Mercedes aren’t used to being second best, but that’s exactly what they were in qualifying. Toto Wolff and the rest of the team were left scratching their head as to why they were half a second slower than the Ferrari drivers.
A Dominant Ferrari
A Ferrari 1-2 never looked in doubt throughout the day, with the only question being which one of their drivers was going to be on top. In the end it was Vettel who was just around a tenth of a second faster than Raikkonen.
As far as results go, it went as many qualifying times do with the three fastest teams lining up behind each other with Mercedes in 3rd and 4th, and Red Bull in 5th and 6th. Red Bull have shown that they haven’t really got the qualifying pace, but they will be hoping for a race that doesn’t have the same errors as in recent weeks.
Should Be Some Great Overtakes
There is hope for a great race at the Shanghai International Circuit is one of the best on the calendar for overtaking. It won’t be an easy race for Ferrari and they will be under constant attack throughout the race. The first corner will be a huge one as Ferrari will be hoping that Raikkonen can provide protection to his teammate throughout the race.
It’s a unique track as it has long corners and long straights that ask a different set of questions than a lot of other races. Those questions gave qualifying a totally different look to the results table as Torro Rosso had a poor time after such a great race in Bahrain, finishing in 15 and 17. In contrast, it gave hope to the struggling Force India with Sergio Perez in 8th.
A Few Teams Struggled in the Cold
Another who had a very disappointing time were McLaren, as Alonso and Vandoorne finished in 13th and 14th respectively. They are one of a few teams who will desperately trying to work out why they were so slow, and what they can do about it during the race. Mercedes, McLaren, Haas and Torro Rosso will be hoping for a much quicker race.
The temperature during qualifying was very cold and getting heat into the tyres was a big issue. The weather for the race will be a lot warmer and that could change everything when it comes to the pace that the different teams have shown.
Hamilton has been poor all weekend and looks like a man who is struggling to overcome a Ferrari team that have been impressive so far this season. There is a chance to put it right, however, and there will be a lot of teams who will be hoping that a different set of tyres under a different temperature will hold the key to improvement in speed.
Another Win For Vettel?
Ferrari though will be hoping it doesn’t make a difference. If they have the dominance of pace that they showed in qualifying, then it looks as though Vettel will be celebrating a 3rd consecutive win to start the season.