Lewis Hamilton on pole for Malaysia GP

Lewis Hamilton will start from pole position for the second race in a row after overcoming the adverse weather conditions and setting the fastest lap.

After a lengthy delay due to heavy rain, qualifying eventually got going with drivers on intermediate tyres. The McLaren duo opted to go out on full wets but were soon called back to the pits to switch to intermediates, which was the tyre to be on. There was drama for Marcus Ericsson who stalled in the queue to leave the pits at the start of qualifying but Caterham got him started and sent him out. It looked like Sebastian Vettel might have problems when he was called into the pits because of a ‘problem with the car’. It wasn’t anything major that hampered his session however as he was soon out on track again. McLaren looked like they may have been caught out by the conditions and going for the wrong tyres initially, but both cars made it through to Q2. Q1 was red flagged with 30 seconds left on the clock – not enough time for it to be restarted – after Ericsson compounded his problems by crashing, heavily damaging his car. Pastor Maldonado, Adrian Sutil, Jules Bianchi, Kamui Kobayashi, Max Chilton and Ericsson were the six drivers to drop out of qualifying. Up at the front Nico Rosberg was fastest from Hamilton with Vettel in third.

For Q2 it was Kimi Raikkonen who took a risk with the tyres – going for intermediates while everyone else put on the full wets. The session was quickly red flagged however after Fernando Alonso and Daniil Kvyat had a coming together. It left the former with broken front suspension which surprisingly, Ferrari were able to fix. In the incredibly wet conditions, Kvyat dived up the inside to avoid the slower Ferrari but in the difficult conditions they did not see each other. The stewards investigated the incident but chose to take no further action. There was a moment for Magnussen who aquaplaned off the track and into the gravel. He was able to keep moving and returned to the pits. At the end of Q2, the dropzone featured Kvyat, Esteban Gutierrez, Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas, and Romain Grosjean. Up at the front it was still Mercedes leading the way, this time with Hamilton.

Going into Q3 were Hamilton, Vettel, Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg, Alonso, Raikkonen, Button, Magnussen and Jean-Eric Vergne. Button took a gamble on intermediate tyres while everyone else was on wet tyres. It was a gamble which in the end did not work out but, had the rain eased he would have been in a prime position. After the first runs, it was Hamilton leading the way from Vettel. The rain continued to fall and there was little improvement. Rosberg did manage to improve to third but Vettel did not manage to make it over the line in time for another run. Hamilton went off the track on his final run due to poor visibility but his earlier lap was enough to see him claim his second pole in a row and his 33rd overall – matching Jim Clark’s British pole record. Valterri Bottas received a post-qualifying three place grid penalty for impeding Ricciardo in Q2.

The Malaysia Grand Prix qualifying times


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