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Lewis Hamilton captures pole position for Chinese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has captured pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix, having proved to be the best at mastering a wet Shanghai circuit. The drivers’ standings leader, Nico Rosberg is to start from fourth in the grid.

The British Mercedes driver qualified with a time of 1 minute, 53.860 seconds on Saturday to secure first place in the starting grid for Sunday's Formula One race. Rosberg, his German team-mate, paid for a couple of mistakes, running wide and then spinning on his final two flying laps, to qualify three places back.

The four-time defending drivers' champion, Germany's

Sebastian Vettel,

finished third in qualifying, just behind his Red Bull team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo, who came in second.

Last year's winner at Shanghai, Fernando Alonso qualified in fifth place, ahead of the Williams drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.

Tricky conditions

Shortly after qualifying was completed,

Hamilton,

who on Sunday will be going for a third straight win, noted that the rainy conditions on the Shanghai track had made it difficult for all of the drivers.

"It is so slippery out there, the conditions - trying to find the grip, not making mistakes on your lap and really putting it together," he said.

"It was a tough session. I really enjoyed it. The car was feeling great. I hope that we can follow through tomorrow."

By taking pole position, Hamilton put his Mercedes team in an excellent position to continue their domination of the early 2014 season, but with more rain in the forecast for Sunday, Vettel was cautiously optimistic.

"In wet conditions, I think we have bit more of a chance," he said. "In the dry they are too quick and are still a bit far away."

This was Hamilton's third pole position in four races this season and the 34th of his Formula One career.

pfd/jm (AFP, Reuters)

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