Malaysian Grand Prix: Hamilton holds off Vettel to take wet pole

Lewis Hamilton took his 40th pole position in Formula One after braving the conditions in the final part of qualifying ahead of tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

The rain that is never far away in Malaysia hit the circuit midway through Q2, the conditions meaning that the drivers could only have one shot of booking their place in the top ten shootout.

The Mercedes of Hamilton went out on the intermediate tyre at the start of the session with his time of 1:49.834s enough to secure pole position ahead of the ever improving Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel by just 0.074s. Nico Rosberg’s time was only good enough for third fastest, almost half a second down on pacesetter Hamilton.

Max Verstappen continued to impressed as his time was good enough for sixth place just behind the Red Bull pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat who looked much more competitive in the rain hit qualifying session.

Some drivers opted to begin the rain delayed top ten shootout on the full wet tyres. However the track quickly began to dry, the Williams of Valtteri Bottas opting to try his luck on the wet tyres, but his time meaning he had to come in for a change of rubber.

The team will be disappointed with their result of seventh and eighth with Felipe Massa leading Bottas who will be racing for the first time in 2015 after he missed the Australian Grand Prix due to injury. Romain Grosjean originally did enough to split the Williams pair, however he was penalized for jumping the queue and illegally overtaking cars in the pit lane, and will now round out the top ten behind the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson.

Kimi Raikkonen was one of many drivers that were caught out in the Q2 downpour with his one effort to make it into the top ten not good enough and will line up in eleventh place in front of Pastor Maldonado and the Force India pairing of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez who have struggled so far this season thanks to their underdeveloped VJM08.

Carlos Sainz impressed in Q1 by setting the fourth fastest time. Unfortunately for the young Spaniard he was unable to replicate his heroics in the second session and lines up a lonely fifteenth. 

McLaren’s woes continued in qualifying, Jenson Button beat team-mate Fernando Alonso by the slenderest of margins, however there were no smiles as they were dumped out of Q1 and will line up on the second to last row tomorrow only ahead of the Manor Marussia’s. Whilst Roberto Merhi made it onto the track, Will Stevens missed out on qualifying thanks to a technical issue. Although Merhi’s time was not within 107%, the FIA have granted them permission to take the start tomorrow.

Here’s the grid for the 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix:  

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:49.834
2Sebastian VettelFerrari+ 0.074
3Nico RosbergMercedes+ 0.465
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing Renault+ 1.707
5Daniil KvyatRed Bull Racing Renault+ 2.117
6Max VerstappenSTR Renault+ 2.147
7Felipe MassaWilliams Mercedes+ 2.639
8Valtteri BottasWilliams Mercedes+ 3.345
9Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari+ 3.427
10Romain GrosjeanLotus MercedesPENALTY
11Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1:42.173
12Pastor MaldonadoLotus Mercedes1:42.198
13Nico HulkenbergForce India Mercedes1:43.23
14Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes1:43.469
15Carloz SainzSTR Renault1:43.071
16Felipe Nasr Sauber Ferrari1:41.308
17Jenson ButtonMcLaren Honda1:41.636
18Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda1:41.746
19Roberto MerhiMarussia Ferrari1:46.3677
20Will StevensMarussia Ferrari –