Polesitter Bottas wary of Ferrari threat, despite Mercedes qualifying advantage

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He was later given the all-clear, but missed qualifying because his ruined auto could not be fixed in time.

Hamilton - a five-time victor - struggled to get the most out of his vehicle, but Mercedes will be on the first line of the grid in Shanghai on Sunday.

Bottas clocked a leading time of one minute 32.830 seconds, 0.392 seconds ahead of Vettel and 0.418 of Leclerc.

At the Bahrain Grand Prix, Ferrari had the pace advantage over Mercedes, but the Italian team failed to captialise a win with a spin by Vettel and Leclerc suffering an engine issue gifted the Silver Arrows another one-two finish. Fifth was Red Bull's Max Verstappen and sixth, his teammate Pierre Gasly.

"I'm ok - more angry and disappointed than anything else", Albon told Sky Sports.

It was neck and neck on the second runs, but Bottas managed to improve as Hamilton slipped a little in the final sector of his run and Bottas had his first pole of 2019.

Albon, who had looked in with a good chance of making the top 10, said: "I am OK".

That left an open goal for the Renault drivers to take seventh and eighth places and Daniel Ricciardo pipped team-mate Nico Hulkenberg by just 0.004secs.

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Just three tenths of a second separated the Ferraris and the Mercedes. "The auto has the pace in it to compete at the front, we just need to find the right set-up".

Albon hit the wall on the final turn as fans sat in silence, waiting, with only his still head visible in the cockpit.

Hamilton echoed the importance of a good start being crucial to Mercedes' race plan, but added: "Starts have not been my strength, so I've got to try to figure out if I can pull off a good start tomorrow".

"In Q3 honestly during those two runs I never got the flawless lap", he said.

Bottas looked strong throughout the weekend and in qualifying, placing a 1:31.547 to go fastest overall.

Hamilton, a five-time victor in China, said: "I didn't give up and kept pushing right to the end". "But it turned out to be good enough, I guess". "The gap was 0.8secs at one stage so to be as close as we were is a good job and an incredible result for the team". Ferrari are particularly quick on the straights.

"[Ferrari] are quick in the straights and there are some really long straights here so for sure they are going to be a big threat and I'm sure they are going to have good race pace as well". The last corner, you're always playing with the limits when you're pushing around there, but no, I was finding time.