Lewis Hamilton Scores a Qualifying Hat-Trick and Takes Pole in China

Adam PooleAnalyst IOctober 17, 2008

Lewis Hamilton continued his run of success in China this weekend as, this morning, he set the three fastest laps in all three qualifying sessions to secure pole position for tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.


It was all Lewis Hamilton in the first stint of qualifying; setting a tremendous 1:35.566, a full tenth of a second faster than his team mate, Heikki Kovalainen.

Ferrari seemed to be struggling with pace as the Toro Rosso of Sebastian Vettel beat them to third as Felipe Massa was down in fifth with a 1:35.752.

Robert Kubica's BMW was also struggling with pace, as he only just made the cut into; he ended D1 way back in fourteenth.

David Coulthard didn't make the cut after a controversial passing move by Nick Heidfeld after which DC spoke harshly of. "That's the man, he's not a sportsman," said the Scotsman of Heidfeld.

Kaz Nakajima, Jenson Button, Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fishichella also joined DC in the drop zone at the end of Q1.

The softer tire was to be the correct choice for the track at that moment, but with thunderstorms and rain expected for tomorrow's race, this could well change.


In a last minute dash for P1, Lewis Hamilton set the quickest lap, at 1:34.947, but was forced to use the soft tires to do so; his lap the harder tires was nearly four tenths off

The third man in the championship battle, Robert Kubica, was having major problems and didn't make the cut, finishing the session in eleventh position.

Kovalainen was flying and managed third; I have a feeling he will be in the mix for tomorrow's race and could make things difficult for Massa.

Joining Kubica in the drop zone were Nelson Piquet, Timo Glock, Rubens Barichello, and Nico Rosberg.


Hamilton had a "scrappy" first flying lap, losing six tenths of a second in the middle sector due to a driver error. His second flying lap went without error and he secured a fantastic 1:36.303. He will take pole for tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix.

Joining him on the front row is Kimi Raikkonen. Will he play a part in assisting Massa to the front, will we see another incident into turn one, or will Kimi play it cool?

The second row of the grid is in the form of Felipe Massa, with a 1:36.889 and the Renault of Fernando Alonso. Will Alonso be able to do what he promised earlier in the week and play a part in helping Massa score a race victory. I have to say, I wouldn't like to be Lewis Hamilton mixed in with those three drivers.

Heikki Kovalainen will sit firmly on the third row of tomorrow's grid line up; he finished a great qualifying session in fifth. Mark Webber joins Heikki on the third row, with an outstanding lap at 1:37.083, which he pulled out at last minute.

Seventh is Heidfeld. However, he may be facing some sort penalty; more news on this will follow as the morning progresses.  Eighth is the Toro Rosso of Vettel.

The top ten are completed with Jarno Trulli and Sebastian Bourdais in ninth and tenth.

Round Up

The track looked to be in great condition for the race; the track temperature was 26 degrees Celsius and the air temperature was 28 degrees at the start of the session.  Tomorrow has been forecast as wet with thunderstorms. But, as if often the case in China, nothing is predictable, especially the weather.

The final confirmed grid positions will be added shortly.

1-Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes
2-Kimi RäikkönenFerrari
3-Felipe MassaFerrari
4-Fernando AlonsoRenault
5-Heikki KovalainenMcLaren-Mercedes
6-Nick HeidfeldBMW Sauber
7-Sebastian VettelSTR-Ferrari
8-Jarno TrulliToyota
9-Sebastien BourdaisSTR-Ferrari
10-Nelsinho PiquetRenault
11-Robert KubicaBMW Sauber
12-Timo GlockToyota
13-Rubens BarrichelloHonda
14-Nico RosbergWilliams-Toyota
15-David CoulthardRed Bull-Renault
16-Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault
17-Kazuki NakajimaWilliams-Toyota
18-Jenson ButtonHonda
19-Adrian SutilForce India-Ferrari
20-Giancarlo FisichellaForce India-Ferrari


Mark Webber had to make an engine change this morning after his car started blowing a thick cloud of smoke from it's rear, as a result he is dropped ten places on the grid, down to sixteenth. 

Any further changes as a result of penalties will be listed here and changed accordingly in the table above.

Qualifying Times - Session by Session

I have put this at the bottom as it is quite extensive, but well worth a look if you didn't manage to watch the session this morning.

Qualifying 1 Times

1.  HAMILTON      McLaren       1m35.566s
2.  KOVALAINEN    McLaren       1m35.623s

3.  VETTEL        Toro Rosso    1m35.752s

4.  ALONSO        Renault       1m35.769s

5.  MASSA         Ferrari       1m35.971s

6.  RAIKKONEN     Ferrari       1m35.983s

7.  PIQUET        Renault       1m36.029s

8.  TRULLI        Toyota        1m36.104s

9.  GLOCK         Toyota        1m36.210s

10. HEIDFELD      BMW           1m36.224s

11. WEBBER        Red Bull      1m36.238s

12. BOURDAIS      Toro Rosso    1m36.239s

13. ROSBERG       Williams      1m36.434s

14. KUBICA        BMW           1m36.503s

15. BARRICHELLO   Honda         1m36.640s

Knocked out:

16. COULTHARD     Red Bull      1m36.731s

17. NAKAJIMA      Williams      1m36.863s

18. BUTTON        Honda         1m37.053s

19. SUTIL         Force India   1m37.730s

20. FISICHELLA    Force India   1m37.739s

Qualifying 2 times

1.  HAMILTON      McLaren       1m34.947s
2.  MASSA         Ferrari       1m35.135s

3.  KOVALAINEN    McLaren       1m35.216s

4.  RAIKKONEN     Ferrari       1m35.355s

5.  VETTEL        Toro Rosso    1m35.386s

6.  HEIDFELD      BMW           1m35.403s

7.  ALONSO        Renault       1m35.461s

8.  BOURDAIS      Toro Rosso    1m35.478s

9.  WEBBER        Red Bull      1m35.686s

10. TRULLI        Toyota        1m35.715s

Knocked out:

11. PIQUET        Renault       1m35.722s

12. KUBICA        BMW           1m35.814s

13. GLOCK         Toyota        1m35.937s

14. BARRICHELLO   Honda         1m36.079s

15. ROSBERG       Williams      1m36.210s


Pole Position Shootout


1.  HAMILTON      McLaren       1m36.303s
2.  RAIKKONEN     Ferrari       1m36.645s

3.  MASSA         Ferrari       1m36.889s

4.  ALONSO        Renault       1m36.927s

5.  KOVALAINEN    McLaren       1m36.930s

6.  WEBBER        Red Bull      1m37.083s

7.  HEIDFELD      BMW           1m37.201s

8.  VETTEL        Toro Rosso    1m37.685s

9.  TRULLI        Toyota        1m37.934s

10. BOURDAIS      Toro Rosso    1m38.885s


These session times are thanks to ITV-Sport