F1 Raceweek: Vettel hoping fortune favours Ferrari in 1000th race

Ferrari's start to the season has certainly not gone to plan, but Sebastian Vettel is hoping the Chinese Grand Prix will be a turning point.

Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc (right) and Sebastian Vettel   -  Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel hopes Ferrari can benefit from "that little bit of luck" that has deserted it early in the season when it attempts to mark the 1000th Formula One race with a win.

The Scuderia set the pace in pre-season testing in Barcelona, but Mercedes has started the year with back-to-back one-two finishes.

Charles Leclerc was heading for his maiden F1 win at the Bahrain Grand Prix last time out, but engine trouble denied the Monegasque.

Vettel could only finish fifth in Sakhir after spinning before running over his own front wing when battling it out with Lewis Hamilton, having crossed the line fourth at the Australian Grand Prix.

Mercedes has a 39-point lead over Ferrari and Vettel feels the Italian team is due some fortune at the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend.

RELATED | F1: Helmut Marko expects Max Verstappen to stay in Red Bull

The German said: "Looking after tyres is one of the key points in Shanghai, it's the most important job to do on Sunday in order to be fast for the whole race.

"In the past I've had some good races here with Ferrari, coming very close to winning. Maybe this time we'll get that little bit of luck, so that we can really celebrate the 1000th F1 race."

Hamilton leads team-mate Bottas by just a point after his triumph in Bahrain and the world champion will be eyeing a sixth success at the Shanghai International Circuit.

TALK OF THE PADDOCK

Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel

Charles Leclerc (R) is congratulated by Sebastian Vettel after the Bahrain GP qualification.   -  Getty Images

 

The 2019 campaign may have only just begun, but there has already been talk of potential movement for the 2020 season.

Max Verstappen's future has been the subject of speculation, although Helmut Marko says Red Bull is not worried about losing the Dutchman to Mercedes.

RELATED | Mick Schumacher hits track again in Bahrain test

Marko said Silver Arrows team principal Toto Wolff calls Verstappen and his father, Jos, frequently, but thinks Red Bull can retain him beyond this season. 

Red Bull also fuelled talk of a return to the calendar for the Dutch Grand Prix by tweeting: "Hands up if you'd like to see @Max33Verstappen get a home grand prix!?"

It has been reported a race could be staged in Zandvoort next year.

Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo - winner in Shanghai last year - believes Renault is heading in the right direction after failing to finish his first two races with his new team.

 

RACEWEEK SCHEDULE (all times local)

Friday 
FP1 (10:00-11:30)
FP2 (14:00-15:30)

Saturday 
FP3 (11:00-12:00)
Qualifying (14:00-15:00)

Sunday 
Race (14:10-16:10)

F1 FACT

Mercedes will aim to record one-twos in each of the opening three races of an F1 season for the first time since 1992, when Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese achieved the feat for Williams. 

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2018: Daniel Ricciardo
2017: Lewis Hamilton
2016: Nico Rosberg