Vettel takes pole in China, and Ferrari looks like it's back

Motor racing Rear gunner Raikkonen shoots for podium

The Dutch youngster later apologised in person to Vettel and to his Red Bull team on social media.

Lewis Hamilton cast doubt on his Mercedes team's Chinese Grand Prix chances today, after Sebastian Vettel led a Ferrari front-row lockout in qualifying yesterday with his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in second.

Bottas beat Hamilton with the top three of Vettel-Raikkonen-Bottas a repeat of the outcome in Bahrain qualifying a week ago.

That allowed Hamilton to cut Vettel's overall lead from 17 points to nine, with the Ferrari driver finishing only eighth.

Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel steers his vehicle during the qualifying session for the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.

Mercedes had to be content with third and fourth on the grid, with Valtteri Bottas ahead of Hamilton, who aborted his final run after a small mistake in the last sector of the track.

The Italian glamour team last won in China in 2013.

So advantage Ferrari then.

"We were overheating the tyres", he said.

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The Austrian added, "We haven't suddenly lost our understanding of the auto, and equally, the vehicle is not suddenly going slower. But it was definitely out of reach today". Bottas, in fact, suggested it might be too much to make up on Sunday.

"We've shown in the past that we have recovered from hard periods, and I have actually started to appreciate the hard days because they make us progress and understand our vehicle better". "We can see it, especially in very long corners".

Moreover, Hill believes Hamilton could reconsider signing a new long-term contract with Mercedes if he feels their period of dominance is at an end.

Pushed by Sky Sports F1 on whether he needed to be less aggressive, Verstappen replied: "It is easy to comment". "They're the quickest on the straights too, so overtaking will be tough". Hamilton is also trying to win his fifth, but has been overshadowed so far by his long-time rival.

Max Verstappen acknowledges that his collision with Sebastian Vettel was "of course" his fault, and says in hindsight he probably should have waited. "The vehicle felt okay but I don't really have the answer for it", he told Sky Sports.

The Briton lapped the 5.4 km Shanghai International Circuit in one minute, 33.482 seconds in the afternoon session, beating Raikkonen to the top spot by a mere 0.007 seconds.

"I knew I could step it up, because I had a lot more in me", Vettel said.

As for Vettel, the German was surprisingly calm in the post-race interviews. Now comes China. Another track, but Ferrari still looks dominant. He said, "He has done enough races. I don't think so", said Verstappen.

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