Chalk up another pole position for championship leader Lewis Hamilton. The Brit struggled in the free practices but was amazing when it counted. Hamilton took his ninth pole of the season at the Malaysian GP qualifying session, which no doubt boosts his chances of adding on to his recently acquired lead in the drivers’ title standings.
To add some more to Hamilton’s ‘luck’, his main title rival Sebastian Vettel failed to set a time after a power unit problem on his Ferrari. And the German driver just had an engine replacement after he encountered his own issues in the practices. He will be starting at the back of the field when the race starts on Sunday.
It was Kimi Raikkonen stepping up this time around for the Ferrari team. The Finn went hard in Q3, and just missed pole position by 0.045 seconds on his final run.
The Red Bulls were strong again in this qualifying, as their driver duo took the second row of the grid. The luck-deprived Max Verstappen will start in P3, with Daniel Ricciardo alongside him in P4. Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes will start in P5.
“We had such a difficult day yesterday; it was difficult to know where we stood,” said Hamilton. “I didn’t sleep very well last night, just like all my engineers, because we didn’t know whether we were going to fix the issue or not. But today we arrived and the car was much better.”
Ferrari losing Vettel’s car in qualifying surely boosts Hamilton’s prospects in the Malaysian GP. However, you can count on Kimi to work hard from the start. Remember, he had that amazing start in the last race as well, before things got crazy and ended up with both Ferraris out as they took Verstappen’s Red Bull with them.