Lewis Hamilton takes the 70th Pole Position of his career at the Malaysian GP

30 September 2017

Lewis Hamilton takes the 70th Pole Position of his career at the Malaysian GP

In qualifying for the Malaysian GP today, Lewis Hamilton took his 70th Pole Position of his career ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in second place and Max Verstappens as Sebastian Vettel’s engine problems saw him failing to set a time and will be starting from the back of the grid
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During Q1, we saw several drivers making their way onto the Sepang circuit in order to start their qualifying sessions in the best way possible. With Lewis Hamilton setting the pace with a 1.32.380, it will be up to the Ferraris and Red Bull’s to beat it.

Within quick succession, Kimi Raikkonen then beat Hamilton’s time by 0.103 seconds and keeping up the momentum he has managed to achieve so far in the weekend (especially from FP3 where Raikkonen looked particularly strong).

However, Raikkonen’s team mate Sebastian Vettel managed to get out for an installation lap after having to replace his engine after encountering problems in FP3. But Vettel with just 11 minutes of Q1 still to go reports on the radio to his team that “he has no turbo or drive and very little power” and putting even more pressure on the Ferrari team to fix the problem before he could be eliminated from qualifying earlier than he would have liked.

In the latter stages of Q1, Hamilton was able to beat Raikkonen’s time as did birthday boy Max Verstappen and Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas; pushing Raikkonen to fourth place. Even though Vettel and the Ferrari team tried to find a gap on the circuit within the final 3 minutes of the session in order to try and get out of the bottom, they could not find it and Vettel is out of qualifying.

As we headed into Q2, Valtteri Bottas was the first driver to set a lap time which was quickly replaced by Hamilton and then by Raikkonen with a 1.30.926. All eyes were on Verstappen who was looking pretty quick during the session and set a brilliant time to replace Hamilton in second place with just over halfway left in the session.

In the second half of Q2, McLaren-Honda drivers of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne are currently within the top ten and are both looking in a reasonable position to try and get into Q3 if possible. In the latter stages of Q2, most of the drivers were out on the track in order to try and improve their position as we start to focus on the Q3 and Pole Position shootout.

But it was Bottas who led the way in Q2 with a lap time of 1.30.803 ahead of Raikkonen and Verstappen. The most noticeable performances from Q2 was both the McLaren-Honda drivers get into Q3, with Vandoorne putting in a stunning performance to be ahead of his team mate.

With all eyes on Q3 with the Pole Position shootout and the top ten shootout, will we see a Ferrari, a Mercedes or even a Red Bull on Pole Position today? But it was Bottas who set the pace first which was quickly replaced by Raikkonen and then by his team mate Hamilton with a stunning lap of 1.30.076 to lead the field into the final five minutes of the session.

In the latter stages of Q3, whoever claims Pole Position for the Malaysian GP will hold the track record at the Sepang circuit until Formula One returns back to the calendar hopefully within the distant future? With most of the drivers within the final three minutes of qualifying on the circuit, we all watched to see who would take Pole Position on Sunday.

But it was Lewis Hamilton who took Pole Position for the Malaysian GP (his 70th Pole Position of his career) with a lap time of 1:30.076 ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in second place who was 0.045 seconds behind him and ahead of Max Verstappen in third place who was 0.465 seconds behind Hamilton.

Daniel Ricciardo qualified in fourth place ahead of Valtteri Bottas in fifth place, Esteban Ocon in sixth place, Stoffel Vandoorne in an amazing seventh place, Nico Hulkenberg in eighth place, Sergio Perez in ninth place and Fernando Alonso who rounded off the top ten finishers.

Felipe Massa qualified just outside of the top ten in eleventh place ahead of Jolyon Palmer in twelfth place, Lance Stroll in thirteenth place, Carlos Sainz Jr in fourteenth place and F1 debutante Pierre Gasly in fifteenth place.

As we head into the latter stages of the grid, Romain Grosjean ended the session in sixteenth place ahead of Kevin Magnussen in seventeenth place, Pascal Wehrlein in eighteenth place, Marcus Ericsson in nineteenth place and Sebastian Vettel in twentieth place.

The classification of Qualifying for the Malaysian GP is as follows:-

1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1.30.076
2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 0.045s
3. Max Verstappen, Red-Bull-TAG Heuer, 0.465s
4. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull-TAG Heuer, 0.519s
5. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 0.682s
6. Esteban Ocon, Force India-Mercedes, 1.402s
7. Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren-Honda, 1.506s
8. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 1.531s
9. Sergio Perez, Force India-Mercedes, 1.582s
10. Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Honda, 1.628s
11. Felipe Massa, Williams-Mercedes, 1.32.034
12. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, 1.32.100
13. Lance Stroll, Williams-Mercedes, 1.32.307
14. Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso, 1.32.402
15. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, 1.32.558
16. Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, 1.33.308
17. Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, 1.33.434
18. Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber-Ferrari, 1.33.483
19. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber-Ferrari, 1.33.970
20. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, No Time Set

Driving for Pleasure will be covering the Malaysian GP weekend with our race report alongside the latest news.

Sarah Jones- @jonesy_laaa