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Verstappen claims Red Bull's 100th pole


Ahead of Q1, the air temperature is 22 degrees C, while the track temperature is 36 degrees.

While Lando Norris claimed pole for the Sprint it is unlikely that he will repeat the process this afternoon - not that it did him much good - as the conditions are entirely different.

Instead, based on this morning's Sprint, Max Verstappen must surely be favourite to continue his streak of pole-winning performances.

In the moments before the start of the session Ferrari is still working on the set-up on Leclerc's car, while at McLaren the gearbox is being changed on Piastri's car.

Also, following his clash with Sainz earlier, which earned him a time penalty and a few penalty points, Alonso has had a new floor fitted.

Ahead of the green light, Zhou heads the queue in the pitlane, much to the delight of the partisan crowd.

They head out, behind Zhou it is Gasly, Tsunoda, Ocon, Hulkenberg and Albon.

Most are on softs though Sainz has opted for mediums.

Hulkenberg has already been noted for silliness in the pitlane at the start of the session.

While Zhou pits, Gasly posts a 36.975 but this is immediately beaten by Magnussen and then Russell (36.436).

Tsunoda complains that his DRS is not working.

On his mediums Sainz goes fourth with a 36.998 as Norris posts a 36.528 to go second.

A 35.980 sees Leclerc go top but Verstappen, Stroll and Alonso are on hot laps.

Alonso goes quickest with a 35.116, while his teammate goes second with a 35.846, only for the pair to be split by Bottas (35.528).

Verstappen goes second with a 35.171, 0.055s off Alonso's pace.

Hamilton goes eighth (36.528).

"What the **** was that," asks Perez following an encounter with Albon who insists that he got out of the Mexican's way.

The Williams driver has been noted for impeding.

Zhou goes sixth with a 36.308 but all eyes are on Piastri who goes quickest in the first two sectors, finally crossing the line at 35.014.

Albon goes fifth, leaving Perez as the only driver yet to post a time.

His DRS now working, Tsunoda goes 19th with a 38.142.

Sainz goes top with a 34.970 as Tsunoda improves to tenth with a 35.979.

Though he is only quickest in the final sector, Norris goes top with a 34.842.

Perez goes sixth with a 35.457, 0.615s down on Norris.

With 2:00 remaining, Zhou, Sargeant, Ricciardo, Hamilton and Magnussen comprise the drop zone, with Hulkenberg, Gasly and Tsunoda hovering.

All bar Norris, Sainz, Piastri and Alonso are on track.

Bottas goes fifth (35.169), as Albon goes quickest in S1.

Zhou goes eighth (35.505) much to the delight of the crowd.

Sargeant fails to improve after spinning at the hairpin.

Hulkenberg goes fourth, Magnussen eleventh and Hamilton twelfth.

Ricciardo goes ninth, Russell fifth but both are demoted when Verstappen goes top with a 34.742.

Gasly goes ninth and Ocon eleventh, which means Hamilton fails to make the cut, the Briton, like Zhou, having locked-up at the hairpin on his final run.

Quickest is Verstappen, ahead of Leclerc, Norris, Sainz, Piastri, Hulkenberg, Russell, Alonso, Bottas and Gasly.

We lose Zhou, Magnussen, Hamilton, Tsunoda and Sargeant.

The lights go green for Q2 but as is ever the case there is no rush to action.

Eventually Hulkenberg breaks the deadlock, the German followed by Ocon, Gasly, Stroll and Ricciardo.

"I cannot stop twice like this," complains Leclerc as he leaves the pits.

Meanwhile Tsunoda complains that there is something wrong with his car. "I can't be nineteenth," he says.

Hulkenberg posts a 34.979, while Stroll responds with a 35.092 and Ricciardo a 35.229.

No sooner has Alonso gone top with a 34.801 than Piastri posts a 34.659, Norris a 34.460 and Verstappen a 33.946.

Perez goes fifth while Leclerc can only manage ninth.

The session is red-flagged when Sainz goes off at the final corner.

Replay shows that he ran too wide and got on to the gravel and consequently lost control.

He clouts the barriers, though not heavily. Nonetheless, his session is over.

Or is it? He manages to get going again and returns to the pits minus his front wing.

With the clock stopped at 6:44 he and Russell have yet to post times.

Ahead of the session getting the green flag, Albon, Ocon, Gasly join Sainz and Russell in the drop zone, with Ricciardo, Leclerc and Stroll hovering.

Understandably, once back in the Ferrari garage, there is frantic activity around Sainz' car.

The session restarts at 15:45 local time.

The lights go green and Russell leads the way, followed by Verstappen... the rest wait and watch.

"I just struggled," Hamilton tells Sky Sports, "it is what it is.

"This morning, George and I had very similar cars but we are trying to experiment still and so I went one way by a long way and he went the other. Yeah, it didn't work - 18th is pretty bad. ***** happens."

Russell goes third with a 34.609 as the rest of the field, including Sainz, finally head out. All are on fresh rubber.

Alonso goes quickest in S1, as Gasly can only manage 14th overall.

Stroll goes sixth as teammate Alonso remains fourth.

Ocon is eleventh and therefore fails to make the cut.

Ricciardo goes ninth but is demoted when Sainz posts a 34.638 to go second.

Perez goes second and Leclerc fourth, while Bottas claims tenth with a 34.769, which is bad news for Stroll who drops to eleventh.

"So we confirm, all OK with the car?" Sainz is cheekily asked.

"We are so on a knife-edge with everything," sighs Albon.

Quickest is Verstappen, ahead of Perez, Sainz, Leclerc, Norris, Russell, Alonso, Piastri, Hulkenberg and Bottas.

We lose Stroll, Ricciardo, Ocon, Albon and Gasly.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Shanghai here.


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