x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Lewis Hamilton proves doubters wrong with pole for Mercedes at Chinese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton takes pole for Chinese Grand Prix ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso. Mark Webber will start at the back of the grid for Red Bull.

Lewis Hamilton was silver arrow quick in his Mercedes to grab the pole for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai.
Lewis Hamilton was silver arrow quick in his Mercedes to grab the pole for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai.

SHANGHAI // Lewis Hamilton’s first pole position for Mercedes at the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday allowed the 2008 Formula One world champion to relive old memories and prove the critics wrong once again.

The 27 year old could scarcely of dreamed of such a turnaround after agreeing to join the team last year at a time when their car was considerably off the pace being set by McLaren – with whom he ended last season on pole in Brazil.

Yet, in only his third race as a Mercedes driver, he swept to a 27th career pole with every expectation of a second podium finish of the year after taking third place in Malaysia last month.

It was, he said, up there with his first in 2007.

“Every pole is special in its own way. I feel very privileged to just even have one, let alone the amount that I have,” Hamilton said. “Being in a new team, and where we are today, it does feel like it is the first and hopefully the first of many.

“I’m pleased I have this feeling, the excitement that I have when I’m at the top. I’ve been racing for so long, so many years, and I’ve had the feeling quite a few times. But it’s great to still have that energy and buzz when it does come together.”

The Briton arrived in Shanghai feeling under the weather, suffering from an allergy that forced him to cancel all media engagements on Thursday.

Hamilton had also been struggling to get comfortable in the car, still adjusting to the setup and different ways of doing things.

His teammate, Nico Rosberg, winner for Mercedes last year in China, led the timesheets in first free practice on Friday and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was fastest overall on the day.

“Coming here we never expected to be as high as we are, I definitely didn’t expect it,” said Hamilton. “So it’s a real pleasure and a bonus for us to have such a position but it’s still all to play for tomorrow. We’ve still a lot of work to do with the car but the guys are on it, I can tell, which is a real positive feeling.”

Asked how much satisfaction he derived from showing up the critics who said he was a fool to leave McLaren, Hamilton smiled.

“You can’t really answer it in one result but definitely, bit by bit, the more and more we impress and improve they have to stand to be corrected,” he replied.

“Today is such a blessing to be here because it was such a big change for me and a big step for me. I think I made the right choice.”

 

MORE TROUBLE FOR WEBBER

As bad as things seemed for Mark Webber at the Malaysian Grand Prix, they took a sharp turn for the worse at Shanghai yesterday.

The Red Bull driver will start at the back of the grid in Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix after running out of fuel in qualifying.

A “fuel bowser problem” for failing to put enough in the tank for Webber to complete a timed lap in qualifying and make it back to the pits.

F1 rules dictate that any car stopping on track during qualifying must have at least a litre of fuel in its tank to provide a sample for stewards, but Webber’s had only 150 millilitres.

That meant he was banished to last on the starting grid.

 

Chinese GP qualifying results

1 Hamilton, Mercedes 1m 34.484s

2 Raikkonen, Lotus 1.34.761

3 Alonso, Ferrari 1.34.788

4 Rosberg, Mercedes 1.34.681

5 Massa, Ferrari 1.34.933

6 Grosjean, Lotus 1.35.364

7 Ricciardo, Toro Rosso 1.35.998

8 Button, McLaren 2.05.673

9 Vettel, Red Bull no time

10 Hulkenberg, Sauber no time

Top 10 qualifiers must start on the tyres they qualified on

11 Di Resta, Force India 1.36.287

12 Perez, McLaren 1.36.314

13 Sutil, Force India 1.36.405

14 Webber, Red Bull-x 1.36.679

15 Maldonado, Williams 1.37.139

16 Vergne, Toro Rosso 1.37.199

17 Bottas, Williams 1.37.769

18 Gutierrez, Sauber 1.37.990

19 Bianchi, Marussia 1.38.780

20 Chilton, Marussia 1.39.537

21 Pic, Caterham 1.39.614

22 V’ der Garde, Caterham 1.39.932


x-Will start from the back of the grid due to fuel irregularity during qualifying

 

Drivers’ championship

Sebastian Vettel, Germany 40 pts

Kimi Raikkonen, Finland 31

Mark Webber, Australia 26

Lewis Hamilton, Great Britain 25

Felipe Massa, Brazil 22

Fernando Alonso, Spain 18

Nico Rosberg, Germany 12

Romain Grosjean, France 9

Adrian Sutil, Germany 6

Paul di Resta, Great Britain 4

Nico Hulkenberg, Germany 4

Jenson Button, Great Britain 2

Sergio Perez, Mexico 2

Jean-Eric Vergne, France 1

Jules Bianchi, France 0

Charles Pic, France 0

Max Chilton, Great Britain 0

Giedo van der Garde, Holland 0

Daniel Ricciardo, Australia 0

Esteban Gutierrez, Mexico 0

Pastor Maldonado, Venezuela 0

Valtteri Bottas, Finland 0

 

Constructors’ championship

Red Bull Racing 66 pts

Lotus-Renault 40

Ferrari 40

Mercedes-GP 37

Force India-Mercedes 10

McLaren-Mercedes 4

Sauber-Ferrari 4

Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1

 

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