Hamilton takes a record but still in no-man's land

16 April, 2018, 01:40 | Author: Laura Christensen
  • Chinese GP: Race notes - Renault

Lewis Hamilton cast doubt on his Mercedes team's Chinese Grand Prix chances today, after Sebastian Vettel led a Ferrari front-row lockout in qualifying yesterday with his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in second.

The Mr. Vettel snatched Pole from his teammate Kimi Raikkonen at the last sec with a brilliant final lap of 1:31.095 to put him in 2nd, ahead of the MercedesAMG's Valtteri Bottas.

'Difficult day, ' said Hamilton, who already trails Vettel - who's won the opening two races - by 17 points.

Even the RedBull driver has damaged his chances this season, retiring last weekend after a clash with rsquo & Mercedes; four times world champion Lewis Hamilton.

MercedesAMG have dominated in China for the past 7 years for the last time a Silver Arrow auto failed to line up on the pole.

Verstappen was pushing through the field after Red Bull had pitted both its drivers for fresh soft tyres during a mid-race safety vehicle, a strategy that his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo converted to victory.

Verstappen's Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo added, "Ferrari has had really good pace all weekend and I can't say honestly now that we're going to have their pace tomorrow, but Mercedes definitely look within reach".

The Dutch youngster later apologised in person to Vettel and to his Red Bull team on social media.


"I was happy with the whole lap, not just the last sector", he said. I think from my side there wasn't much to do.

"I mean he could have easily taken his front wing off, get a puncture, whatever, then it's game over for both of us". Haas driver Romain Grosjean rounded out the top 10.

Ferrari certainly has the advantage in Shanghai and the pace too, lasting more than Mercedes on the more durable rubber.

"I didn't see him until very late so I left a little room", he said. "We were understanding the tyres, getting them to work better, but we could never achieve similar grip levels to Ferrari today".

"And if underneath you have a vehicle that's not performing as expected, and tyres that are not doing what you think they should do, and then the strategy goes against you". The Ferrari driver finished half a second ahead of both Bottas and Hamilton at a track where, until yesterday, you had to go back to 2011 for the last time a non-Mercedes auto occupied the front slot on the grid.

In the United States, the race is scheduled to late Saturday night/early Sunday morning at 2:10 a.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon are also level, with the Frenchman making up for his Melbourne deficit in the desert by making Q3 for a Force India team who have struggled to meet expectations. The McLaren twins piloted by Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne were up next in 13th and 14th place respectively after being eliminated on Q2.

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