Hamilton romps to pole position at Chinese GP

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On pole: Hamilton.

The Briton, stung by Sebastian Vettel in Melbourne two weeks ago, pipped his German rival by two tenths of a second in Shanghai with Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen filling row two for Sunday’s race.

Hamilton jumped onto the pit wall to soak in the adulation of the crowd after clocking the fastest lap of one minute, 31.678 seconds to capture his fourth Chinese pole in five years.

“We knew it was going to be close,” said Hamilton, forced to play second fiddle to Vettel in the third practice session earlier in the day.

“I managed to just chip away at it from session to session. It’s exciting for me because we really fight with these guys,” added Hamilton, a four-time winner in Shanghai.

“That’s what racing is all about. It really pushes you to raise the bar each time you go out there.”

Vettel, meanwhile, was left shaking his head in disbelief.

“I don’t believe that, it was the perfect lap,” said the four-time world champion, who looked unstoppable in Saturday’s practice run.

“I think we can still improve, so let’s see what the race looks like tomorrow. Conditions will be different.”

The signs point to another furious battle between Mercedes and Ferrari but with rain forecast for race day, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo could fancy his chances after qualifying fifth.

Team-mate Max Verstappen gets an unwanted opportunity to test the theory that overtaking has become harder in the new wider Formula One cars after only qualifying in 19th.

Ricciardo will start alongside Felipe Massa on the third row after the Brazilian clocked the sixth fastest time for Williams.

Behind them, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg edged out Sergio Perez’s Force India for seventh with Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso and Lance Stroll’s Williams rounding out the top 10 places on the grid.

Very much in the shop window for 2018, former world champion Fernando Alonso appeared pleased enough after steering his underperforming McLaren to 13th as he boasted over the team radio: “I pushed like an animal!”

There was a hairy moment at the end of the first session of qualifying when Antonio Giovinazzi smashed his Sauber into a wall on the pit straight, although the Italian walked away unhurt.

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IN PICS: Hamilton meets fans after aborted Chinese GP practice

Class act: Hamilton.

While there wasn't a lot for F1 fans to cheer about at Shanghai on Friday, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton did do his best to light up the mood.

Smog and damp weather combined to cut short morning practice and forced the cancellation of the afternoon action.

Frustratingly for fans, the issues weren't even track-related. It was safety reasons.

F1's race medical helicopter would have been unable to land at designated hospitals due to Chinese rules on flight visibility. So, after a delayed start to FP1 and an interruption due to deteriorating visibility, FP2 never got going but fans of the sport still stayed at the Shanghai International Circuit. And to the delight of many, an in-the-mood Hamilton (who didn't get the chance to drive at all on Friday) was ready to meet, greet and sign autographs for his fans. And well, that's what he did. Meanwhile, who do you think will win the Chinese Grand Prix 2017? Share with us your thoughts by commenting below, using #360fans on Twitter or getting in touch via Facebook.

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Jos Verstappen arrested after nightclub brawl!

F1i 3/04/2017
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Max Verstappen (L) along with his father Jos Verstappen (R).

Max Verstappen’s father has apparently spent the night in jail after he was arrested for his involvement in a night club brawl in the Dutch town of Roermond.

De Limburger newspaper said former F1 driver Jos Verstappen suffered facial injuries in the fight when with the club’s staff ordered those fighting to leave.

“A man with significant injuries refused,” the Dutch broadcaster 1Limburg quoted a police spokesman as saying.

Algemeen Dagblad, another Dutch newspaper, quoted Verstappen’s lawyer as saying the 45-year-old was the one who was attacked.

“He was waiting to be picked up. If you are a victim, why do you have to leave?” the lawyer said, referring to Verstappen’s arrest.

De Limburger said Verstappen, who has a bit of a reputation for being a hot head and who last year was involved in an altercation with his own father, said police confirmed he suffered a black eye and facial wound.

A police spokesman said the former Benetton and Minardi driver spent the night in jail to cool off.

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