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.
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.
|6||-||Nick Heidfeld||BMW Sauber|
|11||-||Robert Kubica||BMW Sauber|
|15||-||David Coulthard||Red Bull-Renault|
|16||-||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault|
|19||-||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Ferrari|
|20||-||Giancarlo Fisichella||Force 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
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
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