Lance Stroll had a very pleasing third practice, finishing eighth in his Williams, and opted to try to piggyback on that by heading out first for qualifying.
Romain Grosjean had a bad start, getting a puncture on the straight, spinning off track, bringing out the yellow flags and generally getting in the way of Lewis Hamilton, attempting to record a time.
Chinese Grand Prix
China extends race deal for three more years, says F1
29/09/2017 AT 08:00
It didn’t stop the Mercedes from grabbing top spot, though – although he was immediately challenged by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Fernando Alonso began his day as he will doubtless continue the weekend – complaining about his McLaren. “I am pushing. Like an ANIMAL,” he declared. It worked, though.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had an awful start, experiencing some kind of problem with his car in every flying lap he tried, and eventually falling into the drop zone.
Then Antonio Giovinazzi – already through to Q2 - took his final corner too quickly and ended up in the barrier with his Sauber in bits.
Those following him on track in an effort to clock a time – including Haas’s Grosjean – were not impressed.
Also spotted – low-flying birds.
OUT: Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren), Romain Grosjean (Haas), Jolyon Palmer (Renault), Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Esteban Ocon (Force India)


Vettel set the pace once again – but Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas started to close in on the top spots, slotting into third, just ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn made a spectacular end to Q2, though, breaking the lap record and going through in top spot.
The drama here was at the back of the pack – all bunched together closely in terms of time before the chequered flag. It was Stroll who scraped into the top ten by a sliver, bumping Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz out.
OUT: Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso), Kevin Magnussen (Haas), Fernando Alonso (McLaren), Marcus Ericsson (Sauber), Antonio Giovinazzi (Sauber)


The Hamilton-Vettel duel really began to heat up, with the Brit having the edge to take provisional pole. He went even quicker as the session finished, under pressure from both Ferraris, and came through to take his sixth pole position in a row.
He'll start alongside Vettel, who pipped Bottas by a thousandth of a second to begin on the front row.
GRID: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull), Felipe Massa (Williams), Nico Hulkenberg (Renault), Sergio Perez (Force India), Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso), Lance Stroll (Williams).


Mercedes and Ferrari at the front, but Max Verstappen starting from the back of the grid – in conditions that are likely to be wet. This is going to be fun.


That early departure for Verstappen was a surprise – Red Bull haven’t offered very much so far this weekend, although Daniel Ricciardo made a bright start to Q3 when there was no traffic and starts fifth, albeit a long way behind Mercedes and Ferrari.


Kimi Raikkonen won’t want to be overshadowed, particularly now he’s written his name in the Shanghai record books.


Hamilton - Vettel - Raikkonen
Chinese Grand Prix
Chinese Grand Prix secures new F1 deal
29/09/2017 AT 04:17
Chinese Grand Prix
F1 in new push to boost Chinese interest
05/07/2017 AT 08:26