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Hamilton to lead the charge in wet China

2014-04-19 10:49

HAT-TRICK HAMILTON? Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is on pole for the 2014 Chinese GP on Sunday. Can he win his third race in a row for 2014? Image: AFP

SHANGHAI, China  - Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton showed his mastery in the wet to chalk up his third pole position in four races in Chinese GP qualifying on Saturday.

The Briton's best time of 1min53.860sec through rain and spray was a hefty 0.595 of a second quicker than Red Bull's Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who joined him on the front row.

VETTEL IN ROW TWO

Red Bull's quadruple Formula 1 World champion Sebastian Vettel was third fastest, but more than a second slower than Hamilton.

Championship leader Nico Rosberg, who had been on pole for the 2014 Bahrain GP, completed the second row for Mercedes after running wide on his second lap and then spinning on his final flying lap.

Hamilton's pole, the 34th of the 2008 World champion's career, was a record for a British driver - one more than the late Jim Clark managed in the 1960s.

Hamilton, who will be chasing his third win in a row on Sunday, said: "It is so slippery out there, the conditions - trying to find the grip, not making mistakes on your lap and really putting it together.

"It was a tough session. I really enjoyed it. The car was feeling great. I hope that we can follow through tomorrow."

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, 2013's winner in China, starts fifth with former team mate Felipe Massa sixth for Williams in his best qualifying of the season so far.

Rosberg, winner of the season-opener in Australia, said he had been struggling with the brakes in the final phase of qualifying but was "generally not quick enough today."

Qualifying results for the Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai International Circuit

1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1:53.860
2. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) RedBull - Renault 1:54.455
3. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull - Renault 1:54.960
4. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1:55.143
5. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1:55.637
6. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes 1:56.147
7. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes 1:56.282
8. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India - Mercedes 1:56.366
9. Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso - Renault 1:56.773
10. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - Renault 1:57.079
11. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1:56.860
12. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1:56.963
13. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso - Renault 1:57.289
14. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Sauber - Ferrari 1:57.393
15. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) McLaren 1:57.675
16. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India - Mercedes 1:58.264
17. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari 1:58.988
18. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Caterham - Renault 1:59.260
19. Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia - Ferrari 1:59.326
20. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Caterham - Renault 2:00.646
21. Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia - Ferrari 2:00.865
nq. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus - Renault No Time
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