Vettel Takes Pole Position At The Chinese Grand Prix
The third race of the 2018 grand prix season is taking place tomorrow, and the starting grid has been decided.
Sebastian Vettel has taken pole position ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas.
It was a tense qualifying following last weeks Bahrain race, and Sebastian Vettel proved to be the fastest, snatching a last-minute pole position from Kimi Raikkonen.
Whilst Raikkonen was the quicker of the two Ferraris, a final sector run gave Vettel a lead of 0.087 seconds, and the pole position. Raikkonen was 0.161 seconds ahead of Vettel on his first two runs in Q3 and had the fastest sector times for the first two parts of the lap. It was clear that he was struggling on the last few lap corners, which is what gave Vettel the chance to make up time, and ultimately take pole position.
I noticed that Mercedes were struggling, especially Hamilton. He was over half a second slower than Vettel and has to settle for a fourth-place grid start for the race tomorrow. Hamilton was aware that Ferrari would be the stronger car in China, with an engine power advantage as well as more confidence in cooler climates.
Hamilton said the following;
Today just went away from us, Ferrari upped their pace throughout the weekend, probably not showing their true pace yesterday.
The car doesn't feel much different so I think they have just turned it up. Tomorrow is a completely different day, it is going to be hot tomorrow so it is going to be interesting to see how it works out for us - we have not experienced that temperature so far this weekend.
They are rapid at the moment, that is a challenge but we will give it everything we've got.
Bottas, who will sit in third place on the starting grid said that he was struggling to find grip in his car, and could not generate the perfect tyre temperatures.
I’m sure that both Bottas and Hamilton will be praying for a warmer race temperature tomorrow to make the use of their superior soft-tyre race strategy.
Looking at Red Bull in qualifying, they were strong, but not strong enough to rival the Ferrari and Mercedes cars. Max Verstappen will settle for fifth on the grid, and Daniel Ricciardo 0.152 seconds slower, in sixth. I was surprised to see Ricciardo in sixth as he suffered a major engine failure in the last few minutes of practice and lost out on a simulation run in qualifying.
Another poor qualifying for McLaren, with Alonso in 13th, and Vandoorne in 14th. Mirroring their starting positions from Bahrain, they will be going through an emergency debrief today, to hopefully put in a good race strategy tomorrow.
As it currently stands, here is the grid positions for the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix.
#1: Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari - 1m31.095s
#2: Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari - 1m31.182s
#3: Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes - 1m31.625s
#4: Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 1m31.675s
#5: Max Verstappen - Red Bull/Renault - 1m31.796s
#6: Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull/Renault - 1m31.948s
#7: Nico Hulkenberg - Renault - 1m32.532s
#8: Sergio Perez - Force India/Mercedes - 1m32.758s
#9: Carlos Sainz - Renault - 1m32.819s
#10: Romain Grosjean - Haas/Ferrari - 1m32.855s
#11: Kevin Magnussen - Haas/Ferrari - 1m32.986s
#12: Esteban Ocon - Force India/Mercedes - 1m33.057s
#13: Fernando Alonso - McLaren/Renault - 1m33.232s
#14: Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren/Renault - 1m33.505s
#15: Brendon Hartley - Toro Rosso/Honda - 1m33.795s
#16: Sergey Sirotkin - Williams/Mercedes - 1m34.062s
#17: Pierre Gasly - Toro Rosso/Honda - 1m34.101s
#18: Lance Stroll - Williams/Mercedes - 1m34.285s
#19: Charles Leclerc - Sauber/Ferrari - 1m34.454s
#20: Marcus Ericsson - Sauber/Ferrari - 1m34.914s
I will be watching live, tomorrow on Sky F1 from 7am.