Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 romp in Shanghai quals

Lewis Hamilton (R) leads Mercedes 1-2 romp. No one is even close to both Mercedes drivers

Proving once again that the car is 99% of the game in F1, Lewis Hamilton beat Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Nico Rosberg by less than half a tenth of a second to take pole for the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai Saturday afternoon.

Hamilton has made a mockery of the field in China, topping all three practice sessions, Q2 and now pole.

Hamilton's time of 1m35.782s on his first Q3 run was fast enough to take pole. Rosberg responded on his final try but came up just short by 0.042s.

"You missed P1 just unfortunately by 0.04s Nico," Rosberg was told by his crew over the radio on his cool-down lap. "Oh come on guys!" he responded.

Vettel almost a second slower in third

Malaysian GP winner Sebastian Vettel was nearly a second off Hamilton's pole time in third place for Ferrari proving Mercedes is still the team to beat by a wide margin.

Rest assured that Sunday's race will be a boring 1-2 Mercedes parade at the front.

The Williams of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas were 4th and 5th behind Vettel.

The second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen was sixth ahead of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo.

McLaren-Honda once again did not get out of Q1 with Jenson Button nipping his teammate Fernando Alonso for 17th and 18th.

Sebastian Vettel only did one run in Q3 at Shanghai saving a set of soft tires for the race..

"I think we knew it would be tough in qualifying to be really close," he said. "Q1 and especially Q2 look promising.

"In Q3 it was a bit more like what we saw in practice, so quite a large gap for us.

"But we're fairly happy to make sure we are right behind them.

"Obviously we want to close the gap, and maybe tomorrow we will be closer, but for now we are reasonably happy.

"It's a bit of a shame not to get both cars on the second row, I think as I was told, Kimi [Raikkonen] got a bit unlucky on [his] warm up lap.

"But in tomorrow's race, we should have the pace. We will see what we can do."


[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Lewis Hamilton
China continues to be a good place for me; I guess the circuit fits my style more than others and I enjoy driving it. Also, you just have to look at the stands with all the banners to see how amazing the support we have here is every year. The car felt really good today and the guys back at the factories have done a great job since Malaysia to analyze where we could improve and make a step forward. The last race wasn't the tidiest but this weekend we've put it all together with no problems so far, so thank you to everyone for that. Let's hope it continues tomorrow. There's a long race ahead and the Ferraris are very quick once again here, so the job is far from done.

Nico Rosberg
I'm frustrated with today's result because four hundredths of a second is nothing. I had a good lap at the end but, in hindsight, it's always possible to see where you could have found that little bit extra. But that's the situation for me now and I'm still confident for tomorrow. I've focused on race pace with my set up and I know that tires will be the decisive factor tomorrow. So I will be aiming to put a lot of pressure on Lewis ahead of me.

Toto Wolff
That was a brilliantly close qualifying session between our two boys. Nico pulled out a fantastic lap on the final run but Lewis had just done enough with his first set of tires to take pole by four hundredths of a second. It's a good situation to be in and confirms what we saw yesterday – namely that we have an advantage over Ferrari on one lap. But we also know that the gaps shrink in race conditions and we saw in Malaysia that they could extend their tire life beyond what we could achieve, so we need to be careful of that tomorrow. We have some new factors to consider in our pre-race thinking compared to two weeks ago, so a successful race will be all about finding the right balance between speed and tire management.

Paddy Lowe
That was a very dramatic qualifying session, with both of our drivers on the front row and split by just four hundredths of a second. It's a great result for the team, especially as we brought a number of upgrades this weekend which helped us today, so thank you to everybody back at our bases for all the effort they put into delivering that. It was great to see Lewis and Nico performing at their best and interesting to note that, behind us, the Williams managed to split the Ferraris today. The other noteworthy fact was that we managed to negotiate Q1 using just one set of prime tires, which was not an easy prospect given a performance difference of up to two seconds between the compounds. But two very good laps on the prime tire mean we have saved new options for the race. We start tomorrow in a great position but we will need to manage our race well and find the best tire strategy. Our competitors have strong pace and we will have our work cut out tomorrow.
Felipe Massa
I am really happy with my lap. I managed to get the best out of the car and showed we are still in the fight with Ferrari. The car has improved throughout the weekend and we had the set-up correct for qualifying. Tomorrow is when it really counts so I hope we can have a strong race and get the most points on offer from the car.

Valtteri Bottas
It was quite a close qualifying, although I suffered with the rear of the car throughout the final session, which made it a bit harder. We know we need to work on our race pace, but we should be closer than we were in the first two races. The cars in front look strong so we have to concentrate on tire degradation.

Romain Grosjean
It was a very tight qualifying session which made it very exciting in the car and I’m sure exciting to watch too. We made some good changes from yesterday which gave me a nice balance and I think that was about the best possible from the car at the moment. It’s going to be a long race and I think the key will be to take care of your front left tires. I’m enjoying driving the E23 and I think we’ve found a strong baseline set-up which is important for me.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Pastor Maldonado
I expect to fight in Q3 but it’s been harder for me so far this weekend than it has in the previous two races. For whatever reason we’ve struggled through the weekend to find the right balance from the car which means I can’t be fully confident to push on this type of track. That said, I’m looking forward to tomorrow as we’re stronger on race pace so will be much more competitive hunting down those points we want.

Max Verstappen
I’m happy with how the car has improved compared to yesterday. In FP3 we looked stronger and even though this is a very tricky track, I kept working to find the right balance and finally I found it just in time for the Qualifying session. Of course, my 13th position doesn’t show exactly where we should have been, as I think Q3 was possible for me today, but a lock-up at Turn 6 prevented me from it. We now have a bit more work to do for tomorrow, but I think we can be strong. We have a good race pace so I’m confident we will be able to fight for points again.

Carlos Sainz
This morning in FP3 we made a step forward in terms of performance and the car felt better, but when we went into Qualy this afternoon we didn’t manage to find that extra bit. By missing out on two or three tenths we didn’t get into Q3 and we’re not in the best position for tomorrow. However, we know that we have a decent pace on long runs and we showed some good consistency yesterday, so to finish in the top ten is still our main target.

Marcus Ericsson
It is a great achievement for the whole team to get both cars into Q3 – for the race team as well as everyone back at the factory in Hinwil. This weekend has been extremely tight as the lap times are quite close. Felipe and I put in good performances today and placed the cars in a promising position for tomorrow. It will be an exciting race, and I think, we have good chances for another positive day.

Felipe Nasr
It is a great day for the team being able to have both cars in Q3. We seem to have the cars back on the pace we expected to have here. Therefore, I am confident for the race tomorrow. Hopefully we can get back into the points, and I will do my best to finish the race in the top ten.

Nico Hulkenberg
It was disappointing to go out in Q1 but unfortunately the final lap just was not quick enough. I lost a bit of lap time with a small mistake as I was pushing hard, trying to get everything out of the car and that caused us to miss out. We know there is a lot of work ahead of us to develop this car and get its performance to the level we expect from it, but we know this is a process that takes time: it is just a matter of pushing hard to get better week after week. Looking ahead to tomorrow, we are aiming to be fighting for some points. It is not going to be an easy task but we will give it our best shot.

Sergio Perez
I had a couple of pretty good, clean laps in Q1 and that was enough to take me through to Q2. I think we got the maximum from the first session and that’s why we approached Q2 with the race in mind because having enough sets of new tires will make an important difference on Sunday. I’m looking forward to the race and seeing what we can do. We need to look at the strategy options tonight to make sure we pick the right one. If we can make a good start and find a nice rhythm tomorrow, we can certainly look at challenging for points.

1. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 35.782s
2. Nico Rosberg GER Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 35.824s
3. Sebastian Vettel GER Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 36.687s
4. Felipe Massa BRZ Williams-Mercedes 1m 36.954s
5. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams-Mercedes 1m 37.143s
6. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 37.232s
7. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull-Renault 1m 37.540s
8. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus-Mercedes 1m 37.905s
9. Felipe Nasr BRZ Sauber-Ferrari 1m 38.067s
10. Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber-Ferrari 1m 38.158s
Q2 Cutoff
11. Pastor Maldonado VEN Lotus-Mercedes 1m 38.134s
12. Daniil Kvyat RUS Red Bull-Renault 1m 38.209s
13. Max Verstappen NED Toro Rosso-Renault 1m 38.393s
14. Carlos Sainz Jr ESP Toro Rosso-Renault 1m 38.538s
15. Sergio Perez MEX Force India-Mercedes 1m 39.290s
Q1 Cutoff
16. Nico Hulkenberg GER Force India-Mercedes 1m 39.216s
17. Jenson Button GBR McLaren-Honda 1m 39.276s
18. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren-Honda 1m 39.280s
19. Will Stevens GBR Manor Marussia-Ferrari 1m 42.091s
20. Roberto Merhi ESP Manor Marussia-Ferrari 1m 42.842s

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