Sebastian Vettel on pole for Chinese Grand Prix

Ferrari head to head

Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel reacts after qualifying in pole position for the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 14, 2018.

In cold and windy conditions, the Silver Arrows appeared to be lacking grip and had no answer to the pace of the Ferraris, with Vettel taking pole with a time of 1:31.095, besting Raikkonen by just 0.087 secs.

Ferrari have not been victorious in Shanghai since Fernando Alonso took the flag in 2013, although Vettel was second past year, in a race dominated by Hamilton and Mercedes, who have won every meeting here since the turbo hybrid era began in 2014.

Raikkonen, 38, who was last on pole in Monaco a year ago, lost out by just 0.087s, with Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas a staggering half a second off the pace in third as the reigning world champions struggled to get the ultrasoft tyre to work.

The Red Bull driver has damaged his chances already this season, retiring in Bahrain last weekend after a clash with Mercedes' four times world champion Lewis Hamilton.

The third row will be made up of the two Red Bull cars.

While 19 of the cars prepared to leave the garage at the beginning of Q1, Red Bull Racing mechanics were busy rebuilding Daniel Ricciardo's vehicle after he suffered a power unit failure a little over two hours earlier in free practice three.




"I could see he was struggling on the tyres so I tried to brake late into the corner", he said of his move on Vettel.

"I think for us it was quite straightforward", he said. "The vehicle felt okay but I don't really have the answer for it", he told Sky Sports. Kevin Magnussen has made both Q3 sessions for one of 2018's surprise package, and while Romain Grosjean was impressive in Australia, he didn't even make it out of Q1 in Bahrain.

Wolff's comments came after a disappointing qualifying session for Mercedes, with drivers Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton only finishing third and fourth.

The Mercedes driver finished fourth in Shanghai as Daniel Ricciardo raced to victory following a crucial pit stop call. Mercedes look to be quick but Ferrari aren't too far behind.

"I didn't see him until very late, I left a little bit of room as well", he said.

Valtteri Bottas said he felt in complete control of the Chinese Grand Prix before the Safety Car period which swung the race towards its eventual victor, Daniel Ricciardo. Red Bull in that regard will be happy with their position on the grid as their Renault power doesn't possess this mode. The McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne were in 13th and 14th, with Brendon Hartley's Toro Rosso in 15th.

Nico Hulkenberg was seventh for Renault ahead of Force India's Sergio Perez.

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