Kimi Raikkonen unsure how he lost pole to Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Raikkonen

Hamilton cut a frustrated figure all weekend, complaining of a lack of pace in his Mercedes, and had to settle for fourth-place finish after starting from the same position.

Despite his current difficulties though, Hamilton only finds himself nine points behind Vettel in the championship, after the Ferrari driver could only finish eighth following his clash with Verstappen. Red Bull started from the third row but did not look like it had the pace to challenge championship leaders Ferrari and Mercedes.

The Formula 1 Series continues its 2018 season early on Sunday morning with the running of the Chinese Grand Prix.

Verstappen dived late at the penultimate corner and went straight into Vettel as the Ferrari driver turned in to the corner.

His teammate Kimi Raikkonen was just behind by 0.087 second.

Reflecting on the performance, Hamilton admitted it was a case of underperforming on his side of the Mercedes garage, and that a solution needs to be found quickly if he's going to fight for a fifth title. Though Vettel is the favorite, Hamilton seems like the guy to beat based on his history at the track. "So I'm really happy", Vettel said.

"We have seen the competitive picture change quickly over the past three races and it's clear that we still have much to understand about our vehicle and how to get the best from the tyres". But the luck has been going against us in these first couple of races, and today again.

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"I knew I could step it up, because I had a lot more in me", Vettel said. According to oddsmakers at YouWager, Sebastian Vettel is the current favorite, as he is getting odds of -175 to win.

With the Mercedes leading until 11 laps from the end, Ricciardo still had to overtake Bottas on track for victory and the pair nearly collided at Turn 6, but the Finn says he only pushed his defense so far due to the pace differential between the two cars. I don't think necessarily I need to be less aggressive or anything because it's nothing to do with being overly aggressive but maybe wanting too much.

"I was in no-one man's land today, I had no pace", Hamilton told Sky F1.

Star of the session: Raikkonen has really been the star of the weekend so far and can consider himself quite unlucky to not be on pole position. Hamilton's win here last year marked his third in four years, his fifth overall, and Mercedes' fifth in the last six China Grand Prix races.

Verstappen, whose teammate Ricciardo put on a superb overtaking display to claim victory, accepted full responsibility. "We definitely were not doing that for the cameras", said a clearly relieved Ricciardo.

Montreal's Lance Stroll qualified in the No. 18 spot.

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