Hamilton grabs crucial pole in China

Lewis Hamilton boosted his world championship prospects by grabbing pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix, two places ahead of his title rival Felipe Massa

Hamilton grabs crucial pole in China

Kimi Raikkonen will join Hamilton on the front row, while long-shot title contender Robert Kubica's championship hopes now look all but over, as the BMW driver had his worst qualifying session of the season and ended up 12th.

McLaren driver Hamilton had a poor first flying lap in Q3, going only fifth fastest after a mistake in the middle sector.

But he fought back strongly to beat Raikkonen's Ferrari to pole by 0.342 seconds.

Massa was ahead of Hamilton after the first Q3 runs but didn't make such a large improvement and will start third, half a second slower than the McLaren on pole.

Fernando Alonso took fourth for Renault, with Heikki Kovalainen a disappointing fifth in the second McLaren. The Finn had held provisional pole early in Q3, but barely improved on his second run and fell four places.

Red Bull's Mark Webber took sixth, but will lose that place thanks to an engine change penalty, which will elevate Nick Heidfeld into the top six for BMW.

Both Toro Rossos made the top ten again, and took eighth and 10th places in Q3 - Sebastian Vettel 1.2 seconds than teammate Sebastien Bourdais. Toyota's Jarno Trulli will split them.

Although Kubica had been unhappy with his car in Friday practice, things looked more promising when he took a close third place this morning. He slumped back to 12th in qualifying however, and although he will gain one position when Webber receives his engine change penalty, that will be little consolation for Kubica, who has only been eliminated in Q2 twice before in his Formula One career.

Renault's Nelson Piquet and Toyota's Timo Glock failed to emulate their respective teammates' progression to Q3, taking 11th and 13th places prior to Webber's penalty.

For the first time since Canada, Rubens Barrichello made it through to Q2 and took 14th place ahead of Nico Rosberg (Williams), but his Honda teammate Jenson Button had a less happy time. The Briton will start 18th behind Williams' Kazuki Nakajima, and ahead of only the evenly-matched Force Indias.

Red Bull Racing had a frustrating afternoon. With Webber receiving an engine change penalty after his morning practice failure, the team's hopes depended on David Coulthard, but the Scot was only 16th in Q1 after encountering Heidfeld while on a fast lap.

Webber made it through to Q3 but will fall from sixth in qualifying to 16th on the final grid due to his penalty.

 Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3  1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:35.566 1:34.947 1:36.303 2. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:35.983 1:35.355 1:36.645 3. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:35.971 1:35.135 1:36.889 4. Alonso Renault (B) 1:35.769 1:35.461 1:36.927 5. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:35.623 1:35.216 1:36.930 6. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:36.238 1:35.686 1:37.083 7. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) 1:36.224 1:35.403 1:37.201 8. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:35.752 1:35.386 1:37.685 9. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:36.104 1:35.715 1:37.934 10. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:36.239 1:35.478 1:38.885 11. Piquet Renault (B) 1:36.029 1:35.722 12. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) 1:36.503 1:35.814 13. Glock Toyota (B) 1:36.210 1:35.937 14. Barrichello Honda (B) 1:36.640 1:36.079 15. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:36.434 1:36.210 16. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:36.731 17. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:36.863 18. Button Honda (B) 1:37.053 19. Sutil Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:37.730 20. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari (B) 1:37.739 
shares
comments
Toyota first to announce '09 launch date

Previous article

Toyota first to announce '09 launch date

Next article

Hamilton hails near-perfect lap

Hamilton hails near-perfect lap
Load comments
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Plus

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says MARK GALLAGHER, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021
The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat Plus

The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt Plus

The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model? Plus

Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model?

Formula 1 provided its clearest example yet of what the 2022 cars are set to look like when it presented a full-scale concept to the world during the build-up to last weekend’s British Grand Prix. Underneath the special shiny livery was a design that hinted at the future, but teams will be digging into key areas that may reap differing results

Formula 1
Jul 20, 2021