QValtteri Bottas will start the 1,000th Formula One race in pole position after holding off team-mate Lewis Hamilton in Shanghai.
Bottas clocked a fastest time of one minute 31.547 seconds in the final session of qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix – though insisted afterwards it was far from a perfect performance.
“The lap was okay. Not completely how I want it,” he told Sky Sports F1. “The car has been really good this weekend and Lewis improved a lot. It was super close.”
The Finn – who had also been fastest in the final practice session prior to Q1 – will be joined on the front row by Hamilton, who finished just 0.023s behind his Mercedes colleague.
The duo were well clear of the two Ferraris, with Sebastian Vettel ending Q3 ahead of Charles Leclerc.
Red Bull have both their drivers on the third row, Max Verstappen comfortably quicker than Pierre Gasly, with the Renault duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg next on the grid.
However, Verstappen was denied the chance of improving on fifth place when unable to begin a final lap before the chequered flag came out.
Haas have Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean in ninth and 10th respectively for Sunday’s landmark grand prix in the sport’s long history.
1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1:31.547secs
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.023s
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +0.301
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +0.318
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.542
6. Pierre Gasly (Red Bull) +1.383
7. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) +1.411
8. Niko Hulkenberg (Renault) +1.415
9. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) ___
10. Romain Grosjean (Haas) ___