Whereas Vettel stopped on lap 35 to cover another Verstappen undercut, Leclerc stayed out until lap 47, the Monegasque driver losing time all the while.
Chinese fans waves a giant British flag to cheer on Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain during the qualifying session for the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai, China, Saturday, April 13, 2019.
"We can do our own race but first of all we have to ensure Ferrari is in a position to fight with its rivals. We need to understand why we are behind and work on that so we don't have to worry about these things".
"I felt I was faster in the auto", he said.
"I lost it on the start", he lamented.
"Considering it was a real struggle this weekend, I'm really grateful at the result", he said.
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel took third place.
Karthikeyan didn't actually get to drive vehicle in the 82-lap contest, with the race stopped after just 31 laps due to treacherous weather conditions.
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"Baku is a different ball-game, there's a very long straight and we need to get the power and drag level there right", warned Wolff. "Shame about the start, I got some wheel spin when I went over the white line, the start-finish line which is immediately after my box, and I lost it there".
China was seen as a track where Ferrari would have the upper hand but it was Mercedes whose drivers lined up first and second on the grid.
The 23-year-old, who is competing at Shanghai for the first time this weekend, was able to walk away from the wreck, but his auto will need a big rebuild if he is to start tomorrow's race. "It's a good result but not a great result".
Given that Albon was a last-minute replacement for Pierre Gasly after Daniel Ricciardo's move from Red Bull to Renault, expectations were fairly low; but after Sunday he now says he is aiming for Q3 appearances and points every weekend.
"I had a bit of a race with Max, which was good fun, but the objective was obviously trying to chase [Mercedes] down, but they were just too quick today. I think we're over-delivering a little bit at the moment to our true true potential but there's still more to come".
"Certainly it's hard as a team to give the order because we understand the drivers, they need to battle, to stay ahead as much as they can", Binotto, who took over in January, told reporters.