GP Malesya, prove del sabato–30/09/2017
Lewis Hamilton takes Malaysian GP pole, Sebastian Vettel at the back
Lewis Hamilton narrowly beat Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen to pole position for Formula 1’s final Malaysian Grand Prix, as title rival Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari suffered engine problems and qualified last.
Mercedes struggled to get its upgraded F1 car working properly throughout the free practice sessions at the Sepang circuit, but turned things around just in time for Hamilton to get the job done in qualifying.
Hamilton’s first flying lap in Q3 proved just enough in the end, as Raikkonen – who was fastest of all in Q2 – fell short by just 0.045 seconds after locking up at the final corner.
The second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas was not so comfortable as Hamilton in qualifying, struggling particularly through the second sector. Bottas ended up only fifth fastest, behind both Red Bulls.
Max Verstappen split Raikkonen and Hamilton in Q2, but fell back in Q3, ending up third fastest, almost half a second away from pole. Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was only half a tenth further back in fourth.
Vettel should have been among the fight for pole, having set the pace on Friday, but his Ferrari suffered a problem in final practice, so Ferrari worked through the break between sessions to change his engine.
Vettel made it out for the start of Q1, but reported a loss of drive, which he described as feeling "like I have no turbo", that he couldn’t fix with the switch changes suggested by his team.
Vettel was forced back to the pits without setting a time and couldn’t return to the track, leaving him last in the classification.
This could strike another serious blow to his world championship challenge, after losing his points lead to Hamilton after crashing out on lap one last time out in Singapore.
Esteban Ocon took advantage of Vettel’s absence to post the sixth quickest time for Force India, ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren, Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault, Force India team-mate Sergio Perez, and the second McLaren of Fernando Alonso.
Felipe Massa and Jolyon Palmer (who was investigated but not punished for colliding with Verstappen in final practice) were both dumped out of the top 10 in the dying moments of Q2, as Perez, Vandoorne and Alonso all leaped ahead with quicker lap times.
Massa ended up an agonising 0.024s away from making the cut in 11th, ahead of Palmer, Williams team-mate Lance Stroll – who complained of a bad outlap compromising his second run – and the Toro Rossos of Carlos Sainz Jr and Pierre Gasly.
Neither Toro Rosso driver found time on their second Q2 runs, and Gasly ended up qualifying just 0.156s behind Sainz for his F1 debut, though by lapping slower than he managed in Q1.
Haas team-mates Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen failed to make it through to Q2, by more than three tenths of a second, as faster rivals made late improvements and knocked them into the drop zone.
Pascal Wehrlein got his Sauber to within half a tenth of a second of beating Magnussen to 17th place on the grid.
Marcus Ericsson was almost half a second slower in the second Sauber and slowest of those to set a time.
Malaysian GP grid
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m30.541s||0.465s|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m30.595s||0.519s|
|6||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m31.478s||1.402s|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m31.658s||1.582s|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m32.402s||2.326s|
|15||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m32.558s||2.482s|
Malaysian GP: Raikkonen edges Vettel in final practice
Kimi Raikkonen edged out Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel to the quickest time in final Formula 1 practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Raikkonen posted a 1m31.880s on the super-soft compound tyres to finish 0.162 seconds clear of Vettel, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo half a tenth further back in third.
However, there was frustration for Ferrari in the final minutes of the session when Vettel was told to slow and return to the pits.
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton could only manage the fifth quickest time, 0.659s off the pace, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas two tenths quicker in fourth.
Hamilton made a mistake at the final corner on his qualifying-simulation, running deep into the hairpin and failing to improve on his earlier time.
Mercedes brought a substantial upgrade to the W08 to Malaysia, including revised front wing, ‘spoon’ deflector, bargeboards and floor, but has so far struggled relative to its rivals.
It decided to run split programmes with its drivers in a bid to find answers, with Bottas running the new aero package and Hamilton reverting to the old.
Hamilton had set the early pace, when most ran used super-softs, clocking a 1m32.539s, with Raikkonen and Vettel slotting into second and third respectively.
When the teams bolted on fresh sets of super-softs, which Pirelli says is around 0.8s quicker than the soft, Ricciardo was the first out and went quickest with a 1m32.091s.
Vettel then moved to the top of the pile before Raikkonen usurped him to end the session quickest of all at a dry and muggy Sepang.
Max Verstappen was sixth quickest, 0.040s adrift of Hamilton, with his qualifying-simulation coming late on, but his session was disrupted when he had contact with Jolyon Palmer at the final corner.
Palmer, who had a scrappy session that included an off-track excursion, dived down the inside of the final corner, locking up and hitting the Red Bull.
The impact broke Palmer’s front wing with Verstappen reporting a puncture, and both drivers were summoned to the stewards over the incident.
Sergio Perez improved to seventh quickest, 1.329s off the pace, with Felipe Massa eighth only 0.031s adrift in the Williams.
Esteban Ocon and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne, who outpaced team-mate Fernando Alonso, completed the top 10.
It was another tough day for Grosjean, whose mechanics worked into the early hours of the morning following his bizarre Friday practice crash.
The Haas driver spun and aborted a flying lap when he picked up a flat-spot as a result of a big lock up into Turn 9 and ended up 18th.
His team-mate Kevin Magnussen had his running limited when the team recalled him to the garage after it suspected a problem with the engine but he got back out on track and clocked the 13th quickest time.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||0.211s||16|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||0.699s||17|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1.329s||20|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1.410s||21|
|15||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||2.044s||22|
|16||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Renault||2.326s||24|