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GP Week : Issue 217
QUALIFYING If the weather did anything during the qualifying hour it was to shake up the order, pushing some unexpected names to the front and, more notably, some big names towards the back. Lewis Hamilton set a time more than 1.5 seconds faster than his nearest rivals in the opening moments of Q3. It was a lap that exuded confidence and demonstrated a deftness of touch and feel for the car and track. On the same tyres as those also at the top end of the table it was clear Hamilton found something the others had missed. Moreover, that the time stood for the remainder of the session, with no rain falling and track conditions improving, was ever more impressive. Sebastian Vettel came closest, less than a tenth of a second at the flag, but his time came in the dying stages. His position owed some to the weather, not to take anything away from the German but in raw pace the Ferrari had shown itself to be half a second off the Mercedes pace during practice. Indeed when considered with the Australian GP it's fair to suggest the Prancing Horse has emerged as next best behind the Silver Arrows, making the fact Kimi Raikkonen failed to reach the final phase a difficult pill to swallow. Raikkonen found himself tucked up behind Marcus Ericsson's Sauber in the truncated Q2. With the weather threatening to deliver its monsoonal payload at any moment every driver headed out on track as the green light went on. By the time Raikkonen began his flying lap he was tucked up behind Ericsson, and with the rain already fallilng his best hpe of a fast lap was his first. He managed just 11th, and became the biggest name to be eliminated from the session. If Ferrari has gained, Williams had lost something in the battle for the third step on the podium. In practice the squad was on average two tenths off the back of the red cars but in qualifying Felipe Massa was the Grove teams best placed driver in seventh. At the beginning of the final session the team gambled on full wet tyres, a decision which ultimately proved a mistake with the circuit clearly dry enough for intermediate tyres. It cost the team time if nothing else while neither driver had a great deal of pace in the slippery conditions. It suggests the team lacks downforce, certainly compared to Mercedes but also when pit against the Ferraris, drivers lamenting their ability to truly wring the neck of the car in the slippery conditions. It was a session for the bold and brave, particularly the final part of the session. It was a session that belonged confident lewis continues to reign formulA 1 round 2 mAlAYsiAn gp – qualifying Pos Driver teAM Q1 Q2 Q3 lAPs 1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:39.269 1:41.217 1:49.834 13 2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:39.814 1:39.632 1:49.908 13 3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:39.374 1:39.377 1:50.299 13 4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:40.504 1:41.085 1:51.541 16 5 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:40.546 1:41.665 1:51.951 16 6 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:40.793 1:41.430 1:51.981 16 7 Felipe Massa Williams 1:40.543 1:41.230 1:52.473 17 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:40.303 1:41.209 1:52.981 18 9 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:40.249 1:40.650 1:53.179 14 10 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:40.340 1:41.748 1:53.261 18 11 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:40.415 1:42.173 7 12 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:40.361 1:42.198 11 13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:40.830 1:43.023 9 14 Sergio Perez Force India 1:41.036 1:43.469 11 15 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:39.814 1:43.701 9 16 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:41.308 7 17 Jenson Button McLaren 1:41.636 8 18 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:41.746 8 19 Roberto Mehri Marussia 1:46.677 7 20 Will Stevens Marussia No time Q1 107% Time 1:46.207 16 GPWEEK.com // 16 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> MALAYSIA PARTNERS: