Lewis Hamilton vows to bounce back in China


15-17 April
0800 BST
Practice on red button, online and 5 live sports extra (Friday 0255-0435, 0655-0835, Saturday 0355-0505). Qualifying live on BBC One, HD & 5 live sports extra (Saturday 0600-0830). Sunday: Race live on BBC One, HD, online and 5 live from 0700.
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton says he will use a difficult weekend in Malaysia as an incentive to perform well at this Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix.

The Briton lost a place after being penalised for defending his position against Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

"I definitely want to bounce back from that," said Hamilton. "To end up eighth after starting second on the grid is not the kind of performance we want.

"We're moving forwards and I'm feeling positive - I want to win this weekend."

A promising weekend for Hamilton, who had the closest rival to Sebastian Vettel's race-winning Red Bull, was ruined by the Englishman's on-track battle with Alonso as the pair fought for third place.

Hamilton was penalised for making more than the permitted one change of direction as he tried to fend off Alonso and as a result he was handed a post-race 20-second penalty.

Alonso was given the same punishment for causing a collision with Hamilton on the following lap but the Spaniard retained his sixth place.

Hamilton had been warned for weaving in Malaysia last season and the FIA are understood to have penalised Hamilton for the same offence last Sunday because of that previous misdemeanour.

The Englishman was philosophical about his punishment and is now focused on reigniting his battle with the Red Bulls at Shanghai.

"Looking back I didn't weave half as much as I did last year and I didn't put anyone in danger," continued Hamilton. "But the rules state that you can only move once to defend your position.

"The confusing part was whether I was trying to defend a place or trying to lose the tow [to Alonso's Ferrari].

"At the end of the day I lost one place and I feel fortunate it wasn't any more than that. I still got a couple of points and they could be quite valuable in the future.

"Red Bull should be on top form but we've got some upgrades we are trying to get to work and hopefully they will allow us to fight.

"I definitely plan to be at the front again. It's very early in the championship. I won't give up."

Alonso, too, says he is in the mood to move on from his penalty in Malaysia, although unlike Hamilton the Spaniard is less optimistic about his chances of catching Red Bull.

"We don't normally talk too much about decisions at the next race but I think the FIA were going on the line of safety," commented Alonso, on his and Hamilton's penalty.

"We have some good consistency now and this is the line they will follow all season so we need to know this.

"As for this weekend, I expect again a difficult race. It's true that this is a different circuit but I expect performance-wise we'll be similar as everyone will bring improvements."

Hamilton's team-mate Jenson Button, however, shares his compatriot's optimism that McLaren can challenge Red Bull in China.

Button moved up to second in the drivers' championship - 24 points behind Vettel - after finishing as runner-up to the world champion in Malaysia, and with McLaren trying out a new floor and exhaust system in Shanghai, Button is hopeful the team can claw back further ground this weekend.

"We can probably make more headway than Red Bull," said Button, who won last year's rain-affected Chinese Grand Prix.

"We didn't have the perfect set-up in the last two races. We have some updates here and in terms of fine-tuning the car hopefully we'll get closer this weekend.

"Ferrari will be competitive here and Renault will be as they seem to be very efficient."

World Champion Sebastian Vettel

Vettel, meanwhile, arrives in Shanghai with a maximum haul of 50 points after pole-to-flag victories in Australia and Malaysia in the season's first two races.

But the world champion denies that he is already untouchable at only the third race of the season.

"We've only had two races and we've been fortunate to run at the front," said the 23-year-old German.

"We feel good after the races we've had so far and we'll try to make this feeling last.

"It will be a tough weekend. McLaren were pushing very hard and they've made a very strong impression.

"We saw last year how many things can change, but of course I wouldn't mind another win."

There has been a different winner of the Chinese Grand Prix every season since the race joined the Formula 1 calendar in 2004.

The drivers will have a first opportunity to assess their chances this time round during first practice, which begins at 0300 BST.

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