Valtteri Bottas will be on pole for Formula 1s 1000th race after he pipped Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to the top of the grid by just 2 hundredths of a second during qualifying in China.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc will line up on the second row after failing to trouble the silver arrows in Shanghai finishing a somewhat distant three tenths adrift of the current world champions.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen claimed 5th on the grid but was furious following qualifying after Vettel passed him on track prior to his final flying lap in Q3.
The grid took up a “Noah’s Ark” formation with Mercedes 1-2, Ferrari 3-4, Red Bull 5-6, Renault 7-8 and Haas 9-10.
The front row lockout was a welcome sight for Mercedes who had claimed the superior straight-line speed advantage of Ferrari combined with the enormous back straight in China would give the Scuderia the edge.
However, the twisty nature of the Shanghai circuits first two sectors lended itself to Mercedes superior front downforce allowing them to pull clear of their arch rivals.
Ferrari are still optimistic race conditions will suit their car and that a serious challenge can still be mounted to Mercedes.
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