Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel set pole position using P Zero Purple ultrasoft tyres by breaking the Shanghai all-time track record from last year, in cool conditions of 14 degrees centigrade ambient and 15 degrees on track.
Ultrasoft was mainly seen in qualifying, apart from Haas's Kevin Magnussen and both Williams, who used the soft during Q1. The soft tyres were also a highlight of Q2, with both Mercedes and Ferrari running on it to ensure they will start the race on this compound tomorrow after a highly-tactical session.
The final Q3 session was the only one run exclusively on the ultrasoft tyres, with pole position decided on the final runs.
Mario Isola: "The cool conditions helped the ultrasoft tyre today, which has a low working range, but the picture might change slightly tomorrow if conditions are a bit warmer, as is expected. Qualifying today was particularly tricky as yesterday's rain also cleaned the track of residual rubber, leaving very little grip and ensuring drivers had to warm up the rubber carefully. Nonetheless, we saw the track record broken around this circuit, with a particularly good effort by Red Bull to get Daniel Ricciardo out after an engine change. The crucial session was Q2, with both Mercedes and Ferrari choosing to start the race on the soft tyre. Strategy-wise, we could see a variety of options tomorrow, with a one-stop possible. With the nominations we have selected, all three compounds can play an important role."
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