Chinese GP qualifying as it happened

Text and video highlights of qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix from a wet Shanghai, where Lewis Hamilton has taken pole.

19 April 2014 Last updated at 03:36

Get involved

To get involved contact us in any of the following ways

  • Send us a text: 81111
  • Twitter:#bbcf1

As it happened

  1. 09:20: 
    Drivers celebrating

    So an interesting race in prospect tomorrow when Lewis Hamilton aims to continue his strong start by claiming a third win of the season.

    However, the Red Bull duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel will be waiting to pounce on any error. And then, of course, there is his Mercedes team-mate, Nico Rosberg, who will surely want to gain revenge for losing out to Hamilton in Bahrain last time out.

    We will be back with live text commentary from 07:00 BST tomorrow for all the build-up to the race, with live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live from 07:35 BST. Don't forget to catch highlights of today's qualifying on BBC One at 13:15 BST today and join me again tomorrow. Bye for now.

  2. 09:15: 
    Ayrton Senna

    It was more fantastic mastery of the conditions by Lewis Hamilton, proving he is just as much a wet weather maestro as his idol Ayrton Senna.

    It is the 20th anniversary of the three-time world champion's death on 1 May and we will be honouring it across the BBC on the day, with tributes and features here on the BBC Sport website and 5 live's special show in the evening.

    Get involved

    Natalie White: Lewis Hamilton is back to his best!

    Boomish: I hope it's good race for Williams tomorrow - they could have a good battle with Red Bull maybe even a podium.

    Andrew Leason: Way to go Lewis! Pole position yet again. Starting to turn this into a romp.

    Richard Chung: Good to see Williams have sorted the issues that limited performance in the rain previously. Shows how the team has improved overall

  4. 09:00: 

    While everything is looking rosy for Lewis Hamilton, things are not going so well for his former McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, who qualified 12th. He has finished in the top five in China in every race since 2009, including winning it in 2010, but he has it all to do if he is to extend that record tomorrow.

  5. 08:56: 
    Lewis Hamilton celebrating.

    Mercedes: Incredible! Lewis breaks the record for most pole positions for a British driver ever!!

  6. 08:54: 
    Social media
    Formula 1

    If you want to relive today's action through photos then check out the gallery on the BBC Sport Facebook page.

  7. 08:49: 
    Kimi Raikkonen

    The big surprise in qualifying was Kimi Raikkonen's failure to make it into the top 10. With his Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso qualifying fifth it marks the first time in his last nine appearances at the Chinese Grand Prix that the Finn has been outqualified by his team-mate.

  8. 08:43: 
    Fast fact

    Lewis Hamilton is a two-time Chinese Grand Prix winner (2008 and 2011) and has finished on the podium in each of the last four seasons. Red Bull, meanwhile, have not had a podium finish since 2011.

  9. 08:39: 

    Andrew Benson's report on Lewis Hamilton's dominant qualifying performance is online and don't forget to keep an eye on the BBC Sport website from 10:00 BST for qualifying highlights.

    Get involved

    Andrew Leason: Way to go Lewis! pole position yet again... starting to turn this into a romp.

  11. 08:34: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    For Lewis Hamilton, pole gives the Briton the ideal chance to claim a first Chinese Grand Prix victory since 2011 and also record a third successive race win for the first time in his career.

  12. 08:27: 

    After a far from ideal start to the season for Sebastian Vettel, third on the grid will surely have the German sporting a grin this evening, especially because the Shanghai International Circuit is one that he has not managed to perform well on in qualifying in recent years. Last year he started ninth and in 2012 he was 11th on the grid.

  13. 08:21: 

    Sebastian Vettel, who will start tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix from third on the grid: "I think we are in the best position we have been all season to give Mercedes a hard time tomorrow because we managed to split them up."

  14. 08:19: 

    Mercedes: Four poles from four races for Mercedes! Awesome stuff!!

  15. 08:17: 

    Daniel Ricciardo, who will start second on the grid in tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix: "I think it was very pleasing at the end but I struggled at the beginning with the conditions."

  16. 08:15: 
    Fast fact
    Daniel Ricciardo

    Daniel Ricciardo is the only driver other than the Mercedes pair of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton to have been in the top five in Q3 at every race this year. In his two previous appearances in Shanghai, with former team Toro Rosso, he finished in the same position he has qualified (17th in 2012 and seventh in 2013).

    Get involved

    Bwatete Enock: Lewis Hamilton Brilliant... Three pole positions this year! Just in your own world.

    Rich Carey: Hamilton was on a different level today - fair play.

    Reece Young: How has Lewis Hamilton found that much time? Amazing lap. Rosberg cracked under pressure.

    Rachel T: Yes, yes, YES. British record of pole positions for the majestic Lewis Hamilton.

  18. 08:13: 

    More from Lewis Hamilton: "I was told it was going to be a good day tomorrow. It is always hazy here so you don't know what will happen with the weather. I hope it is a dry race, I'd see these guys [Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel] a little closer in the wet."

  19. 08:12: 

    Lewis Hamilton, who will start tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix on pole: "Definitely the most satisfaction is getting this result when it is raining. It was so slippery out there, trying to find the grip and not make mistakes. It was a tough session, but the car was feeling great. There are some things that can be improved on but it has put us in a good position for the race."

  20. 08:09: 

    Pleasingly for Red Bull is that both their drivers have qualified in the top three for the first time this season. Perhaps they are, as Daniel Ricciardo suggested, coming back...

  21. 08:07: 
    Fast fact

    Lewis Hamilton's pole moves him ahead of Jim Clark and Alain Prost in the all-time qualifying stats to fourth overall, on 34 career poles.

  22. 08:06: 
    Chinese GP Hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton takes his third pole position of this season as he produces a dominant display in qualifying, finishing half a second quicker than Daniel Ricciardo and more than a second quicker than his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

  23. 08:04: 
    The TOP 10

    1) Hamilton 2) Ricciardo 3) Vettel 4) Rosberg 5) Alonso 6) Massa 7) Bottas 8) Hulkenberg 9) Vergne 10) Grosjean

  24. 08:01: 

    Lewis Hamilton takes pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix.

  25. 08:00: 

    Nico Rosberg spins coming out of Turn 14 and the session is red flagged.

  26. 08:00: 

    Lewis Hamilton keeps finding that little extra when it looks like a rival might mount a challenge for first. Daniel Ricciardo is fastest of all through the first sector but Hamilton subsequently goes even better and improves to 1:53.860.

  27. 07:56: 

    After recording the ninth best time on full wet tyres, Nico Hulkenberg heads back in, bolts on a new set of intermediates and swiftly returns to the circuit. Still Lewis Hamilton leads the way, ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg.

  28. 07:53: 

    Sebastian Vettel produces a trouble-free flying lap to set the benchmark with 1:54.981 but Lewis Hamilton is looking pretty untouchable at the moment as he leaps to the top soon after with 1:54.348, sixth tenths faster than Vettel.

  29. 07:50: 

    BBC pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "The rain is intensifying as I speak. The track conditions are just going to get worse and worse as this session goes on. Nico Hulkenberg has just gone past me on the full wet tyres."

  30. 07:48: 

    Some big causalities in Q2 with Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button failing to make it through to the top-10 shootout. Sebastian Vettel is straight out for Red Bull as the final part of qualifying gets under way.

  31. 07:46: 
    Team radio

    Nico Hulkenberg's race engineer: "I think that it's the rain that intensified that's managed to get us through."

    Get involved

    CK Chandu: Both McLarens and Kimi are out of Q3! Disappointing!

    Wendy Pankhurst: So Button, Raikkonen & Magnussen out of Q3. Another bad day for McLaren.

  33. 07:44: 

    1) Hamilton 2) Vettel 3) Rosberg 4) Ricciardo 5) Alonso 6) Bottas 7) Grosjean 8) Vergne 9) Massa 10) Hulkenberg

  34. 07:43: 

    11) Raikkonen 12) Button 13) Kvyat 14) Sutil 15) Magnussen 16) Perez

  35. 07:42: 

    Lewis Hamilton finishes fastest in the second part of qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.

  36. 07:40: 

    Lewis Hamilton improves further with 1:54.029 while Jean-Eric Vergne and Nico Hulkenberg both leap out of the drop zone. Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button in trouble at the moment...

  37. 07:39: 

    Into the final two minutes of this second part of qualifying and Lewis Hamilton is still the pacesetter with 1:54.200, 0.299s fastest than Sebastian Vettel. Kevin Magnussen, Adrian Sutil, Jean-Eric Vergne, Nico Hulkenberg, Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez are in danger at the moment.

  38. 07:37: 

    BBC pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "Fernando Alonso is the first of the front runners to go back out on new inters - I wondered why they were so quick to bring him in. We are getting a bit more drizzle now, I don't know if it will affect conditions on the track that much but if it gets any heavier it certainly will."

    Get involved

    Laura Tansley: Poor Max Chilton I wouldn't want a disgruntled Maldonado behind me on the grid tomorrow.

    Rian Hoskins: Bet many fans and Nico Hulkenberg in particular are happy that he didn't go to Lotus now. Maldonado is having a dreadful season.

  40. 07:34: 

    Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez have all had brief runs off the track which has hampered their attempts at quick laps. Massa is currently 15th and needs to improve by more than a second to avoid being eliminated.

  41. 07:32: 
    Chinese GP

    Adrian Sutil, first back out on the circuit, clocks 1:58.188 but his time is quickly bettered by Lewis Hamilton, who shaves almost four seconds off it with 1:54.200. His team-mate Nico Rosberg, pictured, is second fastest.

    Get involved

    Ash Snooker: My prediction is: 1st. Nico Rosberg 2nd. Lewis Hamilton 3rd. Felipe Massa

    Kristian Tang: 1. Lewis Hamilton; 2. Nico Rosberg; 3. Sebastian Vettel.

    Luke Blakeley: Here's hoping Jenson Button can have a great qualifying session today!

  43. 07:27: 

    The second part of qualifying is under way, the rain has stopped and most drivers are opting for intermediate tyres.

  44. 07:25: 

    1) Hamilton 2) Hulkenberg 3) Vettel 4) Rosberg 5) Bottas 6) Ricciardo 7) Massa 8) Alonso 9) Kvyat 10) Magnussen

    11) Vergne 12) Button 13) Sutil 14) Raikkonen 15) Perez 16) Grosjean

  45. 07:21: 

    17) Gutierrez 18) Kobayashi 19) Bianchi 20) Ericsson 21) Chilton

    Not classified: Maldonado

  46. 07:20: 

    Lewis Hamilton finishes fastest in the first part of qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.

  47. 07:18: 

    Lewis Hamilton improves to 1:55.516 to displace Sebastian Vettel at the top while at the other end, Jean-Eric Vergne briefly dips into the drop zone but improves his best time to drop Esteban Gutierrez back into trouble.

  48. 07:16: 
    Fast fact

    Sebastian Vettel is a three-time polesitter on this track (2009-11) but has not started in the top eight in either of the last two Chinese GPs. He arrived in Shanghai this week having missed Q3 twice in the last three races.

  49. 07:15: 

    Sebastian Vettel goes quickest through the first two sectors and clocks 1:55.926s to move top, 0.425s ahead of Nico Rosberg. Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso currently has the fifth fastest time but has a little wobble when he runs wide at a corner before recovering.

  50. 07:12: 

    Lotus confirm that Pastor Maldonado will indeed miss qualifying, meaning five, rather than six, will be eliminated in Q1. At the moment, Esteban Guttierez, Kamui Kobayashi, Jules Bianchi, Max Chilton and Marcus Ericsson are in danger, but still time yet for them to get out of trouble.

  51. 07:09: 

    It is definitely much worse conditions than in final practice, with visibility pretty poor and there is the potential for one or two of the big guns to fall foul of the weather and miss out on progressing through to Q3. Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel both run wide, while Nico Rosberg leads the way at the moment with 1:56.351, ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

  52. 07:05: 

    BBC F1 analyst Tom Clarkson: "The track is much wetter than it was in final practice, but Pastor Maldonado won't be taking part because he has an oil leak on his car."

  53. 07:04: 

    Nico Rosberg is one of those on the full wets and he runs wide at Turn 6 as he tries to get to grips with the slippery circuit. Plenty of spray kicking up from the rear of the cars at the moment.

  54. 07:02: 

    The Marussias are first to head out before a number of other cars join them, most sporting full wet weather tyres.

  55. 07:01: 

    The green light flicks on and the cars stream out on to the circuit as the first wet Chinese Grand Prix qualifying in eight years gets under way.

  56. 06:58: 

    Nico Rosberg waves to the crowd as qualifying approaches. Those in the stands roar a cheer of appreciation and seem in good spirits, despite the cool air and wet weather.

  57. 06:55: 
    Pastor Maldonado

    F1 journalist Tobias Gruner: This is how Maldonado's car looks like at the moment. Would be pretty difficult without rear end. :-)

  58. 06:52: 

    Pastor Maldonado's Lotus suffered mechanical problems which cut short his time on the circuit in final practice and it is looking increasingly unlikely he will not get out for qualifying. There is currently no engine in his car. He has a five-place grid penalty which, if he does not take part in qualifying, becomes irrelevant.

    Get involved

    Just 15 minutes until qualifying is under way, so enough time for a quick shout out for your predictions. Who do you think will be on pole? Can anyone spring a surprise or will Mercedes dominate again?

    Have your say via #bbcf1 text us via 81111 (UK only) and join the debate on the BBC Sport Facebook page.

  60. 06:42: 
    How qualy works

    Qualifying starts at 07:00 BST and will last an hour. Q1 will last 18 minutes and see the six slowest cars knocked out. Q2 is 15 minutes and will see another six given the boot. That leaves 10 to fight it out for pole in a 12-minute shootout.

  61. 06:40:  
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extraBBC coverage

    Don't forget you can listen to full commentary of qualifying via BBC Radio 5 live sports extra from 06:55 BST, either on the radio or online.

  62. 06:36: 
    Fast fact

    Kevin Magnussen has outqualifed Jenson Button in two of the three previous races this season. Magnussen is also one of only five drivers to have reached Q3 every time this year. Meanwhile, sixth on the grid in Bahrain last time out was Button's best this season.

  63. 06:35:  
    Andrew Benson, Chief F1 writer

    "It's looking like a wet start to qualifying, as rain has been consistently falling from miserable grey skies since final practice ended at 05:00 BST. That will make it, amazingly, the third wet qualifying session in four races so far this season. And it increases the prospect of Mercedes' domination being disrupted.

    "In both Australia and Malaysia, Lewis Hamilton took pole but a Red Bull relegated Nico Rosberg to the second row; Sebastian Vettel in Sepang and Daniel Ricciardo in Melbourne. And the rain may well also please Ferrari's Fernando Alonso - he was fifth and fourth in qualifying in Australia and Malaysia - and McLaren's Kevin Magnussen, who struggled in Bahrain and in dry Friday practice in Shanghai."

  64. 06:31: 

    A quick catch up on where we are if you have just joined us for qualifying. Daniel Ricciardo finished fastest in a rather uneventful final practice. Both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg spent most of the session in the Mercedes garage, completing just seven laps between them.

    Ferrari duo Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen also barely ventured on to the damp circuit. With more rain expected for qualifying, they did not feel there was much to learn from using fuel and tyres to no avail.

    Drivers have only four intermediate and three wet sets of tyres to use both today and in tomorrow's race.

  65. 06:26:  
    Jennie Gow, BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter

    "I've gone for a double coat strategy for this qualifying session…I have a feeling I could look like a drowned rat within minutes ')"

  66. 06:23: 
    Fast fact

    The Shanghai International Circuit is the only circuit on which Mercedes have taken the last two poles (Nico Rosberg in 2012 and Lewis Hamilton last year). Rosberg's 2012 pole and win is the only time he has not qualified fourth on the grid in China since joining Mercedes in 2010.

  67. 06:19:  
    Andrew Benson, Chief F1 writer
    Lewis Hamilton

    "Lewis Hamilton may well have won in Bahrain last time out, but he was and is aware that he did so despite not being as fast as team-mate Nico Rosberg. He hoped to fix that in China this weekend but things did not go well for him on Friday. A suspension problem cost him about 40 minutes of running and he wasn't happy with his set-up either.

    "Hamilton set fastest time, but said it meant little as he did it later in the session than his rivals, and he was a couple of tenths off Rosberg on race pace. He is hoping he has made the right calls on set-up ahead of qualifying."

  68. 06:15: 

    Welcome back! Or good morning if you have just woken up to a beautiful morning in the UK. Just under 45 minutes until qualifying gets under way at the Shanghai International Circuit. Will Mercedes secure a fourth pole of the season? It is not long until we find out.

  69. 05:36: 
    Chinese GP

    You would think drivers would want to see where there is time to be gained on the circuit and, with a 55% chance of some patchy rain by qualifying, where there is likely to be standing water. We shall see, though, how things transpire when qualifying gets under way at 07:00 BST.

    We will take a short break but will be back at 06:15 BST. Until then, have a read of Andrew Benson's report on final practice.

  70. 05:27: 

    Aside from saving tyres, not too sure how much was to be gained from so limited running by the Mercedes pair, with just seven laps completed between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso did just a solitary lap, with Ferrari stating that during the session track conditions meant there was little point in heading out.

  71. 05:17: 

    So not too much to be able to take from a damp final practice. Daniel Ricciardo completed just five laps but managed to clock the fastest time with 1:53.958. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg barely ventured out for Mercedes and did not complete timed laps. The pair were instead looking very chipper knocking around in the Mercedes garage. In confident mood, it would seem, ahead of qualifying, which begins at 07:00 BST.

  72. 05:13: 

    Suzi Perry: Free practice three results

  73. 05:10: 

    Williams: Not a lot to gain from running in these damp these conditions so like most teams, just a handful of laps completed.

  74. 05:07: 
    Final practice results

    1) Ricciardo 2) Massa 3) Grosjean 4) Hulkenberg 5) Raikkonen 6) Maldonado 7) Kvyat 8) Bottas 9) Button 10) Perez 11) Vettel

    12) Vergne 13) Sutil 14) Chilton 15) Gutierrez 16) Kobayashi 17) Bianchi 18) Ericsson

    No timed laps: Rosberg, Magnussen, Alonso, Hamilton

  75. 05:03: 

    Sebastian Vettel stays out on the circuit a little longer after the end of the session as he tries to get to the bottom his reliability woes. Little action of note in a wet session, with none of Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Kevin Magnussen setting timed laps.

  76. 05:01: 

    Daniel Ricciardo finishes fastest in third and final practice for the Chinese Grand Prix.

  77. 05:00: 

    Lewis Hamilton does indeed head out on to the circuit as Kimi Raikkonen slots in fifth fastest with 1:44.062 before returning the Ferrari garage. Sebastian Vettel is out on the circuit but still sounding very down about matters as he reports an issue with Kers. Seconds left in this session...

    Jennie Gow, BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter

    "Both McLaren drivers are out of their cars and their running is done for the day. The big boss Ron Dennis is here lurking at the back of his garage."

  79. 04:56: 

    Nico Rosberg pops out for a sighter before heading back in again, while Lewis Hamilton is in his Mercedes but yet to head out. Daniel Ricciardo still tops the timesheet with 1:53.958, Felipe Massa is a further 0.534 seconds back and Romain Grosjean is third fastest.

  80. 04:53: 

    Caterham: Onboard with Kamui Kobayashi on a very damp Shanghai track.

  81. 04:51: 

    Into the last 10 minutes and Kimi Raikkonen is set to head out for Ferrari, with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg also about to make an appearance.

  82. 04:48: 

    Daniel Ricciardio still has the benchmark time but he heads back into the garage with Red Bull stating they are not planning any more running for the Australian. Meanwhile, Kamui Kobayashi has slapped on the intermediate tyres and is back out on the circuit, which he has pretty much to himself at the moment. He has a big wiggle coming out of Turn 10 as he deals with the wet surface, but recovers swiftly to keep it on track.

    Get involved

    Kevin Nguyen: Top three: Hamilton, Rosberg, Alonso

    Stewart: 1. Alonso 2. Hamilton 3. Grosjean

  84. 04:45: 

    Practice comes to an end with six laps completed for Marcus Ericsson as Caterham report that a couple of issues need sorting if they are to get him out in time for qualifying.

  85. 04:42:  
    Jennie Gow, BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter

    "Red Bull have taken the whole brake mechanism off the front right wheel of Sebastian Vettel's car. I think this is all to do with the message we heard from Vettel earlier that he wasn't happy; he could feel a lot of vibration. They're also starting to disassemble the left caliper now, too."

  86. 04:41: 

    A cut to a shot of Pastor Maldonado and his car is off the circuit and motionless. Unlike yesterday, though, he did not crash and instead was ordered over team radio to stop the car immediately, which he duly does before clambering out. It is fairly quiet on the circuit at the moment with most drivers back in their respective garages as we head into the final 15 minutes.

  87. 04:38: 
    Force India

    Force India: Ready for every conditions out there. Sessions like this one are when our tyre men are called to a special effort!

  88. 04:37: 

    Ferrari: The need of saving tyres and actual track conditions mean that there is little point in running now.

  89. 04:36:  
    Jennie Gow, BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter

    "In contrast, at Red Bull there is pandemonium going on for Sebastian Vettel. The front right wheel they are taking apart, it might be brake-by-wire system they have dangling down. We know Vettel is not happy at the moment but quite what is going with that car we don't know."

  90. 04:33:  
    Jennie Gow, BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter

    "I can't tell you how relaxed they are looking at Mercedes at the moment. Lewis Hamilton is nowhere near the car. In fact no one is working on the car, it is just sat there idly. Nico Rosberg is also out of his car and was just having a joke with his engineers."

  91. 04:32: 

    Also yet to clock a timed lap is the Mercedes pair of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. With around 25 minutes to go they don't look set to make an appearance any time soon.

  92. 04:30: 

    Daniel Ricciardo is now the quickest out there as he goes round in 1:53.958, putting him ahead of Romain Grosjean. We are still waiting for Fernando Alonso to reappear on the circuit, the Spaniard having returned to the Ferrari garage and climbed out of his car after completing an installation lap.

  93. 04:28:  
    Andrew Benson, Chief F1 writer

    "It is already looking like a tough weekend for McLaren, who on Friday appeared to be the slowest of the Mercedes-engined teams. While Force India and Williams were mixing it with the Red Bulls on race pace, Jenson Button was on average the best part of a second a lap further back.

    "'I'm not sure we're quite as competitive as the last race,' Button said, 'but then in Bahrain we also struggled on Friday on the long runs so maybe it will be better in the race. I don't think we're massively quick but I don't think we're too bad.' Kevin Magnussen was some way off his team-mate and seems to be finding life a little tougher after his stunning debut in Australia."

  94. 04:27: 

    A few more drivers have clocked timed laps, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button among them. McLaren had a number of aerodynamic upgrades and driveability improvements on show in practice yesterday, but high front tyre graining, which typically affects cars on the Shanghai International Circuit, was the issue both Button and Kevin Magnussen spent much of the day trying to combat.

  95. 04:26: 

    Max Chilton, looking to continue his impressive run of having finished every race this season, completes his first lap of the session, manoeuvring his Marussia well to navigate the slippery circuit in 1:56.841.

  96. 04:22: 

    Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery is currently in the 5 live sports extra commentary box: "The teams were complaining about graining yesterday, which is a surface condition where the tyre slides and tears. Danny [Ricciardo] was able to go out and slowly build up the heat in the tyres and was able to do an 18-lap run, which was very impressive."

    It is worth pointing out that unfortunately, though, Daniel Ricciardo would not have the luxury of building heat into his tyres during the race itself.

  97. 04:18: 

    Sebastian Vettel, sounding particularly despondent, reports over team radio a lot of clutch slip and having hardly any acceleration. Meanwhile, the Lotus pair of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado are the first to put times on the board, clocking 1:54.514 and 1:55.228 respectively.

  98. 04:15:  
    Jennie Gow, BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter

    "I am just watching both Marussia drivers. They are just about to fire up their engines and head out again. They did not have the best of days yesterday, with both cars having DRS issues. Overnight they think they have managed to eradicate their problems. Can they fix these issues that dogged them but also a few teams yesterday."

  99. 04:12: 

    Nico Rosberg heads in after his installation lap just as his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton heads out. Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, has been out for his install lap but is back in the Ferrari garage and out of his car at the moment.

  100. 04:09: 

    Several drivers have had a foray out on to then circuit now including Williams driver Valtteri Bottas, who ventured out on the full wet tyres but reports over team radio that the conditions best suit intermediates.

  101. 04:06:  
    Andrew Benson, Chief F1 writer

    "Pastor Maldonado had one of those not uncommon days on Friday when he seems to leave his brain in the hotel. There were a number of off-track moments - including one when he simply lost concentration while changing a dial on the steering wheel. And then early in the second session he finally did the job properly, coming into the pit lane too fast, and hitting the wall.

    "'I crashed,' he said over the radio. 'Oh, OK,' came the response. 'I'm sorry,' said Maldonado, who started the weekend knowing he had a five-place grid penalty for tipping Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez into a somersault in Bahrain.

    "It's well known Maldonado is only at Lotus because of the vast amount of Venezuelan oil sponsorship that accompanies him. But if Lotus are already tiring of his antics, they can console themselves with the knowledge that, as one wag put it, '£30m buys a lot of front wings.'"

  102. 04:04: 

    BBC pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "I am standing in front of Kimi Raikkonen's car and there are reasons to be cheerful for Ferrari so far this weekend. They appear to have taken a step forward. Their car was very fast through the first two sectors and I think the Prancing Horse is a bit of dark horse this weekend. I don't think they will beat the Mercedes but they could be knocking on the door of that final podium position."

  103. 04:02: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    Speaking of Pastor Maldonado, he is the first to venture out on to the wet circuit as the track is open and this one hour of final practice is under way.

  104. 04:01: 
    Poor Pastor...
    Pastor Maldonando

    It was largely a day to forget for poor Pastor Maldonado on Friday. Having ran off the circuit when he became distracted by the controls on his steering wheel, he then managed to beach his Lotus in the world's smallest gravel trap on his way back into the pitlane.

    Despite those shenanigans, he is feeling optimistic of a positive day ahead.

    "The car is improving - the power unit seems to be better and more consistent - so we're making good progress," he said yesterday. "Our qualy mode is better, which is something we are working on, so hopefully this weekend will be much better for us. Points are realistic, so we'll do our best to achieve that."

  105. 04:00:  
    Jennie Gow, BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter

    "It is dreary weather wise but everyone is perky down here in the paddock. No-one had to break their curfew and managed to get away on time, even Pastor Maldonado after his crash yesterday.

    "I can also tell you, it has just started to rain. The wet tyres are being put on to Marcus Ericsson's Caterham and this could be an interesting and telling session."

    Get involved

    Right then, just a few minutes until the circuit is open for final practice so time to call upon you good people to stick your neck out and give your predictions for qualifying today.

    Who do you think will be on pole? Can anyone break the Mercedes dominance? Have your say via #bbcf1, text us via 81111 (UK only) and join the debate on the BBC Sport Facebook page.

  107. 03:55: 
    Nico Rosberg

    The drivers are all going through their pre-practice warm-ups, and for Nico Rosberg, that consists of 10 minutes of keepie uppies, coupled with belting the ball against the Mercedes garage wall. I bet his colleagues love him for that...

  108. 03:52: 

    It is fair to say that Daniel Ricciardo's performances have been one of the surprises of the season so far.

    He was faster than world champion Sebastian Vettel in both practice sessions yesterday, while his long-run pace looks promising and was up there with the Mercedes. Tyre graining was his main gripe, though, as he struggled with his left front tyre in particular at Turns One and 13.

    "I think tyres are always a bit of a challenge around this track, particularly with the softs, they seem to wear on the front left," Ricciardo said.

  109. 03:48:  
    Andrew Benson, Chief F1 writer

    "Friday practice in Shanghai brought something of a surprise - Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was swapping fastest times with the Mercedes drivers less than two weeks after the Italian team's worst race for years had led to the resignation of team principal Stefano Domenicali.

    "Cynics would say there was a bit of showboating going on, to welcome new team boss Marco Mattiacci - and his sunglasses - to work. But in fact Ferrari do look more competitive in China, at least over one lap. There is no reason to suspect an end to the Mercedes hegemony just yet, though, even if rain could well play a part in proceedings on qualifying day."

  110. 03:46: 

    So, quite the contrasting views of what is to come today. Jenson Button is expecting a dry qualifying while Jennie fears the worst is still to come.

    Qualifying gets under way at 07:00 BST, so plenty of time for the track to dry out as long as there is no more rain. Meanwhile, we are around 15 minutes away from the cars to start rolling out on to the Shanghai International Circuit for third and final practice.

    I'll do my best to describe the action right here but remember to also stick on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra for full audio commentary of both practice (starting at 03:55 BST) and qualifying. You'll also get the latest news from the paddock and the pit-lane with both Jennie Gow and Tom Clarkson on the ground.

  111. 03:41: 

    McLaren driver Jenson Button: Wet morning here in Shanghai, P3 will be wet and probably a dry qualifying if no more rain.

  112. 03:40:  
    Jennie Gow, BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter
    Shanghai weather

    "This is the view of Shanghai right now. A little evidence of rain over night but worst is yet to come I believe."

  113. 03:39: 

    Good morning! Welcome to our coverage of final practice and qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix. A Mercedes car has been on pole in each of the three races we have had so far this season. Lewis Hamilton was fastest yesterday and although he was not happy with the balance of his car, you get the sense that Mercedes were not showing their hand.

    But, not for the first time this season, we have the added spice of the weather potentially playing a part in how today develops.

    Drivers, teams, officials and journalists alike woke up to a wet and cold Shanghai this morning and we look set to have a wet track for third and final practice and, possibly, qualifying.

  114. 03:35:  
    Andrew Benson, Chief F1 writer

    "Fernando Alonso was the man who caught the eye on Friday but dig a little deeper and it was actually Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull who looked the closest thing to a rival for Mercedes. Just over 0.3 seconds behind Alonso on one lap, the Australian was highly impressive on the race runs, just over 0.5secs a lap off Rosberg and closer than that to Hamilton. As McLaren's Jenson Button pointed out: 'I would say the Ferrari will not be the car that will take it to the Mercedes," Button said. 'In qualifying maybe but in the race Ricciardo looks very strong; quicker than his team-mate and able to go five laps longer on the tyres.'

    Ricciardo continues to put the four-time world champion in the other Red Bull in the shade. Sebastian Vettel's mantra remains that he is 'not yet where I want to be' with the way the car behaves - as happened in the early parts of both 2012 and 2013, it should be said."

  115. 03:30: 
    Red Bull rising?
    Daniel Ricciardo

    The Red Bulls are coming.

    That was Daniel Ricciardo's warning to their rivals after Friday's practice for the Chinese Grand Prix.

    Lewis Hamilton topped the times yesterday but was far from happy with his Mercedes and with a resurgent Fernando Alonso second fastest, could the early season pacesetters be about to see their rivals close the gap?

    It is Saturday, it is Chinese Grand Prix qualifying day. Let's go racing.

Share this story

Formula1 Tweets