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Chinese Grand Prix Qualifying: Nico Rosberg on pole, problem puts Lewis Hamilton last

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Chinese Grand Prix Qualifying: Nico Rosberg on pole, problem puts Lewis Hamilton last
Apr 16, 2016, 9:38 AM

Nico Rosberg claimed his first pole position of 2016 as he beat Daniel Ricciardo to the top spot in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Nico Rosberg claimed his first pole position of 2016 as he beat Daniel Ricciardo to the top spot in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton will start last in the other Mercedes after a power unit problem prevented him from setting a time in Q1.

Lewis Hamilton

Rosberg, who was behind Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen after the first run in Q3, improved with his second flying lap in the final segment of qualifying and secured pole with a 1m35.402s.

The German driver managed to get through to Q3 by using the soft tyres in Q2, which is the set of tyres he will therefore start the race on tomorrow.

Speaking after the session, Rosberg said: “I’m pleased of course, the whole weekend has gone well and the car was handling well today in qualifying to get the lap done and put it on pole.

“I’m happy about that, not ecstatic, because Lewis had bad luck and his car broke down so the fight didn’t happen. Anyway, I’m pleased.”

Chinese Grand Prix top three

Ricciardo finished second, just over 0.5s behind Rosberg, in a surprise result for Red Bull, which condemned the Ferrari drivers to the second row of the grid on a day when they had been expected to challenge Mercedes for pole.

Raikkonen will start third as he could not improve his Q3 time on his final run in qualifying as the Finn went too deep into the hairpin at Turn 14. His teammate Sebastian Vettel made a similar mistake on his only Q3 run and could only manage P4.

Sebastian Vettel

Valtteri Bottas ended up fifth for Williams, just ahead of the second Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat and Force India’s Sergio Perez.

Carlos Sainz beat his Toro Rosso teammate Max Verstappen to eighth place, which is the first time the Spaniard has qualified ahead in that inter-team battle so far in 2016.

Nico Hulkenberg got through to Q3 but he did not take part in the final part of qualifying as he brought out the red flags with 1m17s remaining in Q2. The German’s left-front wheel came loose as he drove slowly through Turn 10 before escaping as he moved onto the following straight.

Nico Hulkenberg

The Force India driver pulled off to the side of the circuit and ended Q2 early as the five drivers behind him did not have enough time to get back out again and start another lap.

Felipe Massa therefore finished 11th in the second Williams, just ahead of the two McLaren’s of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Alonso was audibly frustrated over the team radio at being denied the chance to improve his time by the red flag.

Romain Grosjean qualified 14th for Haas F1 with the Sauber pair of Marcus Ericsson, who squeaked into Q2 with the last lap of Q1, and Felipe Nasr just behind him. It was the first time the Swiss team had managed to get its drivers into Q2 in 2016.

Kevin Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen qualified 17th in the lead Renault as he was knocked out in Q1 by Ericsson’s last minute improvement, and the Dane ended up just ahead of Esteban Gutierrez.

Jolyon Palmer had an off-track moment at Turn 14 towards the end of Q1 and although he had time to complete another run he finished the session in 19th, with Rio Haryanto 20th for Manor.

Haryanto’s teammate Pascal Werhlein did not post a time as he spun off and hit the wall on the pit straight just a few minutes into Q1.

Pascal Wehrlein

With patches of the pit straight still wet from this morning’s rain in Shanghai, the German driver hit a damp bump going downhill on the pit straight shortly after he had opened his Manor’s DRS and he speared into outside wall. He pulled off the track before Turn 1, which brought out the red flag.

There was then a 20-minute delay after Wehrlein’s crash as the marshals attempted to sweep away the standing water that remained across the pit straight under the main grandstand.

Hamilton had been the first driver to emerge in Q1 but he immediately reported and engine problem.

Mercedes attempted to fix the issue during the red flag interruption and although the British driver did go out again towards the end of Q1 he came straight back into the pits, reportedly with an ERS problem.

Lewis Hamilton

The world champion will start last as he already had a five-place grid penalty for taking a new gearbox ahead of the Shanghai event. It is likely Mercedes will opt to start Hamilton from the pitlane as in that scenario the team can change his set-up to aid overtaking during the race tomorrow.

Qualifying results:

1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m35.402s

2 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m35.917s +0.515s

3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m35.972s +0.570s

4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m36.246s +0.844s

5 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m36.296s +0.894s

6 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1m36.399s +0.997s

7 Sergio Perez Force India 1m36.865s +1.463s

8 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1m36.881s +1.479s

9 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1m37.194s +1.792s

10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India No time set in Q3

11 Felipe Massa Williams 1m37.347s (Q2)

12 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1m38.826s (Q2)

13 Jenson Button McLaren 1m39.093s (Q2)

14 Romain Grosjean Haas 1m39.830s (Q2)

15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1m40.742s (Q2)

16 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1m42.430s (Q2)

17 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m38.673s (Q1)

18 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1m38.770s (Q1)

19 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m39.528s (Q1)

20 Rio Haryanto Manor 1m40.264s (Q1)

21 Pascal Wehrlein Manor No time set in Q1

22 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes No time set in Q1

What did you make of qualifying? Are you expecting an exciting Chinese Grand Prix tomorrow? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.
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