Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg has taken pole position for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix as teammate Lewis Hamilton failed to set a lap time due to ERS issues.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen took provisional pole after the first run, beating Rosberg by over a tenth of a second.
But the tables turned after the second run with Rosberg improving to 1:35.402, while Raikkonen made a crucial mistake at the hairpin, leaving him down in third place.
Sebastian Vettel, who preferred to do a single run late in the session, also had a scruffy lap that was good enough for only fourth on the grid.
Ferrari’s errors allowed Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo to take a surprise second position with a time of 1:35.907.
Further back, Valtteri Bottas qualified fifth in the lead Williams, with Daniil Kvyat joining the Finn on the third row of the grow.
Sergio Perez was a competitive seventh in the Force India, ahead of the Toro Rosso pairing of Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen.
Nico Hulkenberg made it into the final leg of qualifying, but his team is currently being investigated for a loose wheel nut.
Meanwhile, Felipe Massa was the first disappointment in Q2, ahead of the McLaren duo of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.
After their heroics in the opening two races, Haas appeared to struggle in China, with Romain Grosjean only managing 14th in qualifying.
Sauber, however, enjoyed far better fortunes with both cars making into second part of qualifying for the first time this season. Marcus Ericsson was 15th quickest while teammate Felipe Nasr finished 16th in the session.
Earlier in Q1, both Renaults were eliminated with Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer finishing 17th and 19th respectively. Esteban Gutierrez was also knocked out along with Rio Haryanto.
Despite heavy showers in the morning, the track had dried enough for slick tyres. However, there were two major wet patches at the start/finish straight which caught out Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein, necessitating a lengthy red flag period.
However, the biggest casualty of Q1 was defending champion Hamilton. The British driver reported issues with his power unit in the first run, which Mercedes failed to sort out when his car returned to the garage.
The 31-year old is set to start the race from the back of the grid.
by Rachit Thukral