Bottas denies Hamilton pole in Shanghai

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Although he will have to start from the pit lane, Albon is hopeful of being able to recover through the field after Toro Rosso showed impressive race performance on Friday afternoon.

Bottas, the quicker Mercedes driver all weekend in Shanghai, found his advantage cut by Hamilton to just 0.023 seconds as the world champion finally found pace.

"The lap was actually not a ideal one for me", claimed the slightly surprised Finn.

"I'm starting to see, after all these years, us making it through the corners and the vehicle looks really good in terms of downforce level".

Asked if Mercedes would try to use that strength to run and hide, Silver Arrows chief Toto Wolff said: "That's exactly what we want to do!"

"I finally figured it out but it was too late". "The vehicle has the pace in it to compete at the front, we just need to find the right set-up".

Controversially, the two Red Bull drivers failed to set a second attempt in the final session of qualifying after being backed up by the Mercedes, Ferraris and Renaults ahead of them on the track.

Le directeur de l'AFP expulsé par les autorités algériennes !
Le journaliste Aymeric Vincenot , 45 ans, a été expulsé ce mardi par la police algérienne. Présente dans 151 pays, l'AFP dispose d'un bureau en Algérie depuis 1962.

Albon hit the wall on the final turn as fans sat in silence, waiting, with only his still head visible in the cockpit. "Luckily it was good enough for pole", smiled the Finn, who pipped Hamilton by 0.023 seconds after setting a best time of one minute 31.547. I have to say, in Q3 both of the laps I felt there was something I could do better - I knew exactly where I could still improve, I just didn't get it right on the soft tyres.

"Valtteri was strong all weekend long and put in some good laps in Qualifying. I was obviously pushing trying to find the limits, but it should have been in qualifying rather than FP3".

"The auto has been really good all weekend and Lewis managed to improve a lot during qualifying and it was super close". Big congratulations to Valtteri. I have been struggling and chipping away at it. It was eight tenths at one stage so to be as close as we are at the end is fantastic.

Vettel admitted that Ferrari did not quite have the pace to challenge Mercedes on one lap but was optimistic he could challenge in the race.

Vettel, whose contract with Ferrari ends in after the 2020 season, also responded to suggestions made by F1's former chief executive, Bernie Ecclestone, that the German might quit the sport. I think I was a little bit too greedy.

Ferrari had arrived in China as favorites after showing their speed in Bahrain, particularly on the straights, with Leclerc on pole and leading until a loss of engine power in the closing laps.

To mark the 1,000th race, several drivers have changed their helmet designs.