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Hamilton on pole for Chinese Grand Prix

updated 11:38 AM EDT, Sat April 19, 2014
Lewis Hamilton (center) mastered the wet conditions best on Saturday and sits on pole for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton (center) mastered the wet conditions best on Saturday and sits on pole for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix.
  • British driver makes it three out of four poles this season
  • Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg qualifies fourth
  • Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel second and third respectively
  • Ferrari's Fernando Alonso will start Sunday's race from fifth

(CNN) -- Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton stormed to his third pole position in four races at qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday.

The Briton, who will be hunting down a third successive win this season on Sunday, finished just over half-a-second ahead of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo posting a time of one minute, 53.860 seconds in the third qualifying session (Q3).

Ricciardo's teammate, Sebastian Vettel finished third with Mercedes's driver Nico Rosberg joining his compatriot on the second row of the grid after a wet qualifying session at the Shanghai International Circuit.

"It's so slippery out there," Hamilton said. "Trying to find the grip, obviously not making mistakes on your lap, and really putting it together, especially when you have these guys pushing you.

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"So, it was a tough session. I really enjoyed it. The car was feeling great. We always have stuff we can improve but the team have done a great job this weekend. A good position for the race and I hope we can follow through tomorrow," Hamilton added.

Ricciardo, who had his disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix confirmed in the week, was pleased with second place after admitting to finding the conditions tough going.

"To be honest, I struggled a bit throughout the session, at least personally I didn't feel like I was getting on top of the conditions but then the last set of inters right at the end of Q3 we managed to get a bit more out of it and I put a good lap together, so pretty pleased to be on the front row," the Australian said.

Fernando Alonso, who won this race last season, found his Ferrari still off the pace and had to settle for fifth.

And it was another disappointing day for the Spaniard's teammate Kimi Raikkonen -- the Finn failed to make it into Q3 and will start from 11th on Sunday.

All eyes are on new Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci who has been tasked with reversing the fortunes of the Italian team after a poor start to the season.

The 43-year-old, who replaced outgoing Stefano Domenicali, who quit as team boss on Monday, told reporters he was "extremely motivated" to succeed following Friday's practise session.

Further down the grid, the Williams pair of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas continued their promising start to 2014 finishing six and seventh respectively.

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg will start Sunday's race from eighth ahead of Toro Rosso's Jean Eric Vergne with Lotus' Romain Grosjean making up the top 10.

Read more: CNN's essential guide to F1 in 2014

Read more: Why can't women win in F1?

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