New lap record as Vettel takes pole at Chinese GP

New lap record as Vettel takes pole at Chinese GP

"I was expecting him to come earlier".

The Finn had led the timesheets as the drivers embarked on their final flying laps and appeared set to clinch pole position after going fastest in the opening two sectors of the lap. Ferrari pitted a lap later but a fantastic run from Bottas pushed him in the lead just as Vettel exited the pits.

But team boss Toto Wolff dismissed the suggestion that Mercedes' dominance - they have won the last four Formula One world championships - was ending. He enthused about his Ferrari vehicle over the team radio, calling it "great qualifying, great car".

So advantage Ferrari then. "Overall, it was a disappointing qualifying session and we need to go away and carefully study what has had such a negative effect on our competitiveness today".

Hamilton, who has more wins in Shanghai than anyone else with five, was more than a half-second off Vettel's pace, and admitted he couldn't explain why. Bottas, in fact, suggested it might be too much to make up on Sunday. "It was really good", Vettel said. "We can see it, especially in very long corners".

Moreover, Hill believes Hamilton could reconsider signing a new long-term contract with Mercedes if he feels their period of dominance is at an end. "They're the quickest on the straights too, so overtaking will be tough". "It just kept getting better".

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel edged out teammate Kimi Raikkonen to take pole position for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, as Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton struggled.

Vettel had his quickest time on his final qualifying lap, clocking 1 minute, 31.095 seconds on the 5.45-kilometre (3.39-mile) course to edge out Raikkonen.

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"I was in no man's land today", he said. Mind you, the Australian nearly didn't make it out for qualifying after engine failure in FP3, which was followed by a last minute engine swap. Now comes China. Another track, but Ferrari still looks dominant.

Vettel dropped down to sixth after being spun round during the incident and finished the race in eighth having been overtaken by Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso late on. We saw it in Melbourne as well, we seemed to suffer more when the wind picked up compared to the other cars. "It was a tight session but I think again a great result for the team".

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

The Shanghai International Circuit is expected to be a lot warmer today than yesterday's windy and cold conditions.

"It was another hard day at the office", said Hamilton.

Hamilton is being hopeful.

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

"We definitely have work to do", Bottas said.

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