Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Bottas denies Hamilton pole in Shanghai

Bottas denies Hamilton pole in Shanghai

Bottas - who now heads the Drivers' Championship - outpaced Hamilton by just 0.023s in an enthralling qualifying session and recorded a lap time of 1:31.547.

Both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton lock out the front row for the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday, with championship leader Bottas capturing pole position ahead of his team-mate.

The crash came in the final minutes of practice with Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes clocking the fastest time - 1 minute, 32.830 seconds.

Sebastian Vettel was second fastest, 0.392 seconds off the pace and ahead of Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen was third fastest in the afternoon, 0.221 seconds off Bottas' best, but the 21-year-old struggled with shifting gears and clutch issues throughout the session.

Bottas, who had had a comfortable lead over Hamilton all weekend, found himself under severe pressure in the top 10 shoot-out.

"I am OK. More angry and disappointed than anything else".

Controversially, the two Red Bull drivers failed to set a second attempt in the final session of qualifying after being backed up by the Mercedes, Ferraris and Renaults ahead of them on the track.

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"We have fortunately very safe cars", the Austrian explained in the immediate aftermath of the accident. "It has been a good start of the year for me personally and for us as a team, I feel confident".

At the final corner of the track before FP3 was about to finish, Albon ran wide and collided with the barrier which caused huge damage to his Toro Rosso vehicle. The weekend so far has been very good.

Albon will start Sunday's race from the pit lane after the team provided the Thai driver with a new chassis.

"In Q3 honestly during those two runs I never got the ideal lap", he said.

"The lap was ok, not completely how I wanted it but it was good enough for pole and the auto has been good enough this weekend and Lewis has improved today too". "I was struggling with the vehicle throughout the weekend, even into Q2", he said.

"The vehicle has been really good all weekend and Lewis managed to improve a lot during qualifying and it was super close".

"To be as close as we are at the end is fantastic".

Ferrari had looked strong and their straightline speed is still highly impressive but Mercedes had a definitive edge through the turns that dominate sector two. It's always a little bit loose and normally you can recover it, but this time I was a bit greedy with the throttle.

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