Lewis Hamilton topped both practice sessions in China, but Ferrari and Red Bull are in very close quarters.
Lewis Hamilton: “It has been a good day. We got through all the laps that we needed. We’ve got some good feedback about the car. We’ve been progressing through the sessions and we’ve got a good idea. It’s quite straightforward here. I mean all the tyres are quite similar in pace. So there’s not a big, big difference between them even though we have the double step for the ultrasoft. Ferrari are still quite quick. Red Bull were really quick on the long run. But, it’s good to see all the times so close.”
Valtteri Bottas: “I think Ferrari [will be our biggest rival]. It seemed extremely close again with them. So, I think tomorrow is going to be a close qualifying and then Sunday as well. [The balance] was a lot better in practice two. Practice one we had a lot of issues. The car, even though it was quick, it wasn’t easy to drive at all. We got it better for practice two and that way lap times were improving. Hopefully [we can make] another step for tomorrow.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a pretty good Friday and I’m quite happy with the feeling of the car. I think we have a pretty good base line to start from, it looks pretty good. The car has been quite straightforward since the beginning, so it easy to fine tune things. On one lap we had some traffic, I’m sure we could have gone faster. In the long run we never really got a proper idea due to the conditions: it started to rain and we had limited running, so it’s a bit tricky to know where we are. Today it was close, but then tomorrow who knows what the weather will be; things can change a lot from one day to the next."
Sebastian Vettel: “I think at this track it is very important to find the right feeling with the car and its setup. The track is long and the tires struggle here. But, overall, I think we are quite close. However, the car is not yet where I want it to be. So, we are still looking at how we can improve. I think the SF71H has the pace, but you need to make sure it works. Today it’s been a mixed day and I think in the afternoon it was a bit better and I was a little bit happier. Hopefully tomorrow I’m going to be very happy!”
Max Verstappen: “We spent a bit of time during the first session today working on the setup of the car in order to understand it better. By the end of the day the pace was looking good and I think we can be happy with the car’s performance, it’s always good to finish a day’s running with no major problems and we don’t look too far off. We just managed to fit in a longer stint before the rain came towards the end of the second session so we didn’t feel the need to stay out. The long runs were once again very positive and I felt pretty comfortable. A little bit of fine tuning on the short runs to get the balance better and we should be alright. This track is good for overtaking anyway so I think we can have a good race judging by our pace.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “Half of the morning and half of the afternoon were good. Generally with the harder compounds I was more comfortable, but once we put the ultrasoft on we didn’t have as much speed so we need to find a bit of time there and understand where we are losing. I obviously know what doesn’t feel right in the car, but now we need to find the answers and change that for tomorrow. The long runs were much better and I’m confident we can find the speed. Overall, we aren’t looking too bad and I hope we can be in the fight with Ferrari and Mercedes.”