Shanghai: Lewis Hamilton can chalk up three wins in a row for the first time in his Formula One career on Sunday but Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg will be doing all he can to deny him the hat-trick.
Returning to the Chinese circuit where he took his first pole and victory in 2012, Rosberg has been runner-up in the last two races but still leads the championship by 11 points after his season-opening success in Australia.
The pair served up a thriller under the floodlights in Bahrain 10 days ago and another wheel-to-wheel duel in China would be a further boost for a sport fighting back against criticism of its new regulations.
Hamilton, the 2008 champion, is ready to do his bit.
“I’m in a really good place at the moment and walking around the garage too, you can see the positive energy within the team right now,” he said in a team preview. “I’m getting stronger every time I come to this track and it suits my driving style quite well. The aim, as always, is to win and if I could make it three in a row this weekend that would be incredible.”
The Briton is one of only two drivers to have won twice in Shanghai — Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso is the other — but Hamilton still has painful memories of throwing away a championship lead when he went into a gravel trap at the circuit in 2007.
Rosberg will seize on any such slip-ups. The German ended his teammate’s bid for three poles in a row with the quickest lap in qualifying in Bahrain and then showed just how little separates the two on track.
“The layout seems to suit my driving style, it’s a track I enjoy racing at and I want to be back on that top step of the podium this weekend,” the German said. (Agencies)