Although Ferrari, fresh from their unexpected victory in Malaysia, are expected to struggle to keep pace with the Silver Arrows in the forecast cool conditions of Shanghai this weekend, Hamilton is adamant that the resurgent Prancing Horse have the speed to win again.
???I honestly think Ferrari are a threat,??? the world champion told Sky Sports F1. ???It was true pace they had. I have a feeling they must have made a good step in that race. I don???t know how close they???re going to be [this weekend], or if we???re going to be racing, my guess is as good as yours.???
Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg were the first to warn of Ferrari???s likely threat in Sepang two weeks ago before the competiveness of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen became abundantly clear in Friday practice. According to Hamilton, this weekend???s pecking order will also only start to take shape after Friday???s running at the epic Shanghai International Circuit.??
???I think it???s a big guess at the moment. They did a great job and were very, very quick. We could have done a better job at looking after our tyres and been a little bit faster maybe, but they had a true pace,” he said. “Whether they have it here, we will have a much better understanding after tomorrow.???
Despite downplaying the significance of his defeat in Malaysia and highlighting his acute lack of running in Friday as being a critical handicap that ultimately proved his undoing in Sunday???s race, Hamilton also acknowledged he was not entirely blames following a series of testy radio exchanges with race engineer Peter Bonnington.
???It wasn???t the easiest weekend and there were lots of things we did wrong and lots could have done better,??? he told reporters during a media briefing. ???For example, I could have not spoken the way I did to my engineer and if we didn???t have the issue we did during practice we would have known how long the tyres would last and we could have made changes to the car.
???But it wasn???t a big disaster and people have blown things out of proportion and hopefully we will correct that this weekend. We???re not stressed or anything ??? l believe we will be quicker this weekend.???
Rosberg, however, has also warned of the potential threat from Kimi Raikkonen,??a fringe figure in the opening two rounds.
???He???s a part of it and l wouldn???t count out Kimi, he???s also quick,??? Rosberg told Sky Sports News HQ. ???They had the best car in Malaysia so we will definitely have to keep an eye on them.???