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5.91 cm separates frustrated Bottas from front row in China

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Valtteri Bottas was left frustrated after missing out on the front row of the grid for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix by just 0.001 seconds in Formula 1 qualifying – equivalent to just 5.91 centimeters around the Shanghai International Circuit.

Bottas arrived in China keen to build on his impressive first outing for Mercedes in Australia two weeks ago, where he qualified and finished third.

The Finn produced a solid display in qualifying on Saturday in China, finishing just 0.187 seconds off teammate Lewis Hamilton on pole, and only 0.001 seconds – the smallest time differential possible in F1 – behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

According to Mercedes, this equated to a physical gap of 5.91 cm, or 0.00001 per cent of the lap in Shanghai, much to Bottas’ frustration.

“One-thousandth is not much. A real shame [Vettel] managed to get between us,” Bottas said.

“That’s a shame, but again, the race is tomorrow. We are starting as a team first and third, it’s a good place to start. The weather can be anything really tomorrow. Lewis was strong today, Ferrari was strong and we were always expecting a close fight today on-track.

“I think it will be the same case tomorrow, but yeah, really thankful to the team again, great job in a short amount of time in practice today to get the car setup well. It was enjoyable to drive. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.”

The Chinese Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 1am ET on Sunday.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”