Chinese GP qualifying as it happened

Text and video highlights of qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, where Lewis Hamilton is fastest.

13 April 2013 Last updated at 08:22 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 0920: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    Can Lewis Hamilton turn his first Mercedes pole position into victory, just like team-mate Nico Rosberg did at this very race last year? Join me from 0630 BST on Sunday to find out. Thanks for you company, it's been a blast. Until tomorrow, it's good morning for me. Bye.

  2. 0918: 

    Here's Andrew Benson's qualifying report, which also features video highlights of that session. Keep an eye on the website for all the reaction from the Shanghai paddock and do tune into the BBC News channel at 1845 for Inside F1 with Lee McKenzie.

  3. 0915: 

    And the good news is, you can watch the Chinese Grand Prix, round three of the Formula 1 World Championship, live on BBC TV, radio and online. I'll be back with live text commentary from 0630 BST, with Suzi Perry and the team starting up on BBC One at 0700. BBC Radio 5 live join the party at 0745 before the lights go out at 0800.

  4. 0912: 

    Well that was pretty good, wasn't it? We had to wait a bit for the cars to actually hit the track in Q3, but once they did there was plenty excitement. We've got someone other than Sebastian Vettel on pole for the first time this season, we've got different strategies, drivers out of position and tyres which are falling apart. All the ingredients, then, for a cracking race.


    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg: "I'm generally quite pleased with qualifying. I was playing a little bit of catch up because of the hydraulic problem in practice. I was still finding my way. In the end, it was a decent lap until the last corner where I messed up a bit. I didn't get it quite right. But we have have a good race car, especially for tomorrow."

  6. 0909: 

    Nico Rosberg was another driver who looked like he had the pace to challenge for pole but came up short, finishing fourth fastest. Here's what he had to say about his effort.

  7. 0907: 

    Ferrari's Felipe Massa looked good on Friday, but he described qualifying as "frustrating" because he felt he should have qualified in the top three. Despite starting fifth, the Brazilian said he remains confident of a strong race tomorrow.

  8. 0904: 

    On Mark Webber stopping out on track, Red Bull boss Christian Horner said: "There seems to be an issue with the car itself or with the bowser which pumps fuel into the car."

    Webber finished 14th fastest but will be sent to the back of the grid unless the car has enough fuel in it to provide a one-litre sample as well as the amount of fuel required to get it back to the pits from where it stopped.

  9. 0859: 

    Red Bull boss Christian Horner thinks the soft tyre will only last "between four and 10 laps in the race tomorrow" which is why they decided to start Sebastian Vettel on the medium prime tyres. "On the long runs we've been very competitive so decided to be on the hard is not a bad place to be," he added.


    Simon Matthews: "So glad I put TV on the watch the F1 qualifying this morning. One lap each, well almost! So exciting almost dropped my coffee!"


    Jenson Button: "We have a very fast car next to us, [Sebastian] is starting just behind me, starting on slightly newer tyres. He's going to really challenge for the win. We've just got to hold on and see where we end up. It's sad not to go fast in Q3. Three of us need to apologise to fans but this is what we have to do it get good points. We're a long way off the front but you never know what will happen. None of us really understand the tyres here."

  12. 0852: 

    If Jenson Button gets a good start, and at least maintains position, he could find himself leading the race when everyone in front of him will be on soft tyres and forced to pit early, however, the McLaren driver said his focus is not on the win, but taking all their opportunities and keeping an eye on Sebastian Vettel, who starts one place behind him, at the start...


    McLaren's Jenson Button, who starts eighth: "It's difficult judging how slow I could actually go. It was the idea before qualifying. We wanted to look at where our pace was. It's such a difficult call. The racer in you wants to go out. In Q2, we were relatively quick. P7 was a slight surprise, we were quicker than we expected. I felt we got everything out of the car. We went for the prime direction. It was a bit of cat and mouse at end to see who actually does a lap."

  14. 0847: 

    Jenson Button has made the tactical decision to start on the medium prime tyre, crawling round in Q3 just so he could set a lap time. Everyone else in front of him is on the soft option tyre. Will the gamble pay off? Here's what he thinks...

    2013 Chinese GP podium

    That's Hamilton's first pole for Mercedes, but his third at the Chinese Grand Prix.


    Sebastian Vettel, who starts ninth: "I think you could see I locked up quite a bit [on his Q3 lap] I don't know what happened. I lost the brake pedal, something broke. I checked the tyre, there was no damage. We'll see. It was interesting, a different approach to usual. Four minutes to end, it was completely silent out on track and then everyone left at the same time. We've got the advantage of choosing our tyres."

  17. 0840: 

    Usually, Sebastian Vettel is fighting it out at the death in qualifying, but today the team lacked the pace to compete and so the reigning world champion took a very different approach. The German went out on medium tyres and didn't set a lap time. As a result he will start ninth and will have a choice of what tyres he starts the race on.


    Daniel Ricciardo, who starts seventh: "It's nice to be back in Q3. It's nearly a year ago since I was last in the top 10. The last couple of weekends have not gone to plan. The guys have worked hard on the car to make it more reliable and make it quicker. Today was just the case of putting the session together. Yesterday was probably the best Friday that we've ever had and I think we've shown how that helps today."

  19. 0835: 

    Looking at the grid, one would be hard-pressed to find a more impressive performance than that of Daniel Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso. The Australian hasn't been in the top 10 since Bahrain last year, and with the issues over at the senior Red Bull team, big performances are what's needed if he wants to be in with a shout of a promotion.

  20. 0830: 

    1) Lewis Hamilton 2) Kimi Raikkonen 3) Fernando Alonso 4) Nico Rosberg 5) Felipe Massa 6) Romain Grosjean 7) Daniel Ricciardo 8) Jenson Button 9) Sebastian Vettel 10) Nico Hulkenberg

    11) Paul di Resta 12) Sergio Perez 13) Adrian Sutil 14) Mark Webber 15) Pastor Maldonado 16) Jean-Eric Vergne

    17) Valtteri Bottas 18) Esteban Gutierrez 19) Jules Bianchi 20) Max Chilton 21) Charles Pic 22) Giedo van der Garde

  21. 0825: 

    On strategy for tomorrow, Mercedes boss Ross Brawn adds: "Those of us on the option tyre will be coming in fairly early. It will be interesting watching guys who have qualified on the the prime tyres. We'll see how the race develops, it will be a fascinating race."


    Mercedes boss Ross Brawn: "I'm delighted of course. It always takes a bit of time to settle into a team but I saw this weekend that Lewis was beginning to gel with his engineers and understand the car and I think we've seen the result of that today."

  23. 0820: 

    Interesting comment from Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda who says "there will be no team orders any more". He says the team will tell the drivers the situation and then let them make decisions for themselves.


    Lewis Hamilton: "These tyres are very tricky this weekend, making the option tyre last is almost impossible, so it's probably going to be a short stint at the start apart from for this guy [Raikkonen] who seems to be able to look after tyres better than most people. But we have good race pace. I expect a tough race but I hope we can maintain position."


    Fernando Alonso, who starts third: "This weekend has been good for us. The car has been competitive from Friday and this morning we made changes and the car responded well. We have a good set up for the race, which is the most important thing. Tomorrow, if everything goes well, we should fight for the podium with both cars."


    Kimi Raikkonen, who starts second: "I think the gap is quite big. We don't have that speed right now. Second is not too bad. I think it's the best I've achieved with the team. I would rather be in first place but we don't have the speed. We're missing downforce in the middle sector. We'll have to see what we can do tomorrow."


    Lewis Hamilton, who starts on pole: "It's an incredible feeling. So happy to have our first pole for some time. I'm just ecstatic really. The lap was great. The team has performed well all weekend so far. I hope we can carry it into tomorrow. It's really surprising, in P3 the Ferraris were very quick but we had really good pace in Q1 and Q2 but that last lap is really tough to get. We left it down to the last three minutes so you've got to get perfect out lap and the perfect lap. I really can't complain about that lap."

  28. 0812: 

    Time to hear from the top three drivers....

  29. 0810: 

    Stonking end to that session, eh? Jenson Button have gone for a very different strategy. McLaren sporting director Sam Michael says the team strategy was to do the opposite of whatever Sebastian Vettel did because if they both didn't set a lap, Vettel would start ahead because of his car number.

  30. 0808: 

    Great lap from Kimi Raikkonen to start second, one place ahead of Fernando Alonso with Nico Rosberg fourth. Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean, Daniel Ricciardo, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg complete the top 10.

  31. 0807: 

    Interesting move by Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel who decided not to set a lap time in Q3. He'll start tomorrow's race from ninth and will have a choice of tyres.

  32. 0806: 

    Nice handshake and pat on the back from Jenson Button to former team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the weigh-in area. Nice touch.

  33. 0805: 
    Lewis Hamilton

    Brilliant lap from Lewis Hamilton. Three tenths of a second advantage in his pocket. Let's not forget he was second fastest in qualifying in China last year, but was demoted five places because of a gearbox change.

  34. 0804: 

    YES HE CAN! Felipe Massa can only manage fifth fastest, so doesn't succeed in outqualifying his Ferrari team-mate for a record fifth time. Lewis Hamilton will start the Chinese Grand Prix from pole position in a Mercedes in only his third outing.

  35. 0803: 


  36. 0802: 

    Nico Rosberg makes a mistake on the final corner and can only manage second, but that becomes third when Fernando Alonso slots in behind Kimi Raikkonen.

  37. 0801: 

    Kimi Raikkonen is the first man across the line, clocking 1:34.761 to go quickest. Wow.

  38. 0800: 

    So it looks like we'll have someone other than Sebastian Vettel on pole position for the first time this year. Kimi Raikkonen crosses the line, so less than one minute 40 seconds till we get out first time on the board.

  39. 0759: 

    Oooooh, interesting. Sebastian Vettel has gone out on the medium tyres. That rules him out of the fight for pole position, but will allow him to go longer in the first stint than those in front of him. Jenson Button is out on the mediums, too.

  40. 0757: 

    The gloves are on at Mercedes as they fire up Lewis Hamilton's machine, but it's Kimi Raikkonen over at Lotus who is the first man out on track.

  41. 0755: 

    The track is empty at the moment, with everyone content to stay in the garage. Looks like we'll see just one run.


    Jo Stafford: "F1 on TV, sausage sandwich, great coffee. Webber runs out of fuel. So close to a good morning yet so far."

  43. 0753: 

    Sebastian Vettel heads out on track nice and early, but the German backs off after crossing the line and his race engineer Rocky tells him to "box this lap".

  44. 0752: 

    Ten men, one pole position. Let's do this.

  45. 0750: 

    When asked whether he's thinks the team have enough fuel for the required sample, Mark Webber said: "I don't know. We'll have to see what the rules are. Double-whammy, maybe." If he doesn't have enough fuel, he'll get demoted to the back of the grid.

    Webber added: "The option is not really our tyre for this track. It's disappointing, Q1 went very well, I felt good in the car and felt good all weekend."


    Mark Webber, who stopped out on track in Q2 and ended up 14th fastest: "We had a lack of fuel pressure so I couldn't get back. My qualifying was over before it started."

  47. 0748: 

    Star of the show there was Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian left it late to make it through to Q2 and then pulled out a corker of a lap at the death to sneak into the top-10 shoot-out. "Riccardo, wow," was Jenson Button's reaction when he heard the rundown of 10 who made it through to Q3.

  48. 0747: 

    Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button, Romain Grosjean, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg.

  49. 0746: 

    Paul di Resta, Sergio Perez, Adrian Sutil, Mark Webber, Pastor Maldonado and Jean-Eric Vergne.

  50. 0745: 

    Lewis Hamilton finishes fastest in the second part of Chinese Grand Prix qualifying.

  51. 0744: 

    Outstanding effort from Daniel Ricciardo who pops his Toro Rosso into ninth, while Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg makes it through in 10th. That means Paul di Resta and Sergio Perez have been bumped down into the drop zone with only a minute remaining.

  52. 0743: 

    BBC Radio 5 live pit lane reporter Jennie Gow reports Red Bull are saying it is a fuel pressure issue. Gary Anderson jokes: "You have to have fuel in it to have fuel pressure."

  53. 0742: 

    Jenson Button, Daniel Ricciardo, Adrian Sutil, Sergio Perez, Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean are currently in the drop zone.

  54. 0740: 

    Mark Webber waves to the crowd and manages a smile as the marshals tend to his stricken Red Bull. He's eighth at the moment, which means he might still get into Q3.

  55. 0738: 

    Blistering lap from Lewis Hamilton, clocking a 1:35.078 which is half a second quicker than Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg. Kimi Raikkonen has popped his Lotus into third ahead of Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa.


    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson jokes on 5 live sports extra: "That's one way of not having to have team orders, I suppose."

  57. 0736: 

    Mark Webber's Red Bull looks to have run out of fuel. Can you believe it? Remarkable.

  58. 0735: 



    Jules Bianchi, who will start 19th: "It's looking good, but we were slower in qualy than FP3. We can be confident for the race."

  60. 0733: 

    Fernando Alonso creeps ahead of Sebastian Vettel at the top of the charts, 0.074 seconds quicker. Felipe Massa is close, too, one tenth off the pace and slotting into third. So, so close at the top. Lovely stuff.

    Jules Bianchi

    Jules Bianchi is really pulling up trees in his Marussia. Went out of Q1 but half a second faster than team-mate Max Chilton and ahead of the Caterhams. His stock is rising...

  62. 0732: 

    Mark Webber is four tenths slower than Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel which puts him second. Nico Hulkenberg goes third fastest in the Sauber.

  63. 0731: 

    Sebastian Vettel goes quickest of all, three tenths quicker than he managed in the first part of qualifying which shows he was taking it easy on that set of tyres. The German clocks 1:36.260.


    Sarah Fry: "Quali and a latte. Not a bad way to wake up."

  65. 0728: 

    Sebastian Vettel is out nice and early in the second part of qualifying. The German is on the same set of tyres which he used in Q1 and will do one timed lap. This will be a banker.

  66. 0726: 

    Mercedes looking good to lock-out the front row. Ferrari are still in the hunt, though, but Red Bull look a little way back. Q2 to start shortly...

  67. 0725: 

    1) Hamilton 2) Rosberg 3) Massa 4) Webber 5) Alonso 6) Vettel 7) Button 8) Grosjean 9) Perez 10) Hulkenberg 11) Ricciardo 12) Raikkonen 13) Maldonado 14) Sutil 15) Di Resta 16) Vergne

  68. 0724: 

    Esteban Gutierrez, Jules Bianchi, Max Chilton, Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde.

  69. 0723: 

    Force India's Adrian Sutil's race engineer tells his charge that they're through to Q2 but it was "a bit of a struggle". The German, who was 14th fastest, replied: "Kimi Raikkonen destroyed my lap. Tell the stewards."

  70. 0722: 

    Lewis Hamilton finishes fastest in the first part of Chinese Grand Prix qualifying.

  71. 0721: 

    The chequered flag is out, but everyone can complete the lap that they're on. The Toro Rossos have hauled themselves out of the drop zone, but Valtteri Bottas and Esteban Gutierrez look to have missed out as a result.

    BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Jennie Gow

    "Soft tyres are being used by everybody and people are being sent out directly behind other people and slip-streaming them."

  73. 0720: 

    Jenson Button is seventh fastest, with McLaren team-mate Sergio Perez ninth. Both should safely make it through to Q2 with those efforts.

  74. 0719: 

    Ricciardo, Vergne, Chilton, Van der Garde, Pic and Bottas are currently in the drop zone. If it stays like this, Jules Bianchi will make it through to Q2. Good effort.

  75. 0718: 

    Sebastian Vettel goes third quickest, but he's bumped down to fourth by Fernando Alonso and then fifth as Mark Webber goes third. Lewis Hamilton still leads the way, 0.15 seconds ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

  76. 0716: 

    What has happened to Lotus? They've been off the pace all weekend and Kimi Raikkonen can only manage third fastest, 1.2 seconds off the pace and we've yet to see the Ferraris or Red Bulls set a time. "The car is moving around underbraking," says David Coulthard. "He's certainly not in a happy place right now."

  77. 0715: 

    Lewis Hamilton goes a tenth quicker than Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to grab P1. Paul di Resta is third fastest in the Force India, but he's 1.5 seconds adrift of the pace.

  78. 0714: 

    Nico Rosberg lops three seconds off Jules Bianchi's time. That's more like it. Still a decent effort from Bianchi, though, The Marussia's first effort was quicker than that of both Toro Rossos.

  79. 0713: 

    We have a time on the board, people. Jules Bianchi clocks 1:39.025, which is half a second quicker than team-mate Max Chilton manages a few seconds later.

  80. 0711: 

    Lewis Hamilton is out now, too, along with Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg who is running the soft tyre. Looks like he'll just do one run.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "The top three will be a Ferrari, a Red Bull and a Mercedes."

  82. 0708: 

    Ah, the sound of an engine being fired up. Hurrah. Jules Bianchi is the man to break the silence in his Marussia. He's followed by his team-mate Max Chilton and the Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo.


    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentator Jonathan Legard: "This is going to be the first full dry qualifying hour of 2013."

  84. 0706: 

    Mark Webber is still out of his car, arms folded and chatting to his engineers next to the data screen. On the other side of the Red Bull garage, Sebastian Vettel is suiting up.


    Janine Pingree: "Has someone forget to tell them that quali has started? Come on guys!"

  86. 0705: 

    Five minutes gone and still no sign of a car. Looks like we'll have a super final half of this session. Traffic could become a problem.


    Caterham: "A quiet start to quali with tyre conservation on everyone's minds. It's also warmed up since FP3 - now 27C air temperatures and 41C track temp."


    Ferrari: "Fernando and Felipe jumping in their cars, everything is ready for the start of qualifying, to kick off with Q1."

  89. 0701: 

    No one seems all that keen to get out on track in the early stages of this session, with Lewis Hamilton only just getting into his silver Mercedes.

  90. 0700: 

    The green light flickers on at the end of the pit lane which means Q1 is go, go, go.

  91. 0659: 

    With one minute to go, reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel is out of the car and sat on the cabinets at the back of the garage with his eyes closed and ear plugs in.


    Dylan Fletcher: "My money is on Hamilton for pole, Massa as an outsider."

  93. 0655: 

    This is your five-minute warning, folk. Get that cuppa or bowl of cereal now because you won't want to go anywhere for the next 60 minutes. Will all of the big guns make it safely through to Q2? We're about to find out.

  94. 0652: 

    As usual, qualifying will be split into three sessions. The first will last 20 minutes and see the slowest six drivers knocked out. The second session will last 15 minutes with another six taking an early bath. That leaves 10 drivers to fight it out for pole in the final 10-minute session.

  95. 0650: 

    Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali says the team will try to go for pole position and use the soft tyres, rather than using the mediums so they can start the race on that tyre.

    "We had a good free practice, above all with the soft tyres, but we need to see. For sure today we need to take care of tyres for tomorrow because that's where the points are. We will try [for pole], that doesn't mean you can do it, but for sure we will try."


    McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh: "We've not made much of a step forward. We're the fourth or fifth fastest car. Qualifying is going to be tough. We've got to get an upgrade for Spain now and that's got to take us forward. These first few races are going to be a challenge and the drivers have got to dig deep."

  97. 0642: 
    Fernando Alonso

    This man could have a big say on qualifying. Fernando Alonso was fastest for Ferrari in final practice by a massive 0.662secs over his team-mate Felipe Massa in second. Ferrari appear to be in real contention here. Game on.

  98. 0639: 

    Like Red Bull, Mercedes also used team orders in Malaysia, although the difference was, Nico Rosberg listened and held station behind Lewis Hamilton while Sebastian Vettel ignored the order and past team-mate Mark Webber.

    Speaking about the issue of team orders, Mercedes boss Ross Brawn says: "If you have antagonism between your drivers, it makes it more difficult. The fact Nico and Lewis have a lot of respect for each other helps for sure."

  99. 0634: 

    Nico Rosberg failed to do a soft tyre flying lap in final practice due to a hydraulic problem, with the car in pieces at the end of the session. However, team boss Ross Brawn has no worries about the German being ready for qualifying: "No, the car is just going back together now so everything should be fine," he tells David Coulthard.

  100. 0630: 

    Just 30 minutes until qualifying, and Suzi Perry and EJ are at the rear end of the pit lane talking to Marussia team boss John Booth. He says the team's target remains to score a point, gain 10th place in the constructors' championship and then keep pushing on.

  101. 0624: 

    Williams new deputy team principal Claire Williams tells Suzi Perry that when her father and team owner Frank was first asked whether he wanted her in the role, he said: "No way!"


    Nuala: "Am I the only one pleased Vettel overtook Webber so we have a talking point?"

  103. 0621: 

    Sebastian Vettel is the only man to have started on pole position the season, having started in P1 in both Australia and Malaysia, but Mercedes and particularly Ferrari are poised to give the reigning world champion a real run for his money in this upcoming session.

  104. 0616: 

    Just a reminder of the drivers' standings. Sebastian Vettel leads the way on 40 points, nine ahead of Kimi Raikkonen who won the opening race of the season in Australia. Mark Webber is 14 points behind Vettel in third with Lewis Hamilton fourth a further point adrift. You can see the full order on our Formula 1 pages.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Mark Webber hasn't always done what he has been asked to do, Sebastian Vettel clearly hasn't. [Red Bull team boss] Christian Horner is clearly relaxed about it because they're a very successful partnership. Ultimately, Formula 1 is the winner because this story is going to go on and on."

  106. 0611: 

    Eddie Jordan is discussing Sebastian Vettel's response to the Malaysian GP Red Bull team order incident. "Fundamentally his language has changed, he's become much more aggressive and arrogant," he said. "I prefer the old Sebastian to be honest."

  107. 0606: 

    Sebastian Vettel's pole in Malaysia was the 38th of his career but he remains third in the all-time standings, a long way off of Ayrton Senna with 65 and Michael Schumacher with 68.

  108. 0604: 

    I'm very impressed at the number of you who are awake at this hour on a Saturday morning, judging by the number of tweets. Who are you tipping for pole position for tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix? Can Ferrari take their first pole of the season and only second at this track? Will Mercedes pull it all together for the second successive year? Or will Red Bull come out of the bushes and lock out the front row like they did in Malaysia?

    Tweet us using the #bbcf1 hashtag or text 81111 (UK only)

  109. 0600: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    The BBC TV team are up and running on BBC One, opening with montage of famous moments when team orders were enforced, including Jacques Villeneuve allowing Mika Hakkinen through for the Finn's first ever F1 victory and Rubens Barrichello controversially gifting Michael Schumacher victory in Austria leading to boos from the crowd.

  110. 0558: 

    Qualifying is live on BBC One, the Red Button and online from 0600 BST. And don't forget all the lovely extra camera streams available here online, including the pit lane feed (also available on the Red Button), driver tracker, onboard, timing screens and alternative commentary.

  111. 0556: 

    EJ has been on holiday, sailing the world on his boat and ahead of his return to the paddock, he sent in this video message which is well worth a watch.

  112. 0552: 
    Eddie Jordan

    Formula 1 is live on the BBC for the first time this season which can only mean one thing - Eddie Jordan and his shirts are back! I've missed them. I'm sure you have, too.

  113. 0545: 

    Ferrari's Fernando Alonso headed team-mate Felipe Massa in final practice, with Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton not too far behind. The Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were right there, too, while Nico Rosberg didn't set a soft tyre lap but will be in contention. The scene is perfectly set. Just 15 minutes until the build-up show begins on BBC One and 75 mins until the first part of qualifying. Are you excited? Thought so.

  114. 0540: 

    If you're just waking up, you'll have missed final practice. But fear not, as Andrew Benson's report will catch you up.

  115. 0533: 
    Susie Wolff

    Williams development driver Susie Wolff, who is in the Shanghai paddock this weekend, is targeting a spot in the next young driver test as she continues her bid to secure a Formula 1 race seat. The Scot drove an F1 car for the first time last October and was the first person to test this year's Williams.

    "I'm on a fantastic path but I don't look too far ahead," Wolff, 30, told BBC Sport. "I look at each small step. Now it's about doing the young drivers days and proving I'm quick enough - and then getting a super licence."

    Wolff features on a BBC Radio 5 live special on Women in F1, which airs on Monday 15 April at 21:30 BST, and also features interviews with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, 16-time F1 race winner Sir Stirling Moss and Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "It emerged on Friday that there was a much bigger performance differential between the two tyre options than normal and this could have a significant effect on qualifying. It might well mean that most teams - perhaps even all the teams - have to run the 'soft' tyre in the first session, just to ensure they get through. This could lead to everyone only doing one run in each session. Normally, if a driver used the 'soft' in one session, he would use that same set for a 'banker' lap in the next. But the tyres are going off so quickly - by nearly a second a lap, or more than that in the case of Mercedes - that that might be completely pointless. It could well also mean some of the slower teams who get into Q3 don't run at all, so they keep open the option of starting the race on the medium tyre."


    Pirelli Motorsport director Paul Hembery: "#1 pole prediction. A former world champion in the fastest car."

    Hamilton? Alonso? It's not long before we'll find out...

  118. 0525: 

    I'm going right through until qualifying, which gets under way at 0700 BST. Before that, we've got the qualifying show which starts at 0600 on BBC One, with our BBC Radio 5 live colleagues hitting the radiowaves at 0645 - so plenty of time to discuss that final practice session and your tips for who will deliver in qualifying. You know the score, text us on 81111 (UK only) or tweet using the #bbcf1 hashtag.

  119. 0520: 

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson says a characteristic of the Ferrari car may be helping them get the best out of the 'soft' tyre in China. "If you need traction the soft tyre will help you," he said, "because a grippier tyre always improves the rear grip more than the front - and every time I have seen the Ferrari on the track the rear has given up before anything else, so they will get a lot from that tyre."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Interesting that Nico Rosberg should talk about a 'hydraulic' problem. There has been a lot of discussion this season about Mercedes' clever suspension system - which links the front and the rear of the car with hydraulics to keep the aerodynamic platform stable. Rather too much talk, really, considering that all the other top teams have something similar and that Gary Anderson says it's not true the car has no conventional springs or dampers. Anyway, despite that, if the hydraulics gave up, that would obviously heavily compromise the stability in the car with such a design."

  121. 0514: 

    So Ferrari and Mercedes look like the teams to beat, with Red Bull next up and McLaren showing improved pace compared to the first two races of the season.

  122. 0510: 

    1) Alonso 2) Massa 3) Hamilton 4) Vettel 5) Webber 6) Sutil

    7) Raikkonen 8) Button 9) Perez 10) Hulkenberg 11) Vergne 12) Ricciardo

    13) Maldonado 14) Rosberg 15) Bottas 16) Di Resta 17) Gutierrez 18) Grosjean

    19) Bianchi 20) Pic 21) Chilton 22) Van der Garde

  123. 0507: 

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg tells BBC F1 pit lane reporter Tom Clarkson that the problem with his car in third practice was "hydraulic" and "not ideal, but that's the way it is" ahead of qualifying. He added: "I think it will be tight but we'll get the car ready for qualifying."

  124. 0504: 

    The Ferraris prove they are very quick on the soft tyre, with Fernando Alonso heading team-mate Felipe Massa. Lewis Hamilton was third, although there should be more lap time to come after the Mercedes driver set his best time on his second lap. And what of Nico Rosberg? The German has been quick all weekend but didn't set a quick lap on the soft tyres because of a mechanical issue.

  125. 0501: 

    Fernando Alonso finishes fastest in third and final practice for the Chinese Grand Prix.

  126. 0500: 

    The chequered flag is out, but anyone still on a lap is allowed to finish it...

  127. 0459: 

    Sebastian Vettel can't match the Ferraris, but he does beat his Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber by a tenth to go fourth fastest. Meanwhile in the Mercedes garage, it's all hand on deck to work on Nico Rosberg's car.

  128. 0458: 

    Mark Webber goes fourth fastest, slotting in behind Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton and one second off the pace.


    Jamie Markham: "These Mercedes are looking very strong this weekend."


    Lewis Hamilton's race engineer over team radio: "Lewis, we'd like to push these tyres for each lap to see the progression. We don't need to save them."

  131. 0456: 

    Felipe Massa sneaks ahead of Lewis Hamilton at the top of the timesheets by 0.05 seconds, but his leading time is obliterated by Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso. The double world champion regains the upper hand by going a massive 0.622 seconds quicker.

  132. 0455: 

    Kimi Raikkonen goes second, just over half a second slower than the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. The Finn drops to third, though, as Adrian Sutil goes half a tenth quicker in the Force India to go second.

  133. 0452: 

    Expect the times to tumble, folks, as the big guns bolt on a set of soft tyres to simulate their qualifying runs. Both Ferraris and the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen are out on the option rubber at the moment. No such luck for Mercedes' Nico Rosberg, though. He's out of the car and sipping his drink while the team take his car to pieces to investigate the problem he reported.


    Ferrari: ‏"After six laps Felipe is back in the pits to finalise car set-up for his second run. Best time of 1:38.099 and P6."

  135. 0449: 

    Lewis Hamilton gets down to a 1:36.065 on his second lap on that set of soft tyres. BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson says we should take that lap time "with a pinch of salt" because Hamilton would have taken life out of those tyres in setting a fastest first sector time on his aborted fast lap.


    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "Fernando Alonso was very late out for this session because they were fiddling around with the new exhaust design they have brought here, about which they are being a bit non-specific about how much performance it brings. It will be very interesting to see when Alonso does his soft-tyre run this morning. Will he want a bit more time to hone his set-up to try to ensure he out-qualifies Felipe Massa for the first time this season?"

  137. 0446: 

    Nico Rosberg is back in the garage, while his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton is out on track on the soft tyres. He goes purple in the first sector, but then he backs off.


    Nico Rosberg over team radio: "Something's broken in the springs or something. Lots of bottoming. Box. Have a look what it is."

  139. 0443: 

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has bolted on a set of soft tyres for a qualifying-style run. The German begins his flying lap, but back off after a couple of corners...

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Jenson Button admitted after Friday practice that the upgrades McLaren have taken to China are an improvement but not a particularly big one, but he was practically jumping for joy compared to team-mate Sergio Perez. Two 'offs' into the barrier - one in each session - suggested he was struggling and the Mexican was brave enough to admit it afterwards, sounding like a man at sea with his car and perhaps even himself.

    "'We don't really understand what happened: I had a lot of wear, the front tyres were losing temperature and as soon as I hit the brakes I locked the tyres, [but I was] not pushing at that point,' Perez said. 'I'm not very confident with the car and that makes things difficult. We have so many question marks, we have to analyse everything that we have done because we don't know which direction we are going. The car is so inconsistent for us.'"

  141. 0442: 

    Coverage for the Chinese GP this weekend is live across BBC TV, radio & online. Qualifying is live on BBC One and the Red Button from 0600 BST, on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra from 0655 and they're both here online running alongside the live text commentary. The qualifying TV replay is on BBC One & BBC HD at 1300.

    Race coverage on Sunday is on BBC One and the Red Button from 0700, on BBC Radio 5 live from 0745 and here online. The TV replay is at 1400 on BBC One and the Red Button, with highlights on BBC Three at 1900.

  142. 0439: 

    In the battle of the team-mates, Lewis Hamilton has a 0.388 second advantage over Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel heads Mark Webber by just under a tenth and there's a similar gap between Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa at Ferrari.

  143. 0433: 

    Mark Webber goes fourth fastest, 0.944 seconds off the pace. Fernando Alonso slots into fifth, just over half a tenth behind with Felipe Massa sixth. The Brazilian had a bit of a slide out of the final corner which will have lost him some time and he's a further tenth off the pace.

  144. 0431: 

    We're over halfway through this session and Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso have yet to set a flying lap. Red Bull's Mark Webber hasn't either, but all three are now out on track.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "In the aftermath of the Malaysian Grand Prix, there were suggestions from ex-drivers that Mercedes' imposition of team orders on Nico Rosberg effectively meant the team favoured Lewis Hamilton. Rosberg has been on spiky form on that subject this weekend and, highly intelligent man that he is, came up with a very effective rejoinder: 'Counter question: have you asked Sebastian Vettel if he is the number two driver now after he was told not to overtake Mark Webber in Malaysia?' Most expected Hamilton to overshadow Rosberg this season but in fact it has been close between the two and Hamilton, who says he is still not completely at ease in the Mercedes car, admits: 'I have my work cut out.'"

  146. 0430: 

    Lewis Hamilton sets the fastest first sector and a personal best in the final sector to extend his lead at the top of the timesheets. His Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg has moved into second, 0.388 seconds slower, with Sebastian Vettel third and Kimi Raikkonen fourth.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Jenson Button was reasonably downbeat about the performance of the upgrades on the McLaren on Friday, suggesting his two sixth places in the practice sessions were not representative of the car's performance. However, the word coming out of McLaren is that they are not downbeat about the step forward they have made. In which case it will be interesting to see how they get on on Saturday."

  148. 0426: 

    Jenson Button goes eighth, 1.7 seconds off the pace and three tenths slower than McLaren team-mate Sergio Perez.

  149. 0425: 

    Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel's first effort is a 1:37.528, 0.486 seconds off the pace. That's still good enough for second, though.

  150. 0423: 

    Lewis Hamilton, who Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff says is feeling much better after his illness on Thursday, goes quickest off all, slicing 0.657 seconds off team-mate Nico Rosberg's best.

  151. 0420: 

    Nico Rosberg, fastest in FP1 on Friday, shoots to the top of the charts in his Mercedes. The German clocks 1:37.699 which is 0.624 seconds quicker than the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen in second.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "It's perhaps not what might have been expected after the first two races of the season, but the two strongest teams on Friday appeared to be Mercedes and Ferrari. As Jenson Button put it, if you were judging by first practice alone, you'd have said Mercedes were going to run away with the race, as Nico Rosberg did last year, but then Felipe Massa put in a stunning time on the 'soft' tyres in the afternoon and Ferrari showed enough pace for their normally uber-cautious technical director Pat Fry to describe their prospects as 'interesting'. Sebastian Vettel flew under the radar a little but was clearly very quick if you looked closely and Kimi Raikkonen was also strong in the Lotus."


    AlMacF1: "I reckon we'll *not* see both McLs in the final 10, and many will run in Q3 on the harder tyre. Both @clubforce should make it in."

  154. 0415: 

    Sergio Perez is our new leader, clocking a 1:38.769 on the medium tyres in his McLaren. The Mexican had a torrid day on Friday, going off the track in both sessions.


    Marussia: "We have applied a preventative fix to both cars to ensure no recurrence of yesterday's problems and we are focused now on a positive."

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Friday was a frustrating day for English rookie Max Chilton at Marussia. Chilton was overshadowed by team-mate Jules Bianchi in the first two races but in first practice the two were evenly matched. But then Chilton's car stopped on his first flying lap in second practice when an engine protection 'kill' cut his engine - and then once the team had turned the car around did so again almost as soon as the team got out on to the track again. Chilton, who revealed this weekend that he has financed his drive by turning himself into a company and asking investors to take a share of his future earnings, admitted Saturday is going to be 'quite a challenge' as a result."

  157. 0407: 

    Charles Pic is the first man to put a time on the board, the Frenchman clocking a 1:41.995 in the shiny green Caterham. That time is usurped by his team-mate Giedo van der Garde by 0.071 seconds, though. Next time around, Pic locks a front tyre going into Turn One and runs wide onto the concrete run-off.


    BBC F1 pit lane reporter Tom Clarkson: "It's a suspension set-up change on Kimi Raikkonen's car which is why he has yet to go out. The team were at the track very late last night going through the data and they've decided to make a last minute change. Romain Grosjean had a torrid day. He was using the new exhaust but they reverted back in the afternoon because he wasn't happy. The Frenchman is now back with the updated exhaust for this session. Kimi, meanwhile is down off the jacks and should be out soon."

  159. 0403: 

    Friday's pacesetter Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber have all headed out on track, but Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen remain in their garages.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "They'll still be doing set-up work in this session but towards the end of the hour the teams will want to give the drivers a run on low fuel ahead of qualifying. I think there'll be a mix of programmes out there so we should not look at the times too much."

  161. 0400: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    Marussia's Jules Bianchi is the first man out as third and final practice gets under way...

  162. 0357: 

    It's another beautiful day in Shanghai, the air temperature hovering around the 25C mark, with the track temperature is up at 32C.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "It's looking like the option tyre is falling to bits, more so on the Mercedes than the Red Bull. but the track is evolving and ultimately the only thing that matters is what happens when the chequered flag falls."

  164. 0355: 

    Ah, there's nothing like the sound of The Chain booming out on BBC Two on a Saturday morning to really get the heart pumping...

  165. 0352: 

    Wondering seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher has been up to since retiring from the sport for a second time at the end of last season? Well apart from being named as a Mercedes Benz ambassador who will focus on road-car systems development, he's also jumped out of a plane with former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye in Dubai. The pair bumped into each other at the skydiving venue this week.

  166. 0347: 

    Red Bull boss Christian Horner has denied that Sebastian Vettel undermined his authority by ignoring team orders in the Malaysian Grand Prix, with the incident still firmly on the agenda.

    "Under my leadership, I have led the team from the time Red Bull entered the sport to those 35 victories, to those world championships," he said.

    Interestingly, Mark Webber finished ahead of his more decorated team-mate in both sessions, however, it's not usually until qualifying day that the German shows his hand.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "What a fascinating race weekend the Chinese Grand Prix is turning out to be. Quite apart from the fall-out from the Red Bull team orders row (with a little bit of Mercedes spice thrown in for good measure), there is an intriguing battle shaping up out on the track, with the top four teams of Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes all looking very closely matched - and not necessarily in that order either. Saturday morning's final practice session should give further clues to competitive form."

  168. 0343: 

    Are you just getting in from a night out or rising from your slumber after a mini-sleep? What kind of edible goodies have you got to feast on during the upcoming sessions? Do you think Felipe Massa, who qualified second in Malaysia, has what it takes to grab pole position? Who do you think is best placed to take pole and the win in Shanghai?

    Tweet us using the #bbcf1 hashtag or text 81111 (UK only), remembering to put your name on those SMS messages.

  169. 0339: 

    Before we get down to the business of qualifying, we've got the small matter of third and final practice. It's a one-hour session and a final chance for the teams to work on set-up, tyres and their update packages. The pit lane opens at 0400 BST, with coverage on BBC Two and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra kicking off at 0355.


    Former F1 driver Karun Chandhok: "Just seen Kimi strolling in to the paddock. Half an hour to go before FP3!"

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Felipe Massa looks to have a very strong chance of being the first team-mate of Fernando Alonso ever to out-qualify the great man five times in a row. Massa was very fast on the 'soft' tyres on Friday, lapping nearly half a second faster than Alonso, and Ferrari technical director Pat Fry admitted the Spaniard had struggled. Massa, a 'confidence' driver who is not always the most adaptable when the car is not to his liking, loves the feel of this year's new Pirelli tyres - and especially the soft. 'Confident for the weekend,' Massa said on Friday. 'I think we can do everything we did today on tomorrow and Sunday as well.' You can be sure Alonso won't be far away, however."

  172. 0336: 

    Could Felipe Massa take a shock pole position and go on to win a race for the first time since the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, a year in which he challenged for the world title before getting pipped by Lewis Hamilton? It's not long until we find out.

  173. 0333: 

    Hello and welcome to our live coverage of third practice and qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit. Nico Rosberg set the pace in first practice on Friday, but it was Felipe Massa who stole the headlines by topping the times in the second session.

    The Brazilian's race engineer Rob Smedley described his long run pace on the soft tyre as "not just good but incredible" while the team's test driver Pedro de la Rosa said that Massa seems to like the new Pirelli tyres, especially the softer compound.

  174. 0330: 

    Felipe Massa could become a record-breaker today. The Brazilian's career looked to be over after a horrific accident at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix. The Ferrari driver survived, returning to the sport in 2010 but lacking the confidence and performance to compete with Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso.

    He was on the verge of the sack mid-way through last year when suddenly something clicked. From then on, he's been right back on the pace and hustling his double world champion team-mate. And today, he could become the first team-mate of Alonso to out-qualify him five times in a row. As Alonso, who has competed in 200 races across 11 seasons, is considered to be one of the most talented drivers of his generation, that would be some achievement.

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FIA Formula 1 World Championsh 2015

Position Driver Team Pts
1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes 43
2 Germany S Vettel Ferrari 40
3 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes 33
4 Brazil F Massa Williams 20
5 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari 12
6 Brazil F Nasr Sauber 10
7 Finland V Bottas Williams 10
8 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull 9
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India 6
10 M Verstappen Toro Rosso 6
11 C Sainz Toro Rosso 6
12 Sweden M Ericsson Sauber 4
13 Russia D Kvyat Red Bull 2
14 Mexico S Perez Force India 1
15 France R Grosjean Lotus 0
16 Great Britain J Button McLaren 0
17 R Merhi Manor Marussia F1 0
18 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus 0
20 Spain F Alonso McLaren 0
21 W Stevens Manor Marussia F1 0


After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham

Evolution of Formula 1

F1 in Numbers Evolution of F1 - bigger, faster, wealthier

BBC Sport charts the evolution of F1 from its beginnings as a European series in 1950 to a global event in 2013.