Lewis Hamilton says he is "on the back foot slightly" despite being fastest in Friday practice for the Chinese Grand Prix.

While quickest in FP2, Hamilton managed just nine laps in the first session due to a suspension issue, with Fernando Alonso topping the timesheets. Hamilton said there was a lot of work for him to do having missed out on some running, pointing out that setting his best time later in the afternoon had helped him compared to the likes of Alonso.

"It was quite a difficult day today as we missed some of this morning's session which put us on the back foot slightly, but we were glad to get some laps in the second session at least," Hamilton said. "We're not too happy with the balance of the car at the moment, so we need to go and work on that."

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With Alonso second quickest in FP2, Ferrari is showing improved pace in China and Hamilton said he welcomed the challenge from other teams after three Mercedes-dominated races.

"This circuit is particularly hard on tyres, as it has been every year, so we need to be prepared for that. A few of the other teams look to have improved in terms of pace, which is great as it means we will have a fight. There's a lot of work to do and the guys are already here early and working late, but I'm confident that we can make some improvements going into tomorrow."