Vettel comfortably quickest during final practice in China

Esther Moore
April 14, 2018

Mercedes has vowed to go all-out for victory in Shanghai, where they won five of the last six, after Vettel stunned the champions with wins in the young season's two earlier races in Australia and Bahrain. But you have to give Vettel credit, he just knows when to perform and that's why he's a four-time world champion.

The two Ferrari drivers both had spells on top before the halfway point of the one-hour session, with Vettel holding the advantage at that point on a 1m33.689s.

Seasoned F1 fans have seen an terrible lot over the years in the paddock.

It was a good effort by the Australian, though, and particularly his team after he suffered a major engine failure in the closing minutes of final practice, which mean he missed his qualifying simulation run. Max Verstappen will start from the No. 5 spot and teammate Daniel Ricciardo will start in the sixth position.

A light rain coated the track in the final minutes of the second session.

It was chilly and overcast on the track, and even more gloomy in the Red Bull garage, where Daniel Ricciardo's vehicle was lacking a gearbox.

Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was seventh, ahead of Force India's Sergio Perez, the second Renault of Carlos Sainz and Romain Grosjean's Haas, the Frenchman's team-mate Kevin Magnussen surprisingly missing out on Q3 and taking 11th despite continuing his strong start to the season until it mattered.

Reigning champions Mercedes were favorites to again be the dominant team coming into the new season, but are yet to win a race.

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"Difficult day", said Hamilton afterwards.

Vettel said: "I was happy with the whole lap, not just the last sector".

"I didn't know what the others were doing, but I was quite sure about getting the pole because I think I was one of the last cars and so could profit from track evolution." .

"It's a lot hotter tomorrow so it will be a challenge to see whether or not we can keep up with them".

"Honestly I can't tell you if we can challenge".

This is in the top three of the circuits for overtaking but the Ferraris are faster on the straights.

Kevin Magnussen's Haas was sixth quickest, about where the team is now expected to be after a strong start to the season, but the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were seventh and eighth just a day after technical director Andrew Green explained that the vehicle had a fundamental imbalance issue.

"I lost the rear of the auto on my first lap so I was a bit beaten up, but I know if I get a tidy lap and have a bit of magic I could push it".

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