F1 updates as Lewis Hamilton goes for pole position

Chinese GP: Race notes - Renault

Vettel, who put in an error-strewn first attempt, then pulled out just enough through the final corners to deny the 38-year-old what would have been his first pole since last year's Monaco Grand Prix.

But the Briton, like Vettel a four-times champion, has won in Shanghai an unprecedented five times and is determined to claw back at least some of that deficit on Sunday.

"Bottas's time was more than half a second slower than Vettel's".

His Mercedes team have also started each of the last six Chinese Grands Prix from pole.

The annual battle between the sport's two giants has taken on an unexpected complexion, with Mercedes anxious for a win in Shanghai on Sunday after Vettel stunned the champions with wins in both Australia and Bahrain.

What happened to Mercedes?

"We are only two races in, but I arrived here thinking I want to win the next 19", Hamilton said.

Seasoned F1 fans have seen an very bad lot over the years in the paddock.

Ferrari head to head
Ferrari head to head

Daniel Ricciardo was sixth after joining the first segment of qualifying late thanks to a turbo problem in free practice, lapping 0.152s slower than his teammate.

Heavy rain after Friday practice, which continued overnight, and a cold and overcast morning made track conditions poor at the start of the session, although there was no delay in cars hitting the track.

Carlos Sainz in the other Renault was ninth with Romain Grosjean rounding out the top 10 for Haas.

Reigning champions Mercedes were favorites to again be the dominant team coming into the new season, but are yet to win a race. We were half a second behind today so honestly I can't tell if we can challenge. The vehicle felt ok but I don't have an answer for it. "Tomorrow is a completely different day, it is going to be hot tomorrow so it is going to be interesting to see how it works out for us - we have not experienced that temperature so far this weekend".

"I don't know if we can challenge".

"It's been a great result and I am really happy for the team", said Vettel. "The vehicle was wonderful and just kept getting better".

Raikkonen was first to set a lap time and Nico Hulkenberg briefly held top spot for Renault before speeds rapidly increased and Ferrari established itself at the head of the leaderboard. But credit has to be given to the crew who managed to get the Australian on track with just three minutes remaining in Q1, giving him enough time to set a lap which was good enough to earn him a place in Q2.




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