Valtteri Bottas continued his strong start to the 2019 Formula 1 season by claiming his seventh career pole position in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday, leading Mercedes to a front row lockout.

After topping FP2 and FP3, drivers' championship leader Bottas was able to carry his form through to qualifying as he set two laps good enough for pole, recording a final time of 1m31.547s.

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton fell just shy of his teammate's lap, finishing 0.023 seconds behind in P2 as Mercedes took its 59th front row lockout in F1.

Ferrari's straight-line speed advantage was not enough to make up for its deficit to Mercedes through the corners as the team took P3 and P4 on the grid with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc respectively, finishing three-tenths of a second off the pace.

Red Bull's hopes of getting in the fight at the front were dashed when Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly both took the chequered flag too late in Q3, costing them a final qualifying attempt.

Verstappen had split the Ferraris after the first set of Q3 runs, with his failure to get in a late lap resulting in a sweary tirade over team radio after the pack was bunched by the Mercedes. Gasly was able to take some comfort in his first Q3 appearance for Red Bull, taking sixth on the grid.

Renault drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg both made it through to the final stage of qualifying, taking seventh and eighth, while Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean wound up P9 and P10 after making the same error as the Red Bull drivers, preventing them from setting any time in Q3.

A late lap from Hulkenberg in Q2 edged Daniil Kvyat out of qualifying, with the Russian left to settle for P11 on the grid for Toro Rosso ahead of Racing Point's Sergio Perez in 12th.

Kimi Raikkonen's 53-race streak of Q3 appearances stretching back to the 2016 Hungarian Grand Prix came to an end as he could only muster 13th for Alfa Romeo, while McLaren also came back down to earth with a bump after its impressive Bahrain showing as both Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris were knocked out in Q2, taking P14 and P15 respectively.

Lance Stroll suffered his seventh consecutive Q1 elimination as he struggled to make any significant late improvements for Racing Point, missing out on advancing by less than two-tenths of a second.

A power unit issue prevented Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi from getting out on-track in Q1, continuing the Italian's difficult start to the season. Giovinazzi will line up 19th on the grid on Sunday, only ahead of Alexander Albon, who missed qualifying as a result of his FP3 crash.

By virtue of Giovinazzi and Albon's no-shows, Williams was able to record its best qualifying result of the season as George Russell and Robert Kubica finished 17th and 18th, albeit still almost one second adrift of the rest of the pack.

Russell was unhappy with his best time, calling it a "rubbish, rubbish lap", but was nevertheless able to continue his run of qualifying wins over Kubica.

FORMULA 1 CHINESE GRAND PRIX - QUALIFYING RESULTS

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