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Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix

KDWN

SHANGHAI (AP) — Lewis Hamilton maintained Mercedes’ perfect record in qualifying this season, holding off the two Red Bulls to capture his third pole position of the campaign on Saturday at the rainy Chinese Grand Prix.

Hamilton broke the record for most poles by a British driver in Formula One and put himself in position for a third consecutive race victory on Sunday. Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo was about 0.6 seconds off the pace in second place, with teammate Sebastian Vettel qualifying third.

The steady light rain and slippery track raised the prospect of rival teams challenging Mercedes, but Hamilton was well clear of the Red Bulls, although his main competitor – teammate Nico Rosberg – made mistakes on his final two flying laps and qualified fourth.

“It’s so slippery out there, trying to find the grip, obviously not making mistakes on your lap, and really putting it together, especially when you have these guys pushing you,” Hamilton said. “It was a tough session.”

Conditions are expected to be better for Sunday’s race, with no rain and cool temperatures in the forecast.

It was the 34th pole of Hamilton’s career, moving him into fourth place on the all-time pole list, one ahead of former world champion Jim Clark and Alain Prost. Hamilton had been tied with Clark for the most poles of any British driver in F1 history.

“To be up there amongst the great names, all the greats, I’m very, very proud of that, for sure,” he said.

The solid qualifying effort also marked a turnaround following his problems in Friday’s practice with the car’s suspension, which limited him to only nine laps in the morning and required work on his car Friday night.

“Yesterday was not a good day for me,” he said. “It’s kind of strange because we made all those changes overnight and then today’s been wet so I have no idea if it’s (heading) in the right direction.”

After his thrilling tire-to-tire duel with Rosberg at the Bahrain GP two weeks ago, Hamilton believed his teammate would offer the strongest challenge in qualifying in Shanghai.

But the German, who claimed pole position in Bahrain and won the season-opening race in Australia, pushed too hard around the final corner on his last flying lap, spinning his car and ruining his last chance to top Hamilton.

Rosberg said he still has hopes of maintaining his slender lead in the driver’s championship – he has 61 points to Hamilton’s 50.

“I was the quicker one in Bahrain, didn’t make it work, but I have the momentum of the pace for race speed and I expect to have that again tomorrow,” Rosberg said.

He’ll have to get by the Red Bull cars, who will be aiming for their first podium finish in Shanghai since 2011 when Vettel finished second to Hamilton and then-teammate Mark Webber was third.

Ricciardo again got the better of the more accomplished Vettel in qualifying, beating him for the third time in four sessions this season.

Now he’s hoping to make up for his disqualification at the season-opening race in Australia, where he earned his first-ever podium by finishing second to Rosberg but was later stripped of the result for breaching F1’s new rules on fuel usage.

“If it’s dry, I think we can race up the front,” he said. “I’ll be ducking my head down the straight, like in a go-kart, but we’ll hopefully hang on and fight for at least a podium.”

Defending Chinese GP champion Fernando Alonso, the fastest in practice on Friday morning, qualified fifth for Ferrari, while teammate Kimi Raikkonen was down in a humble 11th.

Williams qualified two drivers in the top 10 – Felipe Massa in sixth and Valtteri Bottas in seventh – a vast improvement for the team after it struggled in wet conditions in qualifying in Australia and Malaysia.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg qualified in eighth, followed by Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Lotus’ Romain Grosjean.

Both McLaren cars were knocked out in the second qualifying session for the first time this year. Jenson Button will start from the 12th spot, while Kevin Magnussen will be back in 15th.

Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado did not start qualifying due to an engine problem that cut short his final practice round.

Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix

KDWN

SHANGHAI (AP) — Lewis Hamilton maintained Mercedes’ perfect record in qualifying this season, holding off the two Red Bulls to capture his third pole position of the campaign on Saturday at the rainy Chinese Grand Prix.

Hamilton broke the record for most poles by a British driver in Formula One and put himself in position for a third consecutive race victory on Sunday. Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo was about 0.6 seconds off the pace in second place, with teammate Sebastian Vettel qualifying third.

The steady light rain and slippery track raised the prospect of rival teams challenging Mercedes, but Hamilton was well clear of the Red Bulls, although his main competitor – teammate Nico Rosberg – made mistakes on his final two flying laps and qualified fourth.

“It’s so slippery out there, trying to find the grip, obviously not making mistakes on your lap, and really putting it together, especially when you have these guys pushing you,” Hamilton said. “It was a tough session.”

Conditions are expected to be better for Sunday’s race, with no rain and cool temperatures in the forecast.

It was the 34th pole of Hamilton’s career, moving him into fourth place on the all-time pole list, one ahead of former world champion Jim Clark and Alain Prost. Hamilton had been tied with Clark for the most poles of any British driver in F1 history.

“To be up there amongst the great names, all the greats, I’m very, very proud of that, for sure,” he said.

The solid qualifying effort also marked a turnaround following his problems in Friday’s practice with the car’s suspension, which limited him to only nine laps in the morning and required work on his car Friday night.

“Yesterday was not a good day for me,” he said. “It’s kind of strange because we made all those changes overnight and then today’s been wet so I have no idea if it’s (heading) in the right direction.”

After his thrilling tire-to-tire duel with Rosberg at the Bahrain GP two weeks ago, Hamilton believed his teammate would offer the strongest challenge in qualifying in Shanghai.

But the German, who claimed pole position in Bahrain and won the season-opening race in Australia, pushed too hard around the final corner on his last flying lap, spinning his car and ruining his last chance to top Hamilton.

Rosberg said he still has hopes of maintaining his slender lead in the driver’s championship – he has 61 points to Hamilton’s 50.

“I was the quicker one in Bahrain, didn’t make it work, but I have the momentum of the pace for race speed and I expect to have that again tomorrow,” Rosberg said.

He’ll have to get by the Red Bull cars, who will be aiming for their first podium finish in Shanghai since 2011 when Vettel finished second to Hamilton and then-teammate Mark Webber was third.

Ricciardo again got the better of the more accomplished Vettel in qualifying, beating him for the third time in four sessions this season.

Now he’s hoping to make up for his disqualification at the season-opening race in Australia, where he earned his first-ever podium by finishing second to Rosberg but was later stripped of the result for breaching F1’s new rules on fuel usage.

“If it’s dry, I think we can race up the front,” he said. “I’ll be ducking my head down the straight, like in a go-kart, but we’ll hopefully hang on and fight for at least a podium.”

Defending Chinese GP champion Fernando Alonso, the fastest in practice on Friday morning, qualified fifth for Ferrari, while teammate Kimi Raikkonen was down in a humble 11th.

Williams qualified two drivers in the top 10 – Felipe Massa in sixth and Valtteri Bottas in seventh – a vast improvement for the team after it struggled in wet conditions in qualifying in Australia and Malaysia.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg qualified in eighth, followed by Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Lotus’ Romain Grosjean.

Both McLaren cars were knocked out in the second qualifying session for the first time this year. Jenson Button will start from the 12th spot, while Kevin Magnussen will be back in 15th.

Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado did not start qualifying due to an engine problem that cut short his final practice round.

Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix

KDWN

SHANGHAI (AP) — Lewis Hamilton maintained Mercedes’ perfect record in qualifying this season, holding off the two Red Bull’s to capture his third pole position of the campaign on Saturday at the rainy Chinese Grand Prix.

Hamilton broke the record for most poles by a British driver in Formula One and put himself in position for a third consecutive race victory on Sunday. Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo was about 0.6 seconds off the pace in second place, with teammate Sebastian Vettel qualifying third.

The steady light rain and slippery track raised the prospect of rival teams challenging Mercedes, but Hamilton was well clear of the Red Bulls, although his main competitor – teammate Nico Rosberg – made mistakes on his final two flying laps and qualified fourth.

“It’s so slippery out there, trying to find the grip, obviously not making mistakes on your lap, and really putting it together, especially when you have these guys pushing you,” Hamilton said. “It was a tough session.”

Conditions are expected to be better for Sunday’s race, with no rain and cool temperatures in the forecast.

It was the 34th pole of Hamilton’s career, moving him into fourth place on the all-time pole list, one ahead of former world champion Jim Clark and Alain Prost. Hamilton had been tied with Clark for the most poles of any British driver in F1 history.

The solid qualifying effort also marked a turnaround following his problems in Friday’s practice with the car’s suspension, which limited him to only nine laps in the morning and required work on his car Friday night.

“Yesterday was not a good day for me,” he said. “It’s kind of strange because we made all those changes overnight and then today’s been wet so I have no idea if it’s in the right direction.”

After his thrilling tire-to-tire duel with Rosberg at the Bahrain GP two weeks ago, Hamilton believed his teammate would offer the strongest challenge in qualifying in Shanghai.

But the German, who claimed pole position in Bahrain and won the season-opening race in Australia, pushed too hard around the final corner on his last flying lap, spinning his car and ruining his last chance to top Hamilton.

Instead, it was Red Bull challenging Hamilton for the pole, with Ricciardo again getting the better of his teammate, the four-time defending world champion. The Australian has now beaten Vettel in qualifying in three of four races this season.

The Red Bulls now have a chance for their first podium finish in Shanghai since 2011 when Vettel finished second to Hamilton and his then-teammate Mark Webber was third.

Vettel, however, said he thinks the silver cars are still going to be tough to catch, as they have been all season following F1’s switch to the smaller V6 turbo hybrid engines and the introduction of new fuel-saving regulations.

“In dry conditions, they are still quite quick and a little bit too far away,” he said. “But let’s see what happens tomorrow.”

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso qualified fifth, while teammate Kimi Raikkonen was down in a humble 11th.

Williams qualified two drivers in the top 10 – Felipe Massa in sixth and Valtteri Bottas in seventh – a vast improvement for the team after it struggled in wet conditions in qualifying in Australia and Malaysia due to its relative lack of downforce.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg qualified in eighth, followed by Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Lotus’ Romain Grosjean, who took his team into the third qualifying session for the first time this season and will start from 10th.

Both McLaren cars were also knocked out in the second session for the first time this year. Jenson Button will start from the 12th spot, while Kevin Magnussen will be three places back in 15th.

Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado, meanwhile, did not start qualifying due to an engine problem that cut short his final practice round.

Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix

KDWN

SHANGHAI (AP) — Lewis Hamilton continued Mercedes’ dominant start to the season by capturing pole position at the rainy Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday; his third pole in four races this season.

Hamilton set the fastest time in qualifying at 1 minute, 53.860 seconds at Shanghai International Circuit, ahead of Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel in second and third position.

The steady light rain and slippery track raised the prospect of rival teams challenging Mercedes, but Hamilton was well clear of the Red Bulls, and his main competitor – teammate Nico Rosberg – made mistakes on his final two flying laps and qualified fourth.

It was the 34th pole of Hamilton’s career, moving him into fourth place on the all-time pole list, one ahead of former world champion Jim Clark and Alain Prost. By moving one clear of Clark, Hamilton now has the most poles of any British driver in F1 history.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso qualified fifth while teammate Kimi Raikkonen was down in a humble 11th.

Williams qualified two drivers in the top 10 – Felipe Massa in sixth and Valtteri Bottas in seventh – a vast improvement for the team after it struggled in wet conditions in qualifying in Australia and Malaysia due to its relative lack of downforce.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg qualified in eighth, followed by Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Lotus’ Romain Grosjean, who took his team into third qualifying for the first time this season and will start from 10th.

Both McLaren cars were also knocked out in the second qualifying session for the first time this year. Jenson Button will start from the 12th spot, while Kevin Magnussen will be three places back in 15th.

Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado, meanwhile, did not start qualifying due to an engine problem that cut short his final practice round in the morning.

It’s been a tough season and a trying week so far for the Venezuelan, who crashed into the wall on his way into the pits on Friday and also spun his car after looking down briefly to adjust the settings on his steering wheel.

He carried a five-place grid penalty into this Sunday’s race for flipping Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber at the Bahrain GP two weeks ago.

Conditions are expected to be better for Sunday’s race, with no rain and cool temperatures in the forecast.

Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix

KDWN

SHANGHAI (AP) — Lewis Hamilton continued Mercedes’ dominant start to the season by capturing pole position at the rainy Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday; his third pole in four races this season.

Hamilton set the fastest time in qualifying at 1 minute, 53.860 seconds at Shanghai International Circuit, ahead of Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel in second and third position.

The steady light rain and slippery track raised the prospect of rival teams challenging Mercedes, but Hamilton was well clear of the Red Bulls, and his main competitor – teammate Nico Rosberg – made mistakes on his final two flying laps and qualified fourth.

It was the 34th pole of Hamilton’s career, moving him into fourth place on the all-time pole list, one ahead of former world champion Jim Clark and Alain Prost. By moving one clear of Clark, Hamilton now has the most poles of any British driver in F1 history.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso qualified fifth while teammate Kimi Raikkonen was down in a humble 11th.

Williams qualified two drivers in the top 10 – Felipe Massa in sixth and Valtteri Bottas in seventh – a vast improvement for the team after it struggled in wet conditions in qualifying in Australia and Malaysia due to its relative lack of downforce.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg qualified in eighth, followed by Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne and Lotus’ Romain Grosjean, who took his team into third qualifying for the first time this season and will start from 10th.

Both McLaren cars were also knocked out in the second qualifying session for the first time this year. Jenson Button will start from the 12th spot, while Kevin Magnussen will be three places back in 15th.

Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado, meanwhile, did not start qualifying due to an engine problem that cut short his final practice round in the morning.

It’s been a tough season and a trying week so far for the Venezuelan, who crashed into the wall on his way into the pits on Friday and also spun his car after looking down briefly to adjust the settings on his steering wheel.

He carried a five-place grid penalty into this Sunday’s race for flipping Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber at the Bahrain GP two weeks ago.

Conditions are expected to be better for Sunday’s race, with no rain and cool temperatures in the forecast.