Sebastian Vettel claims pole at Sepang in rain-hit qualifying

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Saturday 23rd March, 2013 - 8:26pm

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Sebastian Vettel lands pole by almost one second at Sepang

Sebastian Vettel lands pole by almost one second at Sepang

Triple world champion Sebastian Vettel has claimed pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix as rain intervened at the Sepang circuit.

Vettel turned a 1:49.674s lap to usurp Ferrari with Felipe Massa to start alongside the German after upstaging his team-mate Fernando Alonso for the fourth consecutive time.

Incredibly Vettel’s last gasp lap was almost a second ahead of Massa who had snatched second from Alonso after the Brazilian unwound his best lap just before the checkered flag came out.

Lewis Hamilton was fourth ahead of Mark Webber who did the entire session on the same set of intermediate tyres.

This was in contrast to Vettel who came with four minutes remaining and chose to stick another set of intermediates on just as the track seem to be drying out.

However Vettel managed to extract an optimum lap on the fresh set even as the first portion of the circuit had dried out before he went on to claim his 38th pole position.

As Vettel came in for a fresh set so too did Alonso, Adrian Sutil and Australian Grand Prix winner Kimi Raikkonen.

However with the time ticking away Raikkonen was given only one chance of a hot lap but could not lift the Lotus any higher than seventh.

Nico Rosberg was sixth with Jenson Button claiming eighth ahead of Sutil and Sergio Perez.

Lotus were caught short with Romain Grosjean becoming a victim of a shower of rain that brought a halt to Q2 in the final minutes, leaving him in 11th.

Also dropping out behind a dejected Grosjean were Nico Hulkenberg, Dan Ricciardo, Esteban Gutierrez, the spinning Paul di Resta and Pastor Maldonado.

Both Red Bull runners left their run in Q1 extremely late, both Vettel and Webber going out on the medium compound tyres before putting in their quick laps to advance in the closing minutes.

Red Bull indeed cut it fine with Vettel scraping through to be 15th after the opening qualifying run.

Like many of the runners Red Bull chose to use the least favoured medium compound Pirelli tyres.

F1 QUALIFYING

Pos No Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:37.899 1:37.245 1:49.674 13
2 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:37.712 1:36.874 1:50.587 15
3 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:37.314 1:36.877 1:50.727 14
4 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.513 1:36.517 1:51.699 15
5 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:37.619 1:36.449 1:52.244 14
6 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:37.239 1:36.190 1:52.519 14
7 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:36.959 1:36.640 1:52.970 12
8 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:37.487 1:37.117 1:53.175 14
9 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:36.809 1:36.834 1:53.439 12
10 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:37.702 1:37.342 1:54.136 16
11 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:37.363 1:37.636 7
12 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:37.931 1:38.125 12
13 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:37.722 1:38.822 12
14 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:37.707 1:39.221 14
15 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:37.493 1:44.509 10
16 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:37.867 No time 10
17 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:38.157 8
18 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:38.207 7
19 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:38.434 8
20 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:39.314 6
21 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:39.672 8
22 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:39.932 6

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