Sebastian Vettel won his 38th career pole at Sepang International after a session that featured sun, heat, rain and sometimes all three at the same time! Here is a quick summary of what went down in Malaysia…
In Q1, Giedo Van Der Garde, Charles Pic, Max Chilton, Jules Bianchi. Jean-Eric Vergne and Valtteri Bottas were the drivers knocked out. There was a constant threat of rain in the area but it did not show up during Q1. Adrian Sutil posted the fastest time when he made a run on softs. Tension was high in the Red Bull garage late in the session at Seb dropped down the leader board all the way to 15th dangerously close to getting eliminated. Jules Bianchi was fairly impressive with his Marussia despite getting knocked out…keep an eye on this guy in the future.
Q2 got going with no issues until Lewis Hamilton reported rain in turns 5 and 6. Paul Di Resta went for a spin as the rain began to come down harder and within seconds, everyone hit pit lane. Pastor Maldonado was unable to make a lap before the rain struck and never got a chance to save himself from elimination. The rain bit a couple teams; most notably was Lotus driver, Romain Grosjean who would end up 11th. Paul Di Resta, Pastor Maldonado, Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Gutierrez, Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean were all the drivers knocked out in Q2. Nico Rosberg was the fastest driver on track.
Everyone ran Q3 on intermediates and it was really exciting to watch! There were a few wow moments with Hamilton having a minor off and Massa losing the rear end of his car but overall, everyone kept their cars under control in the wet conditions. Multiple drivers held the top spot at some point during the 10 minute fight for the pole and with just seconds remaining, Lewis Hamilton sat 1st in his Mercedes. On his final lap, Sebastian Vettel went purple in all three sectors and blew Lewis’ time out of the water by over a second. Both Ferrari’s gave Sebastian a run for his money but in the end they had to settle for 2nd and 3rd. Felipe Massa out-qualified Fernando Alonso for the 4th race in a row!
It is Vettel’s 38th career F1 pole and Renault’s 204th. The top 10 were 1-Sebastian Vettel 2-Felipe Massa 3-Fernando Alonso 4-Lewis Hamilton 5-Mark Webber 6-Nico Rosberg 7-Kimi Raikkonen 8-Jenson Button 9-Adrian Sutil 10-Sergo Perez. It must of been a huge relief for McLaren to at least get both cars in Q3 after struggling so much at Melbourne. Also, how about Adrian Sutil making his return to Formula 1 and is doing so with style making it into Q3 once again easily out-qualifying his Force India teammate. Melbourne winner, Kimi Raikkonen starts 7th which is where he started last week and 10 years ago on this very weekend, he won his first ever F1 race after starting from the 7th position on the grid. It should be an interesting race to watch with rain playing a major role in the outcome.