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Malaysian Grand Prix Qualifying – Red Bull On Pole Again!!

by F1Fan on April 3, 2010

A wet Qualifying session today for the Malaysian Grand Prix produced a very mixed Grid with Red Bull scoring their third pole of the season but this time it was setting the fastest lap instead of Sebastian Vettel who still managed to finish in third.

Splitting the Red Bull cars was the Mercedes GP of Nico Rosberg who had his best qualifying session of the season so far, similarly Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg managed to put in  great laps in bad conditions good enough for Fourth and Fifth position respectively.

A very wet Q1 really caught out Ferrari and McLaren with Alonso, Massa and Hamilton all being eliminated in the first qualifying period after betting that dryer weather was going to arrive and not going out to set a lap earl on.  Remarkably McLaren and Ferrari were out-qualified by the Lotus Cosworth T-127’s of Kovalainen and Trulli and Timo Glocks Virgin Vacing VR-01.

Their must of been huge celebration in the garages of Lotus Racing and Virgin Racing especially when Kovalainen and Glock were fast enough to progress into Q2 a first for both teams, in only the third race of the season and managing to out qualify the McLaren of World Champion Jenson Button, who had set a time fast enough in Q1 to progress to Q2 but spun off and was unable to get his car out of the gravel to run in Q2.

Malaysian Grand Prix Grid Position

Grid PositionDriver/TeamGrid PositionDriver/Team
1Webber/Red Bull Racing2Rosberg/Mercedes GP
3Vettel/Red Bull Racing4Sutil/Force India
5Hulkenberg/Williams F16Kubica/Renault F1
7Barrichello/Willams Fq8Schumacher/Mercedes GP
9Kobayashi/BMW Sauber F110Liuzzi/Force India
11Petrov/Renault F112De La Rosa/BMW Sauber F1
13Buemi/Toro Rosso14Alguersuari/Toro Rosso
15Kovalainen/Lotus Racing16Glock/Virgin Racing
17Button/McLaren18Trulli/Lotus Racing
21Massa/Ferrari22Chandhok/HRT F1 Team
23Senna/HRT F1 Team24Di Grassi/Virgin Racing
April 3rd, 2010
2010 F1 Season, Round 3

Q2 saw Vettel and Kubica trading fastest laps with a drying track as the rain abated somewhat with Vettel finally ending up on top. At the end of the session Michael Schumacher was in last position but luckily no one managed to set a faster lap as the rain returned right at the end of the session and Michael made it into Q3.

Also advancing from Q2 were the Force India drivers, Sutil and Liuzzi making Malaysia the first race of this season where both of the teams drivers have made it into Q3.

Just after the start of Q3 the heavens really opened and the final qualifying session was red flagged because of standing water on the track. Luckily the rain finally abated and the session was able to restart with 7 minutes 17 seconds still on the clock.

On the restart the Force india team mates were the first on track and for some time Adrian Sutil help pole position but surprisingly even with worsening conditions lap times started to fall with Webber on intermediate tires setting a final blistering lap, already on pole, knocking over a second off his prior time which nobody else could match. Talking about the his final lap Webber gave the credit to his race engineer:

“The pole goes to Ciaron, my engineer, as he made the call for inters in Q3. I said ‘have a look at the track, what do you think?’ and he said ‘yeah let’s go for it’. It was tricky in places, in the last corner there was a bit of aquaplaning, but I kept it on the black stuff and got the job done.”

If qualifying is anything to go by tomorrow should be a really interesting race, especially with the completely mixed up Grid. Red Bull must be feeling pretty confident having McLaren and Ferrari buried at the back of the grid as long as they have solved their reliability issues. The late afternoon rain will no doubt be a major factor in the race, just keeping my fingers crossed that they don’t get to hard that the race has to be stopped.

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