Nor was it for Raikkonen, who improved his provisional pole time only to have it snatched away in heart-breaking fashion at the death by teammate Sebastian Vettel. Indeed you have to go back seven years for the last time a silver-coloured auto failed to line up on the front spot.
Vettel said he knew he would be able to make a decent improvement after lapping 0.161s slower than Raikkonen on the first runs.
"I've seen the forecast, but you never know", Vettel said. "The vehicle was really fantastic".
"They have a really strong auto", he said. Mercedes staying loyal to the softs with a longer first stint on the agenda for Sunday.
"Certainly we'll try to have a different outcome than that. See what it brings".
Valtteri Bottas appeared on course to claim his victory after a strategy error by Ferrari allowed the Mercedes vehicle to move ahead of Vettel during their one and only round of pit stops.
"I think Valtteri would have deserved to win the race", Wolff added. "We were understanding the tyres, getting them to work better, but we could never achieve similar grip levels to Ferrari today". The top three drivers are the same from the previous race with Bottas trailing the Ferraris, Hamilton will start in fourth followed by Verstappen and Ricciardo in fifth and sixth. Carlos Sainz and Romain Grosjean's Haas completed the top ten.
"It's not going to be easy to beat Kimi and Sebastian tomorrow, they're the quickest on the straights too, so overtaking will be tough".
Vettel had his quickest time on his final qualifying lap, clocking 1 minute, 31.095 seconds on the 5.45-kilometer (3.39-mile) course to edge out Raikkonen.
The win for Ricciardo is made all the more remarkable by the fact he very almost missed qualifying due to a turbo issue on Saturday, and only took to the track after a swift fix job from his own mechanics and those in Verstappen's garage. The prediction of Hill will be put to the test this Sunday's race in China. Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne may struggle from 13th and 14th, but that hasn't stopped them in previous races this year. Brendon Hartley qualified a further 0.3 seconds adrift in 15th. Teammate Daniel Ricciardo overcame an engine replacement to line up P6 after drama with an engine replacement and at one point looked like missing the session entirely. "If you can switch on the tyres quickly, it's possible".
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