Chinese GP: Routine pole for Mercedes’ Hamilton

World champion wins current season’s third successive qualifying

Afp April 11, 2015
SMOOTH SAILING: Hamilton has dominated all weekend, his only real discomfort coming from an overheating cockpit on Saturday. PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI: World champion Lewis Hamilton roared to pole position in Saturday's qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix, just pipping Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who stunned the Silver Arrows to win in Malaysia two weeks ago, will start from third on the grid for Sunday's race alongside the Williams of Felipe Massa.

Hamilton, who won in Shanghai for the third time last year, clocked the quickest time of one minute, 35.782 seconds to maintain his perfect qualifying record in the season's first three races.

"We have a tough race ahead of us," Hamilton told reporters. "The Ferraris are strong on long-run pace so it's not over by any means."

Rosberg lapped just four-hundredths slower than the Briton, and when informed he had just missed out on pole, he yelled over the radio, "Oh come on, guys!"

Clearly irritated, the German shook hands with countryman Vettel but blanked Hamilton as the top three posed for photographs in the pit lane.

"The lap is never a hundred per cent perfect, but four hundredths is the blink of an eye so that's even more annoying," fumed Rosberg.

Hamilton has dominated all weekend, his only real discomfort coming from an overheating cockpit on Saturday, but Rosberg's pace should make for an absorbing battle in China between the two Mercedes, who feuded bitterly last season.

Vettel clocked 1:36.687 ahead of Massa and the second Williams of Valtteri Bottas as Ferrari failed to get both cars on the second row, Kimi Raikkonen only sixth fastest in smoggy conditions.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Romain Grosjean's Lotus were next and the Saubers of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson rounded out the top 10.

However, there was more disappointment for McLaren as Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso languished back on the ninth row, 17th and 18th respectively.

Security for Sunday's race has been tightened after a fan invaded the track during Friday's free practice, vaulting the pitlane wall and demanding to test drive a Ferrari before being tackled by stewards and handed over to police.



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