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Page last updated at 07:39 GMT, Saturday, 17 April 2010 08:39 UK

Chinese GP qualifying as it happened


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By Mark Orlovac

0833: Right then, time for sleep. Wonderful, restful sleep. Thank you very much for all your messages, even if I haven't managed to publish all of them. Make sure you join me from 0630 BST on Sunday - a lie-in, yippee - and we'll do it all again. It will be a cracker. Before then, catch up with the replay of qualifying on BBC one at 1300 BST. See you tomorrow.

Virgin Racing's Timo Glock: "P19 and both Lotus behind me. Last lap was a real hit. Quite satisfied and looking forward to tomorrow."

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh: "The first two sectors we were fractions of a second off Vettel, but we went backwards from Q2."

McLaren's Jenson Button: "At the start I struggled with balance but it got better at the end, which is better for tomorrow. The set-up we have for the car is probably better for the wet conditions."

Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher: "It was pretty tricky, I didn't find the balance of the car all weekend."

0823: There has been a lot of chat about Schumacher's performances so far this season and that is all set to continue. Yet again he has been out qualified by his team-mate. Today the gap is 0.723. Afterwards, Schumacher admits that he is not quick enough in certain areas.

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Mickey in Dubai via text: "That's what we need. Now hopefully we will see if Alonso can beat the Red Bull cars in a straight race."

0818: There will be one hell of a battle at the front of the grid tomorrow, mark my words. Will Mark Webber get his own back after what happened in Malaysia by taking Vettel at the first corner? Can they hold off Alonso?

Jason in Walsall via text: "What has happened again to McLaren? Very disappointing."

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Ranganath in India via text: "It seams Michael Schumacher can only be in front of Rosberg when sorted out with driver number. Sad. Michael is not even close to him."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner: "I have no idea where Sebastian pulled that lap from. He's been struggling in sector one all weekend and he pulled a great lap just to pip Mark."

Virgin Racing's Lucas di Grassi on Twitter: "Not a great session as I did a mistake in the last sector, losing time. Car feels alright so should be OK for tomorrow."

Lewis Hamilton on McLaren's poor showing on Q3: "We were doing so well in practice, Q1 and Q2, then the car started bottoming a lot more in Q3. I really don't understand what was wrong with the car. We have to go and analyse it."

BBC analyst David Coulthard: "I'm surprised McLaren were not stronger than that showing."

0806: Joy for Red Bull after that stunning qualifying run from Vettel. The German shouts "yeah baby" as he cruises around back to the garage. Team boss Christian Horner replies: "Who needs ride-height control?" Cheeky.

0805: The rest of the top 10 looks like this: Massa, Kubica, Schumacher and Sutil

0804: After the Red Bulls, Alonso is third with a 1:34.913 then it is Rosberg (1:34.923), Button (1:34.979) and Hamilton (1:35.034).

0801: Webber thought he had pole when he set a 1:34.806 but there he is again, Vettel beats it with a 1:34.558. Another Red Bull pole, another Vettel pole and again the team occupy the front row of the grid.


0759: Chaos. They are all finishing now.

0758: Hamilton out on a flyer. He sets a 1:35.034. It's not good enough. He's second.

0756: Hamilton stops in the pit-lane and then goes out again, which indicates that he might have had fuel for the whole of Q3 when he posted that time. Massa is sixth (1:35.865) with Button seventh (1:35.878).

0753: Have that. Vettel beats that time and is quickest with a 1:34.970. Then it's Alonso, Webber (1:35.073), Rosberg (1:35.139) and Hamilton (1:35.549). A pause, then we'll go again.

0752: Alonso on the track, he sets a 1:35.065.

Force India's Vitantonio Liuzzi: "The problem is again being caught in traffic with a Hispania and Williams in front. Maybe I'm not too shiny in their mirrors. Hopefully we are quick tomorrow and we will get better. It is a shame because we were fast this morning."

0750: It's the final qualifying shoot-out. Hold on to your hats. Will Red Bull claim their fourth straight pole?

Anon via text: "Hi from a New Zealander in Japan. I'm enjoying the sunshine and checking out the qualifying action. Go Hamilton!"

Kirimi via text: "Good morning from Kenya. Enjoying the GP coverage this season. Fingers crossed for Hamilton to put the car on pole."

BBC analyst David Coulthard on the problems at Williams: "The car does not seem to be delivering the pace. There is understeer and oversteer and that is a driver's worst nightmare."

0742: That's your lot for Q2. Lots of activity at the end and Schumacher just, and only just, sneaks into the top 10. Those saying goodbye to qualifying are: Barrichello, Alguersuari, Buemi, Petrov, Kobayashi, The Hulk and De La Rosa.

0741: Webber goes second with a 1:35.100, we did not see him so no tyre info I'm afraid.

0738: The Hulk is now out on the soft tyres. He goes a little wide at the final corner and sets a 1:36.647. He's in 16th.

MiniF1 via text: "I'm stuck in Helsinki thanks to the volcanic ash, instead of being at home watching quali on BBC. Can't find live coverage out here, so don't know what I'd do without your updates! Thanks!"

0736: A brief lull now as the drivers get their breath back. The chaos will soon begin.

0734: Vettel is on the hard tyres and is down in sixth with a 1:35.433. Those in trouble are: Barrichello, Alguersuari, Petrov, Buemi, Kobayashi, De La Rosa and Nico Hulkenberg. Six minutes left.

0733: Rosberg now second - a 1:35.134. On soft tyres.

0730: Petrov sets a 1:36.311 on the hard tyres but that is soon beaten by Alguersuari. Forget that, Hamilton goes quickest on the softs with a 1:34.928. Alonso is second with a 1:35.235. Not sure what tyres he is using as we haven't seen him yet. Then it is Webber on hard tyres with a 1:35.413.

Anon via text: "Hi guys, loving the coverage. Out of interest are you keeping track of the 'for sure' championship? It's almost as if it is being said even more this year than it was last year. First interview of the year had seven alone from Stefano Domenicali."

BBC analyst David Coulthard on Vitantonio Liuzzi's elimination: "Force India test driver Paul di Resta may well be jumping for joy because he needs Vitantonio Liuzzi to do badly because it enhances his chances for the car in the future. This Force India has been performing very well and Adrian Sutil is easily through into Q2."

0727: Look lively, Q2 has started.

Anon via text: "In Australia watching the updates on the BBC website, my two-year-old son is watching Thomas the Tank Engine..! Looking forward to a McLaren front row."

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Nigo via text: "Good day from NZ. Go Red Bull. Hopefully Mark Webber can do us Australiasians proud and maybe at some stage Kiwi racer Brendan Hartley will get an opportunity to show Red Bull that's he a Kiwi that can fly."

0722: At the top end, it's Hamilton (1:35.641), Rosberg (1:35.952), Webber (1:35.978), Alonso (1:35.987), Massa (1:36.076), Button (1:36.122), Vettel (1:36.317), Kubica (1:36.348), Schumacher (1:36.484) and Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari (1:36.618).

0720: Q1 is over. Out go Force India's Vitantonio Liuzzi, Glock, Trulli, Kovalainen, Di Grassi, Senna, Chandhok. Big shock for Force India.

0718: Webber goes second quickest with a 1:35.978. Alonso is currently in third, while Massa is in fourth with a 1:36.076.

0716: Petrov's car has been rebuilt - and he goes 11th with a 1:37.053. That means BMW Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa is now in the bottom seven.

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: The false neutral problem which Jenson Button reported happened to Lewis Hamilton. Although it's not affecting their proper lap pace, it's clearly something to watch out for."

0715: Vettel goes sixth with a 1:36.434. Kubica is in seventh, followed by Massa, Sutil and Schumacher.

0713: Currently doing a Portsmouth in the drop zone are: Trulli, Kovalainen, Timo Glock, Di Grassi, Bruno Senna, Chandhok and Petrov.

0711: Webber is fourth - for the time being - thanks to a 1:36.158. Button, in third, improves to a 1:36.122. Rosberg is fifth (1:36.353).

0709: Told you he was quick. Hamilton goes quickest on the hard tyres with a 1:35.641. Alonso is getting faster - setting a 1:35.987. Hamilton also reports that his gearbox selected neutral when he was not expecting it.

0708: Feel the Force. Or something. Force India's Adrian Sutil is fourth after a 1:36.671. Hamilton is out and he's quick.

0707: Button goes second with a 1:36.600. Alonso improves to a 1:36.327. Kubica is third (1:36.853).

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn: "The car is not bad here - it's not great. We will run the primes in Q1 and the options in Q2 or Q3."

0705: Alonso trumps his team-mate and is currently quickest with a 1:36.805. McLaren's Jenson Button reports a false neutral.

0704: Kovalainen half spins off the track at Turn Six. He keeps the car running and is able to continue. Massa sets a time of 1:36.997 on hard tyres.

0700: And we are off. The Lotus pairing of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen are the first cars out. Massa also takes to the track. BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz says that Barrichello had an engine problem in his Williams. It has now been changed.

edramx on Twitter: "Morning Mark! Best regards from Mexico City to all BBC F1 fans. Any official explanation for Buemi crash during FP1?"
Hi edramx, here's what a Toro Rosso spokesman said after the crash yesterday: "Incident was caused by the failure of the front-right upright. Both cars had been fitted with new uprights for this race. They had not been used previously. The exact cause of the failure within the component has yet to be identified."

genji2000 on Twitter: "What happened to McLaren's corporate image? Button's got his furze back and now Hamilton's sporting a chin wig."

nemusstudio on Twitter: "Steven from Belgium here. If you happen to see Norbert Haug this weekend wish him well with his voice. Feel sorry for him..."

0654: Not long now people. Six minutes in fact. Where's your money?

Ferrari on Twitter: "Everything is ready inside the Ferrari garage. For the first time during the weekend the air temperature reached more than 20C. Track temperature is 32C."

Gem via text: "Checking for quali updates whilst at work in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Hoping for a McLaren front row, ideally Lewis then Jenson!"

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Anon via text: "At work at Gatwick airport doing precisely nothing beyond watching these updates. Wouldn't have survived without it!"

Mercedes sports vice-president Norbert Haug on whether his team are close to Red Bull's pace: "Not yet. We are probably seven and eighth. We are fourth fastest, we will improve and there's more to come in the next couple of races but we have to patient now."

Smallshinyant on Twitter: "Morning, looking forward to a close morning of qualifying. Would like to see a Lotus making it through to Q2."

0642: Here's a quick pointer for you. Out of the six pole sitters in China, four of those went on to win the race. The Shanghai track has 16 corners, with a very long back straight and a tricky opening right-handed sequence of turns which tightens as the drivers go around it. Here's our track guide.

Anon via text: "Morning all. I have just spent the night writing my dissertation, am now in bed watching quali! That Di Resta feature was great! How cool was he?! I'm going for a Nando pole."

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Shaun in Leeds via text: "Went out to get some breakfast from the petrol station before quali, forgot my keycard and have been locked out for 30 mins since! Thanks for keeping me entertained through the ordeal."

One of the pagodas in the Shanghai paddock
One of the pagodas in the Shanghai paddock
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Shanghai: "I'm counting myself lucky to have bumped into Monsieur Boullier over the lunchtime break in Shanghai as the paddock here is a bit of a maze. Getting over from BBC HQ in the first place involves a trek through a low-ceilinged tunnel, replete with puddles of water, while a visit to media HQ involves a ride in a lift that mysteriously only stops on the ninth floor. The next problem is finding the teams' headquarters, which perch on concrete pedestals in a lake, where Renault's Robert Kubica claims he once caught a fish! Cherry blossom wafts down the walkways but the only problem is working out who's in which pagoda and traipsing down a dead end and missing an interview. The teams have their own problems, as getting to the garages means traversing across the concrete paddock, which best guesses estimate is the width of about four regular-sized paddocks. So that's my excuse if I miss anything this weekend…"

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner on Sebastian Vettel: "He's a remarkable character for someone who is 22. He has a wicked wit about him, he's a great team player."
On Vettel's relationship with team-mate Mark Webber: "They're both individuals who endear themselves to the team. They get on well professionally with each other. My role is to ensure there is equality between the two of them."
On chasing the team's fourth successive pole: "It's not impossible. Both drivers were pretty happy in the third practice session. We should be quick in the first two sectors but the McLaren with the f-duct and the Mercedes will be fast over the back straight."

Michaela in Nottingham via text: "Morning Mark, what's the weather like over there? Rooting for Lewis this morning!!"
It's sunny at the moment Michaela, but there is the prospect of rain tomorrow.

sonusea on Twitter: "Morning, Mark! Neat job, so early! Looking for an improved performance from Schumi, he had enough races to get a feel of the current car/set-up/drivers."

0624: A very relaxed and funny Seb Vettel is being interviewed by Jake on the telly while they are playing table tennis. The Red Bull driver would rather play table tennis though. Last year in China, the German qualified in pole with a time of 1:36.184 - he went on to win the race with team-mate Mark Webber in second.

Ahmed in Guildford via text: "Sorry if this is not relevant to F1, but do Jake & David always do their shopping together? Because I see they are wearing exactly the same belts."

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Darrell Allen from Norwich via text: "Good morning Mark, I'm relaxing in bed with some breakfast and really excited about qualifying. I fancy Vettel for pole."
Jealous. Very jealous. I almost typed that I would like to join you but I realised that it might be a bit inappropriate.

0617: For those of you new to F1, here's a quick refresher as to how qualifying works. All 24 drivers go in the 20-minute Q1, with the slowest seven being knocked out. Q2 lasts for 15 minutes and again the bottom seven are eliminated, with the remaining 10 drivers going in Q3. Make sense?

0612: Sombre outfits from the telly boys today. That's because EJ is not there. They're in mourning. Jake is in a crisp white shirt while David Coulthard is in grey. There's an interesting feature on Force India reserve driver Paul di Resta who took part in practice on his 24th birthday on Friday, taking the car for the first time ever at the Shanghai track. He says that "set-ups kill me, it's all about the racing".

aranuf1 on Twitter: "What's the crowd like in China? Is it full or empty?"
We have not had many screen shots of the crowd so far this morning. And to be honest I've mostly had my head down tapping away at this keyboard. Yesterday, the stands were pretty empty.

Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen on Twitter: "Third practice all OK, track in good condition at the end, bit of wind affecting some brakings, otherwise all ready for qualifying."

0601: And we are go on the telly. To be honest I'm a little upset that EJ is not on screen as we will not be able to see his wardrobe this weekend. No fear though, they will be speaking to him via the telephone.

alisonyule on Twitter: "I wonder if the panic is starting to set in about getting home after the race amid ash crisis??"

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Shanghai: "Renault are facing a race against time to have Vitaly Petrov's car ship-shape for qualifying. I bumped into team boss Eric Boullier on his way back from the garage where the mechanics are busy working on the car. Looking at his watch he pronounced it was a 'tough' challenge but was hopeful that Petrov would be able to join his team-mate Robert Kubica in the first session of qualifying. Boullier diagnosed the problem as the 'front right, front suspension and front side,' so I'm guessing the front is a bit of a wreck, then."

0551: I've had a question in regarding whether the weight of the driver is a significant variable in lap times. As with most things F1, there is a long answer but that's not for here. The simple answer is no, unless you are the size of Giant Haystacks. The car is weighed with the driver in it, so if your driver is heavier, you make the car lighter to ensure it is as light as possible while still complying with the minimum weight limit.

Williams press officer Claire Williams on Twitter: "Practice was hard work. Only Rubens ran the new bodywork but didn't have enough time running it to be confident with it for quali."

0543: If you haven't been with us all morning - where have you been? - you can get involved with this commentary via text on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) or tweet me on Twitter. I only discovered yesterday that people who use that particular social networking site* are actually called tweeple. Ridiculous.
* other social networking sites are available

0535: This seems like a good time to remind you all of how you can watch qualifying. Coverage starts on BBC One at 0600 BST with Jake and the boys - however Eddie Jordan will not be there as he has been stuck in the aftermath of the phenomenon that is now called Volcanic Ash Thursday. The programme is also streamed at the top of this page. If you can't stay awake, a re-run of qualifying will be shown on BBC one at 1300 BST. There is also commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sport extra. Qualifying starts at 0700 BST. Tidy.

Renault on Twitter: "We will be busy in the garage this lunchtime to get ready for quali."

0518: So Red Bull and McLaren dominate the practice times. Webber sets a time that is 0.241 quicker than Hamilton, while there is 0.424 separating the top four drivers. Pole looks like it will come from one of them, with the Orlovac millions going on Vettel to repeat his pole position of last year.

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Tim via text: "Sleeping tips? If only! I'm working nights at my local hospital but have managed to find the time to get an F1 fix! McLaren one-two this weekend but I think they'll struggle as per usual in qualifying."

0512: Here's the rest of the top 10: Schumacher (1:36.262), Kubica (1:36.343), Massa (1:36.416), Kamui Kobayashi (1:36.634).

Ferrari on Twitter: "Looks like we can expect a tough qualifying session. McLarens and Red Bulls look very competitive."

BBC Radio 5 live analyst Anthony Davidson: "It's those top four teams again, McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes, but it looks a little bit closer here than it has been in previous races. You are probably looking at six or seven drivers within half a second of each other. It is going to be a case of who can get the tyres working in that crucial part of qualifying."

Virgin Racing on Twitter: "Great job by both drivers there, only two tenths apart - 19th and 21st which is great."

0502: The session is complete. Here's a run down of the top-six times. Webber is quickest with a 1:35.323 then it is Hamilton (1:35.564), Vettel (1:35.691), Button (1:35.747), Alonso (1:35.857) and Rosberg (1:35.913).

0500:Shaking fist o'clock for Massa as he almost tangles with the Hispania of Karun Chandhok at the end of the back straight - Turn 14. Chandhok did look in his mirrors as he approached the corner so I do not know what more he could have done.

0458: Hamilton splits the Red Bulls and is second with a 1:35.691. Button is up to fourth (1:35.747), Alonso is fifth (1:35.857).

0457: Great save from Massa as he wobbles at exactly the same point where Petrov came off. He hangs on to the car though. Webber improves to a 1:35.323.

BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Holly Samos: "Officially, within McLaren, the name for the F-duct, or rear wing stalling device, or whatever we call it, is the RW80."

0455: Bang. Bang. Mark Webber goes quickest with a 1:35.511 while team-mate Vettel is now second after a 1:35.691. Then it is Hamilton, Alonso, Button and Rosberg. Five minutes to go.

0452: A bit earlier BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Holly Samos reported that there was a lot of secrecy in Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull garage as the mechanics kept putting a wheel on and off the left-front. Team boss Christian Horner explains: "A foreign object, debris or a stone, just got between the hub and wheel and scored the wheel rim slightly. They just wanted to make sure it hadn't done any damage and it hasn't. The secrecy was because we didn't want prying eyes on sensitive equipment."

Renault on Twitter: "Vitaly is back in the garage, luckily he is OK, the car is on its way and we'll evaluate what needs doing then."

0450: As the Renault mechanics start their job of getting Petrov's car rebuilt for qualifying, the light turns to green and we are off.

retronut on Twitter: "Hi Mark, to be honest I can't see past the Red Bulls in qualifying but I think Lewis will steal a win."

Ferrari on Twitter: "Time is running out so it is likely that everyone will go out on soft tyres for the final run."

0444: Petrov looks quite forlorn as he makes the lonely walk back to the garage pursued by a photographer. Don't get too close fella, you might get a whack. A big yellow tractor, nicely colour co-ordinated with the Renault livery, finally arrives at the scene and the removal of the car begins.

BBC 5 live analyst Anthony Davidson: "I was mighty impressed by Alonso in Malaysia in dealing with his gearbox problem. He was braking into the corners in neutral. Not only that but he was was having to pre-select the gears as well. To do that throughout the race was seriously impressive. The fact that he was able to do that and lap faster than Felipe Massa at the same time - that's the bit that was so impressive."

0441: Big shunt for Renault's Vitaly Petrov. He loses the car on the astroturf on the outside of Turn 16 - the final corner - and he smacks into the tyre wall. The front of his car looks a complete mess. Red flag - the session is suspended.

CorneliusFinger on Twitter: "Hi Mark. Struggling to stay awake! What do ya reckon, sleep now and miss practice, or stay up and risk dozing off before qualy?!?"
Tough question, I would always say stick with it. You never know what you might miss.

0436: Webber sets a 1:35.939 on the hard tyres to move up to second. Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg is sixth quickest thanks to a 1:36.503. Team-mate Michael Schumacher is 11th after a 1:37.307.

BBC Radio 5 live pit-lane reporter Holly Samos: "There is not much time between practice and qualifying so Williams are going to remove Rubens Barrichello's f-duct and go back to the old wing - they will probably try again in Spain."

0427: Hamilton beats his quickest time and is now 0.314 faster than Button, who improves to a 1:36.028. Hamilton's time of 1:35.714 was set on hard tyres. Buemi is not happy with the set-up of his car, saying that it is too stiff at the rear.

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "I spoke to Hispania team boss Colin Kolles and he said he wants a couple of experienced drivers for testing because, with respect to Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna, he doesn't know whether they are driving that car as fast as it will go."

BBC Radio 5 live analyst Anthony Davidson: "McLaren look like they are the team that can push Red Bull closest this weekend."

0424: Hamilton goes back to the top with a 1:36.075. McLaren team-mate Button is second after a 1:36.201 with Alonso third (1:36.261). Then it's Webber (1:36.319), Massa (1:36.749) and Seb Vettel (1:36.938).

0421: Ferrari's Felipe Massa, the championship leader, sets the quickest time of 1:36.989 but it does not last long. Team-mate Alonso beats it with a 1:36.908 but then Webber and Hamilton both go quicker. Webber sets a 1:36.325 while Hamilton posts a 1:36.401. Barrichello is still not happy with that rear wing.

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Both Mercedes drivers are running a [rear] wing-stalling device. We thought it was a sensor, but it gives them a straightline speed advantage."

0416: ... and we have our first times. Magic. Vitaly Petrov takes his Renault around in 1:38.559. He is followed by BMW Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa and the Virgin Racing duo of Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi.

Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne on Twitter: "Install laps finished. Both cars running the harder tyre. Jarno [Trulli] looking at a different set-up with higher fuel load to start with."

0410: Williams driver Rubens Barrichello complains that his rear wing is "not working" and that there is a strange smell at Turn 11. Not sure what that means. All quiet on the track at the moment. Red Bull's Mark Webber is the only man not to have put in an installation lap.

Williams press officer Claire Williams on Twitter: "Having been impounded by Chinese customs for a couple of days, our new parts have now all arrived and are due to run in P3."

Bryan Loynes in Kent via text: Hey Mark, I'm trying to convince my parents that by letting me stay up to watch practice and quali, that this will help me get back into my sleeping pattern for sixth form on Monday. What are your thoughts?"
Absolutely. Couldn't agree more.

0402: The cars pile out on to the track... and then they all come back in again. Only a few drivers, like Hamilton and Mark Webber, remained in the pits. Sebastien Buemi, who had that horrible incident yesterday, has completed an installation lap.

0355: We are minutes away from the start of third practice. In the opening two sessions on Friday, McLaren's Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton topped the times. However, Button says that his team are still off the pace of the Red Bulls.

Georgegazinton on Twitter: "Hey Mark, just wanted to get a mention, and every session has been worth the wait, well, maybe not Bahrain race though."

evansclaire on Twitter: "Good Morning, Got a stinking cold so decided to get up and watch! Prob stay up until qualifying then... exciting stuff."

0343: The last song on the radio as I left the car was "Fernando" by Abba. I think that says a lot about the type of radio station I listen to but anyhow, could that be an omen for today? The Spanish Ferrari driver was 10th in second practice yesterday but he lost another engine after the one that was recycled from Bahrain caught fire. That's now two gone from his season's allocation of eight but Alonso says he is "not too worried". Should he be?

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From IK in Scotland via text: "Hey Mark, 16-year-old student trying to revise for five exams and keeping up with the F1. Wish me luck."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Shanghai: "The sun is blooming over the Shanghai International Circuit and in a few hours' time we'll find out who will shine over one lap during qualifying. The McLarens took turns to top practice on Friday but Jenson Button pointed out that rivals Red Bull have yet to show their hand while both Ferraris also concentrated on longer runs, to mask their potential. An early morning sweep of opinion in the China paddock saw a few nods in favour of Lewis Hamilton for pole. The 25-year-old's spin into the gravel here cost him the 2007 world title but he made amends in 2008, winning in Shanghai on his way to becoming 2008 champion. Hamilton likes to put the hammer down round here so it's all eyes on third practice for more clues."

0336: I take it you have rested well over the last day and are fully refreshed. Maybe you are completely rock and roll and are just coming in from a massive night out. Lucky thing. Whatever, let me know your predictions and sleeping tips via text on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) or tweet me on Twitter. I'll use as many contributions as I can throughout the morning. Magic.

0330: Morning all. Is it morning? Not a clue. After yesterday's action-packed practice session we are ready to do it all again. Third practice starts in 30 minutes with qualifying kicking-off at 0700 BST. It will be worth staying up for, I guarantee it.

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After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham

see also
Vettel charges to pole in China
17 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Chinese GP qualifying photos
17 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton sets China practice pace
16 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Alonso unfazed by engine problems
16 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Chinese GP practice as it happened
16 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
McLaren trail Red Bull - Button
16 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
F1 set for record 20-race season
16 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Buemi escapes 200mph China crash
16 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton admits rivals are ahead
15 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Massa undeterred by Kubica rumour
15 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Ferrari play down engine concerns
14 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
McLaren untroubled by ride height
13 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
FIA clarifies ride-height rules
07 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Return going to plan - Schumacher
09 Apr 10 |  Formula 1

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