Hamilton claims maiden Mercedes pole in Shanghai
April 13, 2013 -- Updated 1458 GMT (2258 HKT)
Lewis Hamilton in action at the Shanghai International Circuit during Saturday's qualifying session.
- The 2008 world champion takes his first pole since moving to Mercedes at China GP
- Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finish second and third respectively
- Sebastian Vettel down in ninth place; Mark Webber will start from back of the grid
- Australian incurs penalty for running out of fuel during Q2
(CNN) -- Lewis Hamilton's promising start at Mercedes continued on Saturday as he claimed his first pole for the team at qualifying for the Shanghai Grand Prix.
The Englishman's time of one minute 34.484 seconds was 0.3 seconds quicker than Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen who joins him on the front row of the grid. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was third quickest with Hamilton's teammate Nico Rosberg finishing fourth.
"I'm just ecstatic really. The lap was great. The team has performed well all weekend so far and I really hope we can carry that into tomorrow," Hamilton said.
"I had really good pace in Q1 and Q2 but that last lap (in Q3) is so difficult to get ... you've got to do the perfect out lap and then the perfect lap to get yourself up there and I really can't complain. I'm really happy."
"I'm just ecstatic really. The lap was great. The team has performed well all weekend so far and I really hope we can carry that into tomorrow
Hamilton's team boss, Ross Brawn was also delighted.
"It takes a little bit of time to settle into a team but I saw this weekend that Lewis is beginning to gel with his engineers and understanding the car. I think we've seen the result of that today," Brawn told BBC Sport.
Read: Fair game: Fast track to driver road rage?
As the 2008 world champion's fortunes improve, his former McLaren teammate Jenson Button continued his lackluster start to the 2013 season. After picking up just two points in the opening two races, Button will start Sunday's race from eighth.
Unlike the drivers higher up the grid, who used Pirelli's "soft" compound tires during final qualifying, Button opted for the "medium" compound.
Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel also adopted the same tire strategy but didn't complete a timed lap in Q3 to end up one place behind Button in ninth.
Read: Explore CNN's F1 Interactive
"Generally I think we saw yesterday on soft tyres everyone was struggling, so were we. I had to make them last so we decided to do something different," the Red Bull driver said.
Both Vettel and Button will look to make up places in the opening third of the race as other drivers pit early to replace the quicker wearing "soft" tires.
Australia's Mark Webber, who was controversially overtaken by teammate Vettel in Malaysia three weeks ago, will start from the back of the grid on Sunday after incurring a penalty for running out of fuel during Q2.
It was a happier qualifying session for Webber's compatriot, Daniel Ricciardo who steered his Toro Rosso to a highly creditable seventh.
One place ahead of him is Lotus' Romain Grosjean with Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who set the pace in practice on Friday, in fifth.
Part of complete coverage on
Relive the Formula One season as it progressed, circuit by circuit, race by race.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1417 GMT (2217 HKT)
Germany has only produced two Formula One champions -- and they can thank one man for spotting their nascent talent.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
Formula One's 83-year-old boss Bernie Ecclestone says Ferrari will have a big say in who replaces him -- but he's not going anywhere yet.
CNN's Amanda Davies travels to a small German town to discover the real Sebastian Vettel, F1's all-conquering champion.
December 4, 2013 -- Updated 1633 GMT (0033 HKT)
A new era of F1 looms large on the horizon in 2014, but what do the new rules mean for how we watch the sport? Get up to speed here.
November 28, 2013 -- Updated 1604 GMT (0004 HKT)
Red Bull's four time world champion Sebastian Vettel lifts the lid on life out in front of the pack.
November 17, 2013 -- Updated 2015 GMT (0415 HKT)
It is 5 a.m. on Sunday morning in Austin, Texas and the grid girls are already up and getting ready for the race.
November 12, 2013 -- Updated 1021 GMT (1821 HKT)
There are books -- and then there are books. This one has been six years in the making and it doesn't come cheap.
October 24, 2013 -- Updated 1716 GMT (0116 HKT)
CNN's Ben Wyatt explores the popularity of F1 in India and what the future might hold.
November 8, 2013 -- Updated 1610 GMT (0010 HKT)
How would you feel if your boss asked you to lose weight so you could carry on doing your job? That is the reality facing Formula One drivers.
October 17, 2013 -- Updated 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
Explore our interactive of one of F1's most important and complicated pieces of kit.
Kimi Raikkonen has long been box office gold, even before he re-signed with Ferrari for 2014, says CNN's Sarah Holt.
September 6, 2013 -- Updated 1627 GMT (0027 HKT)
Monza may be a long way from his birthplace in West Lothian, Scotland but Italy is unquestionably a home from home for Paul di Resta.
September 2, 2013 -- Updated 1514 GMT (2314 HKT)
McLaren follow founder Bruce McLaren's mantra by measuring life in "achievement not in years alone."
August 9, 2013 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
Christina MacFarlane explores the role aerodynamics play in boosting a Formula One car's performance.
Today's five most popular stories