After the series of processions last year, the Malaysian Grand Prix showed that perhaps this year’s title race might not just be restricted to Hamilton and Rosberg.
Seeing Ferrari win again was a great sight and the battle between Vettel and Hamilton was certainly an exciting one. Would Hamilton have won if his car hadn’t struggled with tyres in the extreme heat? Well possibly but at least it stopped a second win in a row with Mercedes and the threat of him running away with the title before we even get to Europe.
Now the F1 circus moves to China and the first two practice sessions have been dominated by Lewis Hamilton. He was fastest in both sessions finishing half a second clear of Rosberg in the first and Raikkonen in the second.
However impressive Hamilton may have been in those two practice sessions, it doesn’t necessarily mean he is going to have it all his way on Sunday. Again the Mercedes’ tyres went off faster than the Ferrari’s. While Hamilton saw his times go downhill after 11 laps, Vettel continued to have consistent times for 14. A repeat of what happened in Malaysia is not out of the question.
Hamilton was in a confident mood today and told reporters: “There are things we can improve on but generally the car was feeling good.” He’s not underestimating Ferrari though and said “The Ferraris look like they are just as quick as in the last race but hopefully we’re quicker.”
Elsewhere there were problems for Massa in the Williams as his car half-spun but didn’t cause too much damage. Red Bull need to improve and will be heartened by the performance of Daniel Ricciardo as he finished third in the second practice session.
Jenson Button will be pleased with the fact he finished tenth in the second practice and an improved showing in China looks a good possibility.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a look at the history of the Chinese Grand Prix.