(Another) Shanghai Surprise Company press release.
For the neutral this continues to be one strange start to the season. In Shanghai tomorrow, the Malaysian GP winner starts back in ninth place and the current world champion starts outside the top ten. Admittedly missing out by only about five hundredths...
While it was here at the Shanghai International Circuit Red Bull Racing scored our first pole and have been Chinese P1 ever since, neither of our drivers will be on the front row tomorrow. Sebastian was 11th, while Mark will start in sixth place; Lewis' five-place gear-box penalty promoting him one higher than his qualifying result.
So, there were two major angles for the headline writers from this afternoon's sessions: Seb not making the final cut (albeit by slimmest of slim margins) and an all-Mercedes front row with Nico Rosberg taking the team's first pole position and beside him will be Michael Schumacher.
But they could choose a few other storylines.
Behind the German team-mates things get even more intriguing. Kobayashi is demonstrating that Sauber has strength beyond Malaysian podium-placed Perez and Raikkonnen is returning with a vengeance, placing himself above Jenson Button, while Massa again is unable to keep pace with Alonso.
For Red Bull Racing, this is the first time Sebastian has failed to get into the top ten since that rain-affected Brazilian Saturday in 2009, and for Mark it's a continued run of good form. However, as Christian said afterwards, for the team it was 'ultimately disappointing'. He added that the top ten has an interesting shape and, what all those in our garage agree on, the RB8 has proven race pace. It's going to be an interesting grand prix.
So for the neutral spectators, the commentators and the fans it's a confusing grid. Heaven knows what tomorrow will bring. Remember last year? A podium from 18th for Mark.
Red Bull Racing