Hamilton on pole but rain threatens outcome

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SHANGHAI, China, Apr 8, CMC — Brit Lewis Hamilton snatched his sixth straight pole and the 75th of his career but Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix was expected to be a virtual lottery, with heavy rain in the forecast expected to potentially influence the outcome.
The 32-year-old clocked one minute, 31. 678 seconds to secure his spot at the front of the grid with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel taking a share of front row.
Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas finished third to insert himself on the second row of the grid, alongside the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.
But the three-time World champion Hamilton was bracing for a dicey race on Sunday as inclement weather, which wiped most of Friday’s practice sessions, is expected to return in full force.
“Tomorrow is going to be an unusual day… it’s going to be wet potentially, and I haven’t driven the wet tyre this year. So tomorrow will be a new lesson for me,” said Hamilton, whose paternal grandparents hail from the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada.
“It’s super exciting for me because we’re really fighting these guys, having to raise the bar every time we go out — it’s amazing. And I think Ferrari’s race pace is a step up [over their one-lap pace], particularly when it’s warm, so it will be interesting to see what the weather brings.”
Hamilton boasts a successful record in China’s most populous city, winning four times including back-to-back years in 2014 and 2015.
However, with the new technical changes introduced from this season, it appears Mercedes have lost some of their dominance from previous years, and Hamilton was out-paced a fortnight ago by Vettel in the season-opener in Melbourne.
Hamilton, who in the past has been notorious in wet conditions, said he was anticipating a thrilling encounter.
“I’m kind of excited about. It makes it more… it’s great to have some excitement — to be faced with a new challenge,” he said.
“You just have to be the most proactive, most reactive tomorrow. If it is wet, if it is raining I just hope that the clouds stay high so that the helicopter can stay take off so that we can actually do a race.”

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