SHANGHAI, China – Valtteri Bottas will be on pole for the 2019 Chinese F1 GP with team-mate Lewis Hamilton a notch behind him. The race is being punted as the 1000th GP but Wheel24 is scoffing that as at least three different racing styles were involved in its early meetings.Race data shows it as Bottas’ first pole since the Russian GP back in September 2018 and the seventh of his career.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and his 21-year-old rookie team mate Charles Leclerc will fill the next two slots with Vettel having the slight advantage.
Bottas won the season-opener in Australia and leads defending champion Hamilton by one point in the standings thanks to a new kink in the race rules. He is the third driver to take a 2019 pole in three races.
Bottas was reported by Reuters after the session as saying of his 00min0.023 advantage: “The lap was OK, not completely how I wanted. Luckily it was good enough for pole. Lewis also managed to improve a lot during qualifying – it was super-close.”
Bottas logged a lap time of 01min31.547.
HAMILTON: ‘I KEPT PUSHING’
Hamilton was reported as ”sounding happy” with his performance but bear in mind that he has poled six times in Shanghai. He told the media at the track: “I didn’t give up, I kept pushing right to the end. Big congratulations to Valtteri, he’s been stellar all weekend and I’ve been struggling and fighting the car.”
The top 10 positions, Reuters reported, went two-by-two in team order, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly fifth and sixth ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg – the Australian only 0.004sec ahead.
GRID POSITIONS FOR THE 2019 SHANGHAI FORMULA 1 GP