Mercedes pair Valtteri Bottas and defending world champion, Hamilton behind the Ferrari – third and fourth respectively.
Ferrari finished over half a second clear of Mercedes in Q3 with everything turned up to full beans. The pole was Ferrari’s first in China for 14 years.
“The car felt OK but I don’t really have the answer for it. Hamilton told Sky F1 following the qualifying session
“I think it’s in the top three of the easier tracks to overtake. The Ferraris are too fast on the straight so it will be interesting.
“It’s a lot hotter tomorrow so it will be a challenge to see if we can keep up with them.
“I don’t know if we can challenge – we were half a second behind today. We were quicker in the last race but they were able to hold on and will probably do the same tomorrow.”
Nico Rosberg, 2016 Formula One world champion, is backing his former team Mercedes. The German hints that, strategy wise move will be very difficult for Silver Arrows, only hope high temperature could help Mercedes in the Sunday race.
“Tomorrow is not easy because it’s probably a one-stop. That will make it difficult strategy wise,” Rosberg tells Sky F1.
“The only hope Mercedes really has is temperatures coming up, that suddenly their car works a lot better.”
“For me this is a very, very special place … close to my heart. Because I won my first-ever F1 race in Shanghai in 2012. After six years in F1 and 111 races, I finally got that win. So it was very emotional. I was also racing against Michael Schumacher who was my teammate at Mercedes. I will forever remember this. So it is great to come back here as a world champion.”
“This is the turning point,” Former F1 world champions and Sky Sports F1 pundit Damon Hill says.
“For so long we have seen Mercedes dominate. They’ve had the party mode in Qualifying but now both Ferrari cars are ahead of Mercedes.
“Hamilton looked a little out of sorts, good performance from Valtteri.
“I thought Kimi had it in the bag. That was such a perfect lap that I didn’t think anybody could do better than that. But Sebastian Vettel showed his class.”