Lewis Hamilton expects to come under attack from Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso in the opening stages of the Chinese Grand Prix.
Hamilton shares the front row of the grid with Raikkonen and Alonso lined up behind them.
“I think the two closest guys are going to be the biggest challenge,” said Hamilton after taking pole position for Mercedes.
“The Ferrari’s massively quick on the first lap and so’s Kimi. And Kimi is particularly very strong looking after the [soft] tyre. So it’s going to be very hard to keep them behind.
“And then after that I thin once we get on the [medium] tyre I think we’re in a good position. So it’s just how much ground we can maintain or try not to lose in the first stint.”
Hamilton said he was expecting a stronger challenge from Ferrari in qualifying: “The Ferraris were really quick in P3. I thought they probably had a little bit less fuel than us in P3 so that was why they were so quick. Because I thought our car was looking pretty good so there was quite a big gap there.”
Hamilton said it was a “massive buzz” to score his first pole position for Mercedes.
“As I came round and I got told that I got pole – they told me one my one, Fernando came across the line, Felipe and so on – and they told me I was pole I just had to make sure the radio was off because I was so excited it was such a great feeling.”
“[In] Q1 and Q2 the car was looking great,” he added. “And It’s always such a mental challenge I don’t think anyone can probably comprehend just how much of a challenge it is to go out and do that one lap perfect. It’s right at the end of qualifying. Q2 and Q2, that’s easy But Q3, there’s so much pressure but it’s just fantastic when you do pull it out.”
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Image © Mercedes/Hoch Zwei