2014 Chinese Grand Prix Qualifying: Hamilton In League Of His Own

In a rain drenched qualifying session, Lewis Hamilton clinched his third pole position of the 2014 Formula1 Season as the Red Bull Racing cars of Ricciardo and Vettel managed to beat Nico Rosberg, who seemed to succumb to brake related issues and in my view, his nerves. Post session, he also indicated that his lap time delta showed him to be two tenths slower when actually he was half a second quicker than his previous best. Reasons or not, I believe that Rosberg strung a lap together, he would’ve been closer to Hamilton, but highly doubt if he would’ve beaten the Brit.

After being beaten comprehensively in the 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix followed by a closely fought but lost battle in the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix, I believe that Rosberg has been psyched by Hamilton’s pace, defence and increase in confidence in a team he (Rosberg) has helped build from scratch. Possibly a visit to the sports psychologist would help. (Read: Decoding The Mindset Of Formula1 Drivers)

Lewis Hamilton claims pole position at the 2014 Chinese GP

Hamilton has won a World Championship once and has been in the fight a few times and seems mentally stronger amongst the two. He knows what it takes to battle and stay at the front. Rosberg, it seems, will have to dig deep to keep calm and let his talent do the talking.

The Mclarens failed to impress, as did Raikkonen and the Ferrari fire and ice battle seems to be too fiery for the Iceman, who I believe is yet to settle down in his F14T comfortably. The Red Bull, who possibly have the best possible wings (I mean aero package), need to be lacking the boost on the Renault power unit side. (Read: Ferrari, Alonso and Raikkonen)

The rain would normally neutralise pace differential and help bunch up the grid. But Hamilton, who had a scratchy final attempt, still managed to record a lap nearly 6 tenths ahead of Ricciardo, who of course has out-qualified Vettel 3:1 yet.

On that note, the starting grid for tomorrow seems extremely interesting. Given the large pace differential between teams, team-mate battles are coming to the fore and I believe tomorrow will be another such day. Ricciardo vs. Vettel, Bottas vs. Massa, Button vs. Magnussen, Hulkenberg vs. Perez and of course Rosberg vs. Hamilton. And the weather forecasts say it’ll be dry!

Finally, for all of Lotus F1 team’s hard work and on off Twitter, Grosjean managed to show some pace to qualify in the top 10. Aided by the weather or not, I hope that we have yet another team in the mix for the top 10 positions. And for Maldonado, the lesser said, the better!

Qualifying Results from the 2014 Chinese Grand Prix:

  1. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
  2. Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull Racing
  3. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull Racing
  4. Nico Rosberg – Red Bull Racing
  5. Fernando Alonso – Ferrari
  6. Felipe Massa – WilliamsF1
  7. Valtteri Bottas – WilliamsF1
  8. Nico Hulkenberg – Sahara Force India
  9. Jean Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso
  10. Romain Grosjean – Lotus F1 Team
  11. Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari
  12. Jenson Button – Mclaren
  13. Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso
  14. Adrian Sutil – Sauber
  15. Kevin Magnussen – Mclaren
  16. Sergio Perez – Sahara Force India
  17. Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber
  18. Kamui Kobayashi – Caterham
  19. Jules Bianchi – Marussia
  20. Marcus Ericsson – Caterham
  21. Max Chilton – Marussia

Did Not Qualify:

  • Pastor Maldonado

After a wet qualifying, dry weather is predicted for Race Day. The is Hamilton’s to lose, the question is, if he does, whose is it to win?

Hear the latest episode of the Inside Line F1 PodcastAgainst Mid-Season Rule Changes‘.

Kunal Shah is an FIA-accredited Formula 1 journalist who has been reporting on Formula 1 for nearly two decades. He worked with the Force India Formula 1 Team for 6 seasons in Marketing, Sponsorship and Commercial roles. As a former single-seater racer, he was responsible for Force India's grassroots talent program, One from a Billion Hunt. Presently, he co-writes a regular Formula 1 column for Firstpost, speaks on Inside Line F1 Podcast & Pits to Podium and produces broadcast/OTT content for NENT Group (Viasport & Viaplay).

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