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Hamilton worried about wet Chinese GP

Press Association logoPress Association 6/04/2017 Philip Duncan

Lewis Hamilton fears a swift return to the Formula One winners' circle could be scuppered by the heavy rain forecast to hit Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix.

Hamilton, who finished second to Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel at the opening race of the season in Melbourne, is one of the finest wet-weather drivers in F1 history.

But the triple world champion did not participate in last month's wet test in Barcelona after Mercedes cited a problem with his car; Hamilton joking the previous evening that he would fake a muscle injury to avoid taking part.

The wet tyres are considerably wider than last year's after sweeping changes to the technical rulebook, and Hamilton - who will be among only a handful of drivers yet to trial this year's wet-weather rubber - believes he could be at a disadvantage in China.

"I am not really looking forward to a wet track because I haven't driven on the new tyres," Hamilton said.

"Usually I like driving in the wet but I am a little bit apprehensive.

"If you had to bolt them on for qualifying right now I have never driven them before.

"I might go out and it might be exactly the same as it has been in the past but that is unlikely.

"I have really got to learn as much as I can in a short period of time

"But I do relish the challenge and I believe if anyone is able to do it, I can, so I will figure it out."

Shanghai's International Circuit and its two long straights will suit Hamilton's Mercedes and will provide a stern test of Ferrari's championship credentials.

"At the end of the day they won the race in Melbourne, and they did a better job, so we have got to do a better job here," Hamilton said.

"Their car is stronger in certain areas and our car is stronger in other areas, so that is what is going to make this season exciting."

Ferrari have not tasted championship glory for a decade and four-time world champion Vettel insists Mercedes are still the team to beat.

"Mercedes has to be the favourite," Vettel said.

"We had a strong first race but we really go race by race.

"We know we have a good package, which puts us in a good place, but we know there are a lot of things we need to do to keep up with them and keep up with the position we are in now to fight for good races.

"The victory is the best medicine for everyone. It is good we did that but we move on."

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