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Hamilton flies in Shanghai

Hamilton flies in Shanghai
The English Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), triple Formula One world champion, will start first this Sunday in the Chinese Grand Prix, the second in the World Cup, after breaking the lap record at the Shanghai circuit, where he signed his sixty-third pole. ‘in F1, the second of the year and the sixth in a row.
Hamilton, 32, covered, in the third and decisive round (Q3) of qualifying, the 5,451 meters of the Chinese track in one minute, 31 seconds and 678 thousandths, 146 less than the German Sebatian Vettel (Ferrari), four times world champion, winner two weeks ago in Australia and who will come out with him from the front row.
The Englishman improved this Saturday a record that had remained in force for thirteen years, since in the first edition of the Chinese race, in 2004, the German Michael Schumacher turned in one minute, 32 seconds and 238 thousandths.
After a first day of practice in which, due to the fog, it was barely filmed – the second session did not take place – the Ferraris dominated the third free test this Saturday, with Vettel ahead of Finn Kimi Raikkonen.
The red cars also set the best sets in the first two rounds of the main timed session, with Seb – who led Red Bull’s triumphant journey (2010-13) – topping the Q1 timesheets; and Kimi the following one, in which the two Spaniards were eliminated, Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso), who will start eleventh; and Fernando Alonso (McLaren-Honda), thirteenth.
But Hamilton held out until there. The spectacular and eccentric English champion went to the limit and in the decisive round, on his last lap, he achieved his sixth pole position in a row. The second of the year and the 63rd in the queen category of the motoring, improving his third historical mark and placing himself only two behind that of the late Ayrton Senna -winner of three World Cups for Brazil- and five of Schumacher, also record holder of titles (seven) and victories (91).
These last two records will take time to improve. But that of ‘poles’ of the ‘Kaiser’ could fall this year, if Lewis continues in a line of voracity that fostered, in the first instance, the title that he had to reluctantly give up last year to his German teammate and rival Nico Rosberg -retired five days after winning the crown-; and, secondly, the increasingly evident sports ‘resurrection’ of Ferrari.
Vettel took advantage of a better strategy in his stop to win two weeks ago at Albert Park (Melbourne) and this Sunday, in a race scheduled for 56 laps – to complete 305 kilometers – he will go for it again.
But Hamilton is not up to the task of letting go of the possibility of scoring a fourth world title (the third with Mercedes) and, hand in hand, will start with the intention of improving to five his own record of victories in Shanghai. That would improve his second place on the historic Formula One triumph list, raising the mark to 54.
The ‘silver arrows’ were interspersed with the Ferraris and in the second row will be the Finns Valtteri Bottas – Hamilton’s new teammate – and Raikkonen, fourth in the qualification of a Grand Prix in which Australian Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) and the Brazilian Felipe Massa (Williams).
The paulista, who revoked his retirement when Rosberg’s was known and returned to the team founded by Sir Frank after the Bottas march to Mercedes, will start sixth, after beating his new colleague, Canadian rookie Lance Stroll, tenth this Saturday in Shanghai.
Mexican Sergio Pérez (Force India), who ranked seventh in Australia, starts eighth, from the fourth row, alongside his former German teammate Nico Hülkenberg, seventh with his new Renault.
The Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull), who last year became the youngest winner in history in Spain, surprised by being eliminated, at the first exchange rate, in Q1. Apparently due to a software problem, according to the Austrian Helmut Marko, gray eminence of the energy team, explained.
Alonso and Sainz fell in the second (Q2). The Asturian double world champion (2005 and 2006, with Renault), whom his new team boss, the American Zak Brown, has asked for patience until the summer with a view to deciding his future, after a new start to the disastrous year -the Honda motorcyclist has already apologized after the first of the 20 scheduled races – he will start thirteenth.
Waiting for miracles -fishing, in troubled river- if it rained this Sunday, a circumstance that could also take advantage of to seek the comeback Verstappen, former partner in Toro Rosso de Sainz, eleventh on the grid and who declared that he does not care exactly whether it rains or not in Shanghai during the race. EFE
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