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New lap record as Vettel takes pole at Chinese GP

New lap record as Vettel takes pole at Chinese GP

Vettel and Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen will start on the first row in Shanghai.

World champion Lewis Hamilton abandoned his final lap after a mistake at the penultimate corner and will start a distant fourth after losing out to Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Vettel has only once won the Chinese GP before in 2009 for Red Bull, while Ferrari have not been victorious in Shanghai since Fernando Alonso took the flag in 2013. But Bottas is already hinting that rival Ferrari is the team to beat.

Although he put up a fight against Ricciardo's passing attempt Bottas concedes there was little he could do with such a significant tyre disadvantage.

"Yes we are", he said.

"I don't think I necessarily need to change a lot of things, it's just I need to learn from what happened today", he added.

The top two teams, Mercedes and Ferrari have an engine mode which increases the power of their engine momentarily for qualifying.

"I think the first three races have been a bit different", said Vettel. "For so long we have seen Mercedes dominate".

Hamilton also seemed to accept the Ferrari dominance.

This was his second pole of the season after Bahrain and his 52nd career pole and, should he win in Shanghai, it would be his 50th career victory, putting him behind only Michael Schumacher, Hamilton and Alain Prost.




The forecast is for a warmer race today and that should be better suited to Hamilton's Mercedes vehicle, but the Briton, who will have the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo occupying his mirrors, fears he will be looking over his shoulder rather than hunting down Vettel. "It just kept getting better".

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton cast doubt on his Mercedes team's Chinese Grand Prix chances after Sebastian Vettel led a Ferrari front row lockout in qualifying on Saturday. "By the end of the day the pace was looking good and I think we can be happy with the car's performance".

"It's like empires rising and falling and maybe Mercedes are on the wane and the new Ferrari era is about to come back".

Several other drivers spun or went off the track as they tested the limits, with the cool and blustery conditions catching them out. I think from my side there wasn't much to do.

Saturday qualifying was chilly and windy, and damp in places from overnight rain.

The Chinese Grand Prix was a race of mixed fortunes for Red Bull Racing.

Hamilton is being hopeful. He has won five times in China, including a year ago, and has taken pole six times on the Chinese circuit.

Both Red Bull drivers were serviced for fresh Soft tyres when the Safety Car was called on lap 31 of 56, and once the track was cleared Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo made their charge towards the front.

"We definitely have work to do", Bottas said. Pierre Gasly was 16th fastest in the second Toro Rosso ahead of Lance Stroll's Williams and the two Saubers of Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson.


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