Alexander Albon survives stunning crash in Chinese practice

Rex Christensen
April 14, 2019

Bottas clocked a fastest time of one minute 31.547 seconds in the final session of qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix - though insisted afterwards it was far from a flawless performance.

After revealing that Mercedes was losing 0.5 seconds of lap time to Ferrari on the straights in Bahrain, Wolff said the straight-line speed loss in China was slightly less and was outweighed by Mercedes' strengths in the corners.

Lewis Hamilton narrowly missed out on pole position at the Chinese Grand Prix, but the Brit will be satisfied knowing he starts second and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas begins in pole.

It was neck and neck on the second runs, but Bottas managed to improve as Hamilton slipped a little in the final sector of his run and Bottas had his first pole of 2019.

His Honda-powered team won in China past year, when they used Renault engines, with Ricciardo.

Hamilton sounded happy just to be on the front row, despite six previous poles in Shanghai, after looking out of sorts in practice.

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"I had a pretty big crash in FP3 but I'm OK, I'm just more disappointed I made a mistake", Albon later said of the incident. "Big congratulations to Valtteri, he's been stellar all weekend and I've been struggling and fighting the vehicle", said the Briton. It was eight tenths at one stage so to be as close as we are at the end is fantastic. An incredible result for the team. "I have struggled. There is time left on the table, but I will try and get it back tomorrow". "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".

"I think we have seen those variances between drivers even intra-team variances from race to race", Wolff said. "So it'll be a tough fight for the win, but we are going to fight for it". I'm excited for the race - I think we can find something.

Team-mate Gasly was held up behind him and the Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were also caught out.

Kimi Raikkonen, the former Ferrari driver and 2007 world champion, failed to make the final phase of qualifying for the first time since 2016 and will start 13th for Alfa Romeo ahead of McLaren's Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris.

Thailand's Alexander Albon did not take part in qualifying after a crash in final practice left his Toro Rosso mechanics with plenty of work to do. The good news is he will start the F1 Chinese Grand Prix Sunday; the bad news is he will start dead last and from the pit lane. It was a big one and silly one. "We had a good chance of being in Q3 (the top 10 shootout). We had a good vehicle".

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