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Malaysian GP 2015

MARCH 28, 2015

Qualifying Report - Rain Mixer

Lewis Hamilton, Malaysian GP 2015
© Active Pictures


Rain mixed up things during qualifying, but it could not stop Lewis Hamilton from winning yet another pole position in his Mercedes. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) and Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) rounded out the top four.

The ambient temperature five minutes before the start of the session was 91 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 131 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees Centigrade). There was 60 percent chance of rain.

The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Red Bull Renault - Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat. Williams Mercedes - Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. Ferrari - Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. McLaren Honda - Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button. Force India Mercedes - Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Toro Rosso Renault - Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz. Lotus Mercedes - Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado. Marussia Ferrari - Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi. Sauber - Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr.

Qualifying 1

13 minutes into the 16-minute session, Merhi set the first time - 1:47.214, but Verstappen quickly beat that with a 1:41.550.

Hamilton and Rosberg had the medium compound Pirelli tires fitted instead of the hard compound. 12 minutes into the session, Rosberg turned a 1:39.374 and then Hamilton did a 1:39.269.

That set the 107 percent time cutoff at 1:46.217. Merhi's best lap would be a 1:4.677.

Five cars would be eliminated at the end of Q1.

9 minutes into the session, Alonso was 16th and thus in danger of not making it to Q2.

Stevens had not set a time yet because his car had a fuel leak that the Marussia crew was trying to fix.

With 6 minutes remaining in the session, most drivers were in the pits preparing for their final runs.

Perez, Alonso, Button, Merhi and Stevens were the five drivers out of the top 15 with 3 minutes remaining in the session.

All of them except Stevens were on the track. Maldonado was in the 15th place and on the bubble. He didn't stay there.

The top six at the end of Q1 were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel, Sainz, Bottas and Grosjean.

The five drivers eliminated at the end of Q1 were: Nasr, Button, Alonso, Merhi and Stevens.

Qualifying 2

With rain looming, everybody was anxious to get out immediately and set a time in case the track got wet, and all 15 drivers were on the medium tires. Vettel led the pack.

Rosberg turned a 1:39.377, leading Vettel, Bottas Ricciardo and Grosjean.

Ericsson was 10th and Raikkonen 11th. And now the rain was falling on some sections of the track.

Then it began to pour on the pit straight.

The top six at the end of Q2 were: Rosberg, Vettel, Bottas, Ricciardo, Grosjean and Massa.

The five drivers eliminated at the end of Q2 were: Raikkonen, Maldonado, Hulkenberg, Perez and Sainz.

Qualifying 3

The heavy rain and flooding track caused officials to delay the start of Q3 by at least 15 minutes. Then they delayed it some more.

Q3 started 27 minutes late. There was a mixed choice among the drivers between the intermediate and extreme wet weather tires.

Once again, everybody headed out immediately.

Rosberg, on the inters, turned a 1:51.066, and Hamilton beat that with a 1:49.834. They were on the inters, which was faster tire for the conditions.

The guys on the extreme tires switched to the inters, and everybody pounded around.

When it was all over, Hamilton had the pole and Vettel was alongside him on the grid.

Rosberg, Ricciardo, Kvyat, Verstappen, Massa, Grosjean, Bottas and Ericsson rounded out the top 10.