Lewis Hamilton on pole in China (2008 Chinese Grand Prix qualifying)

A wink and a smile: scored his seventh pole position of 2008

A wink and a smile: Lewis Hamilton scored his seventh pole position of 2008

Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix after leading every practice and qualifying session in Shanghai bar one.

But with Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa and the ‘third Ferrari’ of Fernando Alonso right behind him he will be under huge pressure at the start.

Meanwhile Robert Kubica failed to qualifying inside the top ten, a major blow to his already slim championship hopes.

Part one

Hamilton carried his form from practice into qualifying and with a single lap set a time quicker than anyone else by half a second up to that point. Team mate Heikki Kovalainen eventually improved to second, one tenth slower than Hamilton, but Massa remained four tenths adrift and.

Meanwhile the other title rival – Kubica – was visibly struggling, and only made it into Q2 by 0.228s have languished in the bottom five for much of the session.

Kubica’s late improvement knocked David Coulthard into the drop zone, but Rubens Barrichello got his Honda in Q2 by less than a tenth of a second. But Coulthard fumed at Nick Heidfeld afterwards, claiming the BMW driver had delayed him.

Bottom five drivers’ times for part one

16. David Coulthard 1’36.731
17. Kazuki Nakajima 1’36.863
18. Jenson Button 1’37.053
19. Adrian Sutil 1’37.730
20. Giancarlo Fisichella 1’37.739

Part two

While the Ferraris put on the medium compound option tyres and went fastest – Massa with a 1’35.135 – Hamilton stayed on the harder tyres and could only manage fifth, 0.3s slower. He did a second run, switching to the medium tyres. That final lap saw him improve to a 1’34.947, putting him top of the times.

But Kubica was in trouble once again and this time there was no late reprieve – he could only manage 12th while Heidfeld made it into the final ten.

Barrichello managed 14th ahead of Rosberg, and both the Toyotas were also eliminated.

Bottom five drivers’ times for part two

11. Nelson Piquet Jnr 1’35.722
12. Robnert Kubica 1’35.814
13. Timo Glock 1’35.937
14. Rubens Barrichello 1’36.079
15. Nico Rosberg 1’36.210

Part three

Hamilton’s first lap in Q3 was spoiled by a mistake in the middle sector. It left him fifth, 0.01s slower than Massa, but 0.6s slower than his team mate, who was quickest.

But he hit back on his second lap, beating Raikkonen by 0.3s to claim the 13th pole position of his career.

Raikkonen carried huge speed through the final corner to claim second and out-qualify Massa for the second race in a row. Kovalainen had a poor final lap, falling from first to fifth behind Alonso. Mark Webber took sixth, but will have a ten-place penalty having changed his engine.

Top ten drivers’ times for part three

1. Lewis Hamilton 1’36.303
2. Kimi Raikkonen 1’36.645
3. Felipe Massa 1’36.889
4. Fernando Alonso 1’36.927
5. Heikki Kovalainen 1’36.930
6. Mark Webber 1’37.083
7. Nick Heidfeld 1’37.201
8. Sebastian Vettel 1’37.685
9. Jarno Trulli 1’37.934
10. Sebastien Bourdais 1’38.885

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41 comments on Lewis Hamilton on pole in China (2008 Chinese Grand Prix qualifying)

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  1. Rahzam said on 18th October 2008, 8:34

    ‘third Ferrari’ of Fernando Alonso

    I like it.

  2. Lewis might be on pole, but he did not seem happy with the result.

  3. audiq7 said on 18th October 2008, 8:48

    Same top four position on the grid as on 2007
    1- Hamilton
    2- Raikkonen
    3- Massa
    4- Alonso

    So can we expect same race result as last year ?
    1- Raikkonen
    2- Alonso
    3- Massa

  4. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th October 2008, 8:50

    Rahzam – I had in my mind the ’82 Italian Grand Prix, when Rene Arnoux (Renault) won from the Ferraris of Patrick Tambay and Mario Andretti. As Arnoux was joining Ferrari the following year, one Italian newspaper ran the headline “Ferrari 1-2-3!”. Slightly different circumstances today, but perhaps a similar sentiment…

    Audiq – well spotted!

  5. good point rahzam – 3rd ferrari – but how come that renault has picked up so much speed ? – what chance raikonnen t boning hami at turn one??? – makes for an interesting breakfast show though – roll on tomorrow

  6. Violet said on 18th October 2008, 8:55

    it isn’t good for Kubica :/
    i hope that Hamilton won’t won.
    sorry for my english, i’m learning

  7. Magnus said on 18th October 2008, 9:10

    Pretty impressive lap by Hamilton (unless he’s fuelled light and the first lap was just really really bad…), less impressive by Kovalainen (how is he gonna influence the championship stuck behind Alonso?)

    Although this is Hamilton in the penultimate race of the season we’re talking so I have high hopes for a repeat of last week’s start leaving the track free for Alonso to do a hat trick. ;)

  8. SmASh0r said on 18th October 2008, 9:14

    Well done Lewis for getting on pole. It is a shame he has having to do it all on his own his Heiki yet again under performing whilest Massa has a very strong team mate in Kimi.

    Fingers crossed for a Lewis win tomorrow!

  9. I missed the qualifying; had a class. But given the times, I can draw the following conclusions

    1. Even after a mistake in the first lap; he was only 0.01s slower than Massa. This means he is pretty much (read 3-4 laps) lighter than Massa. His final time is 0.586s faster than Massa; this vindicates my point.

    2. Massa-Alonso-Kova are separated by 0.041s, times seem similar to Japan.(There it was Kova-Alonso-Massa)..Massa should be heaviest of all 3

    3.The 3-tenths between Hamilton and Raikkonen can be split up as (0.1 – fuel gap(possibly 1 lap); 0.2-Hamilton’s better driving that Raikkonen)

    I guess this is Hamilton’s race unless Kimi gets past him at the first corner.

  10. Hamilton on pole and 3 very angry drivers behind him.
    hehe

  11. I missed the qualifying; had a class. But given the times, I can draw the following conclusions

    1. Even after a mistake in the first lap; he was only 0.01s slower than Massa. This means he is pretty much (read 3-4 laps) lighter than Massa. His final time is 0.586s faster than Massa; this vindicates my point.

    2. Massa-Alonso-Kova are separated by 0.041s, times seem similar to Japan.(There it was Kova-Alonso-Massa)..Massa should be heaviest of all 3

    3.The 3-tenths between Hamilton and Raikkonen can be split up as (0.1 – fuel gap(possibly 1 lap); 0.2-Hamilton’s better driving that Raikkonen)

    I guess this is Hamilton’s race unless Kimi gets past him at the first corner.

  12. Time differences between Q2 & Q3 and estimated 1st pit Stop ( )

    L Hamilton 1,356 (22)
    K Raikkonen 1,290 (18)
    F Massa 1,754 (23)
    F Alonso 1,466 (23)
    H Kovalainen 1,714 (23)

    So, my personal gess is Massa is light but he has struggled in Q3. If fact he was not very happy after the qualy and a little bit nervous (We have to work on the car… -in park fermé, I think)

    So, not very much issues with fuel load than Ferraris are lighter than McLarens. Nice start tomorrow!!!!!

    Last thing, or Bourdais has done a very bad Q3 or tomorrow he will be “The Trully train” (3,407 Secs difference between Q2 and Q3)

    Last thing. My gess for tomorrow is Lewis will have his head cold so, probably we will see Kimi in front, at least for the first stint. Massa could be a real danger for Lewis, I will not be very surprised if Massa and Lewis go out.

    If Massa is lighter, Fernando will not have any chance to be there, he will not be able to overtake Felipe (who is in the clean side)

    Great race for tomorrow!!!!

  13. Samuel said on 18th October 2008, 11:17

    It may be just me, but I find the alussion to Renault’s Alonso as the “third Ferrari” a bit childish and hardly compatible with the claimed impartiality of this site.

    Honestly, didn’t see it coming.

  14. The headline on ITV F1 says ‘Massa looks for race turnaround’. Not sure if he’s talking about his form/car or the fact that the stewards will reverse the result in his favour again!

  15. Atticus said on 18th October 2008, 11:27

    i dont think massa is heavier either. he’s struggling to find his pace, he himself said this. he’s simply slower than hamilton so i think he’s going to finish third (alonso is half a second slower than the two top teams – these are his words once again, and kovalainen hasn’t done well either).

    as for raikkonen, i heard he was using a different car setup since belgium – and since then he’s performing quite well taking a look on his pace (not his results hehe, he’s soo unlucky). so i think he will be able to get past lewis either at the first corner, or at the pitstops.

    1-raikkonen
    2-hamilton
    3-massa

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