Lewis Hamilton took his sixth pole position at the Chinese Grand Prix, edging Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari by less than two-tenths of a second. Valtteri Bottas, qualified in third, just 0.001 of a second behind Vettel. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was fourth.
Max Verstappen was surprisingly knocked out of the qualifying Q1 following encountering a power problem. Verstappen’s final qualifying lap was spoiled when Sauber’s Antonio Giovinazzi lost control and crashed spectacularly into the wall, littering the track with debris and bringing a premature end to the session.
Verstappen will now start in 17th place — a major setback for the young Dutch driver, who was coming off a fifth-placed finish in the Australian GP.
Haas’ F1 Romain Grosjean and Renault’s Jolyon Palmer were also trying to avoid elimination with a flying lap and were penalized five spots on the grid for ignoring the yellow flags after the crash. Grosjean and Palmer will now start on the back row in 19th and 20th positions, respectively.