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Hamilton on pole in Shanghai

Updated: 2013-04-14 08:04
By Reuters in Shanghai ( China Daily)

Hamilton on pole in Shanghai

Lewis Hamilton swept to his first pole position for Mercedes at the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix on Saturday with Kimi Raikkonen alongside for Lotus.

In only his third race for the team he joined at the end of last season from McLaren, 2008 world champion Hamilton celebrated the 27th pole of his career at a circuit where he has twice won before.

"Today is such a blessing to be here up front because it (the move to Mercedes) was such a change for me," Hamilton, last on pole with McLaren at the 2012 Brazilian season-ender, told reporters.

"It's just an incredible feeling. I'm so happy to have our first pole for some time. I'm just ecstatic really. The lap was great."

Mercedes, a non-factor for most of last season, was most recently on pole a year ago at the same race with eventual winner Nico Rosberg. The German - whose pole was the first by a Mercedes works driver since 1955 - qualified fourth this time.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso will start third, ahead of Felipe Massa for the first time this season and denying the Brazilian the honor of being the first teammate to out-qualify the Spaniard five races in a row.

Massa will start fifth with Romain Grosjean sixth for Lotus.

Red Bull's championship leader Sebastian Vettel will line up ninth on the grid after opting to start on the slower but longer-lasting medium tires rather than the new soft compound used by Hamilton.

Vettel did not set a time in the final session after locking a wheel under braking.

Red Bull's Mark Webber, barely speaking to the German after Vettel defied team orders in Malaysia and passed him to win, was sidelined by a fuel problem during the second phase of qualifying.

(China Daily 04/14/2013 page7)

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