Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

Ferrari's Vettel takes pole for Chinese GP

Hamilton was a half-second off Vettel's pace, and admitted he couldn't explain the gap.

Force India's Esteban Ocon, McLaren's Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne, who tried and failed to successfully make a tow work for each other, and Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley were the others to miss out on the pole position shootout.

It's been a great result and I am really happy for the team.

"Maybe it's just wanting too much and I should just. not even calm down, but maybe oversee the situation a little bit more". It's very, very cold and it's a very unusual track as well with all these long corners.

"They [Ferrari] have a really strong vehicle, you can see especially in the long corners - Turn 1, 2 - they make some good gains to us".

"The whole weekend we were just not good enough", Wolff said.

"It's not going to be easy to beat Kimi and Sebastian tomorrow, they're the quickest on the straights too, so overtaking will be tough".

Raikkonen looked set to top qualifying after setting the fastest time on the first runs in Q3, and was ahead of his team-mate in the first two sectors of his final lap.

The Prancing Horse replicated their advantage, with Raikkonen and Vettel setting an impressive pace on the more durable rubber.

Raikkonen and Vettel were both on course to go quicker, but they aborted their laps, meaning the top four drivers will start Sunday's race on the softs.

Dominant isn't a word that has been used to describe Ferrari since they chalked up five straight drivers' titles and six consecutive constructors' crowns with Michael Schumacher, but they were imperious on Saturday.

"See you f****** later", the 20-year-old Red Bull driver exclaimed over his radio shortly after he passed Hamilton to find himself in third position in the race.

The safety auto was triggered on lap 30 by a coming together of Torro Rossa drivers Brendan Hartley and Pierre Gasly, who tangled when Gasly had a go at his team-mate into the hairpin, the resultant contact leaving debris strewn across the track. I think this is what happened.

Saturday qualifying was chilly and windy, and damp in places from overnight rain.

The Chinese Grand Prix takes place Sunday at 2AM ET from Shanghai International Circuit.

"It should be hotter tomorrow", Hamilton said, "which could turn everything on its head".

After the first two Grands Prix of the 2018 season have resulted in, rather surprising, wins for Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari, the third Grand Prix of the new season in China has seen the same pattern in qualifying.

Mercedes were off the pace against their Ferrari rivals, who fill the front row.

On lap 44 of the race, Verstappen aggressively attempted to overtake Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, but clipped the rear of Vettel's vehicle at the hairpin.

"Looking back, in Mexico past year it did work out, this time maybe we didn't give each other enough space".

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