etvfutures.com
etvfutures.com April 25, 2018


Chinese GP: Sebastian Vettel praises 'unbelieveable' Ferrari pace

15 April 2018, 04:34 | Opal Carroll

Credit Red Bull Content Pool

Credit Red Bull Content Pool

Sebastian Vettel's blistering start to the Formula One season continued as he sealed pole and set a new lap record of 1 minute 31.095 seconds in qualifying for Sunday's race.

Raikkonen had put in a fine run to top the time sheets on his first hot run in Q3, over a tenth up on Vettel, with Hamilton a further four-tenths down in fourth. The Brackley-based team have been dominant at the Shanghai International Circuit in recent years and it is one of Hamilton's favorite tracks with the Briton having won on five occasions in the past.

"Now we need to work hard to understand why we have been struggling and start the climb back to the front of the field". Maybe a little bit in terms of getting the tyres absolutely ideal for the lap but it's not half a second. "It just kept getting better".

"I think the first three races have been a bit different", said Vettel.

Hamilton was leading in Australia before a computer glitch for Mercedes and a fortunate virtual safety vehicle handed the race on a platter to Vettel, while in Bahrain the Italian team were clearly superior as the Mercedes struggled with the high temperatures on the desert circuit. But again this can happen to you also if you've done 300 races. "The pace just wasn't there".

The Mercedes drivers had contrasting Saturdays in Melbourne, with Lewis Hamilton sealing a sublime pole while Valtteri Bottas span into the barriers in Q3.

With race tyres in mind, a split in strategy looked as if it was emerging as Ferrari came back for the final flying lap in Q2 with Raikkonen and Vettel swapping to the ultrasofts.

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"They have a really strong auto", he said.

However, whilst Hamilton will be hoping that both his and Mercedes fortunes improve going forward, Max Verstappen and Red Bull might just settle for a weekend where he makes headlines for the right reasons.

Nico Hulkenberg secured his sixth successive P7 spot, with Sergio Perez placing his vehicle between the two Renaults in P8. The team were slowest of all in Bahrain a week ago, but the Russian rookie was 10th quickest, splitting the Renaults of Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg.

Kevin Magnussen was seventh for the USA -owned Haas team ahead of the other Renault of Spaniard Carlos Sainz.

The two Red Bulls were both armed with fresh tyres, Verstappen's advantage such that he was still rapidly closing on Vettel despite his earlier off-track moment.

"But it was definitely out of reach today, there was nothing in the lap that we could have gained that much".



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