Lewis Hamilton feels upbeat about Mercedes’ chances heading into the rest of the Formula 1 race weekend in China after leading both of Friday’s practice sessions, but remains wary of the threat posed by Ferrari and Red Bull.

Defending F1 world champion Hamilton charged to top spot in both FP1 and FP2 in Shanghai on Friday, edging out Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen by just 0.007 seconds in the afternoon session as teams stretched their legs through qualifying simulations.

“It has been a good day, we got through all the laps that we needed. We’ve got some good feedback about the car,” Hamilton said.

“We’ve been progressing through the sessions and we’ve got a good idea. It’s quite straightforward here. All the tyres are quite similar in pace, so there’s not a big, big difference between them even though we have the double step for the Ultrasoft.

“Ferrari are still quite quick I think. Red Bull were really quick on the long run. But it’s good to see all the times so close.”

Hamilton charged from P9 on the grid to third at the chequered flag last time out in Bahrain, but the Briton revealed he called on the Mercedes team to come to China at the peak of his powers as he looks for his first win of the season.

“I think this is the third easiest track to overtake, it’s a good track for racing. But, obviously with tyres dropping off, position is everything,” Hamilton said.

“I have had a pole [this season] but I need to get another one. So that’s what we’re working towards.

“I just remember texting in the beginning of the week. I said: ‘Guys, we really, really need to make sure that we come with our A-game this weekend.’ That means every single individual in this team can’t have an off-day. You can’t come in feeling off. If you are, don’t come!

“We need everyone to be on it this weekend because it’s a joint effort."

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