Nico Rosberg claimed pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix from Daniel Ricciardo as a mechanical issue struck Lewis Hamilton in an eventful qualifying session.
The Mercedes driver saved his best until the dying moments as he fired in a 1:35.402s effort to eclipse the provisional pole time set by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
A late effort from Red Bull’s Ricciardo saw the Australian claim an impressive front row start albeit 0.5s slower than the championship leader.
Raikkonen made a mistake on his final run that saw him settle for third ahead of his Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas.
However, it proved to be a disastrous session for Hamilton as an ERS issue saw the world champion withdraw from qualifying in Q1, leaving him to start from the back of the grid.
The Brit was already hit with a five place grid penalty following a gearbox change.
Hamilton’s issue came after the red flags were brought out following an incident involving Pascal Wehrlein in the opening segment of qualifying.
The Manor driver appeared to lose control over a bump on the pit straight before firing into the barriers.
As result of the incident, officials deployed a sweeper to clean the section of track which had been damp following an earlier rain shower.
Meanwhile, Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat ended the session in sixth in front of Force India’s Sergio Perez and the Toro Rosso duo of Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen.
The sister Force India of Niko Hulkenberg will complete the top 10 but the German failed to compete in Q3 after his front left wheel came loose at the end of Q2.
Officials investigated the team following an unsafe release from the pits before issuing a three place penalty, demoting Hulkenberg to 13th on the grid.
Felipe Massa will start from 10th on the grid following the stewards decision, ahead of the McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, who were affected by the red flag caused by Hulkenberg at the end of the second segment.
Romain Grosjean was the top Haas F1 runner in 14th spot ahead of the Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr.
The Renaults of Jolyon Pamer and Kevin Magnussen failed to progress from Q1 along with Esteban Gutierrez and Manor’s Rio Haryanto.
Revised Result: Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix Qualifying
|2||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||1:35.917s||+0.515s|
|6||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/TAG Heuer||1:36.399s||+0.997s|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1:36.865s||+1.463s|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1:36.881s||+1.479s|
|9||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1:37.194s||+1.792s|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||–||Three place grid penalty|
|21||Pascal Wehrlein||Manor/Mercedes||No time set||Q1|
|22||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||No time set||Q1|