Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Polesitter Bottas wary of Ferrari threat, despite Mercedes qualifying advantage

Polesitter Bottas wary of Ferrari threat, despite Mercedes qualifying advantage

The championship leader, a point clear of Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton after two races, set a benchmark time of one minute 33.330 seconds on Friday afternoon.

Hamilton, the most successful driver by far around the 5.4-km Shanghai International Circuit with five wins to date, ended the day fourth. "Not completely how I want it", he told Sky Sports F1.

The pole was a first for Bottas since Russian Federation last September and the seventh of his career. "Luckily it was good enough for pole", smiled the Finn, who pipped Hamilton by 0.023 seconds after setting a best time of one minute 31.547. While Mercedes appears to have the quicker auto over a single lap, Ferrari's superior straight-line speed could see Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc put pressure on their rivals on the kilometre-long back straight.

Wolff said that the extra speed carried in the corners was what kept Mercedes ahead of the Ferrari's in qualifying.

"Our auto looks really good in terms of downforce level, but we need to improve our straight-line speed".

"Valtteri has been stellar all weekend". It was eight tenths at one stage so to be as close as we are at the end is fantastic. Red Bull's Max Verstappen finished fifth.

Ferrari arrived in China as favourites after looking dominant in Bahrain, a race they would have won but for a late engine problem that hit Charles Leclerc's auto while leading, and with plenty of straight line speed.

"I think we have seen those variances between drivers even intra-team variances from race to race", Wolff said.

Of course we'll be starting from the pit lane, so we just need to shake up the strategy a bit, try to get past some cars.

Team-mate Gasly was held up behind him and the Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were also caught out.

In this photo provided by Cheung Yuk Ling, Toro Rosso driver Alexander Albon of Thailand crashes his vehicle during the third practice session for the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai, China, Saturday, April 13, 2019.

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

"We made it to the top of the timesheets but it is always very hard to find a good balance through an entire lap on this track", said Bottas. It was a big one and silly one. "As a result of the accident, we are changing the PU and sending the one that was in the vehicle at the time of the crash back to Sakura for a full check".

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