Hamilton on pole for Mercedes in wet China

Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:10am EDT
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By Abhishek Takle

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton will line up on pole position for Sunday's Chinese Formula One Grand Prix after putting in a storming lap in treacherous conditions to maintain Mercedes' qualifying stranglehold.

The Briton's best time of one minute 53.860 seconds through rain and spray was a hefty 0.595 of a second quicker than Red Bull's Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who joined him on the front row.

"It is so slippery out there, the conditions - trying to find the grip, not making mistakes on your lap and really putting it together," said Hamilton, who will be chasing his third win in a row on Sunday.

"It was a tough session. I really enjoyed it. The car was feeling great. I hope that we can follow through tomorrow."

It was Hamilton's third pole in four races this season and 34th of his F1 career, pushing the 29-year-old past the late Jim Clark's British record that he equaled in Malaysia last month.

He is now fourth on the all-time pole list led by Michael Schumacher with 68.

Red Bull's quadruple Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel was third fastest, but more than a second slower than Hamilton and outqualified by team mate Ricciardo for the third time in four races.

Championship leader Nico Rosberg, who had been on pole in the previous Bahrain Grand Prix, completed the second row for Mercedes after running wide on his second lap and then spinning on his final flying lap.   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain gestures while celebrating after taking pole position at the qualifying session of the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit, April 19, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Barria