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Chinese GP: Lewis Hamilton continues Mercedes' pole run in damp

Lewis Hamilton takes Chinese GP pole 2014

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton claimed his third pole position of the 2014 Formula 1 season by setting the pace in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.

With qualifying held in wet conditions, initially with most running on wets before the intermediates became the tyre of choice, Hamilton went fastest on his first run in Q3 then improved by almost half a second on his second run to consolidate his position.

It is the 34th pole position of Hamilton's F1 career, meaning he has broken Jim Clark's British record, with only Michael Schumacher (68), Ayrton Senna (65) and Sebastian Vettel (45) still ahead of him overall.

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Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo will start second, setting a time six tenths slower than Hamilton on his final attempt.

This means he outqualifies team-mate Sebastian Vettel for the third time this season, with Vettel third ahead of the second Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.

Rosberg had looked set to take provisional pole away from Hamilton on his second run, but he carried too much speed into the hairpin, running wide and preventing him from improving.

A spin at the final corner on his final attempt ensured that Rosberg could do no better than fourth.

Full driver quotes and weekend data on FORIX

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was fifth fastest having never threatened the top positions during qualifying, with Williams pairing Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas closely matched in sixth and seventh.

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg qualified eighth, ahead of Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne.

Romain Grosjean put a Lotus into Q3 for the first time since 2013, ending up slowest in the top 10 shootout.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren driver Jenson Button were the big-name casualties during Q2.

Both were unable to set a good enough pace on their second set of intermediates to break into the top 10 after being bumped out of it by well-timed improvements by Vergne, Massa, Hulkenberg.

Button, who complained of a lack of front tyre temperature, and Raikkonen both lapped quickly enough in the first two sectors to make Q3 on their final laps, but worsening conditions in the final sector made it impossible to improve overall.

Chinese GP weekend gallery

Sergio Perez, Force India, Chinese GP, Shanghai 2014

Daniil Kvyat was 13th ahead of Adrian Sutil, Kevin Magnussen and Sergio Perez.

Esteban Gutierrez was the fastest of those to fall in Q1.

He had looked set to seal a place in the second stage of qualifying with a late run on intermediates before a very poor final sector, including a wide moment at the final corner, ruined his attempt.

Caterham's Kamui Kobayashi beat Jules Bianchi to 18th, with team-mate Marcus Ericsson outpacing the second Marussia of Max Chilton.

Pastor Maldonado was classified 22nd as he was unable to participate thanks to an engine problem that forced him to stop on track during morning practice.

Pos  Driver             Team/Car              Time       Gap
 1.  Lewis Hamilton     Mercedes              1m53.860s
 2.  Daniel Ricciardo   Red Bull-Renault      1m54.455s  +0.595s
 3.  Sebastian Vettel   Red Bull-Renault      1m54.960s  +1.100s
 4.  Nico Rosberg       Mercedes              1m55.143s  +1.283s
 5.  Fernando Alonso    Ferrari               1m55.637s  +1.777s
 6.  Felipe Massa       Williams-Mercedes     1m56.147s  +2.287s
 7.  Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes     1m56.282s  +2.422s
 8.  Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes  1m56.366s  +2.506s
 9.  Jean-Eric Vergne   Toro Rosso-Renault    1m56.773s  +2.913s
10.  Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Renault         1m57.079s  +3.219s
                        Q3 cut-off time:      1m56.847s
11.  Kimi Raikkonen     Ferrari               1m56.860s  +2.831s*
12.  Jenson Button      McLaren-Mercedes      1m56.963s  +2.934s*
13.  Daniil Kvyat       Toro Rosso-Renault    1m57.289s  +3.260s*
14.  Adrian Sutil       Sauber-Ferrari        1m57.393s  +3.364s*
15.  Kevin Magnussen    McLaren-Mercedes      1m57.675s  +3.646s*
16.  Sergio Perez       Force India-Mercedes  1m58.264s  +4.235s*
                        Q2 cut-off time:      1m58.411s
17.  Esteban Gutierrez  Sauber-Ferrari        1m58.988s  +3.472s**
18.  Kamui Kobayashi    Caterham-Renault      1m59.260s  +3.744s**
19.  Jules Bianchi      Marussia-Ferrari      1m59.326s  +3.810s**
20.  Marcus Ericsson    Caterham-Renault      2m00.646s  +5.130s**
21.  Max Chilton        Marussia-Ferrari      2m00.865s  +5.349s**
22.  Pastor Maldonado   Lotus-Renault

107 per cent time: 2m03.602s

* Gap to 1st in Q2
** Gap to 1st in Q1
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