Lewis Hamilton claims he is “struggling” with the handling of his Mercedes after finishing seven tenths adrift of Valtteri Bottas in FP2.
Hamilton admits that while it will be tough to extract extra pace from the W10, he believes the team can compete with Ferrari at the front.
“I was struggling with the car today,” he told reporters in Shanghai.
“We’ve got work to do, particularly on my side as Valtteri looked much more comfortable in the car.
“We’re going to work hard tonight to find some tweaks and hopefully come back stronger tomorrow. The car has the pace in it to compete at the front, we just need to find the right set-up.
“It is nice to see how close it is between us, Red Bull and Ferrari. As we expected, the Ferraris still look quicker on the straights, but overall it’s very close between the top cars and I anticipate that it is going to be the same tomorrow.”
Valtteri ends Friday in P1 with a 1:33.330, while Lewis is P4 with a 1:34.037.
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) April 12, 2019
Bottas believes that although Ferrari are quicker on the straights, the Silver Arrows are better in most corners, something which he expects will even things out between the rivals.
“Ferrari still seem to be quicker than us on the straights, whereas we were better in most corners in FP2,” explained the Finn, who leads the World Championship.
“We still have room for improvement, but we know the others are going to work hard on their cars as well, so we’re going to have to wait and how much we can improve in relation to them.
“The wind is forecast to change direction over the next two days which can make things really tricky as we saw in Bahrain two weeks ago, so that’s going to make things interesting.”