In the Bahrain GP, Mercedes was nearly half a second down to their rivals during qualifying and in the race, Bottas nearly came close to winning the race but settled for the runners-up and Hamilton finished third.
Neither Mercedes driver used the fastest ultra-soft tyre, which all other leading drivers used to set their fastest time, preferring to stick with the slower "soft".
Lewis Hamilton goes for a record sixth Chinese Grand Prix win this week with Mercedes aiming to bring their "A game" for a quick strike back at unbeaten Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel. "It's always good to show respect and being that I'm the older driver, I felt it was important that I went to him. Short runs I think we can still improve a little bit but no big problems so that's good".
Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari lead the way having won in Australia and Bahrain, but Hamilton is ready to pull out all the stops to get his first race win of 2018 under his belt.
Hamilton made a couple of small errors on his fastest lap but the times suggest another close battle between Mercedes and Ferrari for the race win.
Hamilton had a clear edge over Ferrari in Melbourne and team-mate Valtteri Bottas came within a second of snatching victory from pole-sitter Vettel in Bahrain. Because of the time difference, the race starts early in the morning on Sunday, so be ready.
"I still believe we are the best team", Hamilton added.
"I'm really quite happy with the feeling of the auto but if the race results would have been better then I would be happier". So he's going to have some great rides and he's going to have some bad races, just as I will.
His occasional petulance and rashness makes it all too easy to point the finger at Verstappen, but two races in, there's nothing to blame but dumb, bad luck.
"So the mindset, the strength in which I have now, I wish I had then because it would have changed my life I would imagine back then". But like I said, you know, these things happen.
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After the last race, Hamilton had been caught on a microphone calling Verstappen "a d***head".
When asked if he would talk to Hamilton ahead of Sunday's race in Shanghai, Verstappen left the possibility open.
Red Bull misery, a Mercedes performance that was equal parts masterclass and confusing, a safety scandal and a rookie relishing the spotlight - after the mundane affair in Australia, Bahrain had it all.
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