• Chinese Grand Prix - FP2

Mercedes in the mix - Hamilton

ESPN Staff
April 12, 2013 « Webber brushes off Vettel's jibe | Raikkonen shrugs off tyre issues »
Lewis Hamilton has won the Chinese Grand Prix on two previous occasions © Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton thinks Mercedes is "there or thereabouts" in the fight for victory following Friday practice for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Having been second quickest behind team-mate Nico Rosberg in FP1, Hamilton was over a second off the pace in seventh place in the afternoon session. However, Hamilton said his lap had been compromised and pointed out that he set his time earlier than the other front runners, leading to optimism Mercedes could challenge for pole position.

"I think mine and Nico's pace was quite competitive today," Hamilton said. "Nico got a lap; I got a bit of traffic with Hulkenberg on my lap but still I think we would have been quite high up today. I think later on in the session - 10 or 15 minutes later - everyone went a little bit quicker so I think we're there or thereabouts. But who knows? Tomorrow we'll find out."

Focusing specifically on the tyres available at Shanghai, Hamilton believes the soft compound could turn out to be the wrong choice by Pirelli.

"The soft is hardcore; I don't know why but it doesn't feel like the right tyre for this circuit. I did a couple of laps and the tyres just disintegrated, it was quite unusual. Otherwise I'm enjoying it here, the track is great fun to drive and hopefully will give us plenty of opportunities to overtake during the race."

Having been involved in a degree of team order controversy in Malaysia, all seems well in the Mercedes camp this weekend and Hamilton says it's crucial he and Rosberg remain on good terms.

"I think it's important. We're just working as hard as we can at the moment. We've known each other for a long time, we've got history like no other driver we have here probably has; team-mates since 2000 and that relationship we have remains the same today. He's driving fantastically well, he's definitely raised his game so I'll have my work cut out but that's normal."

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