Sebastian Vettel secures Chinese Grand Prix pole


Ferrari claims second 1-2 in a row

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel pipped team-mate Kimi Räikkönen to pole in Shanghai for the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix, more than half a second clear of the rest of the field.

Räikkönen had spent all of Q3 on top of the timesheets, setting a new track record in the process, only for Vettel to go 0.087sec faster on his last run to claim his second pole in as many races.

Valtteri Bottas beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton to line up third, as the Briton aborted his final qualifying run.

The top four will all start Sunday’s race on the soft tyre.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were unable to capitalise on Hamilton pitting, falling a little more than a tenth short – with Verstappen beating Ricciardo to the inside of row three. Ricciardo almost failed to make qualifying entirely following a turbo failure in free practice three, only setting one lap in the closing minutes of Q1 and squeezing through in 14th.

Hülkenberg qualified seventh once again ahead of Sergio Pérez of Force India, with Carlos Sainz ninth and Romain Grosjean 10th. Grosjean had earlier suffered brake-by-wire problems in FP3.

Kevin Magnussen missed out on Q2 by little more than 0.1sec to start 11th alongside Esteban Ocon. Fernando Alonso claimed 13th, 0.3sec ahead of his team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, with Brendon Hartley 15th.

Neither Williams made it out of Q1, with Sergey Sirotkin 16th and Lance Stroll 18th, split by Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly.

Charles Leclerc in 19th beat his Sauber team-mate Marcus Ericsson for the first time this season.

Chinese Grand Prix qualifying classification

1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1min31.095sec  
2 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1min31.182sec +0.087sec
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1min31.625sec +0.530sec
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1min31.675sec +0.530sec
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1min31.796sec +0.701sec
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1min31.948sec +0.853sec
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1min32.532sec +1.437sec
8 Sergio Perez Force India 1min32.758sec +1.663sec
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 1min32.819sec +1.724sec
10 Romain Grosjean Haas 1min32.855sec +1.760sec
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1min32.986sec  
12 Esteban Ocon Force India 1min33.057sec  
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1min33.232sec  
14 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1min33.505sec  
15 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1min33.795sec  
16 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 1min34.062sec  
17 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1min34.101sec  
18 Lance Stroll Williams 1min34.285sec  
19 Charles Leclerc Sauber 1min34.454sec  
20 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1min34.914ec  

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