Red Bull continued their dominance of qualifying on Saturday as they took first and second place on the grid for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix.
German Sebastian Vettel secured his third pole of the season by topping the qualifying session with a time of one minute 34.558 seconds for the 5.451 kilometres-long course.
Vettel, who last season finished second in the championship, will start the race alongside his teammate Mark Webber, who finished 0.248 seconds behind Vettel.
Red Bull have now secured poles for all four season races so far.
Vettel said that it was an unbelievable qualifying session. “I have been running behind Mark Webber for most of the weekend and then we changed something on the car.
“Thereafter I was really fast and we were the fastest. I think we managed to make sure that we did more things right than we did wrong the whole weekend and that was the difference.”
He said he was looking forward to the race on Sunday. “I believe there is a good chance of rain. Last year I managed to win here, so I would be happy to repeat that performance.” Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso will start from third place on the grid, alongside Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, who again was much faster than his teammate Michael Schumacher.
The seven-time world champion is starting from ninth on the grid, one place ahead of Adrian Sutil in a Force India.
Schumacher said that they had gone into the weekend optimistically. “But we have had a problem the whole weekend. Nico changed to the old aero dynamic system shortly before the qualifying session and he managed to be much faster, so I need to think about that.
“It would have been nice if I could have also qualified with a faster time.” Schumacher said he would have no problem if it rained during the race. “That is certainly a scenario that I would even welcome,” he said.
The top ten is completed by McLaren’s Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, who will be on the third row of the grid after posting the fifth and sixth fastest time respectively, while Felipe Massa in a Ferrari and Robert Kubica in a Renault will start from the fourth row.
The new teams again disappointed, as all six drivers finished more than two seconds behind the rest of the field to occupy the last six positions on the grid.
After three races, Massa leads the drivers’ standings with 39 points from Alonso and Vettel, who are two points behind.