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Hamilton: Mercedes need rain to catch Ferrari in Russia

Hamilton: Mercedes need rain to catch Ferrari in Russia

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Hamilton: Mercedes need rain to catch Ferrari in Russia

Hamilton: Mercedes need rain to catch Ferrari in Russia

Lewis Hamilton hopes rain will redress the balance of power at the Russian Grand Prix, having estimated that Ferrari are eight tenths per lap quicker than Mercedes on Sochi's straights.

Hamilton ended Friday practice eight tenths adrift of the headline lap time, although it was set by Max Verstappen, who faces a five-place grid penalty on race day.

Charles Leclerc was second, three tenths down on the Dutchman, having led the way in FP1.

Hamilton ran slower than Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in both sessions, and the Finn's recent form in Sochi is impressive, having won in 2017 and led from pole a year ago until Mercedes ordered him aside to let Hamilton win.

But a fourth win in Russia looks a distant prospect for Hamilton at this stage, who is hoping for assistance on the skies to slow up Ferrari.

"I hope it's going to be raining," he added. "I heard it's going to rain tomorrow.

"I think it'll be a much more exciting race if it was wet. I don't think we've ever driven here in the rain as far as I am aware so it'll make it pretty tricky.

"As a track it's not that easy to overtake because all the corners are so fast. I can't say it's the best designed track to be honest just because you carry so much speed through all the apexes of these corners you can't follow.

"But you do have these long straight to try and make up for it and we've got DRS. But in the rain it would make it easier to follow because you often choose different lines."

While Hamilton's expectation of rain on Saturday is backed up by forecasts, with the morning particularly seeing a high chance of interruption. However, the chances of rain dip significantly for race day.

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