FERRARI ARE BACK L ewis Hamilton may have taken the spoils in the Chinese Grand Prix but Sebastian Vettel’s second-place finish provided clear evidence that Ferrari appear more than capable of taking the fight to the Briton’s Mercedes tam. Vettel sprung something of a surprise when he won last month’s season opener in Australia and despite racing on a vastly different layout in much cooler weather, there was little to choose between the pair for the second weekend in a row. The results in Melbourne and Shanghai have raised hopes that the early-season rivalry between a duo with seven Formula One championships between them and locked on 43 points apiece in the overall standings, could become a full-blown title duel. The China performance in particular also erased any lingering doubts about the championship credentials of the sport’s most successful team, for whom the season-opening triumph marked a welcome return to form after a winless 2016. “On a track and in conditions which were very different from those we had in Melbourne, we proved that we have a strong car,” Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said. Ferrari have looked competitive since pre-season testing and there was very little between Vettel and Hamilton in terms of pace and performance throughout the Shanghai weekend.