Wet qualifying brought out the best in the Mercedes.
Mercedes driver, Lewis Hamilton finished the best of the rest, as qualifying came to a close today for tomorrow’s FIA Formula One 2014 Chinese Grand Prix. The 2008 World Champion picked up his third pole position of the season, despite having to battle against the soggy weather conditions facing the Shanghai International circuit today and his closest rivals on the track.
Hamilton will be accompanied by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo on the front row of the grid to start the race. The Australian driver qualified in second place ahead of his team mate, Sebastian Vettel who completed the top three line up at the end of Q3.
Hamilton’s team mate, Nico Rosberg had an unfortunate spin on his final flying lap which led him to slip down the grid slightly. The German driver will line up in fourth place alongside Vettel.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso made a step in the right direction, following the team’s steady progress in the first three race weekends of the season. Alonso qualified in fifth place today and beat his team mate, Kimi Raikkonen into a top 10 spot in the process.
Williams’ driver, Felipe Massa made a last minute improvement as Q3 was coming to an end and the Brazilian driver completed the session in sixth place for tomorrow’s grid. Massa also managed to pip his team mate, Valtteri Bottas to a higher grid slot and the Finnish driver had to settle for seventh place to start the race.
Bottas will be joined by Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg on the fourth row of the grid ahead of the race, as the German driver also made it through to Q3 and qualified in eighth place.
Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne was another of the midfield drivers who showed good form in qualifying even with the poor weather conditions. The Frenchman secured a place in Q3 and finished the all-important shootout in ninth position.
Lotus Renault’s Romain Grosjean completed Q3 in the 10th and final possible point scoring position for the race tomorrow. The Frenchman was the sole driver flying the flag for the team, as his team mate, Pastor Maldonado failed to participate in qualifying due to an engine oil leak on his car. Maldonado’s unfortunate situation means that the stewards will decide whether or not he can take part in the race. The Venezuelan driver also has the five place grid penalty hanging over him, following his incident at the Bahrain Grand Prix with Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez.
Beyond the top 10, the rest of the field sadly failed to make the grade for a place in the Q3 session. Raikkonen will be joined by the likes of the McLaren duo of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen, who had a disappointing end to their qualifying session as well and bowed out at the end of Q2. Raikkonen, Button and Magnussen will line up among some of the remaining usual midfield drivers and those towards the back of the pack who complete the grid.
When the Chinese Grand Prix gets underway tomorrow, Hamilton will once again be leading from the front for the third time this season. The Englishman has the prospect of achieving a hat trick of race victories so far this season, but it remains to be seen whether he will convert his pole position to take the top step of the podium as the winner. Hamilton will have the likes of Ricciardo, Vettel and Rosberg to contend with, who will also have their sights set on a possible podium finish or even the race victory as the ultimate prize.