Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in action during the second practice ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International CircuitReuters

After a somewhat disappointing performance in the Malaysian Grand Prix, Mercedes will be hoping to re-establish their dominance in China, especially after Lewis Hamilton's excellent display in the practice sessions on Friday.

The 30-year-old Englishman was the fastest in both the 90-minute sessions, clocking a time of 1:39.033 and 01:37.219 in practice 1 and 2 respectively.

His teammate Nico Rosberg was able to come second in the first session with a time of 1:39.574, but came fifth in the second session clocking a time of 01:38.399.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who emerged victorious in Malaysia, also failed to impress on Friday, with him coming third in the first session and fourth in the second session with a time of 1:40.157 and 01:38.339 respectively.

However, his teammate, Kim Räikkönen, was far more impressive as he came fourth in the first session and second in the second session with a time of 1:40.661 and 01:37.662 respectively.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo showed signs of improvement as he was able to finish third in the second session with a time of 01:38.311 after clocking a time of 1:41.029 to come sixth in the first session.

His teammate, Daniil Kvyat, however, was not very impressive as he managed to finish seventh and sixth in the first and second session respectively.

Hamilton despite coming top on both the practice sessions on Friday, insists that Ferrari will be again challenging them in the Chinese Grand Prix.

"It was quite close between us and Ferrari," the defending world champion told Formula 1's official website. "They look just as fast as they were last time out and Nico was quick as well, so we definitely have a race on."

However, he admits that Mercedes have improved a lot since the last race in Sepang.

"Today was definitely an improvement on Friday in Malaysia. It was good to get both sessions in and that puts me in a stronger position. The team has done an amazing job to find some improvements in the car."

"Balance-wise it's way better than the last race and it was generally feeling really good."

Vettel, meanwhile, feels that Ferrari can improve in the third practice session on Saturday, although he insists that he is satisfied with his team's overall performance on Friday.

"Generally I feel happy in the car, but I think we can improve it for tomorrow, that is usually what Friday is for," the German told Formula 1's official website. "So ideally I would have loved to do more laps, but all in all it was a solid session, for the team as well."

When asked if Ferrari would be challenging Mercedes for the pole position tomorrow, Vettel replied: "Fight for pole with Mercedes tomorrow? They were very strong today. For us the most important thing is to make a step forward, there are a few things that we can improve."

"I think it is clear that it gets tougher as the season goes on, as everybody will find his own rhythm. Tyre management will be crucial."

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