Vettel grabs pole position in China

  • 14 Apr 2018 09:02
  • comments 9
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Sebastian Vettel has taken his second consecutive pole position after beating teammate Kimi Raikkonen in the dying moments of qualifying in Shanghai. Raikkonen led the timesheets after the first runs in Q3, but ultimately lost out to Vettel.

The German's fastest time was a 1:31.095, which was less than a tenth faster than Raikkonen. Ferrari locks out the front row for the second race in succession, the first time it has achieved that feat since 2006 when Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa raced for the team.

Mercedes struggled throughout the day, with the final free practice session this morning indicating that it was Ferrari who was ahead. And when push came to shove, it was the Silver Arrows who lost out to the Prancing Horses.

Lewis Hamilton was out-qualified by his teammate Valtteri Bottas once again. It marks the second time in two weeks where the Finn has got the better of the four-time world champion, beating him in Shanghai by exactly half a tenth of a second.

Both Ferrari and Mercedes will start Sunday's race on the soft compound, having set their fastest times in Q2 on that tyre. However, Red Bull will take to the grid on the ultra soft tyre, and will line up directly behind the Mercedes duo.

Max Verstappen managed to get himself ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who was lucky to take part in qualifying. After a turbo failure in final practice this morning, his team worked to get the car ready for qualifying, sending him out in the final moments of Q1.

Renault was the only team outside of the 'big three' to get both cars into the final stage of qualifying. Nico Hulkenberg out-performed Carlos Sainz, with both driver's set to start the Grand Prix from seventh and ninth respectively.

Sergio Perez claimed Force India's best qualifying result of the year, setting the eighth fastest time. The Mexican will be looking to take his first points of the season tomorrow, as will Romain Grosjean, who completes the top ten on the timesheets.

McLaren once again failed to get a car into Q3, despite trying to use a toe down the long back straight. Fernando Alonso was ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne, but will line up in P13 and P14, having been beaten by Kevin Magnussen and Esteban Ocon.

Brendon Hartley managed to sneak into Q2, beating his teammate Pierre Gasly, who starred last time out in Bahrain. Sergey Sirotkin will start in between the Toro Rosso duo, while Lance Stroll will take up P18 on the grid.

After securing his first points in 50 races last week, Marcus Ericsson will start the race from last place on the grid, having been beaten by Charles Leclerc at Sauber. 

 

Fergal Walsh

CN Shanghai International Circuit - 14 April 2018

Photos China 2018

Replies (9)

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  • Awww wanted Kimi to be on Pole but Vettel was just too good today. Mad props to both Ferrari drivers.

    • + 0
    • Apr 14 2018 - 09:20
    • Indeed, they looked very strong today.

      • + 0
      • Apr 14 2018 - 09:46
  • This is basically a golden opportunity for both RB and Ferrari. both Merc' starting on second row, having to attack two faster cars while being bad at following while simultaneously having two strong cars right behind them. This will be good. A pity with STR, not not unexpected. 'tis a high speed track. But anything can happen tomorrow.

    • + 0
    • Apr 14 2018 - 09:48
  • Pauli

    Posts: 140

    Ferrari looks scary strong and keeps tyres well in working range. Did Kimi go a bit too wide in turn 14 which lost the pole? I didn't see his lap well enough to analyse. Vettel looked very good in turn 14 that was the hard corner today.

    Can RB build enough gap in a few laps with US to Magnussen, Ocon and Alonso who likely start with harder tyres?

    If they can then RB can be a good position to push for an undercut but if they end to traffic it is likely going to be terrible race for them.

    • + 0
    • Apr 14 2018 - 13:19
  • mbmwe36

    Posts: 533

    Interesting that Hamilton struggles again. I don't even think Bottas is really being very impressive - so it's sort of unexpected that he's beating Hamilton again.

    Ferrari with confidence again could be a scary beast. And I'm loving every minute of it!

    • + 0
    • Apr 14 2018 - 14:44
  • mbmwe36

    Posts: 533

    Stroll struggles again, which is no surprise. I figured he maybe would have been able to keep Sirotkin behind him for a good handful of races, before Sirotkin adjusted to F1. As it looks now, it seems Daddy Stroll will have to add a few zeros for Junior to keep that seat.

    Slightly disappointing for HAAS. Even though he didn't make it to Q3, I like Magnussen's chances better than Romain's tomorrow because he can choose whatever rubber he wants to start on.

    Should be an interesting race tomorrow.

    • + 0
    • Apr 14 2018 - 14:50
  • mcbhargav

    Posts: 846

    Did not expect this. Good for Ferrari, and so much for the best chassis talk from McLaren.

    • + 0
    • Apr 14 2018 - 17:12
  • Kean

    Posts: 450

    So far this season Kimi has really been impressive in Quali, sure it's 2-1 to Vettel but Kimi is making Vettel really work for it. Another one that impresses is Hülkenberg, he's almost dominating Sainz the way he dominated Palmer (almost). Strange that Toto said that Sainz is on Mercedes radar, but didn't mention Hülkenberg. If Hülkenberg continues in this fashion, surely he must become an option for both Mercedes and Ferrari.

    • + 0
    • Apr 14 2018 - 18:43
    • Pauli

      Posts: 140

      Hulkenberg according to autosport has option clause for 2019 but no details what are terms for extension. If team can simple extend the deal then Hulkenberg might be too expensive driver to sign.

      • + 0
      • Apr 14 2018 - 20:57

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