Sebastian Super In Sepang

Sebastian Vettel has taken pole position ahead of this Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix. The German is flanked by both fast starting Ferrari’s, then Kimi Raikkonen and Mark Webber in fifth.

Adrian Sutil was on top in the Q1 session, impressing to go nearly two-tenths clear of Kimi Raikkonen. Surprisingly, there was no traffic jam at the pit exit – the cars opting to play a waiting game. Eventually, Max Chilton graced the track followed by Jules Bianchi, Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo. Raikkonen, Alonso, Massa, Hamilton and Rosberg were the usual suspects up at the top, but Sutil was a surprise. Vettel, Webber and Grosjean stayed put in the garage watching the screens.

10 minutes in, Sutil set his 1.36.809 while Red Bull decided to shake a leg, both drivers emerging on Medium tires. Grosjean made P4 on his first lap while the RB9′s both backed off their first lap and got ready to try again. It was nothing special, a 13th and a 15th for Vettel and Webber. Another lap showed no big improvement and it was left to a final lap to ensure they avoided the drop zone. Webber scraped a P9 – Still eight-tenths shy of the Force India, while Vettel narrowly made it through the session, finishing up in 15th.

Q2 saw Paul di Resta and Esteban Gutierrez as the first men out on track on the option tires. Red Bull were taking no chances and sent both their men out on the option Pirelli’s to make sure they made it through.

Sutil jumped straight to the top of the time sheets with a 1.36.834 which looked fantastic until Hamilton did a 1.36.517 to be bettered by Rosberg’s 1.36.190.

Force India called Paul di Resta in despite not having any solid laps set, which cost them straight away when the rain hit. The Scott rushed backed out on track and went wide on his first lap, hitting water at turn 7 and backing off. His second flying lap was no more successful, losing the car at the same place and spinning twice.

The wet track forced Paul back in, resigned to 15th on the grid. Romain Grosjean was robbed of a likely top ten position through a similar strategy.

Q3 brought a very tricky track condition, not very wet but still slippy – that awkward middle ground between dry tires and wet tires. With DRS disabled, the ten remaining drivers tip toed around the track. Vettel backed off and let the remaining nine drivers past him while looking for some space to run a good lap.

Vettel took the top spot ahead of Rosberg, Massa and Alonso with five minutes left in the session. Webber then stormed in to take P1 followed quickly by Hamilton who had provisional pole with less than a minute to go. The checkered flag flew and Mark’s second attempt couldn’t rob Lewis of pole. Button took 5th, Raikkonen 4th and then Rosberg 3rd with Alonso storming to pole followed by Vettel who took it back. Massa charged towards the line and took 2nd, his first front row since the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix, while Lewis’ last dash was unsuccessful.

Provisional Grid:

  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. Sergio Perez
  11. Romain Grosjean
  12. Nico Hulkenberg
  13. Daniel Ricciardo
  14. Esteban Gutierrez
  15. Paul di Resta
  16. Pastor Maldonado
  17. Jean-Eric Vergne
  18. Valtteri Bottas
  19. Jules Bianchi
  20. Charles Pic
  21. Max Chilton
  22. Giedo van der Garde

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