Ferrari stun rivals with qualifying speed


Ferrari dominated qualifying once again as they locked out the front row for the 2018 Formula One Chinese Grand Prix, with championship leader Sebastian Vettel snatching pole position from team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in the dying moments of Saturday's action.

Vettel headed a Ferrari one-two in the final practice session on Saturday and looked faster than the Mercedes duo for most of the day.

MercedesAMG have dominated in China for the past 7 years for the last time a Silver Arrow vehicle failed to line up on the pole. The Ferrari driver finished half a second ahead of both Bottas and Hamilton at a track where, until yesterday, you had to go back to 2011 for the last time a non-Mercedes auto occupied the front slot on the grid.

"I left a little bit of room as well". Right now I am not thinking about the Ferraris, but I am trying to understand why we don't have the pace.

"We got through all the laps that we needed and got some good feedback about the vehicle", said Hamilton after a cold afternoon.

"It was okay, but not good enough", he said.

'Difficult day, ' said Hamilton, who already trails Vettel - who's won the opening two races - by 17 points. He qualified ahead of the Australian at his home race, while he was on course to do so again in Bahrain but crashed his RB14 at the end of Q1.

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"I could see he was struggling on the tyres and tried to brake late in the corners", he said.

MercedesAMG' Valtteri Bottas lines up in 3rd. "So I'm really happy", Vettel told reporters.

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.

The Finn duly picked up the baton to set the third quickest time but was 0.743 seconds off Vettel's pace.Red Bull's Max Verstappen was fourth.

McLaren again look to be struggling - a week after failing to get a vehicle into the final top 10 qualifying shoot-out led to an "emergency debrief", Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne were 12th and 13th in China. "We need everyone in the team to be on it throughout the weekend because it is a joint effort", added the Briton. Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was sixth.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon are also level, with the Frenchman making up for his Melbourne deficit in the desert by making Q3 for a Force India team who have struggled to meet expectations.

"We spent a bit of time during the first session today working on the setup of the auto in order to understand it better", explained Verstappen.

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