Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Shanghai International Circuit, 2018

2018 Chinese Grand Prix grid

2018 Chinese Grand Prix

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Row 11. Sebastian Vettel 1’31.095
Ferrari
2. Kimi Raikkonen 1’31.182
Ferrari
Row 23. Valtteri Bottas 1’31.625
Mercedes
4. Lewis Hamilton 1’31.675
Mercedes
Row 35. Max Verstappen 1’31.796
Red Bull
6. Daniel Ricciardo 1’31.948
Red Bull
Row 47. Nico Hulkenberg 1’32.532
Renault
8. Sergio Perez 1’32.758
Force India
Row 59. Carlos Sainz Jnr 1’32.819
Renault
10. Romain Grosjean 1’32.855
Haas
Row 611. Kevin Magnussen 1’32.986
Haas
12. Esteban Ocon 1’33.057
Force India
Row 713. Fernando Alonso 1’33.232
McLaren
14. Stoffel Vandoorne 1’33.505
McLaren
Row 815. Brendon Hartley 1’33.795
Toro Rosso
16. Sergey Sirotkin 1’34.062
Williams
Row 917. Pierre Gasly 1’34.101
Toro Rosso
18. Lance Stroll 1’34.285
Williams
Row 1019. Charles Leclerc 1’34.454
Sauber
20. Marcus Ericsson* 1’34.914
Sauber

*Five-place grid penalty for failing to slow sufficiently for double waved yellow flags

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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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87 comments on “2018 Chinese Grand Prix grid”

  1. Brilliant from the Ferraris!

  2. Seb ekes out in front in the last run!

    1. In the last turn!

  3. Great lap from Seb, 0.5s over the Mercs. Ferrari comfortably have the fastest car at the moment, season looks setup for Vettel to make it 5 WDCs, surely a Pole to flag win tomorrow!

    1. “Comfortably”?!?! Jeez, guys, you’re jumping ships so fast… It’s just 1 race.

      1. Well actually it’s two as they were quick in Bahrain too. Oh and most of testing and leat season… when exactly can we say it ? People were saying it about Mercedes after Melbourne… how wrong they were.

        1. Still… I’m pretty sure you’re 1 of the guys who tried to convince (some of) us last year that Ferrari is actually the faster car although Mercedes trashed (= outqualified the best Mercedes by at least 0.5sec) them multiple times last year. So, at the moment, it’s just 1 race where Ferrari trashed Mercedes, so I still think it’s a little too early to write Mercedes off. Actually, given RAI performances and his “luck”, I still think Mercedes is favourite to win the WCC.

    2. WOW really! Merc are struggling – in only this race so far – with only the Ultrasofts – and are still faster on Softs (Q2) which they will be starting the race on tomorrow. If Bottas makes the jump on Vettel at the start, it’s more than game ON, and it’s advantage Merc again. It’s incredibly close in the race; only Hammy likes to play it low.

  4. And people still say Mercedes is dominating…

    Congratulations to Ferrari but some people just don’t want to accept that Ferrari is at least the equal of Merc if not a bit ahead.

    1. Yeah, but only NOW it seems to be so! Let’s not forget what were the pre-season testing predictions, some even credited RBR ahead!

    2. In fairness, it’s early days. Let’s see all their reliability records over a season. Let’s see who can/will adapt and improve and at what rate. But of course Ferrari can only be pleased after 2 1/2 races so far.

    3. Looking at the bigger picture ie all the tracks and the entire season, Merc are still ahead, but the gap to Ferrari is narrower than it has ever been. You have to consider the tracks, tyres, straight line speed etc, and of course the possibility of rain. Overall it looks like Ferrari have the edge with softer compound tyres and/or warmer conditions but firmer the tyre compounds get, Merc get better.

      Tomorrow for instance, all 4 from the top of the grid will start with soft compounds, presumably with a flexible 2-stop strategy. Depending on the way things pan out at the start (don’t forget who’s in P5!), one or more of the top four might want a longer first stint and risk a single stop.

      1. @loup-garou It’s impossible to say Merc is faster, that’s a narrative without any evidence at the moment!

        1. Merc is slower on the Ultrasofts, which will most probably will not be used by either Ferrari or Merc tomorrow. Merc IS Faster on Softs (Q2) and this is what the front 4 will start on. If Bottas jumps the Ferraris at the start, Merc has the advantage again. So far, Ferrari took the advantage with the Ultrasofts, but the race is incredibly close!

          1. @makana don’t get deceived by Q2. Ferrari were well ahead of Mercedes after the first Q2 runs on softs, near the beginning of Q2. They then didn’t go out on the softs anymore while Lewis went out right at the end and improved.

          2. @mattds that’s true. Let’s see how the first stint ends tomorrow; one stop and then Mediums means Merc can do something. I just don’t see Seb going into the distance. Should be a smashing race!

          3. merc were only faster in q2 because of party mode on second run. first runs saw Ferrari faster! party mode isn’t used for the whole race.

      2. @loup-garou so just to be clear, Ferrari did NOT just trounce Mercedes in pretty COLD conditions?

  5. Curious as to what happened to Mercedes. After preseason everyone was convinced they’d dominate on pace. In Melbourne they did. But now… what happened? Suppose Barcelona will be very telling

    1. @hahostolze It seems Ferrari have reached engine parity at least and their start of season car is just better than the Mercs.

      1. But the Merc chassis was better in preseason, everyone said.

        1. Before the final season start race trim packages were on the car! Nice job by Ferrari, can they keep it up though. The PU is mighty, wondering if they have managed to surpass the Merc PU.

    2. I told you this yesterday. Ferrari have the best car. Wake up and stop following the wrong narrative @hahostolze

      You say everyone but I’ve been banging on about Ferrari since testing and even last season ! The signs have all been there but for some reason whenever I say Ferrari have the best car I get jumped on about Mercedes sandbagging or playing games or this rediculous “party mode”.

    3. Ferrari brought great updates in Bahrain. Mercedes haven’t brought any.

      1. @Sviat if my assumptions that you’re trying to defend Mercedes’ lack of pace are right, that’s hardly an excuse. Bringing updates to a race is one of the core bits of F1

    4. James Allison affect finally kicking in.

    5. @hahostolze
      In preseason i thought the ferrari didn’t have a decent build floor, or they didn’t want to show it off, in Melbourne they rocked up with it and i think now it makes the difference.

  6. so what kimi’s fans going to say now? ferrari made the track too cold to give advantage to vettel? or they released kimi first than vettel??

    1. Kimi fast, until it matters

      1. No, Vettel is just a better driver. In case anyone missed that by now.

        1. Folks don’t want to accept this, or they are hoping Kimi stops Vettel from running away in the title race.
          Till Hamilton and Mercedes sort there current problems.

    2. People call Kimi the iceman but he melts. He’s human and he’s losing poles by the smallest of margins. I want Kimi to win but this qualifying is ruining my predictions.

      1. @peartree Right! Really want to see a Kimi pole to win, he is doing a great job this year and Seb has had to raise his game in qualifying vs the last couple of seasons.

    3. @j3d89 He was affected by the dirty air of the car ahead. I mean, there was only half the track between them!

    4. C’mon, Raikkonen is a great guy and no matter who your favourite driver is, nobody will grudge the Finn winning. He has all the skill and speed in the world but IMO falls a bit short when it comes to the ‘killer’ instinct when it gets really close. Vettel, Hamilton and Ricciardo have that edge over the likes of Raikkonen and Bottas. Verstappen in my opinion has too much of it for his or anyone else’s good and is just plain crazy.

      1. Verstappen in my opinion has too much of it for his or anyone else’s good and is just plain crazy.

        Hahahaha I like that analogy

    5. What I don’t understand is this: Kimi is 1-2 to Vettel in qualis and today within a tenth of “the best (or second best) qualifier in the whole world” and people are still putting him down. Why? I agree that he doesn’t have the killer instinct anymore and he is not as fast as 2007 and the macca years but good lord. Give it a rest. Dude is 35 and keeping it up with the rest of them..

      1. I agree that he doesn’t have the killer instinct anymore … Dude is 35 and keeping it up with the rest of them..

        @aalate – I’d say that the Kimi of 2017 and earlier didn’t have that killer instinct. But I think we have a different Kimi in 2018, he is really switched on and challenging. Let’s home tomorrow is a clean race for him, and let him not catch one of his unlucky breaks.

      2. @aalate
        Exactly(, though I don’t know whether Vet is the (2nd) best qualifier in the world). And Kimi is even over 38. People talking about him not having ‘the killer instinct’, as opposed to guys who are 5 to 18 years younger, hahaha. Let’s wait and see how those guys will be performing when they reach 38.

        1. Raikkonen never had the killer instinct. He has the speed, the skill and is even very good at wheel to wheel racing, something that is perhaps a bit lacking in his younger fellow Finn. But Raikkonen’s problem is that when things don’t go his way, he does not let off steam like Vettel, Hamilton etc but becomes quietly disheartened. That affects his performance for a few races afterwards.

          After winning the F1 championship in 2007, he allowed a few early setbacks in 2008 to affect him and played second fiddle to Massa.

      3. @aalate
        I generally agree with a lot of what you say. One thing I would point out though is that Kimi is actually 38, he’ll be 39 on October 17th. ;-)

  7. In Australia Vettel got lucky and people said “Mercedes is the best car so it’s good for the Championship.”

    In Bahrain Ferrari had the best car but still people said “Mercedes is the best car so it’s good for the Championship.”

    Now it’s 100% clear Ferrari have the best car. I wonder, does everyone now accept it ? Or do they still think Mercedes are sandbagging ?

    1. Nothing in F1 as simple as that. ALL that is clear is that on this particular track Ferrari have managed to get the best set-up for qualifying; whether that’s true for race day remains to be seen.

      It could and will be entirely different from other races. In a sport where fractions of seconds make massive differences, there are too may variables to consider.

  8. Ferrari are mighty. What a shame that Kimi’s 3rd sector.
    Broadcast is abysmal. Kimi is setting purple sectors and we are being shown yellowish Hamilton and Wolff’s sadface.
    Remember how everyone cried about another Merc-dominant season after AUS qualy. Just hope the pendulum won’t swing backwards now :)

    1. Agreed broadcast is so bad, always miss fast laps in practice to have a close up of a stupid driver looking at a screen or a z list celebrity poncing about.

    2. Exactly. They always show the first car on track, it’s stupid.
      After sector 2, I wondered why they didn’t show the flying Ferraris.
      The Mercs were sliding all over the place compared to the Ferraris who were smooth and stuck to the ground.

  9. After a poisoned Banana and a poisoned date in Bahrain, apparently there’s poisoned mangos this weekend. Great drive by Sainz jr, still hasn’t beaten Hulk once either on qualifying or race. Hurray for Hartley, 2nd time he’s beaten Gasly this season. I think people underrate a tidy driver from a small country.

    1. It’s npt just that Hulk beats Sainz, it’s the margin that he manages to pull. Impressive

      1. But also damn, that ferrari, that’s a mediocre car right there, if i’ve ever seen one ;-)

        1. @mrboerns I got that wrong didn’t I, it’s not awful, let’s just wait until Barcelona when Ferrari starts to tail off.

    2. wanted to reply to you, my dear @peartree of course

  10. I think now is the right time to imperatively say that the Ferrari is the better car than the Mercedes. China is generally a low-temperature circuit (like it was today), needs tons of power, and is Hamilton’s favourite hunting ground. Beating that Mercedes at a track they were expected to raze the rest of the field in surely calls for a change in the tide.

    1. Quick, we must change the formula to stop this domination.

  11. Bottas 2-1 Hamilton qualifying H2H. Nobody was expecting this after Melbourne (and on pure pace as well.)

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      14th April 2018, 8:28

      This may seem odd, but in qualifying, Bottas generally seems as good or better than Hamilton when Ferrari are better. Ferrari looked better last year in Russia. Bottas 3rd, Hamilton 4th. Monaco, Hamilton broke down under pressure, Bottas 3rd. Hungary, Bottas 3rd, Hamilton 4th. Then even Mexico when Ferrari were better, Bottas was very close behind Hamilton. Then Ferrari looked better last qualifying in Bahrain, 3rd and 4th in the same order again. And yet again, Ferrari are better here, and same for Hamilton and Bottas. I honestly think Bottas possibly has better 1 lap pace than Hamilton when Ferrari is a better car, but what sense does this make? I think Hamilton just sometimes struggle when he’s not totally happy with his car. On these occasions, Bottas more often than not does better

  12. Ah…Lewis and Max…together again!!!

    1. @robbie Would it bad if I said that I can’t wait for it?!

    2. @robbie and with Max on the US tyres, he has chance to make great start tomorrow with the US tyres giving a few metres advantage over the cars in front into T1….

    3. Let’s just hope they keep it clean @robbie @ju88sy – I’m sure we all want 50ish laps of them jousting, not one :-)

    4. Ah…Lewis and Max…together again!!!

      We can only hope that it is not going to end up too together! Never know with Mad Max; he takes the idea of leapfrogging ahead of his rivals a shade too literally.

      1. @loup-garou Maybe Max will make it down to T1 in front of them all! With a fast start and better tyres under braking,

        1. @ju88sy We know he’s certainly going to try.

          1. We know he’s certainly going to try.

            Yeah, that’s what I’m afraid of!

      2. Max will race to win like always. He is on the faster tyre so he really needs to pass as many as possible asap.

        And he will try.

        Face it: his car isn’t good enough to be champion anyway. So many troubles already until now. Especially now Horner explicitly said the Bahrain Q1 crash was no driver error but a car error. Count the issues: RIC twice max 3 times already. In 2,5 weekends.

        1. Horner explicitly said the Bahrain Q1 crash was no driver error but a car error

          Not to take away from the fact that the Renault PU has had issues, you’ve not seen this article have you? @anunaki

          Horner said the accident was a result of the Dutchman’s foot jumping on the throttle pedal as he ran over the kerbs.

          1. It was in explicitly said by Horner on Dutch tv. No driver error, car error.

            He made a weak excuse that it went wrong in translation but that’s nonsense. Not sure what’s going on at redbull.

            https://www.ziggosport.nl/fragment/5925-horner-er-gaat-heel-veel-mis-bij-het-vertalen.html

          2. This interview is from today btw

          3. I’m unable to view the video, but if that’s what he said, it is very interesting indeed, @anunaki

            @keithcollantine – FYI – have you seen this?

          4. You can use a vpn like hola in chrome to pretend you’re in another country.

            I actually mentioned this to Keith this morning as well

    5. We just need the torpedo back

      1. It’s not like Vettel has a perfect record of not closing the door on his teammate too tight in shanghai either…

        1. But didn’t he opened the door into his trammate face last time?

    6. I hope that Mad Max at least asks Hamilton if he can have this dance before taking both of them out.

  13. After beating their last year’s time by a full second on the first race, Mercedes was barely faster than a year ago on the last two tracks.
    Looks like they are lost on setup.
    Or people talked so much about party mode they are saving it for later.

    1. Darko Lončar
      14th April 2018, 9:47

      ..and that fact is crazy after you see their own video about their W09.
      “Tremendous improvement overall”, “last year’s car would be utterly helpless next to this one. “

  14. What’s going on?!? Reckon did not see this coming at all, especially after AUS. Ferrari kinda trashed the rest of the field. RBR weak indeed, McLaren is where they actually belong on merit etc etc.

    1. RBR weak indeed

      It’s that huge straight that’s hurting them badly. IIRC, RBR are over 10 km/h down on Ferrari there. It’s hard to make up that sort of a deficit in the corners.

  15. Race tomorrow will tell the real picture. Hoping Ferrari haven’t eked out too much qualifying performance while chewing on tires in the race. But Hamilton did say his tires were gone after just a lap on US. So maybe Mercedes had to be more careful on tires and hence the slow pace while Ferrari are able to get the tires where they want while getting the pace as well.

    Fingers crossed for a Ferrari 1-2.

  16. I wouldn’t be jumping the gun yet, as much as I would love anyone besides Hamilton winning the wdc again, this is what happened last year where ferrari were a slight margin ahead. After the summer break, the pendulum swung very much in Mercedes favour, combined with silly mistakes on ferraris part

  17. Aside from the Ferrari/Mercedes swap which might likely go back and forth all season, I think this grid exemplifies nicely about where the cars should sit right now amongst each other. Factory Renault who have only been pumping up their team in size and resources, along with the ‘B Ferraris’ and the ‘B Mercedes’, then the Macs that will eek away at those 3 teams ahead of them with hopefully continued better races than they’ve had qualis and more time to learn along with Renault in their brand new marriage.

  18. Strong performances from Perez and Sirotkin. The Russian almost made it into Q2.

  19. So your point is? Ham is the best?

  20. A lot of understeer everywhere for both Mercedes. Bottas seems a bit more comfortable with the low front grip, but not by much and still bleeding time. Hamilton did a good job warming up the tires for the last flyer, but the car itself was just understeering too much and you could see neither of them could really lean on the fronts without little twitches of correction here and there. Can’t party when when the grip isn’t there no matter how powerful your mode is.

    By contrast, you could see in the roll of the Ferraris and the compression on the fronts as they both leaned hard through the fast corners. They had a lot more confidence the grip would hold. In the hairpin and last corner they rotated much better and were able to open throttle faster, which is where Kimi lost too much and Vettel did outstanding on that very last sector. Those last two corners will lose you a lot of time if you can’t get the car pointed quickly enough or use too much kerb.

    Overall, I think Ferrari have made a major step with the engine and brought it into parity or a little bit better than the Mercedes on power. It’s not just the works team that convinces me, but the improvement in the customer teams too. All three were higher in the speed traps. The Haas with the SF70T features goes very strongly, it’s their race execution that still needs a lot of work. Sauber still need to work out their aero and balance more to show gains on overall lap time, but they are in a much better place with the current year PU and can be a genuine threat to Williams, Mercedes engine or not.

    Mighty work from Red Bull to even get Ricardo into qualifying, and mighty work on his part to go out for maybe his fifth lap of the day and get into Q2 a couple minutes after all the screws were back in, on a cold track with tires that are tough to turn on. The Bulls looked good on balance with the Ferraris, but their trap speeds point to the problem in the back. I’m still confused as to how Renault, who were all in on this hybrid format, still have not developed parity to at least Ferrari.

    This is my first post here. I have read a lot of sites and this and James Allen are my favorites, in that order. Some of you folks make alien conspiracy theorists sound reasonable, but in general the tone of the comments here is quite good natured and I appreciate that a lot.

    Here’s to a great season of F1!

    1. @lunaslide
      Welcome to the comments section!
      I agree there are a few members of the tinfoil hat brigade that post on here but it’s a genuinely decent group for the most part. The majority even manage to stay civil!
      Here’s to a continuing exciting F1 season! :-)

  21. Darko Lončar
    14th April 2018, 9:41

    Ironically how a complete outsider like me could right away(and for the second season in a row) see things all the “experts” from autosport and motorsport sites did not even after a several months.
    Worst of all, they charged “premium” for their embarassingly wrong and idiotic Ferrari bashing titles.

    What a bunch of clowns!

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