New lap record as Vettel takes pole at Chinese GP

Chinese GP: Race notes - Renault

Chinese Grand Prix Autosport Driver Ratings

Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen was the second quickest in both sessions, and in the afternoon he was only 0.007 behind Hamilton.

Despite Vettel's teammate Kimi Raikkonen looking stronger than the German throughout most of the three segments of qualifying, Vettel stormed to his 52 career pole position with a lap of 1min.

"We thought coming into today that we would be fighting for the pole position", said Bottas, whose reigning champion team mate Lewis Hamilton qualified fourth after aborting his final flying lap. He joined ESPN Australia's team in June, 2013. But Bottas is already hinting that rival Ferrari is the team to beat.

Although he put up a fight against Ricciardo's passing attempt Bottas concedes there was little he could do with such a significant tyre disadvantage.

"Yes we are", he said. Bottas, in fact, suggested it might be too much to make up on Sunday. "It was really good".

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"Starting the race from the second row makes it more hard". "Thank you guys, great qualifying, great auto", said Vettel, who also started the last race in Bahrain from pole, over the team radio.

"The auto was really fantastic, it just kept getting better".

"I am confident I can stay where I am, but moving forwards is going to be tough", Hamilton, 33, said. Mind you, the Australian nearly didn't make it out for qualifying after engine failure in FP3, which was followed by a last minute engine swap. You look at China, and there is a huge market.

Can McLaren make it three successive races with both cars in the points for the first time since 2011? "The tracks are quite different to each other".

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"It felt like everything was under control, I had no major drop off in the end so I think we could have done it". The first session was dry despite the threat of rain on a chilly, windy day.

The Shanghai International Circuit is expected to be a lot warmer today than yesterday's windy and cold conditions.

Vettel ended up finishing eighth after the incident with Verstappen and the result has reduced his F1 World Drivers' Championship lead to nine points.

Hamilton is being hopeful.

This is Vettel's second pole of the season after he took the top spot at the last round in Bahrain, which he converted into victory.

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The Red Bull pairing of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo start fifth and sixth respectively, meaning the stage should be set for a fascinating run to the first corner. "We definitely were not doing that for the cameras", said a clearly relieved Ricciardo.

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