December 5, 2016 Switch to Italian Version

Formula One: Hamilton takes pole as Rosberg spins in tricky Chinese qualifying!

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Lewis Hamilton has claimed pole position for the 2014 Chinese Grand Prix, his third pole position of the season. He out-qualified Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel, with Nico Rosberg making mistakes in the final session to take 4th.

Q1:

Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014A wet circuit greeted the drivers at the start of qualifying for the 3rd time in the first 4 races this season. The track had been wet for the Free Practice session earlier in the day, with Daniel Ricciardo topping the session for Red Bull.

The drivers began the session on the wet tyres, with Sebastian Vettel initially setting the pace before Hamilton displaced him from the top of the time-sheets.

Toward the end of the session, the track dried sufficiently for the drivers to make the switch on to the intermediate tyre. Adrian Sutil used this to good effect, as he had previously been in the drop-zone before improving on the faster tyre. Jean-Eric Vergne was briefly pushed down into the drop-zone, before elevating himself into the next session. This left Esteban Gutierrez to be eliminated, along with the usual suspects of the Marussias and the Caterhams.

Pastor Maldonado was not able to emerge in the session. The Venezuelan had suffered a tricky weekend so far, which continued in final practice when he suffered a mechanical problem. The repair job was too much for Lotus to complete, which meant that Maldonado, who would have had a place grid penalty for his collision with Gutierrez in Bahrain, will start from last in tomorrow’s race.

Out of Q1:

POS Driver Team Time
17 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1’58.988
18 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1’59.260
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1’59.326
20 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 2’00.646
21 Max Chilton Marussia 2’00.865
22 Pastor Maldonado Lotus No time

Q2:

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014The weather continued to fluctuate from better to worse during the second qualifying session. Adrian Sutil was one of the first to set a time, before Hamilton blasted through, a full four seconds faster than the Sauber driver. Lewis ended the session as the fastest man, with Vettel a mere few tenths behind; evidently closer in the wet conditions.

Nico Hulkenburg was on the edge of being eliminated in the session, with the Force India driver in the last place to advance into Q3. It looked as though he would be beaten, until last minute rain caused the lap times to lengthen, with Nico being safe.

The rain also helped Romain Grosjean, who managed to secure Lotus their first Q3 qualification of the season after a torrid start to the season. Grosjean’s surprise advancement put pay to any mistakes from other drivers, with Kimi Raikkonen failing to advance after a down-shift problem in his Ferrari. The two McLaren drivers failed to advance also, with both Button and Magnussen complaining of a lack of grip on the Intermediate tyres.

Out of Q2:

POS Driver Team Time
11 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’56.860
12 Jenson Button McLaren 1’56.963
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1’57.289
14 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1’57.393
15 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1’57.675
16 Sergio Perez Force India 1’58.264

Q3:

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014The rain eased slightly for the start of the top 10 shoot-out, with some drivers still choosing to head out on the wet tyres after the sudden down-pore at the end of Q3. Bottas, Vergne and Hulkenburg all emerged at the start of the session on the slower tyre, before moving to the intermediate compound.

Vettel once again set the initial benchmark, with Hamilton following soon after to go 6 tenths faster than the Red Bull driver. Rosberg soon followed his team-mate to go into second at the end of the first run.

The track seemed to have gotten faster for the drivers in the closing minutes of the session, with most opting for two flying laps to end the session. Ricciardo, Vettel and others started to set faster sector times than Hamilton, but the Mercedes driver put pay to any thought of someone beating him by producing a 1’53.860. Ricciardo could only manage to be within 6 tenths of the Mercedes driver, with Vettel another 4 tenths back.

Rosberg had tried to cause an upset and steal pole position, as he had done in Bahrain two weeks ago, but on his first attempt he ran deep into the hairpin, causing him to loose to much time. He had one more lap, of which he was making gains on his team-mate, but he made a mistake at the final turn which saw him spin round. He couldn’t improve and had to settle for 4th behind the two Red Bull cars.

Alonso took 5th place, 1.5 seconds off of the pole time set by Hamilton, with the two Williams taking 6th and 7th; an improvement on their previous wet qualifying performances. Hulkenburg and Vergne will line up 8th and 9th on the grid, with Grosjean getting Lotuses best start of the season in 10th place.

2014 Chinese Grand Prix grid:

POS Driver Team Time
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’53.860
2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1’54.455
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’54.960
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’55.143
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’55.637
6 Felipe Massa Williams 1’56.147
7 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1’56.282
8 Nico Hulkenburg Force India 1’56.366
9 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1’56.773
10 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1’57.079
11 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’56.860
12 Jenson Button McLaren 1’56.963
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1’57.289
14 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1’57.393
15 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1’57.675
16 Sergio Perez Force India 1’58.264
17 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1’58.988
18 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1’59.260
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1’59.326
20 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 2’00.646
21 Max Chilton Marussia 2’00.865
22 Pastor Maldonado Lotus No time

Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014Lewis Hamilton, who will start on pole:”Definitely the most satisfaction is getting this result when it is raining. It was so slippery out there, trying to find the grip and not make mistakes. It was a tough session, but the car was feeling great. There are some things that can be improved on but it has put us in a good position for the race.”

“I was told it was going to be a good day tomorrow. It is always hazy here so you don’t know what will happen with the weather. I hope it is a dry race, I’d see these guys [Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel] a little closer in the wet.”

Daniel Ricciardo, who will start in second: “I think that was very pleasing to do it at the end. To be honest, I struggled a bit throughout the session, at least personally I didn’t feel like I was getting on top of the conditions but then the last set of inters right at the end of Q3 we managed to get a bit more out of it and I put a good lap together, so pretty pleased to be on the front row.”

Sebastian Vettel, who will start from third on the grid: “In wet conditions I think we have a bit more of a chance. In dry conditions they are still quite quick and a little bit too far away. But let’s see what happens tomorrow, I think the weather forecast is dry so for sure we’ll try. I think we are in the best positions to try to give them a very hard time tomorrow.”

By Jordan Groves
Formula 1 correspondent for RTR Sports Marketing
Follow Jordan on twitter at www.twitter.com/jgroves1996
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Jordan Groves
Jordan Groves
18 years old, UK. Formula One & Formula E Correspondent for RTR Sports. Fan of Formula One, Formula E, NASCAR, IndyCar, BTCC and many more! Follow me on Twitter: @jgroves1996

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