Hamilton peerless on way to Chinese GP pole

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Lewis Hamilton delivered a masterclass performance during a wet qualifying session in Shanghai to secure the 34th pole position of his career, the most of any British driver in the history of the sport.

Hamilton was peerless in the wet conditions on his way to a third pole position of the season, his lap of 1:53.860 a whole six tenths clear of his nearest challenger, Daniel Ricciardo, who equalled his best ever position in qualifying, with a half a second advantage on his own team-mate Sebastian Vettel in third.

Nico Rosberg could only qualify fourth, after a lock-up, followed by a late spin at the final corner, spoiled his hot laps in Q3.

Fernando Alonso was fifth, ahead of the two Williams cars of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, as the team once again struggled to deliver its evident pace as a result of the wet weather.

Nico Hulkenberg and Jean-Eric Vergne will start eight and ninth on the grid, while Romain Grosjean and Lotus made it into Q3 for the first time this year, with the Frenchman 10th fastest overall.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and the two McLarens of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen were the major scalps to miss out on Q3, the Finn missing out in 11th by a mere two hundredths of a second.

Daniil Kvyat and Adrian Sutil were 13th and 14th for Toro Rosso and Force India respectively, sandwiched between the two aforementioned McLarens.

Sergio Perez was a distant 16th, one spot ahead of his compatriot Esteban Gutierrez, who will start 17th, the Sauber man having failed to progress into Q2, despite a late gamble on the intermediate tyres.

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Kamui Kobayashi won the inter-team battle between Caterham and Marussia with 18th overall, a tenth ahead of Jules Bianchi.

Pastor Maldonado failed to set a time as a result of a power unit issue that developed during FP3.

The Venezuelan will only start Sunday’s race at the behest of the stewards.

Qualifying – Classification

1. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 1:53.860

2. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull-Renault – 1:54.455  +0.595

3. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 1:54.960  +1.100

4. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 1:55.143  +1.28

5. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 1:55.637  +1.777

6. Felipe Massa – Williams-Mercedes – 1:56.147  +2.287

7. Valtteri Bottas – Williams-Mercedes – 1:56.282  +2.422

8. Nico Hulkenberg – Force India-Mercedes – 1:56.366  +2.506

9. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:56.773  +2.913

10. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Renault – 1:57.079  +3.219

11. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari – 1:56.860s  +2.831

12. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:56.963  +2.934

13. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso-Renault – 1:57.289  +3.260

14. Adrian Sutil – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:57.393  +3.364

15. Kevin Magnussen – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:57.675  +3.646

16. Sergio Perez – Force India-Mercedes – 1:58.264  +4.235

17. Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber-Ferrari – 1:58.988  +3.472

18. Kamui Kobayashi – Caterham-Renault – 1:59.260  +3.744

19. Jules Bianchi – Marussia-Ferrari – 1:59.326  +3.810

20. Marcus Ericsson – Caterham-Renault – 2:00.646  +5.130

21. Max Chilton – Marussia-Ferrari – 2:00.865  +5.349

22. Pastor Maldonado – Lotus-Renault

Images courtesy of Mercedes AMG PETRONAS and Lotus F1 Team

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