Sebastian Vettel has warned Mercedes that there is more to come from Ferrari after the Italian team beat their rivals to a practice one-two ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix.
Kimi Raikkonen posted the fastest time of the day at the Shanghai International Circuit with Vettel a tenth of a second shy of his team-mate.
Nico Rosberg, winner of both races this season and fastest in the opening session, was a quarter of a second slower than Raikkonen, while Lewis Hamilton, who will be demoted five places on the grid following a gearbox change, was 0.433 seconds adrift of the Finn.
“Overall, I think we can still improve,” said Vettel, who failed to score any points last time out in Bahrain following an engine problem. “The balance is not yet where I want it to be, so let’s see what we can do.
“I think we had a decent day, the car feels okay for one lap. The feel was okay, but okay is not good, so I think we can still improve – especially the balance of the car – so, there is a lot of work to do tonight.”
Hamilton, who can start only from sixth even if he qualifies fastest today following his penalty, spun twice in the opening session and also ran off the road at turn one later in the day. And while Rosberg may have topped the timesheets yesterday morning, the conclusion of that session was hit by ignition problems.
Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso, who missed the last race in Bahrain following a rib injury sustained after a horror crash at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, has been allowed to race here this weekend.
The Spaniard was required to undergo a medical examination after opening practice, but was given the all-clear by the FIA. He finished the session in 11th, one place ahead of his McLaren team-mate Jenson Button.