The first eventful section of Q1 came after Haas’ Romain Grosjean spun on the start/finish straight, narrowly avoiding the barriers. The Frenchman hit the curb, and spun across the track.
“You have a puncture,” came the message from the pit wall.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen also faced problems, as “[he] hear[d] something not right with the engine“. He then came into the pits, to try and get the problem sorted, and was called in for the weigh-bridge. With six minutes to go, the Dutchman had not yet set a time. However, Verstappen was soon out, with Red Bull reporting that they thought they had fixed the issue.
However, a few minutes later, Verstappen reported he had the “same problem“, and was advised to go back into mode 12, as he set the 17th fastest time.
“Carry on Max” came the message from the pit wall, as the Dutchman continued, unable to get himself out of Q1. It was later discovered that his car was suffering from an engine software problem.
Williams’ Lance Stroll was the surprise of the session, setting the 5th fastest time, as we saw a calmer driving style from the young Canadian than in Australia.
Nearing the finish of Q1, as drivers were completing their final laps, Sauber’s Antonio Giovinazzi crashed into the barrier going into the final straight. The Italian spun across the track, and hit the tyre wall, which in turn meant that other drivers such as Grosjean, Verstappen and Renault’s Jolyon Palmer were forced to lift off, unable to get out of Q1.
Grosjean and Palmer were under investigation going into Q2 for failing to slow down under the yellow flags following Giovinazzi’s crash, but were not penalised.
OUT IN Q1:
16) Stoffel Vandoorne – McLaren
17) Romain Grosjean – Haas
18) Jolyon Palmer – Renault
19) Max Verstappen – Red Bull
20) Esteban Ocon – Force India
Q2 was less eventful than Q1, and started with reports of wind picking up, which could affect the drivers laps.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest time of a 1:32.181, breaking the lap record for Shanghai, and the surprise of the session was again Lance Stroll, as the Canadian set a 10th fastest time, getting himself into Q3.
OUT IN Q2:
11) Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso
12) Kevin Magnussen – Haas
13) Fernando Alonso – McLaren
14) Marcus Ericsson – Sauber
15) Antonio Giovinazzi – Sauber
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton will start the 2017 Chinese Grand Prix from pole position, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel joining him on the front row. 1/1000th of a second behind the German finished Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas, followed by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
The session began with Hamilton setting the fastest time, with the Ferrari’s unable to match.
As drivers set their final laps of Qualifying, there was some hope that Ferrari could snatch pole away from Hamilton, however they were unable to, as the Brit starts 1st.
This was Mercedes’ 75th pole position out of the last 100 races.