Sports

Bottas keeps Mercedes on top in final Chinese GP practice

Bottas keeps Mercedes on top in final Chinese GP practice

The youngster was only minutes away from closing out the session when he lost control of his Toro Rosso and spun into the barriers, mangling his vehicle.

The Finn had a close call with team mate Antonio Giovinazzi with Raikkonen accusing the Italian of nearly hitting him on goal over the team-radio.

Sky F1 expert Simon Lazenby correctly predicted the Thai wouldn't be participating in qualifying later in the afternoon with his vehicle "disintegrated". 'I've been fighting the vehicle all weekend, ' he said. I think I was a little bit too greedy. He tried to regain control but ploughed into a wall near the pit lane, with parts of the vehicle scattered across the track.

"Looking on the bright side, we had a good FP2 and our race pace looks strong so I'm optimistic about tomorrow's race", he continued.

"I think we had a decent session".

Sebastian Vettel believes Ferrari still have "options" to compete for victory at the Chinese Grand Prix despite Mercedes' dominance of qualifying for the historic 1,000th race in Formula One.

Bottas, who won the season opener in Australia and leads defending champion Hamilton by one point in the standings, was the third different driver to take pole this season in three races.

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In the final minutes of Saturday's free practice 3, the notorious final turn in China, turn 16, caught the rookie in its snare.

Asked if Mercedes would try to use that strength to run and hide, Silver Arrows chief Toto Wolff said: "That's exactly what we want to do!" "The Ferraris squeezed it all out and were very fast again on the straights, but we were quicker in the corners and that was ultimately how we stayed ahead today", said Wolff.

Chinese fans waves a giant British flag to cheer on Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain during the qualifying session for the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai, China, Saturday, April 13, 2019.

Ferrari arrived in China as favourites after looking dominant in Bahrain, a race they would have won but for a late engine problem that hit Charles Leclerc's vehicle while leading, and with plenty of straight line speed.

The youngster's session ended early as he parked up in the garage with some 20 minutes to go so that Ferrari could carry out cooling checks.

"I'm ok - more angry and disappointed than anything else", Albon told Sky Sports.

Hamilton was second fastest in the morning but struggled in the afternoon. Obviously important if we can't beat them to be right behind them, buying us some options [for Sunday], hopefully. "Maybe some safety cars will help, but we'll see". He was only 15th fastest, half a second slower than his team-mate Carlos Sainz, a place above him.


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