Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

Ferrari stun rivals with qualifying speed at the Chinese Grand Prix

Ferrari stun rivals with qualifying speed at the Chinese Grand Prix

After years of qualifying inadequacies and under-performing on a Saturday, the Scuderia have finally made a vehicle that can beat the Mercs. Verstappen was slapped with a 10-second time penalty which eventually demoted him to fifth, while the incident saw Vettel drop to eighth by the chequered flag.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo won an incident-strewn race in Shanghai with a masterclass in overtaking, with Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas second and Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari third.

Raikkonen, 38, who was last on pole in Monaco a year ago, lost out by just 0.087s, with Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas a staggering half a second off the pace in third as the reigning world champions struggled to get the ultrasoft tyre to work.

The Italian glamour team last won in China in 2013. But Bottas is already hinting that rival Ferrari is the team to beat.

The big surprise of qualifying was how far off the Ferraris the defending constructors' champions Mercedes AMG F1 were.

"We were overheating the tyres", he said.

Ferrari stun rivals with qualifying speed at the Chinese Grand Prix
Ferrari stun rivals with qualifying speed at the Chinese Grand Prix

"It is disappointing. We were giving everything we had and it kind of felt like we deserved victory... but not today". Bottas, in fact, suggested it might be too much to make up on Sunday.

"And if underneath you have a auto that's not performing as expected, and tyres that are not doing what you think they should do, and then the strategy goes against you". You can see in long corners they make some good gains to us.

Hamilton also seemed to accept the Ferrari dominance.

But pushed on whether he needed to turn the aggression down, Verstappen said: "It is easy to comment". We were quicker in the last race (in Bahrain) but they (Ferrari) were able to hold on. But in a repeat of the dramatic conclusion to qualifying in Bahrain a week ago, Vettel produced a stellar last-gasp effort to claim pole by less than a tenth of a second. While Raikkonen was leading the charge, Vettel was a good 0.750s quicker than the Bottas' Mercedes. "I think if we do our homework, if we get the auto balance right and we get everything together, then it should be a good weekend - I don't see why not".

Raikkonen appeared on course to start from pole only for Vettel to finish just eight hundredths of a second clear following a dramatic late lap.

'Yesterday and today have been a disaster on my side so I have got to try and rectify that and get myself back into normal performance mode, otherwise more valuable points will be lost'. You look at China, and there is a huge market. He said, "He has done enough races". But I think that the forecast is for quite some different temperatures, some 20º C hotter track temperature.

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