Just one week after the Bahrain lock-out, Scuderia Ferrari once again qualified both cars on the front row as Sebastian Vettel beat Kimi Raikkonen by a mere 0.087 seconds in the qualifying session for the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix. This result marks pole number 215 for the team, the 7th for Sebastian in Ferrari colours.
In very different weather conditions from the ones encountered at Sakhir last weekend, the SF71Hs delivered a strong performance with both the Ultrasoft and the Soft compound, the latter being the one with which both drivers start on tomorrow.
“It’s been a great result and I am really happy for the team”, said Vettel. “Today the car (Ferrari SF71H – Vettel naming Loria) was amazing and it was great fighting for the front row with both cars on our own. It was very windy and not easy to get the right feeling. However, when the car is quick and works, you get a lot of confidence and that helps. We didn’t expect to be so strong compared to our competition.
We made some small changes today on our car, but it was pretty good yesterday already. I made some mistakes during my first lap in turn three and six, where I had oversteer. The tires here are very sensitive, so I knew that if I kept it clean, then the final part of the lap would be better. I didn’t know what the others were doing, but I was quite sure about getting the pole because I think I was one of the last cars and so could profit from track evolution. Tomorrow the weather should be sunny, which makes the asphalt hotter. We’ll see how it works, but I think we’ll be very close”.
Raikkonen added: “We have been pretty happy with the way things have been so far this weekend. Qualifying today was pretty close; we had two good laps, but unfortunately I lost some speed in the last sector and couldn’t improve. Obviously I wanted more, but tomorrow is another day. We ‘ll start the race with the Soft tires and our rivals start with the same compound: that will be slightly different compared to the other cars and I think it will be better like this.
We did what we think is the best for us and is supposed to give us the best result in the end. Our aim is to win, first of all we need to do a good job tomorrow and take the most out of it. I think we have been ok in all the races so far; we have been extracting more out of the car and learning more about it. We have been pretty consistent and happy with things, obviously we need to improve here and there but that’s a normal and never ending process”.