Vettel 'just kept getting better' on super Saturday in Shanghai

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari 14.04.2018.
© XPB 

After a relatively subdued time in Friday free practice for Sebastian Vettel, the Ferrari driver came alive on Saturday morning. And he was able to carry that surge in form through to a scintillating qualifying session for the Chinese Grand Prix.

"I was happy with the whole lap, not just the last sector," a thrilled Vettel said after his record-setting pole position lap at the Shanghai International Circuit.

"The car was really amazing, it just kept getting better," he added. "Really happy.

"I knew that the first lap I had some mistakes," he recalled. "I lost the rear in turn 3 at the low speed exit, and then at turn 6 again. So I was a bit beaten up.

"But then I knew if I got a tidy lap then I could push, and it was really good."

Ferrari's dominance was a particular surprise in China, a circuit traditionally dominated by Mercedes.

"It's usually a Mercedes track for the last six years going, so it's good to break their run!" he agreed. "Hopefully we can continue to do so tomorrow.

"It's good news," he continued. "This shows we have some potential in the car, and if we can unleash it obviously it's coming together.

"Between practice this morning and qualifying we didn’t do anything. I think the overnight changes that we did are working and made the car a little bit better.

"It feels good. Obviously if you find the sweet spot, wherever you are in the field, it helps you to enhance your performance. That's probably what happened today.

"I don't know if the others struggled to get their tyres to work. For us it was pretty straight forward. The feeling was good throughout the whole lap - that makes quite a difference."

Vettel certainly had the backing of the Shanghai crowd in his qualifying bid. The grandstand erupted with approval when he successfully claimed the top spot on the grid for Sunday's race.

"In the hairpin at turn 14, just under braking, outside I could really see people go crazy," Vettel commented. "It was really nice."

Getting pole is one thing, but the race is where the points are won and lost. Vettel said Sunday's outcome was very much up in the air.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow that gap [over Mercedes] disappears and it will be a very tight race," he said.

"Obviously, I wouldn’t mind if it stays there. But I think it will be a tight race amongst the top three teams and a long tough race.

"I don't know. We'll find out tomorrow," he said. "I hope we can carry that momentum and feeling into the race.”

Not only does he have both Mercedes drivers immediately behind him on the grid, he also has to fight off his team mate Kimi Raikkonen who starts alongside him on the front row.

"It looks like on Kimi's side there's more rubber, so I'll need a good start!" he quipped.

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