Vettel snatches China pole from Raikkonen 

Tom Howard

Saturday 14th April, 2018 - 5:44pm

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Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel snatched pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix from Kimi Raikkonen as Ferrari completed a front row lockout in Shanghai.

Vettel had trailed his team-mate in Q3 before a final run saw the four-time world champion produce a 1:31.182s to deny Raikkonen pole by 0.087s.

Ferrari once again had the edge on Mercedes in qualifying for the second consecutive race as the Silver Arrows appeared to struggle in extracting the most from the Pirelli ultrasoft tyres in cooler conditions.

As a result, Valtteri Bottas will start from third after edging Lewis Hamilton, who aborted his final run in Q3.

However, the pair were more than half a second shy of the Ferraris.

The top four will start Sunday’s race on the soft tyres after electing to use the compound in Q2.

Red Bull will fill the third row but it was not a smooth session for the Milton Keynes operation.

Daniel Ricciardo only just made it out in qualifying with three minutes remaining in Q1 after suffering a suspected turbo failure in final practice.

The team was forced to deploy most of its staff to repair the car using components from two engines.

Despite his lack of mileage, the Australian qualified sixth behind team-mate Max Verstappen, who enjoyed a trouble-free run.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was the best of the rest in seventh, while Sergio Perez (Force India), Carlos Sainz (Renault) and Romain Grosjean (Haas F1) rounded out the top 10.

Kevin Magnussen narrowly missed out on a place in Q3 after a frantic end to the second segment of qualifying.

The Haas F1 driver had been in the top 10 until the finial moments when a late flurry of laps demoted him to 11th.

Esteban Ocon ended up 12th in the Force India ahead of the McLaren duo of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne.

Alonso was sitting seventh in the latter stages of Q2 before fast laps from Grosjean, Perez and Sainz.

McLaren headed into qualifying having been issued a 5,000 Euro fine for an unsafe release in Practice 2.

The sanction was levied after the team sent Vandoorne from the pit bay without his right rear tyre sufficiently attached.

Brendon Hartley will line up behind the McLarens as the top Toro Rosso driver in 15th position.

Meanwhile, Williams’ lack of pace continued as both Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll failed to progress from Q1.

The Russian rookie out-qualified Stroll to claim 16th position.

After the stunning performance in Bahrain, Pierre Gasly could only manage a lap good enough for 17th spot.

Sauber’s Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson will complete the final row of the grid.

Ericsson has since been handed a five-place grid penalty and three penalty points on his licence for ignoring yellow flags when his team-mate spun out of the final corner in Q1.

Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix is scheduled to begin at 1610 AEST.

Result: Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix Qualifying

Position Driver Car Time Gap
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m31.095s
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m31.182s 0.087s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m31.625s 0.530s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m31.675s 0.580s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m31.796s 0.701s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m31.948s 0.853s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m32.532s 1.437s
8 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m32.758s 1.663s
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m32.819s 1.724s
10 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m32.855s 1.760s
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m32.986s Q2
12 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m33.057s Q2
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m33.232s Q2
14 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m33.505s Q2
15 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m33.795s Q2
16 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m34.062s Q1
17 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m34.101s Q1
18 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m34.285s Q1
19 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m34.454s Q1
20 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m34.914s Q1

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