Bridgestone Motorsport's Saturday Update Lewis Hamilton has put his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes on pole position, using Bridgestone's medium compound tyre to set a time of 1min 36.303secs at the Shanghai International Circuit for the Chinese Grand...
Bridgestone Motorsport's Saturday Update
Lewis Hamilton has put his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes on pole position, using Bridgestone's medium compound tyre to set a time of 1min 36.303secs at the Shanghai International Circuit for the Chinese Grand Prix.
Hamilton will start tomorrow's race from the head of the field and has the opportunity to clinch his first drivers' championship title if the cards fall in his favour over the 56 laps of the race. Hamilton's lap was over three tenths quicker than second fastest driver, Kimi Raikkonen (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro). Raikkonen's team-mate, Felipe Massa, set the third fastest time and will be joined on the second row by Fernando Alonso (ING Renault F1 Team).
Heikki Kovalainen (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) and Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber F1 Team) will start from fifth and sixth position. Sebastian Vettel (Scuderia Toro Rosso) will start from seventh, with Panasonic Toyota Racing driver Jarno Trulli alongside. Sebastien Bourdais (Scuderia Toro Rosso) will start from ninth place, whilst Nelson Piquet (ING Renault F1 Team) will be tenth on the grid.
Mark Webber set the sixth fastest time in qualifying today, however his Red Bull Racing team had earlier changed his engine, earning a ten place penalty on the grid, meaning that Webber will start tomorrow's race from sixteenth place on the grid.
In the morning practice session Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber F1 Team) topped the times with a 1min 36.061secs lap, set on the medium tyre. Times were very close in this session with a second covering the top seventeen drivers. Hamilton was second quickest in this session and Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber F1 Team) set the third fastest time. Today's fastest lap time, a 1min 34.947secs, was set by Hamilton using the medium tyre in Q2.
Hirohide Hamashima - Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development, said:
"The track conditions were a bit confusing this morning and many drivers complained of a lack of grip. However, this afternoon in qualifying the situation was much better and the track continued to improve through the sessions. The medium compound provided better grip and allowed a faster lap time, even in Q3 when the cars were heavier and we might have expected the hard compound to be the preferred tyre. From the data we have seen today, tomorrow's strategy decisions will be very interesting."
Stats of the Day
Total amount of laps completed by all drivers: 645 laps
Average number of laps per driver: 32 laps
Most laps by a driver: 41 - Trulli
Fastest lap: 1min 34.947secs - (Q2)
Compounds used: Hard / Medium
Chinese Grand Prix in 2007
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver Kimi Raikkonen won last year's Chinese Grand Prix after using a two-stop strategy, wet-wet-medium dry, in an exciting and predominantly wet race. Fernando Alonso (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) finished second, 9.8 seconds behind. Felipe Massa (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) was third.