Kiwi Brendon Hartley has qualified 15th in Shanghai for the Chinese Grand Prix in the Toro Rosso Honda as the team battled to find the speed demonstrated a week ago in Bahrain.

The 28-year-old made it into Q2 for the second successive race meeting while team-mate Pierre Gasly could muster only 17th fastest and was eliminated in Q3. Hartley's best lap of 1m 33.795s left him 0.825s outside the top 10. He qualified 15th in Australia and 13th last week in Bahrain.

It means he finds himself right in the middle of the midfield battle and will have plenty of work to earn a maiden championship point.

The Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will start off the front row, while reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton had to settle for fourth — upstaged by Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo will share the third row in fifth and sixth respectively, while Nico Hulkenberg (Renault), Sergio Perez (Force India), Carlos Sainz jnr (Renault) and Romain Grosjean (Haas Racing) completed the top 10.


Mercedes has dominated the Chinese round in recent seasons but the double blow by Ferrari to lock out the front row is a massive result in the scheme of the world championship, given Vettel has recorded back-to-back wins to start the season.

"The car was amazing, it just kept getting better," Vettel said. "In the first run, I lost the rear at low speed, but I knew if I got a tidy lap, I could go quicker. Right from the first lap and the first part of qualifying, I was really happy.

"We didn't really do much on the car, I didn't have to fight to find [the right set-up].

"Usually you change quite a lot. I knew I had a bit more and the last lap, I got it all together."