Mercedes duo Bottas and Hamilton once again took the first two podium positions during the qualifying at the Chinese Grand Prix qualifying.

Ferrari were out-paced by Mercedes with Sebastian Vettel coming in third just behind the first two. The other Ferrari driver went in fourth behind the German.

Valtteri Bottas was the quickest overall driver for Mercedes throughout the whole weekend in Shanghai even though it was a very close one with British driver Lewis Hamilton, coming in just 0.023 seconds behind.

Bottas said: “It has been a good weekend so far. I felt really comfortable in practice this morning. In qualifying, I struggled a bit in Q3 to get the perfect lap in but it was good enough.

“The car has been really good all weekend and Lewis managed to improve a lot during qualifying and it was super close.”

Mercedes teammate and world champion Lewis Hamilton added: “I kept pushing right to the end. Big congratulations to Valtteri. He has been stellar all weekend. I have been struggling and chipping away at it. The gap was 0.8secs at one stage so to be as close as we were is a good job and an incredible result for the team.”

Vettel finished in third with 0.301 secs off the pace and just 0.017 secs quicker than teammate Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc.

Vettel admitted that Ferrari did not quite have the pace to challenge Mercedes on one lap but was optimistic he could challenge in the race.

“Right from Q1 they seemed to start off from a better place,” Vettel said. “We had a good session. I think there was maybe a little bit more but not enough to beat these guys today.

“When we get close we have an advantage in a straight line, and maybe we can do something there. The race is long and it should be a good day tomorrow.”

Behind them where Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly who finished the qualifying session in fifth and sixth place respectively.

Red Bull were close to splitting the two Ferrari drivers with Verstappen who had a chance to give problems to the Italian racing team but a misjudgement meant neither car made it around to start the final laps before the chequered flag fell.

Bottas was under severe pressure when it came to the third qualifying session with Hamilton finishing the session just 0.007 seconds behind the Finnish driver.

This will be Bottas’ first pole of 2019. Leclerc was once more impressive for Ferrari even though he was not able to get ahead of Sebastian Vettel for the second weekend in a row.

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto has said that Vettel will have priority in “50-50 situations” but has said the two will be allowed to race.

For Red Bull, neither of the two drivers were able to complete the second lap in final qualifying with drivers Verstappen and Gasly both not able to overtake any of the Ferrari drivers which was seen as a lost opportunity.

In seventh and eight places where Renault duo Ricciardo and Hulkenberg by just 0.004 seconds.

It was a bad day for McLaren in Shanghai with the two drivers Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris only managing to make it to 14th and 15th place respectively, which is surely a step down given their very positive start to the season.

British novice George Russell beat Williams team-mate Robert Kubica for the third race in a row and for the first time this season the two Williams cars will not start the race from the back row.


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