Shanghai, April 8 (IANS) Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton logged a qualifying lap time of 1:31.678 minutes to grab pole position for the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix here on Saturday.
It’s the sixth straight pole position for Britain’s Hamilton, who after the race said that Ferrari put up a tough fight, reports Xinhua news agency.
“The Ferrari looked so fast and we knew it was going to be close, and we knew we had to pull out all the stops and I managed to do a very, very perfect lap,” Hamilton said.
The qualifying sectors were a consistently tight battle between Mercedes and Ferrari, and saw Sebastian Vettel come in just one-tenth of a second adrift of Hamilton, and one-thousandth of a second adrift of Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valteri Bottas.
Despite being edged by the skin of his teeth by Hamilton, Vettel appeared pleased with his performance in the post-qualifying press conference.
“I was very happy with the lap I had. Last corner I lost a little bit, maybe chickened on to the brakes a bit too soon. But we just had enough margin to make it to the front row,” he said.
Fourth was Vettel’s Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen, with a qualifying time of 1:32.140.
A striking scene played out in Q1 when Sauber substitute Antonio Giovinazzi slid into the wall at the final turn at the conclusion of the session. That kept the Italian out of further qualifying action.
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo clocked a fastest lap of 1:33.033; which was 1.355 off the pace to put him in 5th. Rounding out the last row on Sunday will be Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who clocked a best lap of 1:35.433.