Lewis Hamilton turned in a masterclass in the rain to comfortably beat Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel to pole for the Chinese Grand Prix, with Nico Rosberg only managing fourth.
Hamilton went quickest in the first and third sectors as he posted a 1:53.860, over a second faster than Rosberg and ultimately far quicker than anything anyone would manage. Behind him Ricciardo was unable to get within half a second of Hamilton but, notably, out-qualified Vettel with his final run. Rosberg may well have locked out the front row with Hamilton but he ran wide at Turn 14 on his penultimate run, before spinning out of the final corner at the end of his last flying lap.
And in Q3 when it really mattered, he posted a 1:54.348 to jump six-tenths clear of the chasing field, which was led by Sebastian Vettel.
Not content with that, the British driver put on a fresh set of intermediate tyres and shaved 0.488s off his previous best to lower the benchmark to a 1:53.860.
Daniel Ricciardo put up the closest challenge, finishing in second place, 0.595s down while Vettel had to settle for third behind his team-mate.
Here the results:
|2||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:56.641||1:55.302||1:54.455||23|
|3||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:55.926||1:54.499||1:54.960||23|
|8||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:55.913||1:56.847||1:56.366||23|
|16||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:58.362||1:58.264||17|
|DNQ||13||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus-Renault||No time||0|
|Q1 107% Time||2:03.602|
Note – Maldonado failed to make 107% requirement, so races at stewards’ discretion. Drops 5 grid places as penalty for causing collision at previous round.