Hamilton sets British record with China pole
19 April 2014 – Lewis Hamilton surpassed Jim Clark's British pole position record by topping Saturday's wet qualifying session for the Chinese Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver set a 1:53.860 to comfortably lead Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel, while team-mate Nico Rosberg endured an error-strewn Q3 en route to fourth.
With rain showers persisting after the morning's final practice session, all three qualifying segments took place on a wet track surface, with a mixture of Intermediate and Full wet tyres being used throughout.
Hamilton delivered two electrifying runs in the final shootout to end the session over half a second clear of nearest rival Ricciardo, who got the jump on Vettel after the chequered flag had dropped.
Rosberg had looked set to push Hamilton hard for pole position, but the German made costly mistakes on both timed laps; first locking up at the end of the long back straight, before spinning wildly at the final corner.
The result moved Hamilton to a total of 34 career pole positions, one clear of two-time World Champion Clark. Only Michael Schumacher (68), Ayrton Senna (65) and Vettel (45) lie ahead in the all-time Formula 1 list.
Fernando Alonso finished a lonely fifth for Ferrari, leading the Italian marque's charge after team-mate Kimi Räikkönen fell at the second hurdle by just two hundredths of a second and wound up in 11th position.
The Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas followed in sixth and seventh positions, narrowly ahead of Force India's Nico Hülkenberg. Jean-Éric Vergne impressed to place his Toro Rosso machine ninth, while fellow Frenchman Romain Grosjean gave his Lotus team its first Q3 appearance of the season on his way to 10th.
In addition to Räikkönen's high profile exit, McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen failed to progress to Q3. The pair finished 12th and 15th, split by Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat and Sauber's Adrian Sutil. Sergio Pérez failed to match the pace of team-mate Hülkenberg and was the final driver to fall from Q2.
Esteban Gutiérrez could not drag his Sauber out of the first phase; the Mexican was joined on the sidelines by the Caterham and Marussia drivers – with Kamui Kobayashi giving his team the advantage – and Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado, who was unable to leave the garage following his stoppage in the final practice session.
Sunday's 56-lap Chinese Grand Prix gets underway at 3pm local time (GMT +8)