Valtteri Bottas claimed his seventh Formula One pole position – his first of the 2019 season and first in China. Lewis Hamilton will start the 1000th Formula One race from P2 on the grid, completing the front-row lockout for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. Both drivers will start tomorrow’s Grand Prix on the Medium tyres.
It feels good to be on pole. I think it’s going to be a very close race tomorrow, so it’s a good thing to start from the front. It’s been a strong weekend for us so far and it was nice to continue that way in the first session that counted. Because in the end when you go into Qualifying it doesn’t matter if you’ve had a good weekend up to that point; the only thing that counts is if you can deliver a good lap. I’m happy I was able to do that today. I think we were still a little bit behind on the straights compared to Ferrari, but we were stronger in the corners and ultimately gained more than we lost to them on the straights. It will be a tight race tomorrow and we will need a strong race pace and the right strategy to win. I’ll also need a good start in order to keep the lead as I’m sure both Lewis and the Ferraris will be pushing. We’ve been strong all weekend long so we need to continue to perform at this level to get the job done tomorrow.
Fantastic job from the team, I’m really happy for us to lock out the front row. Valtteri did a great job, he was a bit quicker but I was happy to get a decent couple of laps. I didn’t know where we would be, but in the end we’ve shown a strong performance. I’ve struggled a lot this weekend up until Qualifying, I was battling with the balance, so I’m really happy with the direction it went for Qualifying; it was a bit late, but better late than never. I’ll try and pull a good start out tomorrow; tyre management and strategy will also be important. This is not a bad track to overtake, so it should be an interesting race. I’m sure there will be a few opportunities tomorrow and I will try to put myself in the best position to be able to fight.
It’s great to see both our cars on the front row for the 1000th Grand Prix. The Ferraris squeezed it all out and were very fast again on the straights, but we were quicker in the corners and that was ultimately how we stayed ahead today. Our car looks really good in terms of downforce level, but we need to improve our straight-line speed. It is always a combination of power and drag, so we need to leave no stone unturned on the chassis and the power unit to recover a little bit. Valtteri was strong all weekend long and put in some good laps in Qualifying. Lewis was struggling with the grip before the session and was a few tenths behind this morning, but he did a very good job recovering in the session that mattered. We’re seeing massive swings from weekend to weekend, even within one team, and it makes this season really interesting. Valtteri was in a class of his own in Melbourne, he struggled in Bahrain, but then he has come back here. For Lewis it was the other way around; he had some issues in the race in Australia, but was really strong in Bahrain. If you look at Leclerc and Vettel it’s very similar. It makes racing unpredictable and I’m sure we will see an exciting race tomorrow as well. Our long run pace looked decent yesterday, but we expect a close battle between Ferrari, Red Bull and ourselves so we need to keep pushing.
Source: Mercedes-AMG F1