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Hamilton eases to pole position in Shanghai 18 Oct 2008

(L to R): Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari in parc ferme after qualifying.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 18 October 2008 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren in parc ferme after qualifying.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 18 October 2008 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 18 October 2008

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton looked to be in trouble when his first Q3 qualifying run Shanghai yielded only third place as he got into a big slide in Turn Eight, but he put that right when it mattered to grab pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix with a lap of 1m 36.303s.

That comfortably outpaced the Ferrari of 2007 winner Kimi Raikkonen, who lapped in 1m 36.645s to beat team mate Felipe Massa. The Brazilian recorded 1m 36.889s. Right at the end Fernando Alonso jumped up to fourth for Renault with 1m 36.927s, while early pacesetter Heikki Kovalainen made an error on his second run and had to be content with fifth on 1m 36.930s.

Mark Webber put his Red Bull sixth with 1m 37.083s but drops to 16th because of his engine-change penalty incurred when his Renault V8 blew up in practice this morning. Thus Nick Heidfeld, seventh on 1m 37.201s for BMW Sauber, will start sixth ahead of the Toro Rossos of Sebastian Vettel and Sebastien Bourdais, and Jarno Trulli's Toyota which split them. They lapped respectively in 1m 37.685s, 1m 37.934s and 1m 38.885s.

Renault's Nelson Piquet was the first to lose out in Q2 with 1m 35.722s but will start 10th ahead of title contender Robert Kubica, who had a disastrous time in the second BMW when 1m 35.814s proved insufficient to get him through to Q3 just when he needed that most.

Timo Glock was 13th overall for Toyota on 1m 35.937s ahead of Honda's Rubens Barrichello (1m 36.079s) and Williams' Nico Rosberg (1m 36.210s). They will start 12th, 13th and 14th as Webber drops. And while David Coulthard was the first of the fallers in Q1, wheeling his Red Bull round in 1m 36.731s ahead of Kazuki Nakajima's Williams (1m 36.863s) and Jenson Button's Honda (1m 37.053s), the Scot will actually start ahead of his Australian team mate.

Right at the back were the Force Indias, with Adrian Sutil again acing team mate Giancarlo Fisichella, 1m 37.730s to 1m 37.739s.