Lewis Hamilton admits the Chinese GP is his to lose

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton admits he starts Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix as strong favourite after qualifying on pole position.

Hamilton is split from team-mate Nico Rosberg, his biggest threat, by the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel after a wet session in Shanghai.

British drivers with the most number of F1 pole positions

  • Lewis Hamilton - 34
  • Jim Clark - 33
  • Nigel Mansell - 32
  • Damon Hill - 20
  • Jackie Stewart - 17
  • Stirling Moss - 16
  • James Hunt - 14
  • Graham Hill - 13
  • David Coulthard - 12
  • Jenson Button - 8
  • John Surtees - 8

"It is mine to lose," Hamilton said. "I just need to make sure I get a good night's rest and focus.

"There are always areas you can improve so I will try to do that."

His pole in China was the 34th of his career, which moves him ahead of 1960s legend Jim Clark in the all-time list of British drivers.

Hamilton said: "I still can't believe I have had so many in my career. I just have to keep driving the way I am. I feel focused and ready and I just have to hopefully maintain that."

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton was unhappy with the set up of his car in dry conditions and is unsure how the Mercedes will behave in the race on Sunday

Hamilton is attempting to win his third consecutive race, but was concerned this weekend to improve his form compared to Rosberg, who he had to fight to hold off in a tough battle at the last race in Bahrain.

Hamilton was unhappy with his car in Friday practice and says he does not know how it will behave in the race, which is predicted to be dry.

"Overnight I made a lot of changes to the car and they were all kind of guestimates," he said.

"I had a lot of understeer [on Friday] but there were some problems with the settings. I had to anticipate what the correct settings would be and then I had to make settings on top of that to get it even more to where I want it to be.

Chinese Grand Prix: Watch Lewis Hamilton's pole lap

"Obviously with today being wet I don't know what the car will be like. It could be a disaster, but fingers crossed it won't be."

Although Mercedes have a pace advantage over the rest of the field, he said he remained wary of the potential of Red Bull, who won the last four titles with Vettel.

"Red Bull have a very good car," Hamilton said. "The fundamentals of the car are still just as good as they were in previous years.

"They have a lot of downforce and they lose a bit on the power to us so we have to do some work to improve."