- Sep 26, 2010
Lewis Hamilton will start the Malaysian Grand Prix from pole position after pipping Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in a weather struck qualifying session at the Sepang International Circuit.
The first phase of qualifying started with a bone dry track but with the threat of rain and, lightning, certainly lingering in the air. Unsurprisingly it was Hamilton who set the fastest time on the medium tyres ahead of Rosberg, with Bottas in third and just nine tenths down despite a scruffy lap and a set of hard compound tyres.
At the back of the field Roberto Merhi was struggling in his Manor after ruining his first fast lap by running wide, whilst his team mate Will Stevens was stuck in the pits with an electronic problem with his power unit. Meanwhile both Red Bulls were struggling with Ricciardo and Kvyat under pressure with five minutes to go before quick laps from the pair thrust them into the top 10.
However, as the lightning worsened and the checkered flag fell, it was the two Manor's - who will have to go to the stewards to see if they will make the grid after missing out on the 107% time - , along with the two McLarens in 17th and 18th with Button out qualifying returnee Alonso and Nasr in 16th, who bit the dust.
Q2 was a fairly quick affair with rain falling just 3 minutes into the session starting at turn one. There were early worries for both Hamilton and Raikkonen with Marcus Ericsson hindering both drivers first laps with Hamilton just managing to squeeze through in 8th but Raikkonen could only manage 11th with the downpour making it impossible to improve his time.
So with Q2 over as quickly as it had begun it was Raikkonen, Maldonado, Hulkenberg, Perez and Carlos Sainz Jr. that failed to make the cut. Meanwhile Verstappen and Ericsson both made their Q3 debuts.
After a fairly lengthy delay Q3 started in slightly damp conditions with some drivers opting to go straight onto the intermediates. Over the line however it was deja vu once again as Hamilton snatched pole just ahead of Vettel who split the Mercedes pair. Honourable mentions also go to Max Verstappen who recorded the best qualifying for a teenager in over 50 years with 6th on the grid whilst Red Bull's 4th and 5th with Ricciardo and Kvyat respectively was an improved showing on Melbourne.
1. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 1:49.834
2. Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari - 1:49.908
3. Nico Rosberg - Mercedes - 1:50.299
4. Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull - 1:51.541
5. Daniil Kvyat - Red Bull - 1:51.951
6. Max Verstappen - Toro Rosso - 1:51.981
7. Felipe Massa - Williams - 1:52.473
8. Romain Grosjean - Lotus - 1:52.981
9. Valtteri Bottas - Williams - 1:53.179
10. Marcus Ericsson - Sauber - 1:53.026
11. Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari - 1:42.173
12. Pastor Maldonado - Lotus - 1:42.198
13. Nico Hulkenberg - Force India - 1:43.023
14. Sergio Perez - Force India - 1:43.469
15. Carlos Sainz Jr. - Toro Rosso - 1:43.701
16. Felipe Nasr - Sauber - 1:41.308
17. Jenson Button - McLaren - 1:41.636
18. Fernando Alonso - McLaren - 1:41. 746
19. Roberto Merhi - Manor - 1:46.677
20. Will Stevens - Manor - No Time