Formula One

                   === Hamilton takes pole for Chinese GP ===
 Shanghai, China ( - Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes claimed his
 third  pole  of the  season by  topping Red Bull  drivers Daniel Ricciardo and
 Sebastian  Vettel  in Saturday's rain-soaked  qualifying for the Chinese Grand
 In  wet conditions,  Hamilton made a lap around Shanghai International Circuit
 in 1 minute, 53.860 seconds to earn the top starting position for Sunday's 56-
 lap  race.  His 34th  career pole placed  him in sole  possession of fourth on
 Formula  One's all-time pole winners list. Hamilton had been in a tie with Jim
 Clark for most pole wins among British drivers in the history of F1.
 "It  was so slippery  out there, trying to find the grip, obviously not making
 mistakes on your lap, and really putting it together, especially when you have
 these guys [Ricciardo and Vettel] pushing you," Hamilton said. "It was a tough
 session. I really enjoyed it. The car was feeling great.
 "We  always have stuff  we can improve, but the team has done a great job this
 weekend.  It's a good  position for the race, and I hope we can follow through
 Hamilton  is attempting  to win his third straight grand prix this weekend. He
 started  on  pole and  won in Malaysia  on March 30.  One week later, Hamilton
 scored the victory in Bahrain after starting second there.
 Ricciardo  will  start on the  front row  with Hamilton after qualifying 0.595
 seconds behind him.
 "I  struggled  a bit  throughout the session,"  Ricciardo said. "Personally, I
 didn't feel like I was getting on top of the conditions, but then the last set
 of  inters [tires] right at the end of Q3, we managed to get a bit more out of
 it. I put a good lap together so pretty pleased to be on the front row."
 Vettel,  the  four-time defending  F1 world champion,  qualified third but was
 more than one second behind Hamilton.
 Nico  Rosberg, who  is Hamilton's  teammate, struggled  in Q3.  He placed  his
 Mercedes  fourth  on the grid. Rosberg  started on pole and finished second to
 Hamilton  in  Bahrain. He enters  this race  as the current world championship
 points leader.
 "I  had  two main problems today,"  Rosberg said. "I wasn't totally happy with
 the feeling on the brakes, which resulted in me locking up and going off on my
 fast  lap on the  second-to-last lap. Then on my final timed lap, I was half a
 second  quicker going  into the last corner,  but my time delta on my steering
 wheel display said that I was two-tenths slower. So I just took a big risk and
 spun because I mistakenly thought I had nothing to lose anyway."
 Fernando  Alonso  from Ferrari qualified  fifth, while Williams drivers Felipe
 Massa  and Valtteri Bottas took the sixth and seventh starting positions. Nico
 Hulkenberg from Force India was eighth.
 Toro  Rosso's  Jean-Eric Vergne  and Romain Grosjean  from Lotus completed the
 Grosjean's  teammate, Pastor  Maldonado, did not participate in qualifying due
 to  technical problems  he encountered during the final practice session, held
 earlier  in the  day. Maldonado will start at the race stewards' discretion in
 22nd.  He had  already faced  a five-place  grid penalty  for causing  a wreck
 between him and Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez during the Bahrain Grand Prix.
 04/19 07:46:08 ET

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