Lewis Hamilton made it two consecutive pole positions in 2017 after beating Sebastian Vettel to the top spot in qualifying at the Chinese Grand Prix. Valtteri Bottas came close to making it a Mercedes one-two but had to settle for third place after lapping 0.001 seconds slower than the Ferrari driver. Kimi Raikkonen ensured that the top four started in the same positions as they did at the Formula One season opener in Australia by qualifying fourth.
Ferrari looked strong the entire day as they recorded a one-two finish in FP3 and again during the second part of the qualifying session. But Mercedes — as per recent tradition — showed their true pace in Q3 and managed to go 0.186 faster than Vettel. It was Hamilton's sixth straight pole position since the back end of last season.
Daniel Ricciardo ensured Red Bull Racing were the best of the rest by qualifying in fifth place, but was a massive 1.4 seconds down on the best time set by Hamilton. The Australian's teammate Max Verstappen had a day to forget after an engine issue ensured that his session ended after Q1. The Dutchman will start in 19th place, but could move up a couple of grid slots if Romain Grosjean and Jolyon Palmer are handed grid penalties for speeding under yellow flags.
Williams' Felipe Massa qualified in sixth place to confirm their position as the best of the midfield runners followed by Renault's Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez of Force India and Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat. The four drivers were covered by just two tenths of a second. Williams rookie Lance Stroll put in a splendid drive to round out the top 10.
The Chinese Grand Prix has been disrupted by poor weather conditions, which saw almost no running during the Friday (7 April) practice sessions — FP1 was disrupted, while FP2 was completely called off. The rain stayed away on Saturday and it was during FP3 in the morning when all the cars set a timed lap for the first time. Wet conditions are again expected during the race on Sunday.
Top 10 from the qualifying session at Shanghai International Circuit:
|5||DANIEL RICCIARDO||RED BULL RACING||1:33.033|
|8||SERGIO PEREZ||FORCE INDIA||1:33.706|
|9||DANIIL KVYAT||TORO ROSSO||1:33.719|