Sebastian Vettel appeared to be favourite for pole in China after topping the morning free practice session, but as in Australia the German had to settle for second place on the grid.
Vettel admitted that he had perhaps been a little too cautious at the end of the lap, but he still did enough to beat Valtteri Bottas by just a thousandth of a second.
“It was a nice session, I enjoyed it a lot,” said Vettel. “I think if we could have been a bit quicker at the end I would have enjoyed it a bit more. I think I was very happy with the lap I had. Last corner maybe I lost a little bit – maybe I ‘chickened’ onto the brakes a bit too soon. Obviously it was very close with Valtteri, good job we got just enough margin to make it to the front row.
“I think our car is strong no matter what. It obviously depends what these guys are doing. Certainly we’ve seen also in the previous years that in quali they seem to be able to really get on top of what they have. I think we can still improve. Let’s see what the race looks like tomorrow. The conditions will be quite different. Maybe we should put fuel in the car and race now.”
Vettel said he’s enjoying being back in the hunt for victory after a frustrating 2016.
“Obviously it’s a lot of fun when you fight for poles and wins. Certainly enjoyed Australia a lot, despite the outcome on Sunday which obviously was fantastic – but in general, to be able to fight at the front for the podium, and really fight for it is a great feeling.
“We didn’t really have much expectation because it’s a completely different track but on the hand we did know that our car is working well. So, just need to keep it up. Need to try to improve it whenever we can. So overall, I can only give it back, and hopefully there’s a lot more for the rest of the season. But this is only race two. A lot of things can happen but we need to obviously give everything we have to stay there.”