Lewis Hamilton reveals the real reason he struggled in Chinese Grand Prix

  • Lewis Hamilton reveals the real reason he struggled in Chinese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton reveals the real reason he struggled in Chinese Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel claimed pole for the Chinese Grand Prix, completing an all-Ferrari front row with his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in second.

The 30-year-old turned up the heat at a cold Shanghai International Circuit with a scorching lap of one minute, 33.018 seconds which put him a 0.451 seconds clear of Raikkonen.

Despite going for his fifth Chinese GP pole position, the British racer qualified a disappointing fourth in Shanghai on Saturday.

Verstappen was pushing through the field after Red Bull had pitted both its drivers for fresh soft tyres during a mid-race safety auto, a strategy that his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo converted to victory.

That meant Verstappen, who had the advantage of fresher tyres, dropped from fourth to fifth in a race he could have won and that went instead to Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo.

However, when the race-pace of Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes was compared this weekend, the difference in time was insignificant, with all signs showing that it will be another extremely competitive race.

Vettel said he was not planning to defend his position hard, adding: "I didn't see him until very late". I don't think so.

"We got through all the laps that we needed and got some good feedback about the vehicle", said Hamilton after a cold afternoon. Renault's Nico Hulkenberg and Haas's Romain Grosjean jumped both, but neither of their teammates managed to emulate their performances, securing Verstappen and Ricciardo Q3 berths.

Meanwhile, Valtteri Bottas acknowledged that Mercedes were surprised to be so far behind Ferrari. While both the W09s did pick up pace later in qualifying, they were still four and six tenths of a second off from the Ferraris.

Lewis Hamilton is out of contract with Mercedes at the end of the 2018 season. Max Verstappen drove one of the best races of his career to take third after starting in P16 on the grid, taking driver of the day. Vettel will certainly be hoping so - no driver has ever won the first three races in a championship season and gone on to lose the title... Despite a management reshuffle and an emergency debrief following a lack of pace in Bahrain, both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne once again failed to progress to the top-10 qualifying shootout, lining up 13th and 14th on the grid. I think they have a really strong vehicle.

The 2018 Chinese Grand Prix starts at 2:10pm CST on Sunday April 15 in Shanghai. In terms of speed, it is all good but somehow - I don't know why - in the races... maybe wanting a bit too much, trying to recover from what went before.