Pole Position for Nico Rosberg last place for Lewis Hamilton at the Chinese Grand Prix
By: S.H. Harding, Xiro Xone News April 16, 2016 Updated 11:25 AM
Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix will see Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton start from the
back of the grid after a failure of his engine recovery system (ERS) dropped him out of Q1.
“The Jedi Knight” of F1, who has taken the last three poles here, was already set to start the race as low as sixth following a five spot grid penalty changed gearbox.
“Of course, it’s disappointing not to get out there today. It was going to be a tough weekend anyway with the grid penalty. But these things are sent to try us. No-one wants it easy – at least I know I don’t. We might be in the mud right now – but we’ll dig our way out. We’ve got a great car and the team are doing a great job. There are areas we can improve but it’s still early in the season and I know we’ll get there. It’s important that nobody lets their head drop. The best thing we can do is learn from it and move on. I’m sure the guys are just as gutted as I am – but what will be, will be.
We win and lose together, so we’ll work hard to figure out what happened and try to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The positive news is that you can overtake here and the car is quick, so hopefully we can get it fixed for tomorrow and have a good race. I’ve been in this position before. I came from the back of the grid to the podium in Hungary two years ago, so anything is possible. The tires don’t last as well here, so it’s perhaps not as simple as it was in that race. But, of course, I’ll give it everything I’ve got to try to get back up as far as I can. We’ll at least get into the points and then I’ll see what I can do from there. It’s never over until it’s over,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton’s teammate Nico Rosberg, who won his first pole of the season and the 23rd of his career which now moves him ahead of McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso on the all-time poles list.
Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo, who put together an exciting lap to give Red Bull their best qualifying performance of the season.
“Compared to last year we’ve certainly got a bit more from the power unit. We’ve seen the trend in the first couple of races and the deficit hasn’t been as big as last year on the straights but I didn’t expect to be standing here unless it was a wet qualifying.
To be front row in the dry is pretty cool. A few people joked saying it’s the haircut so maybe that’s what it is: aerodynamic. The positive is that Niko’s on the Soft and we’re obviously starting on the Super Soft, so the start should be interesting. Hopefully we’ll battle the Ferrari’s for the podium. New or old qualifying system, we seem to be competitive so that’s nice,” Ricciardo said.
Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, who looked to win his first pole of the season finished 3rd, with teammate Sebastian Vettel taking 4th. Other drivers who dropped out of Q1 were the Renaults of Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer along with Manor’s Rio Harryanto and Esteban Gutiérrez of the Haas F1 Team.
“It was quite a tricky session in the beginning. I was planning to do as many laps as I could as, basically, it was the first time I was out running on track. It was very difficult to get up to speed. I did my best with the conditions. Our focus now is on the race tomorrow and getting the best out of the car,” Gutiérrez said.
Among those who dropped out of Q2 were McLaren’s Jenson Button and Alonso, Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, Felipe Massa of Williams, and Romain Grosjean of Haas.
Sahara Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg dropped out Q2 after losing his front-left wheel.
“It’s disappointing because we’ve been competitive here this weekend and I would have liked to be out there during Q3. The race tomorrow is going to be interesting and hopefully things will work out a bit better than today,” Hulkenberg said.