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Sebastian Vettel took 38th pole position of his career in a rain affected qualifying session at Sepang, outpacing the Ferrari duo of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso. Light rain hit the track in the middle of Q2 - the track wasn't wet enough for intermediates nor dry enough to beat earlier times on slicks. This meant that Lotus of Romain Grosjean and Force India of Paul di Resta failed to make into Q3 while the McLarens of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez made into the final part of the session.
In Q3, Vettel, Massa and Alonso took the right decision of using new sets of intermediates in later part of the session and will occupy the first three positions of the grid. Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg decided to continue on a single set and could only qualify in 4th and 6th place respectively. The German team looked strong in wet conditions in FP2 and was also strong in dry but a strategy error prevented them from starting the race from the front row. Another man who was disappointed after qualifying was Adrian Sutil. After an impressive comeback in Australia last weekend, the German driver topped the first part of qualifying(which was completely dry) and was hoping to finish in top 5. However, the Force India lacked pace in the wets and he could qualify only in 9th place(8th on the grid after Raikkonen's penalty). We now analyse each team's qualifying performance.
In an incredibly close Qualifying in recent years that saw majority of the Teams go for ‘option’ set of Tyres in Q1 and Vettel being knocked out of Q2 despite being three hundredths of a second slower to Webber, It was Roberg and Mercedes that had the last laugh. Just like how majority of the people predicted, Mercedes with their F-Duct/Double DRS wing used the long straights to advantage as Roberg will start the race from Pole while his teammate Schumacher will start the race from P2 with Hamilton despite having Qualified P2 will drop down 5 places as a result of a penalty for an unscheduled Gearbox change
Kaumi Kobayashi did an outstanding job at the Sauber by qualifying fourth with Raikkonen, Button, Webber and the stars of Sepang Perez and Alonso taking the next slots, Grosjean who has so far surprised everyone with his Qualifying traits in the first couple of races will start the race from 10th after he elected to not to set a timed lap in Q3 thus saving him a set of soft tyres for the race tomorrow
Massa continued his small momentum in Qualifying as he was closer to his teammate but will line up on Row 6 of the Grid. Starting from Row 7, it was all about the battle of teammates rather then the battle of Teams as Williams claimed the Row 7 with Pastor Maldonado outpacing Bruno Senna yet again then it was the turn of Paul di Resta to comfortably outpace Nico Hulkenberg who is actually tipped to have better qualifying traits then the scot. Row 8 was about the story of Toro Rosso’s with Danniel Ricciardo squeezing into Q2 while his teammate found himself struggling at P18. The Caterham were close to five hundredths down on the Toro Rosso cars as they still struggle to find themself to break into the Q2. And it was turn of Heikki to build on his Qualifying magic with Vitaly Petrov still yet to create an impression in Qualifying Sessions. There was no problem for Timo Glock to comfortably outpace his inexperienced Teammate while at the back of the grid it was Narain Karthikeyan who ends up last at 24th on the Grid.