Bridgestone medium compound fastest at Shanghai Lewis Hamilton has put his McLaren on pole position, using Bridgestone’s medium compound tyre to set a time of 1min 36.303secs at the Shanghai International Circuit for the Chinese Grand Prix. Hamilton will start tomorrow’s race from the head of the field and has the opportunity to clinch his first drivers’ championship title if the cards fall in his favour over the 56 laps of the race.
Hamilton’s lap was over three tenths quicker than second fastest driver, Kimi Raikkonen. Raikkonen’s teammate, Felipe Massa, set the third fastest time and will be joined on the second row by Fernando Alonso. Heikki Kovalainen and Nick Heidfeld will start from fifth and sixth position.
Sebastian Vettel will start from seventh, with Panasonic Toyota Racing driver Jarno Trulli alongside him while Sebastien Bourdais will start from ninth place, and Nelson Piquet tenth on the grid. Mark Webber set the sixth fastest time in qualifying, however his Red Bull Racing team had earlier changed his engine, earning a ten place penalty on the grid, meaning that Webber will start tomorrow’s race from sixteenth place on the grid.
In the morning practice session Nick Heidfeld topped the times with a 1min 36.061secs lap, set on the medium tyre. Times were very close in this session with a second covering the top seventeen drivers. Hamilton was second quickest in this session and Robert Kubica set the third fastest time.
Today’s fastest lap time, a 1min 34.947secs, was set by Hamilton using the medium tyre in Q2.
“The track conditions were a bit confusing this morning and many drivers complained of a lack of grip. However, this afternoon in qualifying the situation was much better and the track continued to improve through the sessions. The medium compound provided better grip and allowed a faster lap time, even in Q3 when the cars were heavier and we might have expected the hard compound to be the preferred tyre. From the data we have seen today, tomorrow’s strategy decisions will be very interesting,” said Hirohide Hamashima - Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development. f1.automoto365.com