Chinese GP: Bottas clinches pole as Mercedes lockout front row in qualifying

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Valtteri Bottas became the third different polesitter in three races as he beat Lewis Hamilton to P1 in Chinese Grand Prix qualifying.

The Finn has had the edge throughout the weekend and when it mattered he had just enough to beat his Mercedes teammate by 0.023s in a nip and tuck fight.

Ferrari had no answer to the pace of the Silver Arrows as Sebastian Vettel was three-tenths back in third, just beating his teammate Charles Leclerc by 0.017s as the Monegasque claimed fourth.

Red Bull can be quite satisfied with Max Verstappen only half a second off pole in fifth, although in the melee to post a final lap, the Dutchman wouldn't cross the start/finish line before the chequered flag fell.

Behind him, Pierre Gasly finally brought himself up to the front in sixth in the second RB15, albeit eight-tenths further back.

Also enjoying their first Q3 of the year were Renault as Daniel Ricciardo pipped teammate Nico Hulkenberg by 0.004s into seventh to lead the midfield.

Both Haas cars completed the top 10 as Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean also got caught out by the traffic and failed to set a time as a result.

Daniil Kvyat just missed out on Q3 in P11 for Toro Rosso with Sergio Perez a solid 12th for Racing Point.

Kimi Raikkonen reported a loss of power down the straight in his Alfa Romeo as he dropped to 13th.

The biggest disappointment was McLaren as, after having both cars in the top 10 in Bahrain, Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris slumped to the back of the midfield in 14th and 15th respectively.

In Q1, the battle became simply not to be only midfield runner to join Williams in the knock out zone as Alex Albon and Antonio Giovinazzi both failed to take part.

Albon's car remained unrepaired after his big crash in final practice with Giovinazzi appearing to suffer another engine problem in his Alfa Romeo.

Ultimately, it would be Lance Stroll who couldn't promote himself into Q2 in 16th in the Racing Point.

In the private Williams fight, George Russell would lead teammate Robert Kubica by just 0.028s, but still a second off the rest of the field.

Full results from qualifying can be seen below: