Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix from pole position for the sixth time in his career. The former world champion pulled it out of the bag to beat Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by a tenth of a second.
Hamilton’s near perfect lap was faster than the lap record set by Michael Schumacher in 2004, this proves the new cars are achieving the target of being around five seconds a lap faster than last season.
Vettel got in between the two silver arrows meaning that Valtteri Bottas will start third. The gap between the Ferrari and the second Mercedes was .001 of a second, which is less than six centimetres.
Once again Bottas edged out his fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen for third, this means that top four is exactly the same as a fortnight ago in Melbourne. Mercedes will be hoping they have learnt the mistakes that lost them the race.
Hamilton told BBC News “The Ferrari looked so fast and we knew it was going to be close, and we knew we had to pull out all the tops and I managed to do a very, very perfect lap.”
“It started off not as good as the first lap, maybe because of tyre temperature, but it got better and better. It felt strong, and coming into the last corner.”
However, tomorrows Grand Prix could be affected by wet weather which could throw a added complication into the mix. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo will start fifth, holding off the Williams of Felipe Massa. But Ricciardo was over a second off the pace.
Ricciardo’s team-mate Max Verstappen failed to make it out of Q1 after technical issues. The Dutchman had technical issues early on in the session, however, he got out in the closing minutes when Sauber’s Antonio Giovinazzi brought Q1, to a premature end.
The Italian came out of the last corner and went over the kerb onto the Astro turf which sent him into a spin. He then spun across the track into the tyre wall which took his front suspension off stopping on track.
Palmer and Grosjean are both under investigation by race stewards for not slowing sufficiently under the waved yellows for the crash. The Frenchman has been
That meant Romain Grosjean, Jolyon Palmer and Esteban Ocon were unable to improve their times and dropped out in Q1. Grosjean also had a spin at the final corner after a puncher and was unable to improve starting seventeenth.
Also, McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne dropped out in Q1, Fernando Alonso pushed his McLaren “like an animal” to start thirteenth.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg got the Renault into Q3 starting seventh, alongside his former Force India team-mate Sergio Perez.
Tomorrow’s race could be a step into the unknown as the forecast is for rain and fog. Following the cancellation on Friday of FP2, the FIA have taken steps to ensure that the cars can run after farcical scenes when practice was badly disrupted because the medical helicopter could not operate.
- CHINESE GP – Second Practice Cancelled Because Of Poor Conditions
- CHINESE GP – Verstappen Goes Through The Poor Visibility To Top First Practice
- TFTV – Story of the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix
- Preview – Chinese Grand Prix