Chinese Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel on top for Ferrari ahead of qualifying

Lewis Hamilton delivered the flawless retort to Sebastian Vettel by holding off the Ferrari driver to claim pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Mercedes emerged as Ferrari's closest rivals, with Valtteri Bottas and three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton making third and fourth finish, respectively.

But Hamilton produced the first lap under one minute 32 seconds all weekend at the start of the top 10 shoot-out, beating Vettel by 0.184secs despite a slide at Turn 11.

The Briton, the most successful driver in China with four wins, is hoping to strike back at a resurgent Ferrari this weekend.

It's was Hamilton's sixth consecutive pole position, and his sixth at Shanghai, with his pole effort the quickest ever lap at the venue.

Vettel just barely edged his teammate, Raikkonen, who set a time of 1:33.389.

At nearly the same time Sebastian Vettel made the move to the super-softs, taking more than a second out of Raikkonen's time to go fastest with a 1m33.336s.

Ferrari team crew members perform a pit-stop practice outside their team's garage for the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai, China, Saturday, April 8, 2017.

Crew members push the auto of Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany along the pit-lane during the team's pit-stop practice session for the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai, China, Saturday, April 8, 2017.

The gulf between the top two teams and the rest of the field, however, remained significant.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was fifth but 1.355secs off the pace.

Max Verstappen will start one place behind Palmer after his day was thwarted by a problem with the Renault engine in his Red Bull.

The first session of qualifying ended with a heavy crash for Sauber driver Antonio Giovinazzi.

Hamilton and Vettel both lowered their times by a little over 0.2secs on their final runs and the Mercedes man kept the advantage.

After the weather farce of Friday, in which second practice was abandoned without one driver completing a single lap, blue skies ensured the cars roared back into life on a dry track on Saturday.

The dreary start to the Chinese GP prompted speculation the schedule might be adjusted to allow more practice time or move the race ahead a day to avoid the rain forecast for Sunday.

  • Julie Sanders


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