Bahrain GP F1: Lewis Hamilton beats Sebastian Vettel to pole
Lewis Hamilton continued his dominance of Formula 1 qualifying in 2015 by securing pole position for the Bahrain Grand Prix, but Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel denied Mercedes a front row lockout.
Reigning world champion Hamilton was the only driver to lap below 1m33s in Q2 and found a tenth of a second on his only run in Q3 to secure pole by over four tenths of a second.
Vettel was the only other driver to lap in sub 1m33s, his 1m32.982s lap good enough to relegate Hamilton’s team-mate Nico Rosberg to third.
Rosberg, who qualified on pole for this race for the last two years, lost crucial time in the first sector and couldn’t recover, ending up 0.147s slower than Vettel, but just ahead of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.
Williams locked out row three, with Valtteri Bottas substantially faster than team-mate Felipe Massa.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo qualified less than a tenth adrift in seventh, but with a gap of over six tenths to the remainder of the top 10.
Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India qualified a superb eighth, just 0.012s clear of the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr, while Romain Grosjean’s Lotus rounded out the top 10, just 0.022s further back.
Both Force Indias made it through to Q2 for the first time this season, with Sergio Perez edging out team-mate Hulkenberg by two tenths of a second in Q1.
But the Mexican just missed out on joining him in Q3 during a tight battle in the middle portion of qualifying.
Perez looked on course to make the top 10 as the session finished, but lost out Sainz by just 0.063s so wound up 11th.
That meant both Saubers missed out on making Q3 – with Felipe Nasr just 0.033s slower than Perez in 12th.
Marcus Ericsson made an error on his best lap so was almost three tenths further back in 13th.
In fact the Swede was only fractionally faster than Fernando Alonso, as McLaren-Honda made it through to Q2 for the first time this season.
Alonso qualified 14th, just ahead of the Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen, who complained of a lack of power at the start of Q2.
Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus, Daniil Kvyat’s Red Bull and Jenson Button’s McLaren-Honda joined the Manor/Marussias in filing through the Q1 exit door.
A problem with Maldonado’s Mercedes engine meant he missed the cut by just 0.024s, having looked strong throughout free practice.
A poor lap from Kvyat, who lost much of Saturday’s practice session when he beached his RB11 in the gravel, meant the Russian languished down in 17th place, his worst qualifying result of the season so far.
Will Stevens again comfortably outpaced team-mate Roberto Merhi, as Manor qualified off the final row of the grid for the first time this season thanks to more problems for Button’s McLaren.
Button’s car, which suffered reliability dramas throughout practice on Friday, stopped exiting Turn 3 on his out-lap with a suspected electrical problem, so the 2009 world champion failed to set a time.
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m33.832s||1.261s|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.450s||1.879s|
|9||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m34.462s||1.891s|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m34.704s||–|
|15||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m35.103s||–|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m35.800s||–|
Bahrain GP: Lewis Hamilton edges out Sebastian Vettel in FP3
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton edged Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to the quickest time in the third and final Formula 1 practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The reigning world champion clocked a 1m34.599s – the fastest time of the weekend so far – on the soft tyre to finish 0.069s clear of Vettel.
The other Mercedes of Nico Rosberg was third, after a slow first sector, 0.369s off the pace with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen fourth.
Raikkonen led the way after the medium tyre runs, with Ferrari team-mate Vettel 0.245s adrift in second – but the order changed significantly when drivers bolted on the soft tyres with 13 minutes of the one-hour session to go.
Rosberg was the first of the frontrunners to do a performance run, but his first sector was three tenths slower than his best on Friday.
His team-mate Hamilton had a much cleaner lap to top the charts for the first time this weekend.
The circuit was very dusty early on amid blustery conditions, with winds hitting 20mph and track temperatures 15C lower than they were during Friday’s daytime session.
The dirty circuit meant a number of drivers struggled for grip with both Lotus’s Romain Grosjean and Hamilton locking up on the run to Turn 1 and running wide onto the run-off.
Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were fifth and sixth respectively, ahead of the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado, who was as high as fifth during the medium-tyre runs.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who didn’t go out until the final half and hour and ran wide at Turn 13 on his medium-tyre run, was eighth, with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Sauber’s Felipe Nasr completing the top 10.
Jenson Button was the first driver out on track in a bid to make up for a loss of track time on Friday, when he completed just a handful of laps.
The Briton was the leading McLaren in 11th after 14 laps, five places and half a second quicker than team-mate Fernando Alonso in 16th.
Kvyat, who was caught out when he spun at Turn 4 and beached his Red Bull in the gravel, ended up 12th after the team got him back out for the final few minutes of the session.
Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber was 13th, ahead of Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso and Force India’s Sergio Perez.
It was a disappointing session for Carlos Sainz, who could only manage 17th, one place clear of Lotus’ Romain Grosjean, who asked his team early in the session, "how can the car be so different?"
The Manors brought up the rear of the field, with Will Stevens eight tenths quicker than team-mate Roberto Merhi. Both were within the 107 per cent cut-off time.
|8||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m36.335s||1.736s||8|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m36.421s||1.822s||13|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m36.548s||1.949s||7|
|14||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m36.684s||2.085s||11|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m36.727s||2.128s||14|
|17||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m36.979s||2.380s||14|
Bahrain GP F1: Kimi Raikkonen gets reprimand for pit incident
Ferrari Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen has been given an official reprimand for an infringement when leaving the pitlane during the second Friday practice session ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Both Raikkonen and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton crossed the white line demarking the two lanes in the pits to cut behind a Sauber that had just emerged from the garage.
The FIA stewards, including ex-grand prix driver Mika Salo, deemed that Raikkonen’s driving had been unsafe, leading to the Ferrari driver earning his first reprimand of 2015.
"The driver of car 7 drove in a potentially dangerous manner when leaving the pitlane," said the stewards’ statement.
This was deemed to be in contravention of article 30.13 of the sporting regulations, which states that "at no time may a car be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person."
AUTOSPORT understands that there will be no action against Hamilton, although there has been no official communication of this despite the fact he was stated to be under investigation alongside Raikkonen.
"I don’t really know too much about it," said Hamilton after the session. "The rule is that you do your starts on the left and allow people to pass on the right.
"I saw Kimi was kind of blocked because there was a car coming out of the garage so Kimi went around him and I followed.
"I just went to the right. As far as I am aware, it was legal."
Raikkonen – We can improve for tomorrow
Kimi Raikkonen: “I still haven’t had a look at the lap times of the session, but I think we are not as good as we want to be. In the second session it was a bit tricky with the set-up, we had some problems with the handling and we struggled in a few places. This evening we’ll analyse all the data in order to improve and do a better job tomorrow. Having a clear qualifying makes life easier in the race. I don’t know if we can challenge Mercedes, tomorrow is another day, conditions can change and this plays a big part, so let’s wait and see.”
F1 Bahrain GP: Nico Rosberg pips Lewis Hamilton in practice
Nico Rosberg pipped Formula 1 title rival and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to top spot in Friday’s second free practice session ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Hamilton held sway during the early stages of the 90-minute session when everyone used the medium-compound Pirelli tyres that proved to be two seconds or more off the pace, the champion lapping four tenths faster than Rosberg and a tenth quicker than Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari.
But Rosberg then took the initiative when the softs were bolted on.
Hamilton did briefly go to the top of the timesheets after outpacing Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari, only to be subsequently relegated by Rosberg.
While Rosberg’s lap was not perfect, Hamilton had a big front-right brake lock-up on the approach to Turn 8, sliding wide past the apex and costing him time.
The gap between the pair was 0.115s.
Rosberg’s session was brought to an end with a few minutes to go when the team called him in because something concerning had been noted in the car-to-pits telemetry.
Raikkonen ended up as the best non-Mercedes in third place, a tenth ahead of Ferrari team-mate Vettel.
The Finn made an error in the final corner on his first flier on the softs, which cost him time on the run to the line, but improved on his second attempt.
Vettel made a bigger mistake at the same turn, running wide onto the run-off, but still set a time good enough to slot in just behind Raikkonen, and could not get ahead of his team-mate on his second attempt.
The German later suffered some damage to his front wing after contact with Sergio Perez’s Force India at the first corner with just over 10 minutes remaining, dropping debris on track that brought out the red flag for three minutes.
The collision will be investigated by stewards after the session.
Williams driver Valtteri Bottas survived a left-front lock-up at Turn 10 to set the fifth fastest time, six-tenths off the pace, and was one of the last drivers to attempt a performance run.
As usual, the Williams team did not do a pure qualifying simulation, with Felipe Massa down in ninth place.
Daniel Ricciardo was sixth-fastest for Red Bull Racing, slotting ahead of the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado shortly after the halfway mark of the session.
Felipe Nasr capped off a promising day for Sauber with the eighth-fastest time, having earlier been an unexpected fourth-quickest on the medium rubber.
He was backed up by team-mate Marcus Ericsson, who was 11th fastest behind the second Williams of Massa and Daniil Kvyat’s ninth-placed Red Bull.
Fernando Alonso narrowly missed out on a second top 10-placing of the day in 11th place, less than half a tenth off Ericsson and 1.544s off the pace.
But it was another mixed session for McLaren-Honda, with Alonso’s team-mate, Jenson Button, being ordered to stop the car after completing just three laps and parking adjacent to the end of the Bahrain circuit’s drag strip.
Button’s car was recovered and he rejoined late in the session, although he did not improve on his earlier pace.
Romain Grosjean was 13th fastest ahead of the lead Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz, while Force India had a difficult day with Nico Hulkenberg, who was briefly third fastest after bolting on the softs, 15th and Perez 17th.
They sandwiched Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso, which appeared to require some attention to the front brakes during the session.
At Manor, Will Stevens was 1.5s faster than team-mate Roberto Merhi, with the pair split by Button’s early time in the McLaren.
Both Hamilton and Raikkonen are being investigated for failing to leave the pitlane correctly during the session.
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m35.449s||0.802s||27|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m35.883s||1.236s||23|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m36.471s||1.824s||32|
|15||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m36.805s||2.158s||30|
|16||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m36.917s||2.270s||26|
|17||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m37.062s||2.415s||33|
Bahrain GP: Ferrari F1 pair Raikkonen and Vettel set practice pace
Ferrari Formula 1 team-mates Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel left it late before taking the top two positions in opening practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.
With track temperatures well over 50 degrees early in the session, after using their first sets of mediums during the first 30 minutes, several teams opted to leave it very late before making their final runs.
By that time, the track temperature had dropped to the mid-40s, with both Raikkonen and Vettel jumping from the lower reaches of the timing screens to the top in the final 10 minutes.
First Vettel, who when he initially went out for his final run was told to ease off while a problem was solved, deposed Williams driver Valtteri Bottas from top spot, then Raikkonen outpaced him by two tenths.
With usual pacesetter Mercedes down in 15th and 16th places with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, having both moved onto their second set of tyres earlier in the session and presumably concentrating on heavier fuel-load work, Bottas was able to hang on to third place despite a lockup at Turn 10 and a wild moment in the middle of the last corner on his best lap.
Carlos Sainz Jr was another driver who held back his second set of tyres, briefly jumping up to second before behind shuffled back to fourth ahead of the lead Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo and Scuderia Toro Rosso team-mate Max Verstappen.
McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso was among the drivers to move onto their second set of rubber relatively early on and briefly went fastest, ultimately ending up a strong seventh, just under eight tenths off the pace.
But it wasn’t all good news for McLaren, with Jenson Button spinning at Turn 1 on only his third lap and ending the day last after failing to set a time.
Sauber had another solid session, with Felipe Nasr in eighth place, although team-mate Marcus Ericsson was unable to make a significant improvement on his second set of rubber after running fifth following the first 30 minutes, and ended up down in 17th behind the two Mercedes drivers.
Felipe Massa, in the second Williams, was 10th fastest, but only four tenths off team-mate Bottas, just behind the second Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat.
Force India driver Sergio Perez also had a brief spell in first position early in the second runs, but ended up 11th ahead of Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado, who had a run through the gravel at the last corner while on a lap on his second set of rubber having already improved his time.
Lotus reserve driver Jolyon Palmer made his second appearance on an F1 weekend, ending up 14th and within half-a-second of Maldonado after losing time in the first sector.
At the foot of the timesheets, Will Stevens was the quicker Marussia ahead of team-mate Roberto Merhi in 18th and 19th places.
|4||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m38.447s||0.620s||14|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m38.455s||0.628s||17|
|6||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m38.504s||0.677s||22|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m38.661s||0.834s||17|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m38.793s||0.966s||15|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m39.187s||1.360s||20|
F1 Chinese GP: Hamiton shades Rosberg in Mercedes qualifying 1-2
Lewis Hamilton fended off Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Nico Rosberg by less than half a tenth of a second to take Chinese Grand Prix pole at Shanghai, maintaining his perfect qualifying record in 2015.
Hamilton had been strong favourite for pole after topping all three practice sessions and Q2.
A 1m35.782s on his first Q3 run emphasised that status, with Rosberg three tenths adrift at that point.
But it became closer in the final battle, with Hamilton unable to improve and Rosberg closing to within 0.042s.
Malaysian GP winner Sebastian Vettel was nearly a second off Hamilton’s pole time in third place for Ferrari.
That denied the resurgent Williams of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, which were top-three contenders but ultimately found themselves three tenths and half a second down on Vettel respectively.
They still beat the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, who was sixth ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Daniil Kvyat failed to reach Q3 for the second time in three appearances with Red Bull, taking 12th.
Romain Grosjean was eighth for Lotus, while his team-mate Pastor Maldonado missed out on Q3 by just 0.007s and will start 11th.
Sauber was the midfield underdog starring in Q3 this time, securing the fifth row places with Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.
By contrast the Toro Rossos were left out in Q2. Max Verstappen, who locked up heavily on his last run, and Carlos Sainz Jr share row seven.
McLaren’s encouraging Friday times proved deceptive as Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso found themselves out in Q1 and on row nine, just 0.004s apart.
They were at least within a tenth of the Force Indias. Nico Hulkenberg only got ahead of Button with a final Q1 effort, while Sergio Perez scraped through into Q2 then languished seven tenths off the Toro Rossos.
The Manor-run Marussias were 3s off the tail of the field but made the 107 per cent target in Q1 so are both clear to start the race, Will Stevens ahead of Roberto Merhi.
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m37.540s||1.758s|
|12||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m38.209s||–|
|13||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m38.393s||–|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m38.538s||–|
|15||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m39.290s||–|
|16||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m39.216s||–|
F1 Chinese GP: Hamilton makes it three from three in final practice
Lewis Hamilton completed a clean sweep of Chinese Grand Prix Formula 1 practice sessions by beating Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg on Saturday morning at Shanghai.
Hamilton was quickest in both segments of the session – leading his team-mate by three tenths on medium tyres and then by 0.226 seconds after the qualifying simulations on softs.
The reigning F1 world champion could have been faster still, outpacing Rosberg by four tenths at sector two on his best lap before losing some of his cushion on the run to the line.
Ferrari was again Mercedes’ closest rival. Sebastian Vettel got within a tenth of Rosberg on mediums but on softs the gap to Hamilton’s pacesetting time grew to 0.7s.
Kimi Raikkonen slotted the second Ferrari into fourth, behind Vettel.
Fernando Alonso was only able to do half a lap in the session as his McLaren-Honda stopped with an apparent engine problem within moments of taking to the track.
Despite McLaren’s best efforts, he was unable to get out again. Jenson Button represented the team alone in 15th, but had looked stronger on medium tyres.
There were headaches for Red Bull and Williams too. Red Bull had to warn Daniil Kvyat to take care of his brakes again, while smoke in the Williams cockpit caused concern for Felipe Massa.
Red Bull ended up better off on pace – Daniel Ricciardo and Kvyat taking fifth and sixth, half a second off the Ferraris and just ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr’s Toro Rosso.
Valtteri Bottas and Massa were only eighth and 11th in the Williams, sandwiching Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean’s Lotus.
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.020s||1.405s||8|
|6||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.106s||1.491s||14|
|7||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m39.113s||1.498s||17|
|9||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m39.274s||1.659s||19|
|12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m39.513s||1.898s||14|
|17||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m39.781s||2.166s||17|
Kimi Raikkonen – Too early to make predictions
Kimi Raikkonen: “Overall it has been a good day of work. In the afternoon we had a problem with the brakes but the mechanics did a very good job and managed to fix it, then I was able to go back on track and go on with the programme. It’s a bit early to make predictions, we still have things to improve, tomorrow we have to make sure that everything works and have another good day without any issues or problems and then we’ll do our best for qualifying and the race.”
F1 Chinese GP: Hamilton leads Raikkonen in eventful second practice
Lewis Hamilton led a Chinese Grand Prix Formula 1 practice session punctuated by a high-speed incident for Felipe Massa, brake failure for Daniil Kvyat and a spectator crossing the track.
Nico Rosberg could only manage fifth in the second Mercedes, with Kimi Raikkonen emerging as Hamilton’s closest rival and Daniel Ricciardo putting his Red Bull between Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel’s Ferraris in third.
The spectator incident was the first curiosity. The man accessed the track on the pit straight and ran across to the pitwall between cars before climbing into the pitlane, where he was apprehended.
At that point, Hamilton led Rosberg by a tenth of a second following the early medium-tyre runs, with the Mercedes formation a second clear of the rest.
Raikkonen was their closest rival, and initially managed the best soft-tyre lap of anyone, leaping to a 1m37.662s to lead the session.
That was seven tenths better than Vettel and Rosberg – who had a messy final sector – could manage.
But Hamilton was able to put together a tidier lap than his team-mate and came through in 1m37.219s to steal Ferrari’s limelight.
The Red Bulls sat out the first half of the session and were then interrupted by a red flag when they did join in.
Felipe Massa lost his Williams at high speed under braking at the end of the back straight, scraping the wall in the hairpin run-off with the front of his sideways car.
Although there appeared to be only minimal damage, Massa parked in the run-off and a stoppage was required to retrieve the car.
When Ricciardo did get chance to do a flying lap, he shot between the Ferraris to go third, with Kvyat taking sixth.
But Kvyat’s session then came to an early end when smoke started pouring from his rear brakes.
Even though he followed Red Bull’s advice to proceed very slowly back towards the pits, the Russian could not slow down sufficiently into the Turn 14 hairpin and skated all the way to the wall.
Kvyat still held his top-six place as by that time the field had switched to long runs – which were enlivened by Rosberg and Raikkonen managing several corners of unusually spicy wheel-to-wheel racing for a practice session.
There were signs of light for McLaren, as its new alliance with Honda appeared in the top 10 in a session result for the first time.
Jenson Button managed 10th place, behind Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Nasr and Romain Grosjean, with Fernando Alonso in 12th.
At the back, Will Stevens lost part of the session to an engine problem, but was able to rejoin right at the end.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m38.311s||1.092s||24|
|6||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m38.737s||1.518s||10|
|14||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m39.894s||2.675s||32|
|15||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m39.971s||2.752s||28|
|16||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.151s||2.932s||28|
|18||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.868s||3.649s||24|
F1 Chinese GP: Lewis Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two in practice
Lewis Hamilton led Nico Rosberg in a commanding Mercedes one-two in the opening practice session for Formula 1’s Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai.
Rosberg had been the initial pacesetter on a 1m40.412s, as Hamilton’s first lap was spoiled when he locked up and ran off-course at the tight Turn 14 hairpin.
It was Rosberg’s turn to go awry on the second outings, though, locking up into Turn 6 and visiting the run-off area.
He managed to improve the benchmark to a 1m39.574s later in that run, but Hamilton outpaced it by half a second as he did a 1m39.033s just after the session’s halfway mark.
That lap kept the world champion on top to the flag, although the Mercedes continued to push on heavier fuel in the final part of the session.
In cold and breezy conditions, countless drivers had minor excursions and the Mercedes pair were among the most frequent transgressors, with Hamilton repeating Rosberg’s Turn 6 error and later skittering sideways off-track at Turn 1 after losing the back end mid-corner.
When Hamilton established himself on top, the Mercedes were nearly two and a half seconds clear of the rest of the field.
That margin came down, but even Malaysian GP winner Sebastian Vettel’s best lap for Ferrari was still 1.1s off the pace as he took third.
That lap came in the final seconds of the session, and until that point Vettel had looked set to end up 1.5s down on the leader.
Three Ferrari-powered cars chased the Mercedes, with Kimi Raikkonen slotting in behind team-mate Vettel and Felipe Nasr making a late jump to fifth for Sauber.
Renault’s best cars were sixth to eighth – Red Bull duo Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat leading Toro Rosso man Carlos Sainz Jr, who swiftly escaped a spin at Turn 1 in the first part of the session.
The Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa completed the top 10, despite Massa spinning down the run-off at the hairpin on a late run.
Pastor Maldonado spent a long spell in third for Lotus before falling back to 11th.
His team-mate Romain Grosjean stood aside to let GP2 champion and Lotus test driver Jolyon Palmer make his debut in a grand prix practice session.
Palmer had an early spin and was 15th, 0.6s off Maldonado.
Jenson Button was the quicker of the McLarens in 13th, while the Manor-run Marussias trailed the field but had a trouble-free session.
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m41.029s||1.996s||21|
|7||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m41.097s||2.064s||24|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m41.112s||2.079s||23|
|12||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m41.575s||2.542s||28|
|16||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.141s||3.108s||22|
|18||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.184s||3.151s||19|
Malaysian GP: Lewis Hamilton resists Sebastian Vettel for wet pole
Lewis Hamilton beat Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari to pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix by less than a tenth of a second in a rain-affected Formula 1 qualifying session.
Hamilton’s first flying lap on intermediate tyres in Q3 proved enough to secure top spot, as Vettel split the reigning F1 world champion from his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by qualifying second.
The two Mercedes drivers appeared to get in each other’s way in the crucial closing stages of the session, and Hamilton failed to improve on his final run while Rosberg’s final lap was only good enough for third.
Red Bull team-mates Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat were fourth and fifth, just ahead of the Toro Rosso of teenaged rookie Max Verstappen, who rounded out the top six.
The drivers who began the session on full wet tyres and had to switch to intermediates filled the remaining spots in the top 10.
Romain Grosjean’s Lotus split Williams drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, who could only manage seventh and ninth fastest times respectively, while Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber rounded out the Q3 times.
A thunderstorm in the early stages of Q2 effectively reduced the second segment of qualifying to a single-lap shootout, and delayed the final session by half an hour.
The highest-profile casualty of the scramble for track position to get one dry lap in before the rain came was Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
The 2007 world champion was delayed at the final corner trying to pass Ericsson’s Sauber (the last car to make the cut in 10th) and by being passed by Hamilton’s Mercedes at Turn 1, and wound up only 11th fastest.
Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus, the Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez (who both ran on used medium tyres), and the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr – who impressively matched Vettel in setting the fourth fastest time in Q1 – were also eliminated.
Australian GP star Felipe Nasr failed to escape Q1, having struggled to get comfortable with his Sauber’s handling since taking his car back from Ferrari junior driver Raffaele Marciello after the first practice session on Friday.
The Brazilian qualified almost three tenths adrift of Perez and the same margin ahead of Jenson Button’s McLaren-Honda.
McLaren failed to get either of its cars out of Q1 for the second straight race, as Button and returning team-mate Fernando Alonso wound up 17th and 18th fastest.
Manor GP has at least completed track running this weekend, but failed to qualify within the 107 per cent cut-off in Q1.
Roberto Merhi set a time almost half a second too slow to make the cut-off (7.4s shy of the outright pace), while a fuel system problem discovered in morning practice confined his team-mate Will Stevens to the garage, so he failed to set a time.
However, Stevens registered a lap quick enough to make the cut in the second free practice session on Friday.
Previously the stewards have allowed cars to start the race in such circumstances, even if they haven’t posted a time in qualifying.
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m51.541s||1.707s|
|5||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m51.950s||2.116s|
|6||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m51.980s||2.146s|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m43.022s||–|
|14||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m43.468s||–|
|15||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m43.700s||–|
Malaysian GP: Nico Rosberg beats Lewis Hamilton in final practice
Nico Rosberg beat Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the fastest time in final practice for Formula 1’s Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.
Last year’s title fight runner up Rosberg was quickest after the early runs on the hard-compound Pirelli tyres as Hamilton struggled with the brakes, locking up twice at Turn 9.
And in the final 10 minutes of the session, as drivers bolted on the medium tyres for their qualifying simulation runs, Rosberg improved by seven tenths to clock a 1m39.690s.
Hamilton complained that the "braking is all over the place" when he ran the hard tyres early in the session and when he fitted the mediums, his best time was 0.184s adrift of Rosberg.
The circuit was offering little grip in the 62C degree track temperatures, which combined with high-energy corners and heavy tyre degradation.
That caught a number of drivers out. Sergio Perez and Felipe Nasr were among the drivers to take trips off the road, there were countless severe lock-ups and Roberto Merhi spun at Turn 9 and just managed to keep the Manor out of the gravel.
The Ferraris proved to be Mercedes’ closest challengers, with Kimi Raikkonen setting the fastest first sector of all on his way to the third fastest time, 0.555s behind Rosberg, and Sebastian Vettel a few thousandths further back.
Felipe Massa had a couple of off-track excursions early in the session before clocking the fifth fastest time, 0.701s off the pace and a few thousandths quicker than Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas in sixth.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was among the first on track, the Australian managing 19 laps in total and ending the one-hour session seventh ahead of the two Toro Rossos of Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen.
Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson completed the top 10, just edging out the two Lotuses of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.
Daniil Kvyat asked for set-up changes on his Red Bull midway through the session after telling the team it had made a "step back". He ended up 13th, ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.
Fernando Alonso was 2.3s off the pace, finishing in 15th ahead of the second Force India of Sergio Perez, Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and McLaren team-mate Jenson Button.
The Manors brought up the rear, with Merhi heading team-mate Will Stevens.
Merhi’s time of 1m46.647s was fractions inside 107 per cent – the margin required in Q1 to ensure qualification – which means both Manor drivers have achieved the feat this weekend.
PRACTICE THREE TIMES:
|7||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m40.590s||0.900s||19|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.601s||0.911s||19|
|9||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.989s||1.299s||18|
|13||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||1m41.775s||2.085s||14|
|14||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m41.804s||2.114s||15|
|16||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.099s||2.409s||14|