Sebastian Vettel on pole for Chinese Grand Prix

Hamilton was quickest today before a race where he has high hopes of achieving his first victory of the season

Hamilton was quickest today before a race where he has high hopes of achieving his first victory of the season

Formula 1 points leader Sebastian Vettel and teammate Kimi Raikkonen swept the front row in qualifying for Sunday's F1 Chinese Grand PrixDefending champion Lewis Hamilton, who has won three of the.

"Thank you guys, great qualifying, great auto", said Vettel, who also started from pole in Bahrain last weekend, over the team radio.

But the Briton, like Vettel a four-times champion, has won in Shanghai an unprecedented five times and is determined to claw back at least some of that deficit on Sunday. I was beating myself up but I knew if I had a better lap I could do it'. "I think we can still improve".

"We've got the team, we have the abilities and capabilities, it's just about putting our minds to it and pulling together", the Mercedes driver said. "It has been a good day", said Hamilton.

Vettel has a 17-point lead over his main rival, the Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, after the opening two races of the season. Again, this can happen to you when you've done 300 races. "The pace just wasn't there".

Bottas admitted Mercedes simply could not find the grip Ferrari did, and the silver cars appeared to be struggling to generate the correct tyre temperatures in the cool conditions in Shanghai.

MercedesAMG' Valtteri Bottas lines up in 3rd.

"They've [Ferrari] been really strong all day", said Wolff to Sky Sports.

Bottas edged his teammate, but both make up the second row, while Red Bull do the same in the third as Australian Daniel Ricciardo recovered from a blown engine in Free Practice 3 to snag sixth spot.

The two Renaults of Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr were in seventh and ninth respectively, with the Force India of Sergio Pérez in eighth and Romain Grosjean's Haas in 10th. The McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne were in 13th and 14th, with Brendon Hartley's Toro Rosso in 15th. But he was edged out by Vettel as the German took pole by less than a tenth of a second.

'They [Ferrari] are rapid at the moment, that is a challenge but we will give it everything we've got'.

While 19 of the cars prepared to leave the garage at the beginning of Q1, Red Bull Racing mechanics were busy rebuilding Daniel Ricciardo's vehicle after he suffered a power unit failure a little over two hours earlier in free practice three.

Kevin Magnussen's Haas was sixth quickest, about where the team is now expected to be after a strong start to the season, but the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were seventh and eighth just a day after technical director Andrew Green explained that the auto had a fundamental imbalance issue.

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