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
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
Formula One is not likely to go hungry in Hungary as master chefs cater in volume for drivers, teams and VIP guests.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
It's the elephant in the room of Formula One. What's the prognosis legendary driver Michael Schumacher?
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 2310 GMT (0710 HKT)
It stimulates all five senses, creating an unparalleled experience for drivers and fans alike. Take a tour of Monaco with Mark Webber.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 1233 GMT (2033 HKT)
To be a champion you must win a title -- but to become an F1 legend you must win races at Monaco, the calendar's most testing circuit.
May 21, 2014 -- Updated 1459 GMT (2259 HKT)
Caterham F1 reserve driver Alexander Rossi takes you on a tour of the Monaco racing circuit.
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
The Formula One driver transcended his sport and even 20 years after his death, Ayrton Senna commands the adoration of fans worldwide.
May 1, 2014 -- Updated 1500 GMT (2300 HKT)
F1's greatest racer was killed during the San Marino Grand Prix on May 1 1994. The sport hasn't been the same since.
April 30, 2014 -- Updated 1516 GMT (2316 HKT)
Just four F1 drivers turned up to Roland Ratzenberger's funeral after his death during qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix on April 30 1994.
April 25, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
For a championship with a distinctly Iberian streak, it is no surprise that South America should be high on MotoGP's list of territories to conquer.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
Too weak. Can't handle the pressure. Susie Wolff has heard it all -- but she is determined to become the first female F1 driver in 20 years.
CNN's Amanda Davies visits the headquarters of Mercedes, the dominant team in Formula One this season.
Today's five most popular stories