Chinese Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel on pole with track record

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes F1 news Azerbaijan GP

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes F1 news Azerbaijan GP

SHANGHAI, China, Apr 15- Lewis Hamilton has billed his Chinese GP weekend as a "disaster", saying he needs to rectify it before he loses more points.

"I was in no-one man's land today, I had no pace", Hamilton told Sky Sports afterwards.

Another interesting team to watch will be Red Bull.

Vettel said Verstappen had apologised for the collision on lap 43 that dropped the Ferrari driver from a likely third-place finish to eighth. Then we were in trouble with Daniel and almost with Kimi in the end.

The Ferrari driver finished half a second ahead of both Bottas and Hamilton at a track where, until yesterday, you had to go back to 2011 for the last time a non-Mercedes vehicle occupied the front slot on the grid.

Vettel looked likely to finish seventh, but was overtaken by McLaren's Fernando Alonso on the penultimate lap to finish even further down the order.

Verstappen, who had come into the weekend answering questions about a controversial clash with Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain, was then seen talking to the Ferrari driver after the race.

"He's not young anymore". Again, this can happen to you when you've done 300 races.

"Inside the auto, you mustn't forget that these judgments are hard to make".

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes F1 news Azerbaijan GP
GETTYHamilton is yet to win a race this year

"But you have to ultimately have these things in mind and make sure you don't crash", he added. Obviously we are both lucky.

And while Ferrari will have been more than happy to feed off their rivals' misfortune, with wins for Vettel in the two opening rounds, their qualifying performance in Shanghai put daylight between the teams.

"I was a bit beaten up, but knew that if I could get a tidy lap and have a little bit of margin, I can push it".

"I tried to brake late in the corner, and locked the rears a bit and hit him". I had no intention to resist because it was clear with Daniel [Ricciardo] as well that there was no point doing so as they were just too fast on the fresh tyres.

The eventual victory for Daniel Ricciardo means, for the first time since the introduction of the V6 hybrid engines in 2014, Mercedes have now gone three races without a win with the 33-year-old having not stepped on the podium since finishing second in Australia.

Despite another high-profile collision, Verstappen maintains he does not need to change his approach. "That probably would have been the best idea but unfortunately that happened".

"It's easy to comment just at the moment. I think we have all been in that position and that situation so I think as drivers we can talk about this stuff". "I just need to analyse everything and come back stronger for the next race".

"Today was a really bad day for Max".

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