Published: Fri, April 12, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Mercedes - Ferrari the clear favourites at Chinese Grand Prix

Mercedes - Ferrari the clear favourites at Chinese Grand Prix

Then again, the Prancing Horse the German drove in Barcelona back in March hasn't exactly been the same vehicle since it left Spain.

Ferrari locked out the front row in Bahrain and Leclerc's was the quickest auto in the race, but the Monegasque driver says expecting a repeat in China would be an error by the team.

Ferrari start the weekend in China as favourites after dominating Mercedes on pace in Bahrain, where Lewis Hamilton inherited victory and his team-mate Valtteri Bottas completed a one-two after Leclerc hit trouble.

"I hope the auto will be as good as it was in Bahrain, so that I can continue to go for the results we deserve", said the 21-year-old Monegasque.

"It's not really any different to any other race to me", he said at a media event in Shanghai on Wednesday. I haven't come across a driver that is a pain in the arse and I hope I never will. I don't know but I believe it comes more from a confidence point of view.

"I have always shown respect when other people did well and he did in Bahrain". "Not happy with the feeling yet with the auto, the feeling that I had prior to the season in testing. But at least when I'm not at the top of it, it's good that he is".

"Seb and I, from Barcelona (testing) we have two very different driving styles". Bahrain I think the conditions were tricky and everyone was struggling with the wind and so on. "It's sheer power. So we have to get used to this level of performance, in my opinion, and see Melbourne as the outlier". They had two races, and they had been on the flipside of each other.

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"It was useful to get some laps in the auto".

"I think it was quite clear that he was quite a lot faster at that point", Vettel said. And to be fair the behaviour in Barcelona was very strong.

"I need to work as hard as possible, try to do the best job in and out of the auto".

"Regardless, there is no shift in our focus for China, which will be maximising each day of the weekend, hopefully making a step forward in performance and ensuring that we perform well on Saturday to give ourselves the best chance for Sunday".

Hamilton does not expect his Mercedes team to have closed the gap in that department, and sees the Red Bull team as a serious threat too. "But I expect it to be very close".

After three races, Vettel is yet to make the podium in 2019 and remains in fifth in the driver standings, on 22 points, someway behind leader Valtteri Bottas on 44.

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