Lewis Hamilton blocks out F1 party to focus on Chinese GP success

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At the opening event in Australia, Leclerc was ordered to hold position behind Vettel when the Monegasque caught the German in the closing stages.

For the first time, Mattia Binotto says Ferrari could "change" its number 1 driver in 2019.

"We were just staying neatly behind each other, but at a certain point Vettel passed me and the two Renaults as well", he fumed. "We agreed with both drivers".

I'm here to do one job, and one job only, and that's win. From those 231 starts he has enjoyed remarkable success, with 74 wins, second only to Michael Schumacher, but as F1 made the preparations for its party in Shanghai, he was focused on another title with Mercedes.

Driving for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, one of only three teams that have won any of the 120 Formula 1 races that have been contested since the 2013 season opener, drivers are expected to qualify and finish races in the top six on a regular if not almost automatic basis.

There was even an issue for Vettel right at the end of the session, as he missed a call to the weigh bridge and stopped in the pit lane, with his Ferrari team having to run up to push him back to the FIA's garage. And a luxury that you're happy to have. I was struggling with the auto, so we've got work to do, particularly on my side as Valtteri looked much more comfortable.

The team have said they would favour Vettel under certain circumstances but Leclerc clearly has no intention of being sidelined.

Does it surprise you that the former four-time world champion has conquered China only once in his career?

The error was costly as Verstappen couldn't start the final lap after being overtaken before the chequered flag fell.

Any doubts on Leclerc should have quickly evaporated after his impressive start to the season and given he's already against playing second fiddle to Vettel, perhaps Ferrari has no choice in the matter but to let their two drivers decide it on track. I don't see any point in that. So it's not nice but I'll remember it and next qualifying, if it comes up, I'll know what to do.

Leclerc came of age in Formula 1 in Bahrain as he secured his maiden pole position, but Binotto said the 21-year-old's reaction to being denied victory had stood out the most for him. "I could also have overtaken him but it's just not what you do in qualifying", the Dutchman told reporters after calming down.

But team boss Mattia Binotto on Friday reiterated that Vettel remained the team's priority, saying: "If there is any 50-50 situation where we need to take a decision, the advantage would have been given to Sebastian simply because Sebastian has got most of the experience with the team in F1".

In fact, another question that may strike the minds of F1's beloved fans would be to note whether a few drivers, in particular, can enjoy a great 2019 Chinese Grand Prix.

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