Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hamilton on Pole in Wet Sanghai F1 Qualifying

Hamilton blitzes the opposition in a wet Sanghai F1 Grand Prix qualifying

Lewis Hamilton had enough pace to be half a second ahead of second placed Daniel Ricciardo of Redbull and was 1.2s faster than his own teammate Nico Rosberg of Mercedes who qualified in P4.

Lewis Hamilton later said that his Pole position time of 01m:53.860s could have been even lower had he not made a mistake in Turn 10. With the race day on Sunday likely to be a dry race, Lewis Hamilton could have much more pace than the second and third placed RedBulls and definitely open up a huge gap with others.

Nico Rosberg - who is currently leading the drivers championship due to winning the opening race while Hamilton had an engine problem – made a mistake in Turn 14 and then a spin in the final corner and will now start behind the RedBulls of Ricciardo and Vettel. Unless he overtakes these two cars soon, challenging Lewis Hamilton would remain a pipe dream.

Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, the reigning World Champion, again qualified behind his team mate Daniel Ricciardo. The gap of half a second between them shows that this year, Ricciardo may have the better of Vettel. It is not everyday that a four time world champion gets beaten by his teammate every race. However, that is what is happening this year so far.

Fernando Alonso of Ferrari after his impressive P1 position in the first practice on Friday, qualified in P5 here. However, his teammate Kimi Raikkonen could only qualify at 11th position. The new Ferrari chief would like both these drivers further ahead in the field. Unless Ferrari goes for a drastic change in their approach, this years championship may be over for them.

The Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas scored P6 and P7. It appears that Williams car is not good in rain. However, tomorrow being a dry race, the Williams drivers may do better.

Nico Hulkenberg of Force India qualified in P8 followed by Jean-Eric Vergne of Toro Rosso.

In a major surprise, Romain Grosjean of Lotus could move into the top ten shoot out. Though it may be due to rain, however, given the perilous situation of Lotus in the previous races where it struggled to complete a race, this is indeed good news.

Jenson Button of McLaren could only come in at P12 with his teammate Kevin Magnussen at P15.

Danil Kvyat of Toro Rosso scored P13. Adrian Sutil of Sauber was P14.

Sergio Perez coming from the high of being in the podium in the previous race, could only qualify at P16. Esteban Gutierrez of Sauber was at P17.

Kamui Kobayashi of Caterham could score the 18th position followed by Jules Bianchi of Marussia in 19th, Marcus Ericsson of Caterham in 20th and Max Chilton of Marussia in 21st. Pastor Maldonado has a sensor problem from the funny crash he had during practice and couldn’t take part in the qualifying. He may race at the discretion of the Stewards.

Sanghai F1 Grand Prix Qualifying Positions

1.         Lewis Hamilton          Mercedes
2.         Daniel Ricciardo        Red Bull
3.         Sebastian Vettel        Red Bull
4.         Nico Rosberg              Mercedes
5.         Fernando Alonso       Ferrari
6.         Felipe Massa              Williams
7.         Valtteri Bottas            Williams
8.         Nico Hulkenberg       Force India
9.         Jean-Eric Vergne       Toro Rosso
10.       Romain Grosjean       Lotus
11.       Kimi Raikkonen         Ferrari
12.       Jenson Button            McLaren
13.       Danil Kvyat                Toro Rosso
14.       Adrian Sutil                Sauber
15.       Kevin Magnussen     McLaren
16.       Sergio Perez               Force India
17.       Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber
18.       Kamui Kobayashi      Caterham
19.       Jules Bianchi              Marussia
20.       Marcus Ericsson        Caterham
21.       Max Chilton               Marussia

22.       Pastor Maldonado     Lotus

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