Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton beat Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso to pole position at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Hamilton was nearly 0.3 seconds quicker than Raikkonen as he took his first pole position for his new Mercedes team.
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel was ninth as team-mate Mark Webber missed the top 10 shoot-out after a fuel issue.
The Australian stopped out on track in second qualifying, apparently having run out of fuel, and was unable to make it into the top 10 shoot-out, ending up 14th.
He will be sent to the back of the grid unless the car has enough fuel in it to provide a one-litre sample as well as the amount of fuel required to get it back to the pits from where it stopped.
Team principal Christian Horner said: “We saw a big drop in collector pressure which either means there is not enough fuel in the car or there is a problem with the fuel pump. So there is either a problem with the car or the fuel ‘bowser’, which puts the fuel into the car.”
Lotus driver Romain Grosjean was sixth ahead of the impressive Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso and McLaren’s Jenson Button, who like Vettel used ‘medium’ tyres in final qualifying in an attempt to gain an advantage in the race.
The drivers ahead of Button and Vettel will all have to pit relatively early to change the fragile ‘soft’ tyres while the ‘mediums’ will last around 20 laps.
But Vettel and Button will have to use the ‘softs’ later in the race.