After securing a milestone 40th career pole in Malaysia, Lewis Hamilton has continued his string of Saturday success, by claiming his 41st today. The Brit’s benchmark time came on his first timed lap – a lap time which was nearly eclipsed by a fast-charging Nico Rosberg, who has been growing into the weekend. Ferrari were never a threat in qualifying trim, nor were they expected to be. However, with Sebastian Vettel in P3, they could well take the fight to the Silver Arrows in tomorrow’s race.
As so often is the case at Sepang, the climatic extreme took centre stage, as the skies proved just as entertaining as the cars on track. However, take nothing away from the Qualifying session, which was a blockbuster, enhanced by the proverbial double six rolled into the equation by stormy conditions. Q3 was well worth the rain delay as Mercedes’ straggle hold on the front row of the grid was breeched by the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel – the first time a Ferrari has claimed one of the first two spots on the grid since the Malaysian Grand Prix of 2013. Nico Rosberg was the man to lose out, dropping to P3 while Lewis Hamilton reached the milestone of 40 career pole positions, by a margin small enough to make even the reigning champion sweat.
During the winter, we all like to speculate in regards to the pecking order, yet ultimately, it is not until qualifying in Melbourne that the true picture is revealed. Fortunately, today was the day when sandbagging came to an end and team’s showed their hands. On queue, Mercedes lit up the timing screens, with Lewis Hamilton comfortably taking pole position, to the tune of six tenths of a second, from title rival Nico Rosberg. The German had an uncharacteristically luke-warm Saturday, but such is the Mercedes advantage, P2 was his reward.