Lewis Hamilton asserted his qualifying dominance over the grid again in China by beating Sebastian Vettel to pole position by 0.2 seconds.
Photo : EPA
It turned out to be a very close shootout in Q3 with with the top 3 cars separated by not more than two tenths of a second. Hamilton set the pace with his first run in Q3 despite an oversteer moment at the end of the second sector.
With both Ferraris and the Mercedes of Bottas not being able to match up, Lewis blitzed it in the final Q3 run to take pole with a Chinese lap record time of 1:31:678 from Vettel’s 1:31:864 and Bottas’ 1:31:865. Look at that margin between Seb and Bottas!
Kimi seemed a bit off the pace again putting his Ferrari on the second grid next to Bottas in P4. Daniel Ricciardo qualified as the lone Red Bull out there, with Max Verstappen not making it out of Q1 due to engine problems.
Both Williams cars made it safely into Q3 with the veteran Felipe Massa qualifying in P6 and Lance Stroll qualifying in P10, his first time in Q3.
Nico Hulkenberg was mightily impressive in qualifying today putting his works Renault in a scarcely believable P7. However, the same can’t be said for his team-mate Jolyon Palmer who could only manage P18.
Imagine being Jolyon now, dear god.
Both Sauber drivers made it into Q2, which sounds impressive, but Giovinazzi only held on to P15 after crashing heavily out of the last corner. Double waved yellows meant that none of the cars behind him could finish their flying laps properly. This resulted in Force India’s Esteban Ocon, Haas driver Romain Grosjean, and Renault’s Jolyon Palmer not making it out of Q1.
Photo : WTF1
Elsewhere, the Toro Rosso boys had a decent outing with Daniil Kyvat qualifying P9, but Carlos Sainz just missed out on Q3, as he starts P11 with a free choice of tyres.
Fernando Alonso referred to his qualifying position of P13 as a “divine present”. Considering how slow his McLaren is on the straights and how he put it inside the top 10 in Q1 and ended up P13 overall, Fernando might actually be driving divinity.
The race is set to go ahead as planned tomorrow even with the possibility of rain and helicopter issues, because the FIA and Liberty Media have since put necessary back up plans into place.
Grosjean and Palmer are under investigation for not fully slowing down under yellow flags, and Giovinazzi might get a gearbox penalty if a change is required following his crash. Max Verstappen could gain a few starting places from all of this, but he’s got a mighty mountain to scale in the race tomorrow working his way up through the grid.
At the front, however, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton lock horns again as we look forward to another straight fight between Ferrari and Mercedes. Hopefully, it does rain, and given the fact that the drivers haven’t had much wet running this season, it should make for a cracker of a Chinese GP.
Feature image courtesy : BBC F1
– Aditya Bhat.