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, has been a Mercedes track since before the current era of domination for the Silver Arrows.

So with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel having made a perfect two-wins-from-two start to the season it will be the most bitter blow so far for the champions if they fail to gain ground in China.

After Australia and Bahrain there is a suspicion that Ferrari have usurped Mercedes at the head of the horsepower charts, and the gargantuan back straight at Shanghai should provide a definitive answer.

If Ferrari are the team to catch this weekend they may not show their pace straight away. That has been the pattern so far this season and Lewis Hamilton, a five-time winner at the track, appeals as a bet to go fastest in first practice.

Vettel cut for title after winning Bahrain battle

The weather forecast is a bit unsettled early in the weekend, but rain looks unlikely.

We are yet to see what Red Bull are capable of in a race. Neither car lasted beyond the second lap in Bahrain, where Daniel Ricciardo topped the first practice session.

Max Verstappen climbed from 16th to third in the Chinese race last year and both drivers are quoted at 11-1 for Sunday's battle.

L Hamilton fastest in practice one
1pt 15-8 Hills

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If Ferrari are the team to catch this weekend they may not show their pace straight away
E.W. Terms
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