- Chinese Grand Prix - Qualifying
Hamilton takes first pole for MercedesChris Medland April 13, 2013
Lewis Hamilton secured his first pole position for Mercedes as Red Bull struggled in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.
Mark Webber didn't even make Q3 having run out of fuel in Q2, while Sebastian Vettel just completed sector times on the medium tyre and will start from 9th. Tyre concerns meant all drivers completed one run in the battle for pole and Hamilton came out on top with a 1:34.761 to beat Kimi Raikkonen by 0.3s.
Raikkonen lines up second ahead of Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg after a slow final sector cost Rosberg a place on the front row. Felipe Massa lines up fifth ahead of Romain Grosjean, while Daniel Ricciardo was seventh after a brilliant Q2 performance. Jenson Button starts ahead of Vettel as he slowly crossed the finish line to ensure he set a time, albeit half a minute off the pace.
Vettel locked up in to turn 14 as he tried to set a time on mediums and aborted his lap, while Nico Hulkenberg was the only other driver not to set a time in the final session.
Webber had put in a lap on used tyres at the start of Q2 when he appeared to run out of fuel on his in lap and had to park his car on the inside of the hairpin, just yards from the pit entry. As the times tumbled later in the session, Webber was pushed down to 14th as an excellent lap from Ricciardo put him through. Paul di Resta dropped out in 11th by just 0.026s ahead of Sergio Perez, Adrian Sutil, Webber, Pastor Maldonado and Jean-Eric Vergne.
It was a slow start to the opening session as no drivers took to the track in the first eight and a half minutes of Q1. With the focus on preserving tyres, most teams went for one run and Valtteri Bottas was unable to recover from a slight error in Turn 1 as a result. He dropped out in 17th ahead of Esteban Gutierrez, who was a second slower than his team-mate Hulkenberg in the first part of the session.
Jules Bianchi was 19th and 0.8s ahead of Max Chilton as both Marussias beat both Caterhams; Charles Pic finishing the session just 0.046s quicker than his team-mate Giedo van der Garde.
Chris Medland is assistant editor at ESPNF1