There were times when he was at Mclaren when even winning a pole position couldn't put a smile on Lewis Hamilton's face. Not so this weekend at Shanghai, when his first pole for Mercedes put a wide ear-to-ear grin on the British driver's face.
"I am incredibly happy," he said afterwards. "So happy to have our first pole for some time. I'm just ecstatic really. The lap was great, the team performed well all weekend so far and I really hope we can carry that into tomorrow.
"I had to make sure the radio was off after my engineer told me I had pole because I was so excited!," he added. "None of us expected this level of performance at this stage of the season and it's a real bonus."
Mercedes are the defending race champions, after Nico Rosberg secured victory for the team here in last year's F1 Grand Prix of China, and the squad clearly have an eye on back-to-back triumphs to mark their resurgence in the sport.
"A great qualifying session for us today and all credit to Lewis, Nico and the team for a strong performance," said team principal Ross Brawn. "It's a nice reward for all the hard work both here at the track and back at our factories in Brackley and Brixworth over the winter and in the last few weeks as we continue to develop the car."
"We're really happy about our pole position today at the Chinese Grand Prix, which the team achieved for the second year in a row," added Mercedes' director of motorsport Toto Wolff. "Lewis's performance was excellent and Nico also did a great job."
Both Mercedes had been the class of the field throughout qualifying even before the lottery of a flurry of last-minute flying laps that were completed after the chequered flag came out. Hamilton set a time 0.277s ahead of Lotus Kimi Raikkonen, while Nico Rosberg lost his chance to make it onto the front row alongside Hamilton after running wide on the exit of the final turn at the end of his only flying lap of Q3.
"I made a small mistake at the last corner on my lap in Q3 which cost maybe a tenth and a couple of places," he admitted. "But I'm in a good position for the race."