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Ferrari stun rivals with qualifying speed at the Chinese Grand Prix

16 April 2018

While Raikkonen seemed to be stronger throughout qualifying and seemed to have taken the pole at Shanghai, a super lap by Vettel beat his teammate to the top spot by just 0.087s.

Lewis Hamilton qualified his Mercedes on pole ahead of Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari.

World champion Lewis Hamilton admitted his relief after he succeeded in cutting Sebastian Vettel's lead in the drivers' standings despite missing the podium at the Chinese Grand Prix.

The Briton, like Vettel a four times world champion, has won in Shanghai an unprecedented five times.

Mercedes were expected to dominate the 2018 Formula 1 season after showing ominous pace during the pre-season tests in Barcelona, and Red Bull were considered their closest challengers, while talks were about Ferrari having taken a step back since last season.

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Wolff also defended his driver Valtteri Bottas, after the Finn came in for criticism from some sections of the media after the Bahrain Grand Prix for lacking a "killer instinct".

Following his brief chat with Vettel, when asked about his race - which Ricciardo went on to win - Verstappen replied: "After that last pit stop when the team did everything right, everything worked out well, I made some mistakes so it's of course not the result you want". I don't think necessarily I need to be less aggressive or anything because it's nothing to do with being overly aggressive but maybe wanting too much. "The vehicle felt okay, but I don't really have the answer for it".

Hamilton was 0.58secs off pole with Mercedes struggling for grip in the corners with the cool air in Shanghai not helping. They were so fast on fresh tyres.

"I didn't see him until late and left a bit of room".

Red Bull did a tremendous job changing Daniel Ricciardo's engine, after a suspected turbo failure in FP3, to get him out with three minutes to go in the session.

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In the middle-order, Nico Hulkenberg of Renault will start seventh tomorrow, 1.473s ahead of Force India's Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz. "The fans here in China have been wonderful, I hope they know I'll do everything to fight for them tomorrow." .

Vettel and Raikkonen reinforced Ferrari's dominant form in final practice by setting the pace in Q1, with Vettel a full 0.750s quicker than the leading Mercedes of Bottas in third. Despite a management reshuffle and an emergency debrief following a lack of pace in Bahrain, both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne once again failed to progress to the top-10 qualifying shootout, lining up 13th and 14th on the grid.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was eliminated in Q2 for the first time this season after a poor middle sector on his final lap prevented him from improving.

Last year Vettel, who had problems using Verstappen, explained the crash was needless.

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Ferrari stun rivals with qualifying speed at the Chinese Grand Prix