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Formula One: Nico Rosberg leads pack, Lewis Hamilton starts from back

Shanghai: Championship leader Nico Rosberg will start the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix from pole position even as Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton lines up at the back of the grid after failing to set a time in a dramatic qualifying session on Saturday.

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg (left) and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen after Saturday's qualifying session
Mercedes' Nico Rosberg (left) and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen after Saturday's qualifying session

The German put in a one minute 35.402 second lap to seize the 23rd pole of his career and first of the season. It is also the ninth straight race that Mercedes will start from the front.

That put the German, who last started on pole in the 2015 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, over half-a-second clear of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, who was a surprise second. But despite the margin of his dominance, it was a day of contrasts for Mercedes, as Hamilton ran into engine problems in the opening phase of qualifying.

The Briton, already carrying a five-place grid penalty for a change of gearbox, complained of a lack of power from his Mercedes engine. The problem was too severe and forced him back into the pits.

"These things are sent to try us and I am sure we will learn from it," Hamilton said immediately after the session.

"It is just about trying to figure out the issue and making sure it doesn't happen again. The car is quick, hopefully they fix the issue and we can have a race tomorrow."

The Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were third and fourth.

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