Published on April 11th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Lewis Hamilton Takes 3rd Pole @ Chinese Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton took his third pole position in a row ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg, as Mercedes completed a dominant front-row lock out in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.
Hamilton finished four hundredths of a second clear of team-mate Nico Rosberg but almost a full second ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who finished third.
Q1 saw Vettel go quickest, with the Ferrari driver setting a time of 1:37.502. Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was second fastest ahead of Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, with Romain Grosjean a surprise fourth.
Practice-session pacesetter Hamilton was fifth fastest, with team-mate Nico Rosberg eighth. However, the duo eased through to Q2 without using the soft tyre, whereas Vettel and Raikkonen began on mediums before to the option tyre to set their best times.
At the other end of the order, the Manor cars of Will Stevens and Roberto Mehri were predictably eliminated in 19th and 20th respectively. Next out were McLarens of Jenson Button (P17) and Fernando Alonso (P18), while Nico Hulkenberg’s session also came to an end as he finished in 16th place.
It was a close-fought affair, with just half a second covering Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado in 11th place and the last man through, Daniil Kvyat, in P15.
The battle to qualify for Q3 was similarly tight. At the start of the session Red Bull Racing’s Kvyat was told that the cut-off point would likely be at around 1m 38s and so it proved, with Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson claiming P10 with a time just a tenth slower than that.
Kvyat, though, couldn’t better that benchmark and with the Russian apparently suffering car problems he was only able to post a time of 1:38.209, which earned him 12th place behind Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado. Also dumped out were the twin Toro Rossos of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz – in P13 and P14 respectively – and the Force India of Sergio Perez in 15th place.
At the top of the Q2 order, normal service was resumed with Hamilton quickest with a lap of 1:36.423. That put him three tenths of a second ahead of Rosberg. The two-by-two look was added to by Vettel finishing third ahead of Raikkonen and Massa heading Bottas in fifth and sixth places.
Hamilton maintained his position at the top of the order after the first runs in Q3. The Briton set and opening run lap time of 1:35.782 to head Rosberg by almost two tenths of a second. Behind them Massa delivered a good opening lap to claim third, though his time was almost 1.6s adrift of that set by Hamilton. Behind him came Vettel, Bottas, Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
In the final runs, Bottas made the first move, stealing third place behind the Mercedes with a time of 1:37.143. That was quickly eclipsed, however, by his team-mate Massa. The Brazilian again put in a good lap to beat Bottas by just under two tenths of a second and hand Williams a potential row two lock-out.
Sebastian Vettel was just beginning the final sector of his last hot lap, however, and when the German crossed the line he had put his Ferrari in third place, almost three tenths clear of Massa but tellingly, almost a full second down on Hamilton.
Rosberg, meanwhile, could not hide his frustration, calling out ‘Come on, guys!” after pulling out all the stops on his final lap only to miss out on pole by just four hundredths of a second.
Behind the Williams cars, Raikkonen took sixth place, his final run being marred by a mistake at turn 10. Ricciardo gave Red Bull Racing a hope of good points with seventh ahead of Grosjean and the final top 10 positions were taken by Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m35.782s
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m35.824s 0.042s
3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m36.687s 0.905s
4. Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m36.954s 1.172s
5. Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m37.143s 1.361s
6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m37.232s 1.450s
7. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m37.540s 1.758s
8. Romain Grosjean Lotus/Mercedes 1m37.905s 2.123s
9. Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m38.067s 2.285s
10 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m38.158s 2.376s
11 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Mercedes 1m38.134s
12 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1m38.209s
13 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Renault 1m38.393s
14 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso/Renault 1m38.538s
15 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m39.290s
16 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m39.216s
17 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m39.276s
18 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m39.280s
19 Will Stevens Marussia/Ferrari 1m42.091s
20 Roberto Merhi Marussia/Ferrari 1m42.842s