Verstappen makes Hamilton take notice after podium charge
20 April, 2017, 13:27 | Author: Alberta Rodriguez
Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda went so far as to suggest that Vettel had the speed to seize Ferrari's first pole position since the Singapore Grand Prix in 2015 but Hamilton did just enough in qualifying to secure top spot.
That let Hamilton to switch to dry weather tyres without losing position and also allowed both Red Bulls and Vettel's Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen to jump the German. Or so he thought.
"The auto was good when the tyres were fresh, but it seemed to lose the front and at a place like this, you give a lot of time away and struggle to drive".
Lewis Hamilton dominated the 2017 Chinese Grand Prix, driving from pole to finish at the front for his firts win of 2017. After being stung by Vettel in Melbourne two weeks ago, Hamilton predicted a fierce battle for the Formula One title this year. Sebastian Vettel battled past his teammate to take second place, whilst Red Bull were having their own inter-team battle.
Hamilton and Vettel are locked on equal points at the top of the table ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix in seven days' time. It really pushes you to raise the bar each time you go out there.
But Hamilton said the race in Shanghai could easily have been much closer and he expects a stiff challenge in 2017 from what he called the best Ferrari team in a decade.
It was Vettel's first victory in more than a year and established Ferrari as a true competitor to the long-dominant silver cars. Raikkonen, who rejoined Ferrari in 2014, signed a one-year contract extension last year.
The three-time world champion led away at the start of the race in damp conditions and was able to hold on to his lead through Virtual Safety Car and Safety Car periods which occurred in quick succession. "It's frustrating. But I know what we need and we have a very clear picture of what we want to do".
With conditions wet and greasy at the start, all the drivers' started on intermediate tyres, except Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz, who gambled on the supersofts and soon spun off. "I think we'll need some good updates to really get on the pace of them".
"The Ferraris have looked so fast through practice this morning and each qualifying session so we knew it was going to be close, and it would mean we'd have to pull out all the stops and really have a flawless lap, a solid lap", Hamilton said after qualifying. "I had a very exciting race.it was good fun", he added.
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He added: "I don't get a lot of time in games to show my quality on the ball because my priority is to protect the defence". The former Newcastle man made no mistake, sweeping home past Kasper Schmeichel and into the back of the net.
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