Lewis Hamilton Could Reconsider Signing Mercedes Contract, Damon Hill Says

Momentum shift? Red Bull and Ferrari are prising open the Mercedes grip

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel led teammate Kimi Raikkonen in a Ferrari one-two in Saturday's final practice for the Chinese Grand Prix with his title rival Lewis Hamilton managing only fifth in his Mercedes.

The German lapped the 5.4-km Shanghai circuit in one minute, 31.095 seconds a track record to pip his Finnish team mate by a mere 0.087 seconds and take his 52nd career pole.

Saturday's pole was Vettel's second in three races this season and Ferrari's first in Shanghai since Brazilian Rubens Barrichello started the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix from the front in 2004.

He says Mercedes will use the dominant pace it showed at the season-opener in Melbourne as a pointer to the car's potential, and methodically come up with solutions rather than panicking.

Raikkonen, 38, who was last on pole in Monaco past year, lost out by just 0.087s, with Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas a staggering half a second off the pace in third as the reigning world champions struggled to get the ultrasoft tyre to work. The Finn duly picked up the baton to set the third quickest time but was 0.743 seconds off Vettel's pace.Red Bull's Max Verstappen was fourth.

On a chastening day for the team which has dominated F1 for the past four years, Mercedes were soundly beaten, the Silver Arrows half a second slower than Ferrari in the top-10 shootout.

When asked how he felt his pace was compared to Vettel before the Safety Car was deployed, Bottas said: "It felt like everything was under control and I had no major drop off in the end". I think Valtteri is a great driver.

"We didn't really do much on the vehicle, I didn't have to fight to find [the right set-up]".

Grosjean gives Haas their first ever Q3 appearance in China.

The Mercedes driver finished fourth in Shanghai as Daniel Ricciardo raced to victory following a crucial pit stop call. "The fans here in China have been awesome, I hope they know I'll do everything to fight for them tomorrow." .

Kevin Magnussen was seventh for the USA -owned Haas team ahead of the other Renault of Spaniard Carlos Sainz. "We were understanding the tyres, getting them to work better, but we could never achieve similar grip levels to Ferrari today". "I think in terms of speed, all good, but I don't know why in the races maybe wanting it a bit too much and recovering from all the stuff that happened before, but it's a bit hard to really judge that now".

Vettel won in Australia, and last week in Bahrain.

As Verstappen caught Vettel, who was struggling to match his times on older tyres, the Dutchman tried to pass on the inside of the penultimate corner but made contact, pitching both cars into a spin.

"I wouldn't be surprised if tomorrow that gap disappears and it's a very tight race".

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