Albon took more emotional than physical hit in FP3 crash

Formula 1 Ferrari defend use of team orders to help Sebastian Vettel

Formula 1 Ferrari defend use of team orders to help Sebastian Vettel

Despite his crash, Albon still clocked the ninth-fastest time but his participation in the qualifying session later in the afternoon depends on whether his mechanics can rebuild his vehicle in time.

Hamilton struggled throughout practice at Shanghai and trailed team-mate Valtteri Bottas by eight-tenths of a second during Saturday morning's session.

Bottas, who leads the championship by one point from title-holder Hamilton after two races, scorched to a best time of one minute 31.547 seconds. That meant they were unable to start their flying laps before the chequered flag and Max Verstappen, who was fourth after the first runs in Q3, was forced to settle for fifth ahead of teammate Pierre Gasly, who never looked in contention for the front two rows.

"I think it will be very close, Mercedes and also Red Bull are actually quite close, so it will be an interesting battle".

He has every right to be expectant of extending his championship lead, now one point over Hamilton, on Sunday.

Hamilton added that he was "proud" of his improvements but conceded that team-mate Bottas was fully deserving of pole position.

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Most experts believe the forward will be selected in the top-10, and could go within the top-5 depending on how things shake out. That includes one with 0.8 seconds remaining to lift Duke past Florida State in January.

Out of the three weekends so far in 2019, this is Mercedes' second pole position and Bottas' first of the season. "We had a good auto". "It has been a good start of the year for me personally and for us as a team, I feel confident".

Albon hit the wall on the final turn as fans sat in silence until with only his still head visible in the cockpit. The weekend so far has been very good.

Discussing his lap, Bottas said: "It's been a good weekend so far - I felt really comfortable in the practice, but honestly I struggled in Q3 to get a flawless lap".

"[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". He was not injured in his accident but his Toro Rosso was too damaged to take part in qualifying and he will start from the back of the grid.

"I'm disappointed I made a mistake", he said. "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 still seem to be quicker than us on the straights, whereas we were better in most corners in FP2 (the second session)". It's always a little bit loose and normally you can recover it, but this time I was a bit greedy with the throttle.

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