Apr 20, 2014, 2:00 AM EDT
Come rain or shine, Mercedes remains the team to beat in 2014 after Lewis Hamilton scored his 34th career pole position yesterday in a wet qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.
The British driver managed to tame the tricky conditions brilliantly on Saturday to finish six-tenths of a second clear of nearest rival Daniel Ricciardo. With this result, Hamilton broke the record for pole positions by a British driver in Formula 1, moving clear of two-time world champion Jim Clark and into fourth place on the all-time list.
However, it was not all good news for Mercedes as Nico Rosberg made two uncharacteristic errors in Q3 to cost himself a shot at making the front row. The German driver was forced to settle for fourth place on the grid, and he was far from pleased on Saturday afternoon. The Silver Arrows were split by both Red Bulls as Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel qualified second and third respectively.
Fernando Alonso will line up behind Rosberg on the grid alongside former Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa. Williams has finally found the solution to its wet weather woes, with Valtteri Bottas also making the top ten. The Finn will start behind Massa in seventh.
The big casualties of Q2 were Kimi Raikkonen (11th), Jenson Button (12th) and Kevin Magnussen (15th), whilst Bahrain podium finisher Sergio Perez could only finish in 16th. It was clear that the wet conditions shook up the pecking order and gave more than a few drivers a headache.
FROM THE STEWARDS’ OFFICE
- Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado was due to serve a five place grid penalty after flipping Esteban Gutierrez during the Bahrain Grand Prix two weeks ago. However, he failed to set a time in qualifying due to an engine problem suffered during FP3 on Saturday morning.
- Therefore, the stewards had to grant permission to Maldonado to race as he technically failed to make the 107% time required to qualify. However, he did complete a lap that was well within this time during first practice on Friday. He will therefore be allowed to start the race from last position.
2014 CHINESE GRAND PRIX STARTING GRID
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
4. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
6. Felipe Massa Williams
7. Valtteri Bottas Williams
8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
9. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso
10. Romain Grosjean Lotus
11. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
12. Jenson Button McLaren
13. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
14. Adrian Sutil Sauber
15. Kevin Magnussen McLaren
16. Sergio Perez Force India
17. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
18. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham
19. Jules Bianchi Marussia
20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham
21. Max Chilton Marussia
22. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
You can watch the Chinese Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 2:30am ET.
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