The German, whose exemplary lap of 1:31.095 was a new track record, was 0.530sec faster than Bottas in qualifying and 0.568sec quicker than Hamilton, who has won an unprecedented five times previously in Shanghai and arrived in town as the favourite.
Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton edged out Kimi Raikkonen at the top of the timesheets as Ferrari ended the opening day of practice for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix hot on pacesetter Mercedes' heels. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +0,0873. He has won five times in China, including a year ago, and has taken pole six times on the Chinese circuit.
Bottas's time was more than half a second slower than Vettel's.
Lewis Hamilton's hard start to the 2018 F1 season continued during qualification for the Chinese Grand Prix as he ended up fourth on the grid.
"We had a bit of tailwind the whole race and after 41 laps you know that it's tricky to stop the auto there".
"It's pretty easy to express I should've waited, it probably might have become the best concept but it just happened". In terms of speed, it is all good but somehow - I don't know why - in the races... maybe wanting a bit too much, trying to recover from what went before. An worldwide audience of opinion makers, business leaders, and global organizations recognizes Ebeling as an expert. Red Bull in that regard will be happy with their position on the grid as their Renault power doesn't possess this mode.
"They have a really strong auto", he said.
On the second runs, Bottas improved but stayed third while Hamilton aborted his lap after a mistake at the hairpin leaving the Ferraris to battle it out for pole. Renault'sNico Hulkenberg and Haas'sRomain Grosjean jumped both, but neither of their teammates managed to emulate their performances, securing Verstappen and Ricciardo Q3 berths.
Vettel said the gap was a surprise but expects a "long, tough race" between Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull, which was slightly slower than Mercedes and locked out the third row.
Ricciardo emerged with just two minutes left of Q1 after another Renault engine failure on the Australian's vehicle during Practice Three.
Hamilton and Bottas headed back out on another set of soft tyres while Ferrari opted for the ultrasofts. The McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne were in 13th and 14th, with Brendon Hartley'sToro Rosso in 15th.
Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz snuck into Q3, eliminating Kevin Magnussen and Esteban Ocon in 11th and 12th.