Lewis Hamilton took pole position in a wet Chinese GP qualifying session, a full second in front of #2 Daniel Ricciardo. Hamilton was in irresistible form throughout qualifying, fastest in all three parts, and each time by about the same margin. And he could have gone faster.
Lewis Hamilton maintained his brilliant form by finishing in pole position for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix. It was his third pole in four races this season, and the 34th of his career, taking him to fourth in the all-time list.
Hamilton, who had restricted his running in FP3 in the morning to conserve his tyres, mastered the wet conditions to top each of the three qualifying stints. He said: “It was so slippery out there. I was trying to find grip and not make mistakes. It was a top session and the car felt great.”
Hamilton finished in pole here last year, and was third in the race. If he wins tomorrow he will draw level with multiple F1 champions Jim Clark and Niki Lauda.
Daniel Ricciardo, half a second behind, will start alongside him on front row, outpacing the four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel for the third time this season. “It’s not to my liking – I must do better,” said Vettel.
In fourth place was Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, and he was followed by Fernando Alonso, who won here last year, Felipe Massa, Valtteri Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg, Jean-Eric Vergne and Romain Grosjean.
With rain falling for two hours before qualifying, it was always going to be a damp and difficult afternoon for the drivers. The five who failed to make it to Q2 were the Caterham and Marussia pairings, Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson, and Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi, plus the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez. There were only five because Pastor Maldonado never made it to the start due to mechanical problems.
In the second stint the casualties were the two McLaren men Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen, Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), Danil Kvyat (Toro Rosso), Sergio Perez (Force India), Adrian Sutil (Sauber).
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