Chinese Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel on pole with track record

Aubrey Yates
April 15, 2018

Ferrari again looked the like the pace-setters at the start of the season's third race, with Vettel and Raikkonen locking out the front row in qualifying for the second time in a row.

Carlos Sainz was ninth for Renault with Sergey Sirotkin an encouraging 10th for former champions Williams, who are enduring their worst start to a season since 2013 and are the only one of the 10 teams yet to score a point.

Verstappen had already run wide having failed to pass Lewis Hamilton but had dispatched the world champion and closing in on Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel. "We can see it, especially in very long corners".

Sebastian Vettel has stated he had no intention of holding back the charging Max Verstappen before their collision in the latter stages of Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix. "I think we have all been in that position and that situation so I think as drivers we can talk about this stuff".

"The auto was really fantastic", Vettel said. The lap was fantastic, it just kept getting better.

"It is not what you want and it is easy to say after that I should have waited, probably would have been the best idea".

"The first races have been a bit different", Vettel said.

"If we have one strategy on two stops that is the winning one, it means that everybody will do the same, and basically we are not creating any differentiation, we are not creating any action on track". "To have that much of a gap I think is a surprise".

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The Shanghai International Circuit is expected to be a lot warmer today than yesterday's windy and cold conditions.

"It should be hotter tomorrow", Hamilton said, "which could turn everything on its head". However, he might still be viewed as a favourite on Sunday despite missing pole position.

Ricciardo, meanwhile, built up a cushion over Bottas to claim an ultimately comfortable victory, with Kimi Raikkonen taking third having earlier looked out of podium contention and Hamilton fourth.

The German, whose exemplary lap of 1:31.095 was a new track record, was 0.530sec faster than Bottas in qualifying and 0.568sec quicker than Hamilton, who has won an unprecedented five times previously in Shanghai and arrived in town as the favourite.

The Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo took the fifth and sixth grid spots, with the team just barely getting Ricciardo's auto ready after an engine blow-out in final practice.

"We definitely have work to do", Bottas said.

Team-mate Lance Stroll, meanwhile, survived a spin.

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