Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton took his third pole position of the 2015 Formula One season at the Shanghai International Circuit earlier today, beating his clearly frustrated German teammate Nico Rosberg by a mere 0.042 seconds.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top three after three exciting sessions in the Chinese sun, with conditions being consistent enough for the lap times to drop, as the track evolved accordingly.

The times tumbled accordingly, with all apart from Mercedes opting for the softer Pirelli tyres to ensure their survival. Both McLarens of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso were amongst those eliminated early. The top 18 drivers were separated by 1.8 seconds, initially topped by Vettel and his team mate Kimi Räikkönen after the 20-minute Q1 session.

Force India’s Nico Hülkenberg and Manor F1's pair of Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi were also knocked out in the early goings of the session, with everyone fighting hard to progress.

Toro Rosso's young pairing, Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen, showed characteristic rookie mistakes, which saw them eliminated alongside Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado, Red Bull’s Daniil Kyvat and Force India’s Sergio Perez. Many were caught out by unbalanced setups, as well as missing braking points.

Mercedes’ plan had paid off, as both Hamilton and Rosberg flew in the latter stages, with Vettel and the Williams of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas being the only ones closest. Räikkönen’s charge for a top five spot came to an end, as his Ferrari was a bit of handful around certain corners. The Finn would eventually end up sixth, ahead of the sole Red Bull in Q3, Daniel Ricciardo.

Lotus had a better turn this time around, as Romain Grosjean placed eighth, ahead of Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericcson. The Swiss-based outfit has been on the rise since the start of the year.

Both Massa and Bottas were able to show the overall performance of their package, placing fourth and fifth respectively, but they both know that they will have a fight in tomorrow’s race with Ferrari and the remainder of the top ten.

Hamilton’s success rate continues along its way, as he secured his 41st pole position in his Formula One career, but anything can happen during tomorrow’s 56-lap race. Will the Brit keep his lead in the drivers’ standings, or will there be another surprise in store?