Reigning World Champion, championship leader and winner of the Australian GP two weeks ago, Sebastian Vettel has scored pole position at today’s qualifying session in Malaysia. The German who also clinched pole position a fortnight ago snatched the top spot from Lewis Hamilton at the dying seconds of the session.
Mark Webber who was the man to beat on Friday’s free practice sessions will start tomorrow’s race in third, ahead of Jenson Button. Fernando Alonso from Ferrari only managed fifth, showing that there is a lot more to come from the Scuderia. Nick Heidfeld bounced back from a dismal qualifying in Australia with his sixth place. The Lotus Renault driver will start the race ahead of Felipe Massa while team mate Vitaly Petrov made eight. Mercedes GP Petronas’ Nico Rosberg was ninth fastest followed by Kamui Kobayashi from Sauber.
Michael Schumacher who showed good performance during practice had to settle with 11th, after failing to get into Q3. Further down the grid, the arrangement is very familiar. Team Lotus is ahead of both Virgin and Hispania drivers. Heikki Kovalainen managed 19th ahead of team mate Jarno Trulli. Heikki’s time of 1.38.791 is about four seconds off Vettel’s time.
He was about 0.4 seconds behind Pastor Maldonado’s (Williams) lap time which gave him 18th place, hence the gap isn’t huge compared to the nearest rivals who are more established. Hispania’s Vitantonio Liuzzi and Narain Karthikeyen also managed to qualify within 107% of Vettel’s pole time by about a second and will race tomorrow. The session was trouble-free except for a brief red flag with twelve minutes to go in Q1. Sebastien Buemi’s Toro Rosso lost its left engine cover and it was left on the track momentarily. Rain also failed to fall despite predictions. Rain is also expected to fall tomorrow but if I were you, I wouldn’t be so sure.
Check out the full qualifying results here.