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Lewis Hamilton secures first pole for Mercedes

2013-04-13 10:02:28

Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton beat Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso to pole position at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Hamilton was nearly 0.3 seconds quicker than Raikkonen as he took his first pole position for his new Mercedes team.

Team-mate Nico Rosberg was fourth ahead of Ferrari's Felipe Massa.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel was ninth as team-mate Mark Webber missed the top 10 shoot-out after a fuel issue.

The Australian stopped out on track in second qualifying, apparently having run out of fuel, and was unable to make it into the top 10 shoot-out.

He will be sent to the back of the grid unless the car has enough fuel in it to provide a one-litre sample as well as the amount of fuel required to get it back to the pits from where it stopped.

Team principal Christian Horner said: "We saw a big drop in collector pressure which either means there is not enough fuel in the car or there is a problem with the fuel pump. So there is either a problem with the car or the fuel 'bowser', which puts the fuel into the car."

Lewis Hamilton

[It's an] incredible feeling, so
happy to have our first pole for
some time. Ecstatic, the lap was
great. I really hope we can carry
that into tomorrow."

Lewis Hamilton

Lotus driver Romain Grosjean was sixth ahead of the impressive Daniel Ricciardo's Toro Rosso and McLaren's Jenson Button, who like Vettel used 'medium' tyres in final qualifying in an attempt to gain an advantage in the race.

The drivers ahead of Button and Vettel will all have to pit relatively early to change the fragile 'soft' tyres while the 'mediums' will last around 20 laps.

But Vettel and Button will have to use the 'softs' later in the race.

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said: "Those on the option will have to stop relatively early. It will be a fascinating race."

Hamilton's performance underlined the pace Mercedes had shown throughout the weekend and he was an impressive 0.377secs quicker than Rosberg, who made a mistake at the final corner.

Hamilton said: "[It's an] incredible feeling, so happy to have our first pole for some time. Ecstatic, the lap was great. I really hope we can carry that into tomorrow.

"[The gap is] really surprising because in [final practice] the Ferraris were really quick and we didn't know if we'd have enough pace."

Raikkonen said: "The gap is quite big still. We don't have that speed right now, we were second. Not too bad. The best I think I have been with the team. We are missing the downforce in the middle sector a bit. [We'll] see what we can do."

Alonso added: "Very happy. The weekend has been very good for us. The car felt competitive from Friday.

"The car is responding well and I think we have a good set-up for the race and if everything goes well we should be able to fight for the podium with both cars which is good for the team."

Qualifying result:

1. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 1:34.484

2. Kimi Raikkonen - Lotus - 1:34.761

3. Fernando Alonso - Ferrari - 1:34.788

4. Nico Rosberg - Mercedes - 1:34.861

5. Felipe Massa - Ferrari - 1:34.933

6. Romain Grosjean - Lotus - 1:35.364

7. Daniel Ricciardo - Toro Rosso - 1:35.998

8. Jenson Button - McLaren - 2:05.673

9. Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull

10. Nico Hulkenberg - Sauber  


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