Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2017

Hamilton resists Ferrari pressure for pole

2017 Chinese Grand Prix qualifying

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Ferrari led the way during the first two phases of qualifying but Lewis Hamilton hit back to take his sixth consecutive pole position.

Q1

Ferrari easily secured their places in Q2 without needing to use the super-soft tyres in the first part of qualifying. The Mercedes drivers joined them but Hamilton wasn’t able to beat Vettel’s pace despite using the super-soft tyres. He was unable to use DRS at the end of his lap after Romain Grosjean spun in front of him.

Antonio Giovinazzi, Sauber, Shanghai International Circuit, 2017
Chinese GP qualifying in pictures
The Haas driver was one of several unexpected names in the drop zone as the final minutes ticked down. Another was Max Verstappen, who pitted with a suspected power unit software problem and was hurried back out for a final run. Unfortunately for the Red Bull driver the problem recurred and he was only able to take 19th.

Lance Stroll vaulted his Williams up to fifth place with his final run. That put Stoffel Vandoorne into the drop zone while his McLaren team mate Fernando Alonso, who said he drove his first lap “like an animal”, was comfortably quick enough to progress.

Sauber’s Antonio Giovinazzi was on course to reach Q2 as he began his final lap but lost time to his team mate through the first two sectors. At the final corner he lost the car too, thumping the barrier hard and bringing out the yellow flags.

This was a disaster for Grosjean, who was on course to improve his time and eliminate the Sauber. He backed off at the final turn and although he moved up the order it was only as far as 17th. Esteban Ocon was another driver potentially on course to reach Q2 whose final run was scuppered by Giovinazzi’s crash.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Honda1’35.023
17Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’35.223
18Jolyon PalmerRenault1’35.279
19Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’35.433
20Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’35.496

Q2

Giovinazzi’s error inadvertently secured himself a place in Q2 but his damaged Sauber was unable to take part, meaning just 14 drivers continued in qualifying. Q2 started following a brief delay while the wrecked Sauber was cleared up.

Vettel headed the times initially in Q2 but Hamilton ran him close – very close. The pair were separated by just 15 thousandths of a second after their first runs. Their team mates were within touching distance too, the trio covered by two tenths of a second.

None of them needed to do another run but the Ferrari pair chose to go out again and the reward for Kimi Raikkonen was a record-breaking lap. He lowered his time to a 1’32.181, a tenth of a second inside Michael Schumacher’s standard from 13 years ago.

Alonso briefly had his McLaren up in 11th and it seemed a shock Q3 appearance could be on the cards. But he was knocked down to 13th by improvement from his rivals late on. They included Daniil Kvyat, who beat his team mate into the final ten.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault1’34.150
12Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’34.164
13Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Honda1’34.372
14Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’35.046
15Antonio GiovinazziSauber-FerrariNo time

Q3

Raikkonen only held the record lap of Shanghai for a few minutes. With his first run in Q1, Hamilton ended Ferrari’s monopoly of the top spot with the first sub-1’32 lap of the track. A scruffy moment of oversteer indicated he had room for improvement. Raikkonen certainly did – he failed to replicate his Q2 effort at first.

Vettel got closest to Hamilton on their first runs, setting up an enticing showdown for pole position. Hamilton looked confident, however, hitting the track ahead of his nearest rivals. He immediately reeled off a 1’31.678, lowering the course record further to a mark no one else could approach.

A Mercedes one-two looked on the cards when Bottas got within 0.187s of his team mate. But Vettel replicated his Australia feat of separating the Mercedes drivers, albeit by the tiny margin of one thousandth of a second over Bottas. Raikkonen did beat his Q2 time with his second run but a 1’31.140 left him fourth again.

Ricciardo took fifth ahead of Felipe Massa, who displaced Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault with his final run by less than a tenth of a second. Team mate Stroll was seven-tenths slower and propped up the top ten table behind Perez and Kvyat.

The leaders’ assault on the track record left it almost seven-tenths of a second lower than it had been when the day began despite the time lost due to the weather conditions yesterday. With rain forecast to return tomorrow the race promises to serve up further intrigue.

Top ten in Q3

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’31.678
2Sebastian VettelFerrari1’31.864
3Valtteri BottasMercedes1’31.865
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’32.140
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’33.033
6Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’33.507
7Nico HulkenbergRenault1’33.580
8Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’33.706
9Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault1’33.719
10Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’34.220

2017 Chinese Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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128 comments on “Hamilton resists Ferrari pressure for pole”

  1. That was a close qualifying session.

    1. Nice to see the the top 4 so close, should make for an interesting race. I think a different car was fastest in each sector. Has anyone seen the speed trap numbers? I noticed the RB wasn’t in the top 10, maybe they are gambling on it being wet with higher down force. Both RB drivers are in a spot to put on a bit of a show if it is wet.

      1. Ricciardo qualified 5th, Verstappen had an engine problem that prevented him from setting a competitive Lap and will start on the back row.

        1. Red Bull should definitely pull Verstappen out of Parc Ferme and go to town on that car. Go full wet spec, start from the pitlane. He could be on for a podium if he gets lucky with timing of pit stops, potential Safety Cars, etc.

  2. Hell of a lap. Made it look easy and my poor Haas boys near the back :(

  3. People are saying the machinery is 90% of the performance. Quali sessions like these show why the other 10% is so important. Kimi is exposed once again. Even Bottas is closer to ham, in a new team, than kimi to Vettel.

    1. Please F1 Gods, get Alonso in a Merc or Ferrari ASAP!!!

      1. Fernando irrelevant for top teams.

        1. Maybe, but way better than Kimi or Valteri.

          1. +1

            ALO in either this year’s Ferrari or Merc would really make it a 3 way fight

      2. @jeffreyj Alonso is overrated IMO, in 2012 Hungary Alonso had a whopping 43 points lead (by luck and McLaren makkng fools of themselves) and he still lost it. So i say, give a youngster an chance amd forget Alonso now for once.

        1. There’s a reason Alonso is so highly rated and it’s not just his 2 WDCs. I don’t need to explain why this is the view of the whole paddock.

          There is currently a ‘bright young thing’ recognised for his qualifying pace in the other car, who so far has got no way near Alonso in the first two Quali sessions of the year.

          1. @patienceandtime
            How old were you in 2012 ?

          2. Vandoorne didn’t have the same upgrades as Alonso in Australia. Don’t know if they have the same machinery in China…

          3. @ju88sy Yeah, because two weekends on tracks he’s never driven before do weigh up against 12 years of F1 and GP racing experience of a all time great,…

          4. @tifoso1989 Mate. I’m just stating a fact that happened, if you have problems with it then debunk it. It’s that simple.

          5. @patienceandtime
            That’s why i’ve asked for your age because when you say that Alonso was leading by luck in 2012, it just shows how far you are from facts.
            The fact is that in 2012 has put in an unforgettable performance :
            -Winning races from the back with plenty of actions and breathless overtaking moves (Valencia).
            – Gave us a unique showtime in rainy conditions (pole at Silverstone & Hockenheim, win at Malaysia) and race starts.
            – Fought till last corner in the championship
            – Was voted the best driver by team principles, here at F1Fanatic and that was the whole paddock’s point of view (drivers,ex world champions,F1 journalists….)
            In a nutshell, that was one of the best ever driver performance in a Formula1 season

          6. If they give 1/4 salary of alonso he will beat him hands down. Honda is the most stupid team/manufacturer in f1 right now. They better get someone for <1mln until they are there to fight, not to get humiliated.

        2. Why do you hate Alonso so much?

          1. nelson piquet
            8th April 2017, 11:45

            he’s a deluded and biased hamilton fan, there’s no point in arguing with him

          2. @hugh11 No hate, just stating a fact. I simply don’t rate him high.

          3. The word is opinion, not fact.

        3. Matija (@matijaleader)
          8th April 2017, 13:10

          That same driver had a 47 point deficit after Silverstone in 2010, but came back to within 4 points of winning the championship

        4. Alonso is top quality and has been for years. I’m afraid the issue is with the person, for example who actually opens a museum of themselves while still an active driver? Don’t get me wrong I like Alonso these days, but he certainly comes with baggage.

          1. His museum was part of the setting up a foundation to get young people into Karting. He has one of the best circuits in the world and a Karting school with some major sponsers on board.

            “the issue is with the person” look in the mirror!

          2. Hamilton + Bieber = BFFL

            Enf of discussion.

        5. Agreed. Alonso is toxic and not worth the trouble anymore. The top teams don’t need him. If something happened to Vettel or Hamilton, you’d see a mad scramble though.

    2. @ivan-vinitskyy Yeah, yeah. I bet you didn’t say that in those qualifying sessions that made KR win the qualy head to head vs SV in 2016.

  4. I think in a track which is play ground of Mercs since 2012 and a very good track since 2010 which is their entry its commanding job from Ferrari to be this close. I should really take their hat off to be this close in a reg set which said to be doesn’t suit at all.
    Lets just hope they continue this push to give us exciting races and qualifications

  5. Interesting part started at 00:01:03 left on the clock and the outcome was, well, extremely predictable.

    They really need to bring back cumulative or one-shot qualifying.

    1. Are you really complaining about this qualifying session?

    2. Thats your opinion. The one thing in my opinion that does not need messing with is qualifying. That was very interesting and close.

    3. @dh1996 You have to be kidding me?!

    4. This qualifying session was ok, but indeed predictable. One-shot qualifying is the best format we’ve had imo. That was more tense. Any mistake would be punished.

    5. There was a Planet F1 poll on twitter asking if Ferrari or Mercedes would get the pole, so a 50/50 question. 55% chose Ferrari out of 112 voters, so this ‘predictable’ result was predicted wrong by the majority of people.

      The thing is pole should be fairly predictable because it should be awarded on merit, not some contrived attempt at a potluck raffle. It’s how close it is between these elite drivers and machines that make it interesting, but anyone who has followed the sport and knows drivers and teams form should have a good idea what the result will be.

      No one could have predicted how close Bottas and Vettel would be, and as predictable as a Hamilton pole was for those who follow the sport, that lap was still something to behold.

    6. I kind of agree with Oli (@dh1996). This qualying format has been fairly predicable for years now. This year it will be like this all the time: The Saubers, Vandoorne, Ocon, Palmer and Magnussen will dispute who gets out of Q1. Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull and Williams will make Q3, with Ferrari and Mercedes going for pole. Everyone else somewhere in between. All you need to watch is the bit after the chequered flag drops of each session and you miss very little.

      So for my taste, the format should be changed.

      A one-lap shoot-out was nice on occasion, but I would propose something different:
      ————–
      Q1 Elimination qualifying (38 min):
      Tyre changes allowed / refueling NOT allowed
      Free for all, then at 12 minutes plus every 2 minutes more a driver is eliminated until 6 are left.
      (I know this kind of qualy wasn’t popular last year, but I liked the concept and I tried to correct the flaws. 12 minutes free for all means everyone can do a run, change tyres and be back on track before the elimination part starts. No refuelling means times will drop throughout the session. 2 min intervals mean you can anticipate on what’s happening.)

      5 minute break

      Q2 One-lap shoot-out
      Remaining 6 drivers do 1 lap in reverse order of their Q1 times.
      ————–

      Would the outcome be very different from current qualifying?
      Probably not, the fastest cars will still be the fastest cars. However the way you get to the grid order has at least much more opportunities to be exciting (something the current format certainly isn’t). There is a grid position decided every two minutes, instead of a bunch of them at 3 distinct time slots. Today we’re reliant on crashes and technical problems (which will happen in any format) for something interesting to happen, in the proposed format there’s also the element of strategic thinking and taking a risk or gamble.

      1. Come on, stop changing things for the sake of it. This format works fine, let’s fix some of the things that actually could do with fixing instead of qualifying. We tried that last year. Seriously, what are we doing here?

      2. Hamilton would still win pole

    7. @dh1996 Nope. If you have a narrow focus only on P1, then your interest started then. My interest was high in Q1 already.

  6. nelson piquet
    8th April 2017, 9:37

    mercedes sandbagging till q3 as always

    1. They were not sandbagging. Only in Q3 they can use those special engine qualy modes.

      1. They can use the qualifying mode in any session they choose, but only do so in Q3 because that’s when it matters the most.

        1. Yes of course, there is no restriction on drivers pressing that button in any session but what’s the point then.
          Just for information, Grosjean said that Haas couldn’t use their qualifying modes even in testing because Ferrari prevented them from doing so. They used it only in qualifying in Melbourne.

          1. “Yes of course, there is no restriction on drivers pressing that button in any session but what’s the point then.”

            So why say that it’s only in Q3 they can use it?

          2. Engine contract?

          3. @kgn11 Maybe because the “beast” mode stresses the engine, of which there are only 4 available this year? If so. there’s no “sandbagging” in it, but a simple resource preservation

          4. @Kgn11
            I mean the button can be pressed at any time but what’s the point of stressing the engine when it doesn’t matter.

        2. This quali mode must cause reliability issues so can only be used a few times per engine? In the race it cannot really be used, hope its dry tomorrow as if Ferrari cannot do it in the pits I think Vettel will take Hamilton in the 2nd stint on soft tyres.

          1. @Markp
            It’s available in the race as well but only for a limited time. Mercedes opted not to run in races last year in the remaining races after Hamilton engine failure in Malaysia.

      2. I’ts as close as it is because Mercedes has one mode less to use this year.

        1. @blik
          +1 LOL
          Come on give the guy some time, Lewis is a hell of a qualifier, sometimes he gave Rosberg who is as fast as anyone else but Vettel and Ric in qualy (personal opinion) ridiculous gaps. Bottas is doing a good job given the circumstances but it was shadowed by the fact that Vettel has split the Mercedes drivers for the second race in a row.

    2. Andrew Purkis
      8th April 2017, 10:29

      its the only thing missing from ferraris package the super qualiy mode

      id say in race trim ferrari is the better package as its better on its tires over a run

      this is where bottas nees to step up

      this is where merc has been so good in the hybrid era locking out the front row and controling the race from there

      thats why if they cocked up the starts theyve normally struggled

      1. Ferrari are enjoying this year the super qualy mode as well. It was confirmed by sources from inside the team as well, Just look at how much time both Vettel and Raikkonen gained from Q2 to Q3 in Australia (i still wait for today’s qualy details).
        The thing is Mercedes has been enjoying the super qualy modes since 2014, that’s why they still held a slight advantage.

        1. @tifoso1989 Raikkonen gained mere thousandths compared to Q2 in Q3 because of his understeer issues. Vettel gained over half a second. But the Merc gained more still

          1. @montreal95 Raikonen was complaining about his back tyres in q3.

          2. @rethla After the first run, yes. After qualy he said that his problem is still understeer. So clearly the rear problem was only at first Q3 run.

  7. Watching the cars go around this track, especially turn 1, is truly breathtaking. It feels like formula 1 again, passing be damned.

    1. Agree @grippgoat and imagine if the broadcast was good. This ridiculous close ups take all the sensation away.

  8. Hulkenberg annihilating Palmer yet again, as expected. Can’t believe people genuinely thought they’d be even

    1. Also Stroll being dominated by Massa (0.7s) again.

      I have to say I was dissapointed with Giovinazzi today… he was on a faster lap that would have gotten him through. Instead he ruined his own lap by crashing and Ocon’s lap in the process, which was unfortunate.

      Good for Kvyat to outqualify Sainz today and also good qually by Perez imho.

      1. @jeffreyj
        I can’t be that disappointed in Gio, if there’s ever a time to crash it’s your last do-or-die lap in qualifying. It’s obviously a black mark on his record, and if it happens again then he’ll start to get a reputation, but to me that just said he was pushing to (and over) the limit to get into Q2.

        1. @george @jeffreyj Gio, failed his do or die lap at the last turn in Australia aswell, thats why he was 2 tenths behind Ericsson. Today he was nowhere near Q2 he just crashed and blocked the faster cars from completing their laps. He cant really blame preparation any longer either. He got plenty of experience in the Sauber 2017 car and he got even more experience of this track and he has known about and prepared for his raceseat for two weeks.

          You can get away with a few rookiemistakes sure but he hasnt shown any real performance or reliability sofar and his time is running short with Pascals recovery. This feels like a make or break situation for Giovinazzi and its starting to look grim. No doubt he could be a promising driver given some experience but right now he needs to secure a place where he can get that experience.

      2. @jeffreyj Giovinazzi was mere hundredths off Ericsson today, better than the 2 tenths in Australia. You can’t be disappointed in a rookie, without even a good preparation again, crashing and making a rookie mistake(same mistake as was made by the hero of Aus qualy Grosjean by the way), while being fast. That’s why he is a rookie. As they say “experience can make a fast but wild driver dependable, but no amount of experience will make a dependable slow driver fast”.

        1. You cant compare the lap times as he crashed, it’s like saying he beat Grosjean with 3 tenths. Ericsson was behind Gio as well and preventing him from setting a faster lap.

          The problem for Sauber is that they probably can’t set any faster lap times than that. Gio pushed to hard.

    2. I don’t think anyone thought Palmer would match the Hulk. Heck.. Palmer couldn’t match Magnussen, who is a tier below the Hulk.

    3. @hugh11 To be fair to Palmer, he could have easily made Q2 if not for Giovinazzi’s crash. He suffered the same fate as Grosjean.

      1. Aye, but he’d have got nowhere near Q3, let alone 7th

    4. What is annoying about palmer he is quick to play the blame game for his inability to preform in F1, l personally think he is very very lucky to have a seat!!

      1. Blame game, boasting his skill verbally.. But when it comes to track action he is a tier bellow second tier drivers.

        He should do some talking on the track.

  9. I had that 2014 Malaysia quali feeling again ;)
    kudos boys

  10. Neil (@neilosjames)
    8th April 2017, 10:10

    Hamilton’s lap looked beautiful from the distant cameras, definitely one I’ll need to find an in-car of. And it’s good to see Bottas is nice and close, where I thought he’d be… but a shame Raikkonen still doesn’t seem able to give Vettel anything to think about.

    1. Yes. For Hamilton’s championship aspirations this will be a worry- Valterri is more likely to take points off Hamilton than Kimi is to Vettel. What that means is Vettel’s title bid will have the full backing of Ferrari- we saw how far they are willing to go- remember Austin 2012 when they sabotaged their own car to give their number one driver a better grid start on the clean side. Whereas Merc may be forced to wait until Lewis is far ahead of Valterri to throw their weight behind Lewis. Of course while things are close right now let us not forget there is a development war also going on and both teams could tail off if they choose the wrong path.

        1. OCD much? hehe

    2. @neilosjames A bit of an exaggeration. Bottas was 0.186 off Lewis. Kimi was 0.276 off Vettel. That’s not a massive difference yet you brand the first one “nice and close”. Not to mention that KR didn’t improve from Q2 where he was faster than SV. And there was half a tenth between them in FP3. Once KR manages to bring the lap together, on pure speed he might give Vettel more headaches than VB to LH, as last year aptly proved.

      1. Well, Hamilton and Vettel are the greatest quali drivers of this generation, Hamilton might even soon break Schumachers record..

        Valtteri and Kimi are clearly in a different category when it comes to one lap pace.

        1. @jureo I don’t dispute that with regards to Raikkonen. Qualy was never KR’s strongest suit. With VB the jury is still out. He was very strong in qualifying in a Williams but that was against Massa. He only had had 2 qualy sessions in a top car so we can’t know for sure yet. What we can say is that VB has the potential to be better than NR was in that respect. Because he got closer to Lewis in Melbourne qualy than NR ever managed and in China Lewis usually reigned supreme over Rosberg as well, barring tech troubles like last year. So to get within 2 tenths of LH in China in your second race for top team is a very good result.

          1. Yeah, then again Lewis won 2/3 against Nico… Bottas will have to improve a lot to reach Nico levels. He is good, but clearly not Great yet.

  11. I’ll be alone in this, but two tenths in his second quali to Hamilton is really good from Bottas. For one I don’t think Bottas will ever be as good, but in his second race for the team that’s pretty good. Rosberg was regularly further behind.

    1. Rosberg did a lot of pole position against the fastest driver in quali lap. He was weaker during the races in close battles.
      Anyway Bottas show that he’s faster than expected and with a really Hood Ferrari, Hamilton needs to be always at the top of his game for the pole.
      Hopefully RB will improve for the european gps and we’ll get the best season in years.

    2. Proving the point that Rosberg was gifted a championship, perhaps?

    3. I said similar from his Melbourne performance. He was closer to Hamilton than Rosberg ever was. In 2013 Hamilton dropped into Rosberg’s team and was immediately faster than him. For Bottas to drop into Hamiltons team and be closer than an established Rosberg to a green Hamilton was, I think bodes well for seeing more competition than Rosberg managed to put up, and for 4 years Rosberg put up some healthy competition.

      1. @philipgb Well, Rosberg was probably the slightly better of the two in 2013.

        1. @mashiat

          Go on I’d love to hear this rationale?

          I mean Rosberg had 2 retirements from low point opportunities where Hamilton was still beating him, Hamilton had a retirement from the lead which gifted a win and 10 extra points to Rosberg, yet Hamilton still beat him in the championship. Even with the 6 point swing we should have gotten from Malaysia had there not been team orders, Hamilton beat Rosberg in qualifying and races, so come on, let’s hear this argument of yours?

          1. @philipgb Firstly, you should get your facts right. Hamilton didn’t retire from the lead, and Rosberg had 3 retirements, all of which cost him a cumulative 19-24 points. If you add that to the points in Malaysia, you will see that they were actually very even. And you said that Hamilton was instantly faster than Rosberg? In the first 6 races, Rosberg got 3 poles compared to 1 for Lewis, was quicker than Hamilton in 4 of the races, and ran him very close in Australia.

          2. @mashiat

            You are right about the retiring from the lead I’m getting the tire blow out mixed up with a retirement. Hamilton still lost a win to bad luck which Rosberg inherited.

          3. @mashiat, Yeah you really should get your facts straight. Hamilton did lose that win to a tyre blow, so that’s a swing of 20 points in favor of Rosberg. Hamilton lost points on other occasions too. So you will see that they weren’t even nearly even. The gap would have been a lot bigger if both had had no issues. As it should have been in every season they were together really.

            Why does it matter how much poles Rosberg got? The fact that the car wasn’t fast enough for pole doesn’t really add anything. Hamilton was faster in Q3 three times as well and with massive margins. Hamilton beat Rosberg by a half a second in Australia and 8 tenths in Malasia. While Hamilton was usually only one or two tenths behind if Rosberg got ahead. The only Q3 where Hamilton was really beaten by by that much was in Bahrain and that was where Hamilton had an issue with the gear box. So yeah.

      2. MG421982 (@)
        8th April 2017, 12:42

        So, you think if HAM went to Williams, BOT being there for 2-3 years already… he wouldn’t have finished ahead of BOT?? I don’t think the problem should be put this way, especially if we’re talking about HAM. The guy is 1 of the greats already, so there’s no wonder many think he’ll come on top no matter the team and/or team mate.

        1. @corrado-dub

          How have you arrived at that logic from what I said?

          That isn’t remotely close to what I’ve said. My logic is Hamilton came into Mercedes and was immediately faster than Rosberg who was well settled in the team.

          Now Bottas has come to the team and is closer to Hamilton than Rosberg was. Once you weight those results by the time each member has been in the teams, my logic is that bodes well for Bottas putting up a better fight than Rosberg did.

    4. I see your point but for me the gap seems to be consistent- Rosberg as others have pointed out, was able to pull ahead of Hamilton at times. Its still early days yet for Valterri though.

      1. Right, we’re two races in. It’s definitely impressive to me.

      2. I’d check your stats mate. They’ve only had two qualifying sessions, and they’ve both been circuits Rosberg never actually beat Hamilton in qualifying at.

        He’s also got a closer margin than Rosberg had in 2013 during the first few races, and this is a reverse situation of that where Hamilton was the new guy being faster than the established guy.

        There’s too little data for a conclusion, but from what little there has been Bottas is significantly closer.

    5. Agree with these comments, we know that Bottas is a strong qualifier and it looks like he will run Hamilton close.

      However surely today he will know how good his lap was, but then also see his team mate found another 2 tenths so I am sure Bottas will be feeling how tough it is going to be compared to partnering with Massa. It should raise his game!

  12. @MarkJackson what are your sentiments on today’s qualy? :)

    1. He’ll be too busy crying into his morning cuppa to comment here haha

  13. Is the Giovinazzi mass hype over now?

    1. I wouldn’t have thought so, we’ve seen world champions spin it at that corner before I don’t think it should be held too hard against him. Remember he has had very little running in this car.

      1. Impressed by his qualifying laps, he is very fast, almost as fast as Ericsson.
        But his race pace in Australia was not impressive and then the crash today, can’t understand the hype around his performance in F1 so far.

        1. But his race pace in Australia was not impressive

          It’s almost as if he’d never driven in an F1 race before.

          1. Nailed it

          2. How many Formula races has he been driving? Its not like he is a rookie.

          3. He is a rookie in F1. In fact he has even less experience than a rookie because he didn’t get winter testing. People generally think Verstappen is pretty handy but look at his Monaco weekend, absolutely terrible! And that was after a season and a half in F1.

          4. @Martin
            Giovinazzi drove for Sauber in the winter test and he has plenty of experience of China since hes run Gp2 and WEC there. You cant say hes ill prepared for this race.

            The silly mass hype is probably over as it always is a few days after it started but hes still a promising driver.

        2. @orchide
          If Giovinazzi is almost as fast as Ericsson in qualifying then Bottas is on pair with Hamilton. He was two tenths of in australia and screwed up his last lap. In China he was off by an similar margin and crashed in his last lap which stopped Ericsson, Grosjean and others to complete their laps which all had been faster.

          1. @rethla Agree. I’m still impressed. Thought he would be more behind than he is, but as we saw both in Australia and in China he has no margin.
            Pushing to hard, a little mistake and he’s in the wall…

  14. Bottas is proving to be useless. He’s not even a #2 driver, instead #3

    1. Not sure what season you’re watching but useless he is not.

    2. Of the current grid who could have beaten a lap like that by Hamilton? I’d say only Vettel or Ricciardo would have a chance.

      1. Agree but I’d add ALO in that as well

        1. @stiggyray

          Even in 2007 Hamilton had Alonso beat for qualifying. Since then I would expect the gap to have widened if anything given their respective ages. Alonso can flatter the hell out of a bad car as seen in 2012, 2015, 2016 and this year. But in a car that has pace, against another top tier driver I don’t think qualifying is his speciality.

          On a Sunday I don’t think anyone else could challenge Hamilton as much, but on Saturday I’d still give that fight to Hamilton, Vettel and Ricciardo over Alonso.

    3. Just .18 off a 3 time WDC in his 2nd race in that car? And in Australia finishing just 2s behind him at the end of the race? Wouldn’t quite say he’s “useless”

    4. @Jay The only thing useless is your comment. Or maybe that was an attempt at humour?

    5. You for real? closer to LH than Rosberg ever was in Australia. Less than 2 tenths in China. Very good in first 2 qualy sessions against one of the GOATs

      1. Did someone say goat? Bleat bleat.

  15. Alex McFarlane
    8th April 2017, 12:11

    Typo in Q3 report with Raikkonen’s time that would have had everyone throttled!

  16. Antoon van Gemert
    8th April 2017, 12:12

    Could be an epic race tomorrow, because of the weather forcast with a lot of rain predicted. I know one man is smiling in the paddock: Max Verstappen! His bad luck of today could turn into good luck tomorrow. Although first free practice was very limited, Max needed only four laps to be fastest in the wet conditions with a gap of 1,5 seconds to the second fastest (Massa). True rainmasters like Verstappen and Hamilton are immediate quick in those difficult circumstances, even with a lesser car, because it’s obvious that Red Bull is still only the third force on the grid. Rain can make a big difference! The only tricky thing is that Max has to start from the backfield (17th), but if he comes through it without any damage, he will be charging to the head of the field in no time! All depends on when it rains and how hard it rains. But if it is like in Brazil, a podium could be well in reach for Max, providing the Red Bull has no issues. What a brilliant pole-position for Lewis Hamilton and much more rewarding for him fighting not only his teammate but also the two Ferrari’s. Their so close together and that’s great for Formula 1! Let’s hope Red Bull will join them soon. The much criticised Lance Stroll did also a great job, but will start tomorrow in the middle of the field in probably difficult circumstances . The last years the Williams was never good in wet conditions. Nico Hulkenberg (the German who speaks fluently Dutch!) did an excelent job in the works Renault, as did Sergio Perez and Danil Kvyat. So, let’s racing in the rain!

    1. Could you please stop the blatant Maxturbation already?!

      FP1 was a worthless session and both Merc’s and Ferrari’s didn’t even set a laptime.

      1. Antoon van Gemert
        8th April 2017, 14:05

        My answer to your question is a simple: NO! The remark about FP1 I expected, because I left that out in my reply, although I wrote about a ‘very limited FP1’. The fact that Mercedes and Ferrari didn’t set a laptime is their business! Max did and was the fastest by far of the drivers who did set a laptime. Maybe FP1 was a ‘worthless’ session, but the little they learned could be mighty handy for tomorrow!

      2. Valid point, but hey they all know who will be in their mirrors rather sooner then later when it’s wet….

        On each and every wet track occasion Verstappen is among the fastest, no matter when it’s testing, FP or race, in the wet only Hamilton has been able to keep up with Verstappen.

        So a bit of ‘maxturbation’ for tommorow could spice things up for sure

        1. Antoon van Gemert
          8th April 2017, 21:58

          Right!

  17. That’s an exciting race in prospect!
    There was effectively no running at all in two of the practice sessions making strategy a bit more variable.
    Verstappen and Ocon out of place on the grid. Possibility of rain.
    Anyone of the top 4 could win this one…

  18. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    8th April 2017, 15:33

    I know Lancey is off Massa almost a second but getting to Q3 will be a ton of weight off his shoulders.
    This race tomorrow may be epic or a red flag frustration fest. Can’t wait.

  19. Can someone explain to me why Vettel and Räikkönen went for a second run at the end of Q2? And why did Räikkönen set a very fast time on the set he will use tomorrow? Ok, there is a high chance that it will rain but still seems stupid.

    1. @mike-dee I’ll try:

      1) Because they had a spare set they didn’t use in Q1 and wanted to use them fully having been depraved of Friday running with what is really a new car still.

      2) These tires are reliable. A single fast lap does nothing to hurt them. KR wanted to beat his previous, not shabby at all Q2 lap, is probably because he specifically wanted to replace his race-starting set. All experts agree there are some miniscule differences between tire sets and KR seems to be more influenced by those small changes than any other current driver.

      Might be wrong, but this are my 2 cents.

    2. With very limited practice they might have wanted to test out another car set-up. The first bad run from Kimi in Q3 compared to the time he did in Q2 indicated that they were tinkering around with the car between the two sessions.

  20. @keithcollantine re: “Raikkonen did beat his Q2 time with his second run but a 1’31.140 left him fourth again.” – It should read 1’32.140 (time is correct in the table below).
    Sorry if this has been reported above already!

  21. I find it funny people are making conclusions after 2 qualifications and 1 race.
    I mean, come on…

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