Alexander Albon survives stunning crash in Chinese practice

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Unable to fix his auto in time for qualifying, the Thai drivers was forced to watch the session from the sidelines. "I was hoping it would snap left to kind of spin me onto the circuit but it went right into the wall".

Honda will fit a new power unit to Alexander Albon's re-built Toro Rosso for Formula 1's Chinese Grand Prix. It's always a little bit loose and normally you can recover it, but this time I was a bit greedy with the throttle.

"The auto has been really good this weekend, and Lewis also improved a lot in qualifying, it was super close", said the Finn Bottas.

The Mercedes driver passed team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who had taken pole position, off the line and controlled Formula 1's 1,000th race from there.

"Our long run pace looked decent yesterday, but we expect a close battle between Ferrari, Red Bull and ourselves so we need to keep pushing".

Hamilton out-dragged Bottas off the line and held the inside line to take the lead into turn one, a ideal start for the British driver who has been working hard to improve his getaways.

The Finn was just 0.027 seconds clear of Vettel, who was fastest in the morning by a 0.207-second margin ahead of Hamilton.

After revealing that Mercedes was losing 0.5 seconds of lap time to Ferrari on the straights in Bahrain, Wolff said the straight-line speed loss in China was slightly less and was outweighed by Mercedes' strengths in the corners. On a day when Ferrari had no answer for the Silver Arrows, Sebastian Vettel completed the podium in third.

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"We made it to the top of the timesheets but it is always very hard to find a good balance through an entire lap on this track", said Bottas.

"We're seeing massive swings from weekend to weekend, even within one team, and it makes this season really interesting".

Hamilton, a record five-time victor in China who struggled to get the auto to his liking during Friday's running, was fourth 0.859 seconds off his team mate's pace.

Ferrari were running third and fourth in the opening laps, with Leclerc ahead of Vettel after passing his team-mate at the first corner, when they made the call to switch drivers.

With Vettel ostensibly quicker, the team ordered Leclerc to let Vettel through on lap 11 and he did so. Obviously [Sunday] is the big day but at least on single lap [we have] been competitive and as a team we've been super strong.

Vettel said: "I felt I could go faster but then it was a bit hard for me to find a rhythm".

Hamilton had taken the lead from second on the grid and did not relinquish it from then on. "We had a good vehicle".

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