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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Vettel could crash Lewis Hamilton's Shanghai pole party

World champion poor value to top Chinese GP qualifying

Lewis Hamilton is hot favourite to take pole in chilly China
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Chinese Grand Prix qualifying
Sky Sports F1, 7am Saturday

Lewis Hamilton has won neither of the first two races of the new Formula One season, but the reigning world champion looks the right favourite to take pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix.

However, at prices no bigger than 8-15 he doesn't look to represent value.

Hamilton topped both Friday practice sessions, but was only a whisker ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel when the drivers conducted their qualifying simulation runs.

Hamilton made an error on his lap and set his time earlier in the session, while the Bahrain qualifying session seemed to disprove the notion that Mercedes have a 'party mode' that gives them a huge engine boost for final qualifying.

Hamilton qualified fourth fastest there, one place behind his teammate Bottas. While the Mercedes looks more competitive in China - a venue that traditionally suits them, Vettel could be a value price to find the required slight improvement.

Ferrari's Vettel won in Australia and Bahrain and is 17 points ahead of Hamilton in the championship.

The Brit need not worry though - Vettel took the title in 2012 having won just one of the first 13 races. And with Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull all having shown enough pace to suggest they can win races this year the victories could end up being shared out fairly evenly by season's end.

S Vettel fastest qualifier
1pt 4-1 general

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Ferrari's Vettel won in Australia and Bahrain and is 17 points ahead of Hamilton
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