Hamilton: Ferrari quicker in race trim in Bahrain

Ross Houston
April 15, 2017

Vettel, a four times world champion with Red Bull, and triple champion Hamilton have 43 points apiece after one victory and second place each.

"We changed it for the afternoon just as a precaution, it was important for us to make sure Kimi could run the afternoon trouble-free".

"Today was not the best day for us, we still need to improve the auto", the joint championship leader said.

Kimi Raikkonen suffered an engine problem in opening practice - after he stopped on track with smoke billowing from his engine - before Vettel limped back to the pits in the day's second session where his Ferrari mechanics wheeled him 100 yards back to the garage.

"Nowadays cars are not just cars, there's also a lot of technology and software involved, so obviously something went wrong on that side".

Button recently had a couple of days driving the 2017 auto in the simulator during a visit to the United Kingdom from his Los Angeles house, and Boullier added: "He is very talented".

"I can't explain why the auto stopped altogether, but we were able to recover, restart the engine in the garage and, fortunately, it happened at the end of the lap", Vettel added. But I'm used to being in a Finnish sauna, so it's no problem! If anything, Ferrari have got a bit quicker and the gap's even closer - they will be very, very quick. But Red Bull are looking good too and the whole pack is pretty close, if you look at the top six particularly.

"In race trim (Ferrari) seem a couple of tenths quicker, so I'm expecting a great battle tomorrow and then again on Sunday", Hamilton said.

Mercedes technical director James Allison said the outcome of the race, and the weekend's work, could be decided by a slight error.

"These drivers are so risky, man", Hamilton lamented over the radio to his engineer.

Some of you probably thought I was going insane last week when I tipped Max Verstappen to win the Chinese Grand Prix but his third place finish showed he is one of the best when it comes to navigating that erratic wet weather.

"It was incredibly hot early on, with some of the very toughest conditions - both physically and in terms of working with the tires", said Hamilton. "Then it was much cooler, giving us a much better representation of what qualifying and the race will be like".

With FP1 held in unrepresentatively hot conditions ahead of F1's second night race on the calendar, the emphasis was instead on long run pace and qualifying form in FP2, with Hamilton ending his day fifth but only two tenths shy of the top spot. A world champion. He had a long experience in F1 and I can guarantee you by lap 10 of Practice 1 in Monaco he will be okay.

Unless both draw a blank, the deadlock must be broken tomorrow at a desert circuit where both are two times winners and returning in rather better mood than they left a year ago.

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