F1 updates as Lewis Hamilton goes for pole position

Ferrari were quick and Red Bull looked really fast on the long run. Grosjean slotted into the 10th position, knocking down a lap of 1:32.855 to pick up his second-best qualifying effort of 2018, bookending his seventh-place qualifying drive from the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Crimson Bull'smax Verstappen acknowledged attribute for an Chinese grandprix crash with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel on Sunday however rejected a suggestion he may need to calm down his driving mode.

Asked about Verstappen being young and needing to calm down, Vettel replied: "He's done enough races".

In a typically boisterous bid for the podium, the Dutchman saw gaps where there were none, and wiped out Vettel at the hairpin on the 43rd lap.

A Ferrari mechanic suffered a double leg fracture in Bahrain last time out, as Kimi Raikkonen was released too early, while Haas endured a double retirement in Australia after tyres were not fitted correctly.

Both Mercedes struggled to heat their tyres in the cold climate of China, leading to both drivers setting their final times on the soft Pirellis, and will start the race surrounded by drivers on the ultrasoft compound. The 20th auto, Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull, sat in the garage waiting to compete but not looking like it could.

2018 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix
2018 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix Enlarge

But despite missing out on what would have been his fourth F1 victory, Bottas - now third in the championship, just five points behind his team mate - remained philosophical in defeat.

Ricciardo dispatched Bottas on lap 45 to take the lead, but his team-mate, Verstappen, had a far scrappier afternoon.

Hamilton aborted his final Q3 lap and was there for taking by Red Bull, but Max Verstappen failed to capitalise, falling short in P5 by an agonising 0.012s. The two finished +0.580s and +0.701s following the time set by Vettel. Meanwhile, the battle for third between Vettel and Verstappen ended in a disaster for the former.

"The vehicle was really unbelievable", Vettel said. We'll keep our heads up and keep pushing. On the other hand, Vettel dropped down to P7 behind Renault's Nico Hulkenberg, as a result of the collision while Verstappen recovered to P4. No driver has won the opening three rounds and not gone on to take the title. The Ferrari proved more forgiving in switching on its tyres and maintaining their grip, whereas Mercedes lacked temperature in their rubber.

Kevin Magnussen was seventh for the USA -owned Haas team ahead of the other Renault of Spaniard Carlos Sainz. "It's hard to accept that quickly, after the race - but that's F1". The Chinese GP turned turned out to be an unexpected action-packed race with some edge-of-the-seat action.

  • Julie Sanders