Chinese Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton beat Sebastian Vettel in the battle for pole position for the second time this season.
The Brit had not led any session during the day until Q3, where he set the pace immediately in the first runs and improved to a lap-record beating time of 1:31.678.
Sebastian Vettel was the FP3 pacesetter and looked to the be the bet for pole, but he could not match Hamilton’s pace and only just pipped Valtteri Bottas to the front row by a single thousandth of a second.
Kimi Raikkonen was also a contender but was left confused when his Ferrari started handling differently when Q3 started. He was fourth fastest.
Red Bull were locked in a close battle with Williams, but Daniel Ricciardo would be fighting his corner alone when Max Verstappen suffered an engine software issue early in the session and only had one run at the end of Q1 to get himself out of the bottom five.
The issue was recurring, however, and he found himself qualifying just 19th on the grid.
Ricciardo managed to get the better of Felipe Massa for fifth, while Lance Stroll made it into Q3 for the first time in tenth.
Nico Hulkenberg was seventh as Sergio Perez edged out Daniil Kvyat for eighth by less than two hundredths of a second.
Carlos Sainz missed out on a spot in Q3 by just a tenth of a second in 11th ahead of Kevin Magnussen and Fernando Alonso. Marcus Ericsson was 14th.
Antonio Giovinazzi crashed as the chequered flag fell in Q1, ironically ensuring he technically progressed to Q2.
The Italian spun at the final corner, and was unable to stop before reaching the tyre barrier, doing significant damage to his Sauber.
Romain Grosjean was affected by Giovinazzi’s spin; having had a similar moment at the final corner earlier in the session, he could not improve on his position so starts 17th.
Stoffel Vandoorne was 16th with Jolyon Palmer 18th, despite running inside the top ten in FP3. Esteban Ocon struggled with set up and could not progress past 20th and last.