Vettel takes pole in wet qualifying

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Malaysia, Sepang International Circuitmy

Sebastian Vettel ended today's qualifying on top by mastering the difficult conditions that faced the drivers today. At the end of Q2, rain began which made it interesting to see drivers master the track on intermediates during the final shootout. Massa ended up in second, Alonso in third.

At the start of the session, nobody looks eager to go out, and it's Max Chilton who is the first man coming out of the pits, 2 minutes after the light at the end of the pitlane went green. He is soon followed by Jules Bianchi who at the finish line beats his teammate by more than half a second on the first lap.

Bottas, who came out second after the Marussia is faster still, running on the hards just like everyone at this stage.

Few moments later it seems that some top drivers are immediately choosing to go for the medium tyres, including both Lotuses, Ferrari and the Force India drivers. Nico Rosberg on the other hand posts a 2nd fastest time 6 minutes from the end of the session on the hard compound tyres.

Red Bull are also going for the medium tyres but even then seem to struggle to set competitive laps. After 2 attempts, Vettel is 13th and Webber 15th, not exactly comfortable positions you would expect from a Red Bull. The Australian however continues another lap on the same medium tyres and puts himself in 9th place with just 20 seconds left on the clock.

At the front, Sutil is fastest in Q3, ahead of Raikkonen, Rosberg,Alonso, Grosjean, Button, Di Resta, Hamilton, Webber and Pérez.

Eliminated are Vergne, Bottas, Bianchi, Pic, Chilton and Van der Garde.


Q2 kicks off with immediate action with Sutil again ending up on top after the first 4 minutes with a 1:36.834. With everybody now seemingly on the medium tyres, it looks like Red Bull Racing were using old medium tyres to get through to Q2, saving up a set of tyres for the race.

6 minutes into the session, Rosberg takes the top of the timesheet in 1:36.190, ahead of Webber, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Sutil, Massa, Alonso, Button, Vettel and Pérez.

Another minute later it starts to rain on the second sector of the track. Di Resta soon finds himself slipping off the track. As the track is quickly getting wetter, Di Resta slips off again on his next attempt and realises he is likely eliminated, along with the others out of the top 10. This means Grosjean is 11th, ahead of Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Gutierrez, Di Resta and Maldonado.

By the start of Q3, 47 minutes after the start of Q1, the track is humid to wet over its entire course and cars are queuing at the end of the pitlane to get it going. Everybody appears to start on intermediates. Some areas are soaked while sun shines on a rather dry track at other places.

Adrian Sutil is the first to cross the finish line to start his flying lap with behind him Alonso and Vettel battling it out to get the track advantage.

The first laps prove that the track is quickly improving as the people crossing the line last are generally faster than those ahead of them. Vettel posts the fastest time, ahead of his teammate who needed one more attempt. Raikkonen on the other hand pits after 2 laps to get a new set of intermediates, enabling him to do one flying lap at the end of the session on the new tyres.

Hamilton meanwhile posted a 1:51.699 and is 6 tenths ahead of Webber's improved lap. Vettel is still third, Rosberg 4th, Massa 5th and Alonso 5th.

At the very end of the session, Vettel improves again and takes pole, ahead of Massa, Alonso and Hamilton.

Results

Pos.NoDriverTeamQ1Q2Q3Laps
11Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:37.8991:37.2451:49.67413
24Felipe MassaFerrari1:37.7121:36.8741:50.58715
33Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:37.3141:36.8771:50.72714
410Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:37.5131:36.5171:51.69915
52Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault1:37.6191:36.4491:52.24414
69Nico RosbergMercedes AMG1:37.2391:36.1901:52.51914
77Kimi RäikkönenLotus-Renault1:36.9591:36.6401:52.97012
85Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:37.4871:37.1171:53.17514
915Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1:36.8091:36.8341:53.43912
106Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes1:37.7021:37.3421:54.13616
118Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:37.3631:37.636-7
1211Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1:37.9311:38.125-12
1319Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari1:37.7221:38.822-12
1412Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:37.7071:39.221-14
1514Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1:37.4931:44.509-10
1616Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1:37.867No time-10
1718Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari1:38.157--8
1817Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1:38.207--7
1922Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1:38.434--8
2020Charles PicCaterham-Renault1:39.314--6
2123Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1:39.672--8
2221Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1:39.932--6


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