Bottas, the quicker Mercedes driver in Shanghai, saw his advantage cut Hamilton to just 0.023 moments as the universe winner eventually found pace.
Pierre Gasly along with RedBull’s Max Verstappen took fifth and fifth places.
Red Bull looked to have a chance to battle the Ferraris after the first runs, when Verstappen was only 0.045secs supporting Leclerc, but a misjudgement meant neither car made it around to begin the final laps until the chequered flag fell.
- Chinese Grand Prix qualifying outcome
- Vote to the Best Formula 1 race
- Vettel nevertheless priority in Ferrari – Binotto
- 5 Live F1 podcast:’It’s not my fault if somebody has killed’
A right Red Bull Mixup
This was a lost opportunity for Red Bull as car was able to complete a second lap at final qualifying – an issue that struck at Haas.
Verstappen still might have made it through with time had he not backed off to attempt and get some space although Even the Mercedes drivers backed up the queue of cars at the front.
He was urged to rush up by his scientist, but it was too late.
That made an open goal for the Renault drivers to take seventh and eighth places and Daniel Ricciardo pipped team-mate Nico Hulkenberg by only 0.004secs.
Further down the field, it was a sobering day for McLaren, since newcomer Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz could afford only 14th and 15 th places, a setback after their start.
British novice George Russell be at Williams team-mate Robert Kubica to the very first time and for the next race in a row this season the two Williams cars will not begin the race from the back row.
Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi did not take a part in qualifying due to an engine problem and Toro Rosso were not able to repair the car over time of Alexander Albon for qualifying after the Anglo-Thai newcomer needed a crash by the ending of clinic.
Albon, who’d looked in with a good probability of making the top ten, said:”I am okay. Angry and disappointed than anything else. It was silly one and a one. We had a good probability to be in Q3. We had a good car.”
His first team-mate Daniil Kvyat had been seventh on his very first run in Q2 but neglected to improve on his time and then missed out on a top 10 place by only 0.022secs.
The things they said
Bottas said:”It has been a fantastic weekend thus far. This morning I felt quite comfortable in practice. I struggled somewhat in Q3 to find an ideal lap in however it was good enough.
“The car has been very good all weekend and LeWIS were able to boost a lot during qualifying plus it was superb close.”
Hamilton said:”I kept pushing to the end. He has been leading all weekend. I have been struggling and stripping it away. The difference was 0.8secs at the same stage to be as close as we were is a good job and an amazing effect for that team.”
Vettel admitted that Ferrari did not possess the pace to challenge Mercedes on one lap but was optimistic he could challenge at the race.
“Right from Q1 they seemed to start away from the far much better place,” Vettel claimed. “We had a good session. I think there is just a bit more but maybe not sufficient now to overcome these guys.
“When we get close we have a benefit in a straight line, and maybe we are able to do something there. The race will be long and it ought to be a very good day “