April 19th, 2014 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Lewis Hamilton continued his dominance of qualifying in 2014 by taking pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix. It's his third pole and fourth front-row qualifying result of the season. Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel qualified second and third, followed by the second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg in fourth.
For the third time in 2014, qualifying took place in wet conditions. Friday practice was dry, but the teams did at least have a chance to do some wet running during the third practice session on Saturday morning.
When qualifying got underway, it soon became clear that the battle for pole position would include the Mercedes and Red Bull drivers. And so it proved to be. Ricciardo was able to find the speed to qualifying second, six tenths of a second off the pace of Hamilton but crucially ahead of Vettel and Rosberg.
Fernando Alonso was the only Ferrari in Q3, and he qualified fifth. The two Williams drivers followed, with Felipe Massa sixth and Valtteri Bottas seventh. With a dry race expected, the Williams duo are in a very strong position to take advantage of their Mercedes power units and make up places in Sunday's race.
Nico Hulkenberg was eighth fastest, followed by the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne. The surprise of qualifying came from Romain Grosjean, who powered his Lotus into Q3 for the first time this season. He qualified tenth.
On the other side of the Lotus garage, Pastor Maldonado did not take part in qualifying. His car was in pieces as the session got underway and that is how it stayed, the mechanics knowing they would not have enough time to prepare it for qualifying. Maldonado will start last unless he benefits from penalties for drivers further up the grid.
Kimi Raikkonen's fourth qualifying session back in a Ferrari did not go according to plan. While Alonso qualified fifth, Raikkonen was only 11th in Q2 and therefore did not proceed to Q3. Behind him was the McLaren of Jenson Button who also failed to make it through to the top ten. In fact, neither McLaren featured in Q3. Button qualified 12th with Magnussen only 15th fastest.
Daniil Kvyat qualified 13th ahead of the lead Sauber of Adrian Sutil. Sergio Perez was 16th fastest, the slowest of the drivers to make it into Q2.
Esteban Gutierrez joined the Caterhams and Marussias in being eliminated at the end of Q1. Gutierrez qualified 17th, ahead of Kamui Kobayashi, Jules Bianchi, Marcus Ericsson and Max Chilton.
The race gets underway at 15:00 local time in Shanghai on Sunday.
Full results from qualifying:
|2||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:56.641||1:55.302||1:54.455||23|
|3||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:55.926||1:54.499||1:54.960||23|
|8||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:55.913||1:56.847||1:56.366||23|
|16||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:58.362||1:58.264||17|
|DNQ||13||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus-Renault||No time||0|
|Q1 107% Time||2:03.602|