SHANGHAI – Lewis Hamilton romped to his third Formula One pole position of the season with a sublime performance in a rain-drenched qualifying session at the Shanghai Int’l Circuit on Saturday afternoon.
The Mercedes star, who now has more poles than any other British driver, was more than half a second quicker than Daniel Ricciardo, with the Australian’s Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel pipping the spinning Mercedes of Nico Rosberg ford third.
Hamilton set the pace with a lap of 1:54.348 during Q3, then trimmed that to 1:53.860 to easily earn the pole. As Rosberg struggled and later spun at turn 16 trying to go faster than his initial 1:55.143s, first Vettel with 1:54.981 and then 1:54.960, and then Ricciardo with 1:54.864s and then 1:54.455 moved ahead of the second Silver Arrow.
Behind them a late improvement moved Fernando Alonso to a distant fifth for Ferrari as Felipe Massa put his Williams ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas. That bumped Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India down to eighth as Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso jumped Romain Grosjean’s significantly improved Lotus to complete the top 10 starting positions.
Former World Champions Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button followed in 11th and 12th, with Daniil Kvyat, Adrian Sutil and Kevin Magnussen following.