Lewis Hamilton claimed his second pole position of the year during a rain affected qualifying at the Malaysian Grand Prix. In doing so the 2008 world champion has moved alongside Jim Clark and Alain Prost on 33 career pole positions.
Qualifying was delayed for close to an hour due to heavy rain and difficult conditions, with terrible visibility, endured throughout the three sessions after the lights finally went green. As you might expect a couple of red flags came about due to minor incidents which added to the overtime for the TV networks.
At the end of it all Lewis Hamilton’s time (1:59.431) was only just enough to hold out a surprised Sebastian Vettel (1:59.486). Nico Rosberg (2:00.050) and Fernando Alonso (2:00.175) complete the second row.
Alonso was lucky to progress to Q3 at all after Daniil Kvyat made a rookie error during Q2 and collided with him. Alonso appeared to suffer a broken steering arm, but his Ferrari mechanics were able to put things right during the red flag required to clear the track of debris and away he soon went.
Daniel Ricciardo (2:00.541) again kept his name at the upper end of the timesheets and perhaps he may have wished for more than P5.
“When it rains here, it definitely pours and the weather was our biggest challenge today,” said Daniel. “Finding space on the track can be tough and the visibility is so bad, the spray comes from hundreds of metres away, so just getting some clean road is something you really have to try and take care of. I was a bit off in Q3, so I’ve got to try and understand why, but nonetheless I think top five is not too bad, considering the conditions.”
Kimi Raikkonen (2:01.218) secured P6 meaning the first six includes two cars each from the three engine manufacturers.
Further rain is a possibility for the race and should that come to fruition it will be sure to provide an exciting and unpredictable grand prix.
The full starting grid can be seen after the break, along with the transcript from the post-quali press conference.