Alexander Albon survives stunning crash in Chinese practice

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton in action during practice REUTERS  Thomas Peter

In 2014, a collision between then Mercedes teammates Nico Rosberg and Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix led to the senior management sitting down with its drivers to draft an agreement over what is and is not acceptable in wheel-to-wheel combat. It was his sixth victory in the Shanghai race.

Valtteri Bottas will start the 1,000th Formula One race in pole position after holding off team-mate Lewis Hamilton in Shanghai.

Controversially, the two Red Bull drivers failed to set a second attempt in the final session of qualifying after being backed up by the Mercedes, Ferraris and Renaults ahead of them on the track.

Four-time world champion Vettel is aware the situation is far from ideal, but will not give up hope. "It was a big one and silly one", said Albon. "I was obviously pushing trying to find the limits, but it should have been in qualifying rather than FP3".

"It has been so close between us all and I really have no idea how the next race is going to turn out".

"I'm more angry and disappointed than anything else". It was a bit tricky to put the laps together. It is always a combination of power and drag, so we need to leave no stone unturned on the chassis and the power unit to recover a little bit. The auto is strong, so it's up to us to extract the performance.

"We arrived here not knowing how we would measure against Ferrari - they were so quick in the last race". The race is long. Red Bull's Max Verstappen finished fifth.

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After the session, the Dutchman - who said the drivers who passed him had broken an "unwritten rule" - felt he had been denied a likely place on the second row. I think the racing auto is a package of the power unit and the chassis and you need to get the job done in both of those areas.

Discussing his lap, Bottas said: "It's been a good weekend so far - I felt really comfortable in the practice, but honestly I struggled in Q3 to get a flawless lap".

"I do not know if others were not told". Ferrari eventually pitted Leclerc on lap 42 and he rejoined now 14 seconds behind Verstappen - too much of a gap to make up in the remaining 16 laps.

"The lap was actually not a ideal one for me", claimed the slightly surprised Finn. "I overtook two Renaults and the Haas behind me".

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the season to... "We had a good chance of being in Q3 (the top 10 shootout)".

"But [Saturday] is encouraging and we'll go for it".

The Finn has held an advantage over Hamilton so far this weekend and he looked in good shape during practice too. Australia saw the team dominate to a one-two finish with Bottas winning the first race of the year. "This was a good day and hopefully [Sunday] will be again, but it's a long season ahead".

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