Sebastian Vettel left it late to snatch pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix away from Formula 1 teammate Kimi Raikkonen on Saturday as Ferrari locked out the front row of the grid in Shanghai.

In a session that saw Ferrari enjoy an advantage over Mercedes throughout, Vettel and Raikkonen went toe-to-toe in the final part of qualifying, with just 0.087 seconds separating the pair in the final standings.

Raikkonen had been sitting on provisional pole after the first runs in Q3, but a slow final sector left the door open for Vettel to pip his teammate to P1, turning in a best lap time of 1:31.095 - a new track record in China.

The result marks Ferrari’s first pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix since the inaugural race in 2004, and also sees the team take back-to-back front-row lock-outs for the first time since 2006.

Mercedes was left to settle for P3 and P4 on the grid, led by Valtteri Bottas as both he and teammate Lewis Hamilton struggled to match the Ferraris for pace, falling half a second back in Q3.

All of the top four drivers opted to complete Q2 on the Soft compound tyre, meaning they will start the race on the middle compound on Sunday.

Red Bull managed to complete a late power unit change on Daniel Ricciardo’s car to get him out with just three minutes to go in Q1, giving the Australian a single lap to try and make it through.

Ricciardo put in a lap good enough for 14th in the first session before finding his feet as qualifying wore on, taking sixth overall behind teammate Max Verstappen. Verstappen was left frustrated after failing to leapfrog Hamilton, who abandoned his final lap in Q3 after a mistake at Turn 14.

Nico Hulkenberg led the midfield fight for Renault, taking seventh ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez. Carlos Sainz Jr. grabbed ninth in the sister Renault car, with an irked Romain Grosjean taking P10 after an error on his sole Q3 run.

With teammate Grosjean leading Haas’ charge, Kevin Magnussen failed to make it through to Q3 for the first time this season as he was edged out in the second session by just 0.016s to leave him 11th on the grid.

Esteban Ocon took 12th for Force India ahead of McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne, both of whom had just a single run in order to try and give each other a tow down the back straight. The tactic failed to give the team a top-10 berth, though, as they finished 13th and 14th respectively ahead of Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley.

Williams suffered another double-Q1 knockout as Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll qualified 16th and 18th respectively in Shanghai. Following his Bahrain heroics, Pierre Gasly came back down to earth with a bump as he failed to make it through the first session, finishing 17th.

Sauber was led by Charles Leclerc through Q1, but the Monegasque driver could only finish 19th after a big spin at the final corner early in the session and a separate mistake on his fastest lap. Teammate Marcus Ericsson finished half a second back, propping up the timesheets in P20.



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