Felipe Massa,Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Sepang, 2013

Malaysian rain can’t keep Vettel from pole again

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013Sebastian Vettel came within a quarter of a second of being knocked out in the first part of qualifying.

But a smart tyre call in a rain-hit top ten shoot-out secured his second consecutive pole position of the year. Felipe Massa joins him on the front row of the grid.


Sutil headed the times in the first part of qualifying, his 1’36.809 lap on medium tyres almost seven-tenths of a second faster than his team mate could manage.

But the top teams appeared to be more concerned with preserving their tyres than setting the quickest times. This was particularly true of Red Bull, whose drivers put in steady laps on medium tyres that were merely sufficient to guarantee their passage to Q2. Vettel was inside the cut-off time by a quarter of a second in 15th.

Both Sauber drivers made it through, Esteban Gutierrez improving to 11th with his last effort. Team mate Nico Hulkenberg complained on the radio after being held up by Sergio Perez at turn nine.

Marussia headed Caterham in the drop zone, with Jules Bianchi being congratulated by his engineer after coming within half a second of reaching Q2. He out paced team mate Max Chilton by 1.2 seconds.

Charles Pic also out-qualified Chilton, and they were joined in the drop zone by Jean-Eric Vergne and Valtteri Bottas.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’38.157
18Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’38.207
19Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1’38.434
20Charles PicCaterham-Renault1’39.314
21Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1’39.672
22Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’39.932


Di Resta was the first driver out at the start of Q2 but he abandoned his run and made for the pits.

He would regret that decision, as a few minute later a rain shower arrived, making the track surface treacherous from turns five to eight. Di Resta spun twice as he tried in vain to produce a lap that would get him into Q3.

By then almost all the other drivers had set times, Nico Rosberg leading them on a 1’36.190. Pastor Maldonado did not get a lap in and was consigned to eliminated among with Di Resta.

The Sauber drivers joined them along with Romain Grosjean and Daniel Ricciardo.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’37.636
12Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1’38.125
13Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’38.822
14Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’39.221
15Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’44.509
16Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault


With rain still falling as Q3 began Sutil took up place at the pit lane exit with Perez, Webber, Button and Raikkonen queued up behind him.

All ten cars took to the track straight away on intermediate tyres but with the track drying rapidly they faced the question of whether to change tyres mid-session – for slicks or another set of intermediates.

Vettel was quickest as the drivers completed their first runs, then made the call to take on a fresh set of intermediate tyres. Raikkonen, Sutil and the Ferraris did likewise – with mixed results.

Among those who stayed out on the worn but warm intermediates was Webber, who briefly took to the top of the times, before losing it to Hamilton.

But Alonso revelled in the grip afforded by his fresh tyres and flashed across the line with a 1’50.727 to claim provisional pole position.

Not far behind him Vettel was going quicker still, and his time of 1’49.674 sealed a second consecutive pole position. Making matters worse for Alonso, he was then knocked off the front row of the grid by his team mate.

Raikkonen couldn’t find the same improvement on his new intermediate tyres and ended up seventh, with the McLarens and Sutil behind him.

Top ten in Q3

1Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’49.674
2Felipe MassaFerrari1’50.587
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’50.727
4Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’51.699
5Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’52.244
6Nico RosbergMercedes1’52.519
7Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’52.970
8Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’53.175
9Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’53.439
10Sergio PerezMcLaren1’54.136

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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166 comments on “Malaysian rain can’t keep Vettel from pole again”

  1. I have to say, I don’t like this guy, but 1 second/lap faster than anyone else in a wet qualy session is very impressive. Props to Seb, probably the best single-lap qualifier in F1 today, bar to none.

    Nevertheless, that being said, for tomorrow’s GP, with Ferrari’s epic launch control and a long run to the first corner, I’d be surprised if he’s still 1st after the start.

    1. if the start is dry both Ferrari will eat Vettel in the start.

      1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
        23rd March 2013, 9:32

        @nomore : That’s true. And Alonso will eat Massa and take lead.

        1. unfortunately yes.

          1. fortunately.

          2. unfortunately or fortunately? your choice :P

          3. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
            23rd March 2013, 10:03

            @spacak : Unfortunately? Why do you think that’s unfortunate? They have the same car – and Alonso is better.

        2. @shreyasf1fan that’s not what happened last race.

          1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
            23rd March 2013, 10:25

            @paulK : That’s exactly what happened at the end. I meant the whole race, and not the start.

      2. @nomore Unfortunately with Massa starting in front of Alonso it will not be the case. I’m pretty sure that Massa won’t even consider attacking Vettel for the lead as his main mission at the start will be to keep Alonso behind.

        1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
          23rd March 2013, 12:06

          @klaas : That’s a very interesting and very good point you have made there, klaas. That’s very very possible.

        2. That might just force Ferrari’s hand. I mean, if Massa is sacrificing the points of his and his team mate just to finish ahead of Alonso, then clearly that is not doing what is best for the team.

          Ferrari will be faced with a hard decision. Either tell Massa to let him past and by doing so, destroy Massa’s ego/performance, or let Massa sabotage both of their races in order to please the non-ferrari supporters.

          1. You’re serious? Massa has outqualified him what, 4 times in a row now, the only reason Alonso beat him last week was because conveniently Alonso was given a better strategy

          2. You dont get points for your qualifying result.

            As long as we’re playing the “the only reason X beat him” game:
            Alonso lost 2 tenths due to DRS not opening in Aus.
            Alonso crossed the line before Vettel and Massa in Malysia, on a drying track.

            So sure, if we’re going to over-simplify things like you are doing, then we could easily say “Alonso has finished ahead of Massa in the last six races” and completely ignore the reasons why.

            Ultimately this is the truth:
            Race: Alonso ahead: 6 in a row. Points for finishing ahead? Yes.
            Qualifying: Massa ahead: 4 in a row. Points for qualifying ahead? No.

          3. @coronis Alonso thrashed Massa 3 seasons in a row. I don’t see Ferrari having troubles choosing to support Alonso over Massa. Unlike like Felipe I don’t remember Alonso having slumps in form and if one driver can be trusted to take the title fight it’s Alonso.

        3. I am sure you are joking there @klaas, what could Massa better to for the team than beat Vettel to the first corner, making it impossible for him to build that 2 second lead early on and make him lose his tyres in traffic.

          Even if Ferrari can be expected to have Massa conveniently drop back behind Alonso before the flag, there are ample ways to do it at a better time then the start.

          1. @bascb We’ve seen it before, just at the last race. Vettel was building that 2 second lead while Massa was doing everything possible to keep Alonso behind. I don’t think Massa will try to challenge Seb because he knows that Alonso is in a much better position to grab the lead to the first corner. Remember Hockenheim 2010 when Vettel P1 and Alonso P2 were scrapping for the lead and left the door open for Massa to pass them. The same is likely to happen here, this time with Alonso, Felipe knows very well that from his position he has more chances to block his team-mate than grab the lead. Massa wants to get his status back in the team, maybe pull something like in 2008 (keep dreaming). Did you see how he happily hugged and tapped Vettel on the shoulder just after he got out the car? Like they were best buddies. He’ll gladly accept to let Vettel win just for the sake of finishing in front of Alonso.

          2. I guess we look differently at the race @klaas

            Last race I rather saw Massa trying to get ahead (of Vettel), but not quite making it off the start with Alonso right behind them. Then both Ferrari’s were keeping the preassure on Vettel, but they were nowhere fighting for position.
            The change over came with a good choice for an early pitstop.

            And I think the far easier explanation for Massa being really happy with his qualifying is, that this will be his first 1st row start of a race since the Bahrain 2010 race.
            And even if he would want to beat his teammate that bad, doesn’t getting Vettel between the two of them make that easier, rather than being seen to block Alonso (the team will surely tell him to move over in that case). Remember, they this time he is starting right next to Vettel, so he has a good shot at beating him to that first corner.

          3. @bascb
            Getting Vettel between the two of them would be a hard task for Felipe because:
            1. Alonso is in a better position to challenge Vettel starting from the clean side of the track and he will definetly do it.
            2. If he challenges Vettel, Seb will try to block him and that would lead the gate open for Alonso.
            Anyways we’ll se tomorrow what happens.

          4. I am not all that sure 3rd is so much better than 2nd when you want to beat the polesitter to the first corner in Malaysia.

    2. It was a great lap, but I would have liked to have seen just how good it was in a fair fight (obviously making the decision for new tyres is part of the game so well done to him for that) with the 3 other fastest cars out there, namely the 2 Mercs and the other Red Bull.

      1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
        23rd March 2013, 9:34

        @jleigh : Are you kidding? The 3 other fastest cars are the other RBR and the Mercs? Haha, first of all the other RBR is driven by Webber, so take it out of the equation. The Mercs are not that great in the race, as we saw in Australia. And for god’s sake, did you forget the 2 Scuderia Ferraris and Kimi’s Lotus?

        1. you seem to be basing all of your opinions on one race. not the best attitude to take in my eyes. lets wait until a fully dry qualli until we make these comments.

          1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
            23rd March 2013, 12:09

            @oakrichardson : Yes, but since I am talking about the Malaysian GP, it is not a problem to take the Australian GP as a reference. Much hasn’t changed with the cars teams since then, right?(except Mclaren – they have been experimenting a lot- but we weren’t discussing them)

          2. To an extent yes I agree that the aussie gp is a reasonable reference, but aussie gp was a street track, and the temperature was much lower there, for all we know mercedes might be amazing in the warm, and lotus very slow. it is still not clear who is quickest overall (imo)

        2. @shreyasf1fan you mean the two Scuderia Ferrarris hat have said they couldn’t match Mercs Q2 pace? I’m talking about pace in this session, not last weeks race.

    3. I can’t wait for the race start with the 2 Ferraris Surrounding Vettel. I think it will be a very interesting start.

      1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
        23rd March 2013, 9:38

        @hzh00 : I think both the Ferraris will overtake Vettel and Alonso will take lead.

        1. @shreyasf1fan: Alonso might have the advantage of the two Ferraris given his start on the clean side of the track, but still, we are used to Ferrari’s super starts as compared to other cars -in this case, Vettel’s Red Bull. I have no problem seeing either of the Ferraris leading, but I hope to see a nice and fair battle between Alonso and Massa.

          1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
            23rd March 2013, 10:04

            @hzh00 : Yeah, same car and 2 drivers – a battle will be great! But Alonso winning that battle is imminent!

        2. @shreyasf1fan – it’s possible, but Vettel isn’t exactly a shoddy starter from pole. It will be close no doubt because the Ferrari’s are very quick off the line (they remind me almost of the ’94 Benettons) but Vettel rarely loses the lead starting from pole.

          1. @vettel1 by accident do you remember when was the last time when Seb started on the harder compound? and what did his first lap look like?

          2. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
            23rd March 2013, 12:10

            @vettel1 : Vettel isn’t shoddy – and Alonso is awesome. So, all hail ALO! :p

          3. @shreyasf1fan *the Ferrari is awesome! :P The run to turn 1 is long though so Alonso has a serious chance of taking the lead, but I still have faith Vettel will hang on with his traditionally good starts from pole (unlike Webber!).

          4. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
            23rd March 2013, 12:21

            @vettel1 : Come on you can’t say Alonso isn’t awesome! He is!

          5. @shreyasf1fan – He is, but Vettel is more awesome in my opinion :P

          6. I think you areall forgetting that Massa has always been very good at the start and has good pace with a clear track ahead. Come to think of it didn’t he lead for a few laps a couple years ago in Germany.

          7. Nice battle guys, this truly shows enthusiasm and confidence as fans, even before the start of the race. The bottom line, we have to wait the start tomorrow to see what will happen. I cannot wait :)

        3. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@)
          23rd March 2013, 10:24

          Alonso is feeling that he take the lead. He had sooooo shiny happily-looking face that I couldn’t but notice))) Also, I expect Kimi on podium. That would be great.

          1. @Vettel1 …According to you Alonso’s good starts are down to Ferrari being very good… But Seb’s pole lap is because of his wet weather ability.. Sounds like double standards ..huh ?

            I think Ferrari is very quick off the line and Fernando is one of the best when it comes to starts( Remember his Renault days.. he was pretty off the line then also)… and As you said Vettel is a pretty good starter as well.. it will be interesting to see who is gonna lead at the end of lap1 .. Vettel Alonso or Massa..?

            Also anyone remember the start of 2010 German GP… Vettel was on pole , Alonso 2nd and Massa 3rd… Vettel went to block alonso and and Massa took the lead from 3rd on the grid…

          2. @puneethvb – I have not said that Vettel didn’t have a car advantage, nor have I said Alonso doesn’t make good starts – that doesn’t mean the opposite isn’t a factor though. The wet driving I think is a more prevalent example of driving ability though as is evident from the fact both Ferrari’s make great starts but Webber only managed 5th, over 2.5s behind his teammate.

            The reference to the German GP is very interesting indeed though – I’d expect Vettel will have to cover one Ferrari and that may very well leave a gap for the other, so a mixed up top 3 may very well be on the cards!

    4. I wouldn’t say it’s very impressive, it’s just the track drying out and getting easier quickly.

      1. @driftin – Several others crossed the line after Vettel though.

        1. only Massa

          1. And at least Hamilton as well.

        2. and Hamilton.

          1. Hamilton had older tyres on.

          2. @moneyr – That reads “Hamilton didn’t make the correct choice to come in for new tyres like the Ferraris and Vettel did”.

        3. @Vettel1

          IT IS TRUE that Vettel qualified 2.5 secs ahead of his team mate… but then even Chritian horner admitted that Mark’s last lap was completely messed up… So that gap is little bit more than what actually would’ve been if Webber ran a smooth session… Make no mistake I am not doubting Vettel’s wet weather driving ability a bit… For me he is one of the top three guys in F1 along with hamilton and alonso… but i dont agree when you put it in such a way that Vettel is the undisputed king of wet tracks… there are a lot of drivers in f1 now who have done very well in the wet conditions…

      2. @driftin
        Alonso was just a few seconds ahead of him on track and was also on new inters….. The difference in the track would be maybe a tenth or two if anything. Not over a second.

    5. The race is alonso’s to lose, vettel cannot hold position as there are no car blocking alonso. Mass is just finding some form but flawless ability of alonso will be rewarding at the end. I would give it another thought if it is completely dried start to the race……Vettel performs under pressure though…

    6. @kingshark

      I have to say, I don’t like this guy, but 1 second/lap faster than anyone else in a wet qualy session is very impressive.

      Hardly significant considering it was wet out there, and such difference in times happen more often in these conditions. There are better examples of his 1-lap mindblow greatness he shows…

    7. He pitted late for good tyres. Thats all.
      He has a pit wall who love him.

      1. @dufus – He made that correct choice to pit for tyres (he was clearly asked on the radio what he wanted to do), and so did the Ferrari driver. And their choice payed off, and Vettel was still 0.9 quicker.

    8. It is impressive, but not any more impressive that Massa, Alonso or Lewis. the Red bUll is simply faster on single lap pace and Vettel maximised it’s potential. Any of the other 3 would have put it on pole – and don’t let us use Webber performance as the yardstick. It will be like using Massa performance in 2012 or Buttons performance in the same year as a measure of the respective cars.

      1. RBR was not and is not currently the fastest car on a single lap.

    9. I have a weird hunch. We mostly all agree that Alonso is one of the more intelligent and calculating drivers on and off the track, rivaled by mainly only Vettel.

      I suspect Alonso is purposefully trying to keep Massa motivated to serve Alonso’s own end goals. Before you say that is crazy, just hear me out.

      In my busisiness, we have a lot of programmers. Now we (other programmers and managers) have found that when one programmer is demotivated or distracted, they not only work much slower, but also provide a poorer product. So we all chip in to make that person feel good about himself by giving them the fun projects and then when they do well, we make them seem like the smartest and more skilled guy in the office. This boosts them big time and we get great results in the long term.

      Perhaps Alonso is doing the same. Perhaps he wants Massa to do well in qualifying and is willing to give Massa the advantage he needs.
      For example, not opening his DRS during his qualifying run in Australia, after being 2 tenths up on Massa during most of the lap. He finished a few thousandths behind.
      Example 2: Malaysia Alonso crossed the line well before Massa on a track which was trying incredibly fast. Massa finished just ahead of Alonso.

      I’m not saying the plan is to let Massa finish ahead of Alonso, but rather just ensure the times are very close. That was Massa stays motivated and takes points off Alonso’s rivals.

      1. Drying*

      2. i was thinking along the same lines to be honest

      3. I am Alonso fan.. but I think your comments are little too much.. First of all it’s just two races (I know the last two races of 2012 also) Massa has out qualified Alonso… secondly People tend to forget that Massa is a very fast driver when the car is to his liking(much like Button)… And by the look of things so far Ferrari seem to have a pretty decent car this year… so it’s quite natural that Massa is matching and in fact slightly faster than Alonso in qualifying so far… and I expect him to be closer to ALonso over the course of this season both in qualifying and race… however I expect Alonso to still have the upper hand come end of the season in both qualifying and race…

      4. That was Massa stays motivated and takes points off Alonso’s rivals.

        I think the single fact that he still drives for Ferrari and gets a tonne of money for rubbish results should be enough motivation for Massa.
        So you’re saying Alonso purposely backed off in order for Massa to get a better time? – Sorry, but this is utter rubbish. Did you watched qualy? Alonso set his time before Massa there’s no way he knew what time Felipe was doing. It’s crazy to think that Alonso would sacrifice his grid position/jeopardise his title hopes just to make Massa feel better about himself.
        I think people are making too much fuss about Felipe outqualifying his team-mate. In Alonso’s first race for Ferrari he was in the same position as today, 3rd behind Massa but got in front of him at the first corner, later that season Massa was nowhere. I expect this year to be the same.

        1. +1. And as computer designer, I very laugh the way staf are supposed to be given easy project to make them feel they are the best. This is just nonsense or not true. To imagine that a formula one driver, one of the best, will compromise his position, his hope to win a WDC that elude him for 8 years, just to be behind his team mate? Waow, good thinking, wish you the best to manage the health of the high graduate engineer.

    10. Malaysian rain can’t keep Vettel from pole again

      @kingshark He was impressive but that Red Bull seems to be by a long margin the fastest car in wet conditions, I would say that the Malaysian rain put Vettel on pole again, that was the reason behind my pole setter pick, red bull’s phenomenal wet weather pace, particularly evident after Melbourne where Vettel could push all he wanted from the car to extract the best pace possible.
      If it rains hard and steadily both Red Bull should win easily but if the race is all dry I have no idea, that said the Mercedes look to deal with interchangeable conditions more effectively than the rest, I go for Mercedes.

      1. @peartree – I don’t think it’s quite as simple as that, as even if we factor in the fact Webber had older tyres the 2.5s gap to his teammate is just simply to big to be explained without factoring in Vettel’s very good driving in the wet. Absolutely though, the huge amounts of downforce that Red Bull has will undoubtably help them in the wet, but will it be a compromise in the dry I wonder?

        1. @vettel1 At no point was I trying to take the laurels of Vettel, he did pretty good. About the 2.5 sec gap Webber said he didn’t push the inters to save them for the last lap but he failed to start the flying lap. Finally Adrian Newey has a theory that the better the car the worst the tyre gap, Red Bull and Mercedes are implying that the tyres are hurting the cars with more downforce.

    11. I’m guessing that the bulls were set up in something approximating a wet setup. Either cleverly guessing the weather or in an attempt to improve the tyre life.

      I’m basing this on the fact that they were so slow in the dry but as soon as it turned wet both cars were suddenly super fast. Webber would have been second if he hadn’t ruined his timing. The first runs in the wet, the bulls were instantly very fast. If it rains tomorrow bulls will win. Otherwise, anyone’s guess but not them.

      1. @tdm – Webber wouldn’t have been second – he didn’t choose to come on for new inters, and the old inters weren’t giving the drivers the pace to improve. Hamilton, for instance, didn’t improve his time on his original inters. Webber would have been fourth at best, still at least 1.2-1.5 off Vettel.

  2. A very exciting session. Hopes that the race will be also very exciting.

  3. Cant wait anymore for that run-up to the 1st corner. I really doubt Vettel would be able to hold his position.

    1. We could start behind safety car if its raining.

    2. I have a feeling he’ll either be beaten by Massa on the inside to turn 1, or Alonso swindles him on the outside just before turn 2… but either way I think he’ll want to keep his nose on!

  4. I didn’t watch the quali live. I heard Red Bull saved some tyres for the race but how’s others? especially Ferrari and Lotus.

    1. All teams saved tyres in Q3 because it was wet and everyone used the intermediates.

      1. I believe RBR have 1 extra set of hard tyres. It really depends though, if tomorrow is a wet/changing conditions race, that advantage will be thrown out of the window.

      2. What I’m saying is wet/inter tyres since tomorrow’s weather looks unpredictable.

    2. @eggry

      I heard Red Bull saved some tyres for the race but how’s others?

      Apparently Vettel was out on a used set of mediums in Q2 compared to all the other top 10 runners who I believe used a new set, so I think Vettel has an extra set of new mediums and still all of his hards. Ferrari used the hards in Q1 so they only have two new sets.

    3. @eggry Yeah, I heard that Vettel used only one set of medium tyres to get into Q3, while Raikkonen used two sets of medium, the two Ferraris used one set of hard and one set of medium.
      Anyway, I don’t think it’s going to make a difference tomorrow. Q3 was wet, so everyone has more than enough tyres to get to the end of the race (provided it’s dry).

      1. Vettel used 2 set of mediums for Q3 and Q2

        1. Huh for Q3 ??
          Mate for Q1 and Q2 every one used Slicks and in Q3 every one used Inters
          Also It was confirmed by Ted Kravitz of SKy that Sebastian used only 1 set of Medium tires.

          1. @harsha
            yes sorry, my mistake .
            What Ted Kravitz said is pointless because he simply don’t know, unless he is the race engineer of Sebastian….and maybe also the ferrari has used Fp3 tires..

          2. @nomore

            What Ted Kravitz said is pointless because he simply don’t know

            He wasn’t 100% sure on this occasion but he’s in the pit lane and can see the tyres, so his assessments are fairly sound. Used tyres look visibly used.

      2. @yobo01 Thanks for data. either do I think it’s not gonna make big difference unless top teams need at least 4 stops. 2 stints of hard and 1 stint of medium would be enough if it’s dry.

    4. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
      23rd March 2013, 9:41

      Red Bulls run some ‘not quite fast’ laps in Q1 and Q2 with used medium, so they definitely have extra pair of tyre on Sunday. very good call indeed.

    5. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I remember seeing the all drivers using at least a set of mediums during Q1, except for the Ferrari men who set their times during Q1 on the hards only.

      1. Both McLaren and Lotus set their Q1 laps on the hards.

        1. And Mercedes, though the rain pretty much leveled the available tires playing field.

      2. thank you both guys.

  5. That was an interesting session. Was fun seeing constant improvement over the last 5mins, not knowing who was going to make it in the end. Congrats to Seb, but I think he’s going to be falling back tomorrow. Now just to see who can take advantage, Ferrari or Mercedes? And Kimi’ll find his way somewhere near the front by the end of the race.

    1. I liked this session as well. Those fast laps, one after another and knowing who’s going to take it, it’s pretty exiting. Kind of a qualifying of the old format late 90 begging 2000.

  6. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
    23rd March 2013, 9:30

    Actually, the rain was what helped him get pole. He wouldn’t have made that brilliant choice of a set of new Inters if it weren’t wet, right? At the end of Q2, I was doubting if Vettel would even get into the top 5.

    1. I love the Pope
      23rd March 2013, 14:37

      Never doubt the guy who has more championships than Alonso.

    2. The choice doesn’t matter, what matters is that the Red Bull is much stronger in the wet than in the dry.

  7. So the ultimate strategy for tomorrow will be hard-hard-medium? or hard-inter-inter, hard-inter-wet, hard-wet-wet?

    1. and don’t forget hard-inter-hard and hard-wet-hard ;)

    2. I think hard-hard-hard-medium will be the plan with the medium being used for 5 laps max. If it starts raing, the medium will not be used at all.

    3. Hard-hard-hard-hard-medium-hard-hard-hard-hard-hard-medium-hard-inter-wet-inter-sports tyre-inter-medium.

    4. I’d go for the 2nd option! @arrang

    5. For Pastor Maldonado: hard–hard–knobbly x-country

    6. If it’s part wet I don’t think anybody will use the hards.

  8. Ferrari 1-2 then to the first corner.

  9. with Jules Bianchi being congratulated by his engineer after coming within half a second of reaching Q2. He out paced team mate Max Chilton by 1.2 seconds.

    A man who had never been here before this weekend…Amazing!

    1. Bianchi has been incredible so far. You have to take into account how much more time Chilton had in the car pre season compared to him!

      Great lap by Vettel (he said through gritted teeth) thought Lewis had done it at 1 point! Would have been interesting to see what would have happened if it had stayed Dry looked close between Raikkonen, the RBR’s and Mercs with Ferrari not far behind.

      Rosberg been quicker all weekend than Lewis…I’m sure I heard or read somewhere before that someone said he is suspectible to not being able to pull out the last few tenths when it really matters..could be a sign of that again here!

      should be a great race, ferrari usually lightening off the line, Alonso will be desperate to get ahead of Massa and Vettel always likes to lead from the front and control the pace. Behind all that you have Hamilton who will be desperate to get in there and fight with them!

      cant wait!

    2. By now Marussia could be starting to feel very fortunate for Razia’s money not turning up in time!

    3. Jules looks fantastic – I think any fears of him fading into the background may very well just that, fears. I expect he’ll progress up the ranks fairly swiftly…

  10. Best result for Seb tomorrow would be a podium, if he can at least be 3rd by turn 2. And strange lines adopted in his pole lap. Its like he stayed away from the apexes(insert misses 4 apexes and takes pole comment here) and knew exactly where the grip was. What I am anxious about is Massa.

    1. @ridiculous)
      As was pointed out repeatedly on Sky, when it’s wet, the choice is to actually stay off the normal racing line. The reason is that rubber builds up (which is great in the dry), but when it rains, the rubber repels water and actually makes the dry racing line slipperier in the wet. So you get better grip off the normal racing line in the rain.

  11. I wonder how the Lotus wet pace is. On his flyer, Kimi lost heaps of time in S2, aka the one with all the water. The camera cut away so I didn’t see it, but did he make a mistake or just have no grip?

    1. @darak
      Lotus wasn’t good in the rain last year either.

      1. Lotus was not just good in the rain but actually bad. This year, they’re not that bad since similar to dry performance.

        1. kimi would start 10th

          1. well, that’s not down to performance.

  12. If tomorrow starts with changeable conditions, can a driver in the top 10 make a switch to a compound different from his quali tyre?

    1. i think all of the top 10 qualified on inters, so tomorrow they are free to choose whatever tyre they want for the start

      1. @mnm101 Thanks for clarifying. I was really confused.

    2. The top 10 have the choice to start the race on whatever tyre they want, with the exception that if the start is declared wet by race race control all cars must start on full wets.

      I think that’s right.

      1. @frogster: Thanks I needed to know that. How do you know so much rules?! lol

  13. Traverse (@)
    23rd March 2013, 9:48

    I know it’s early days but Ham’s decision to leave McLaren looks shrewder by the minute. Just goes to show how integral Lewis was regarding the development of McLaren over the last few seasons.

    When McLaren built a car to suit Ham, it resulted in a front running, race winning car. Now there having to build a spec that suits Jenson, and, well…you can see the results for yourselves.

    1. That’s not really fair – look at 2009.

      1. My point is fair and just. In 2009 Ham was a WDC with two years worth of F1 experience and knowledge. Jenson is a WDC with thirteen years of experience. Surely he should have more wisdom and insight into dev by now?

        1. @gwan @hellotraverse I agree with Traverse. Not to mention that the rules changed significantly in 2009 (with Ferrari/Mclaren concentrating on the 2008 titles), compared to this year’s stable rules.

        2. Think Jenson needs to read this article I found…

          “Improve Your Balance in 3 Simple Steps” – “Easy Ways to Strengthen Your Core and Prevent Falls”

          I really don’t know why he tries to balance so much, I mean why not just sit in his seat like the other drivers ?

          1. That is is quite funny, but unfair!

        3. @hellotraverse @david-a – I’m not saying there’s an exact correspondence between the situations with either the car or Lewis and Jenson’s skill levels. I just don’t think it’s fair, especially at this stage of the season, to suggest that all the blame should fall on Jenson’s shoulders, whereas Lewis was responsible for all the success. Even though I’m a fan of Jenson, I do think Lewis is better all-round, it’s just not as cut and dried as you present it, that’s all.

          1. Plus, while I don’t have any more insight into intra-team dynamics than anyone else here,I’m constantly reading that Jenson really made McLaren his own, not just this year, but for at least the previous season. Yes, that didn’t always result in perfect setup decisions, but sometimes his side of the garage got it right, as with the infamous telemetry tweets.

    2. Correct @hellotraverse. Maybe Button was freeloading on Ham’s hard work for the last few years. Now it’ll be a challenge for Button.

    3. Obviously, the team that just gained about seven tenths in a week cannot develop the car.

    4. Just goes to show how integral Lewis was regarding the development of McLaren over the last few seasons.

      Urghhh… This insinuation is completely baseless.

  14. Everyone saying Vettel’s lap was not impressive, go watch the Sky replay of it where Ant explains exactly why it was that impressive, especially since it is universally agreed that wet conditions level the playing field. The double standards imposed in this guy, while nothing new, still amaze me to this day.
    About the start, yeah he might get beaten by the Ferraris to the first corner but I’m hoping for a dry race and Kimi win.

    1. I’d like to see Massa win. But yes, one does get the impression that Vettel could win a GP while simultaneously peddling a unicycle, juggling chainsaws, and solving Fermat’s Last Theorem in his head, and huge numbers of people would come up with excuses for why his doing so was not impressive.

      “Ah, but that’s an Adrian Newey designed unicycle!”

      1. @jonsan – good one.

  15. Webber was intending to do another lap in Q3 but dropped back too much and crossed the finishing line to late:

    Webber frustrated after timing error in qualifying

    1. Well, considering Hamilton was on the same strategy as Webber, it was unlikely Mark would’ve improved, because his tyres were giving up.

    2. @keithcollantine A shame really they could have made another front row lockout. The Red bull’s are too hard on their tyres in hot and dry conditions but they are so much superior than the rest in wet conditions, I really can’t remember seeing such superiority in the wet by anyone. It’s mesmerizing to watch both drivers attack when the others hold onto their life’s.

  16. this race is going to be fantastic, i can feel it!

  17. Traverse (@)
    23rd March 2013, 9:58

    Bianchi is a future WDC, no doubt about that.

    I predict that if Raikkonen wins this year’s WDC, Webber will be replaced by Massa at Red Bull and Ferrari will take a punt on Bianchi. Grosjean’s seat will be safe.

    1. And why should RBR go for Massa and not either of their development drivers?

      1. Because Massa v2.0 would be the perfect stop gap for Red Bull whilst there young dev drivers gain more experience.

        1. Mark Webber just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. I’ve been unimpressed by him ever since Vet moved up to RBR.

    2. There is no way that Ferrari will hire an inexpirenced driver like Bianchi. But I would love to see Vettel up against Massa in a RBR!

      1. inexperienced*

    3. no doubt about that

      crystal ball much?

  18. Great result by Seb. He usually is brilliant in the rain, remember his first victory. Surprising to see Massa outqualified Alonso again in these conditions. Things are looking good for Ferrari, especially if the race starts dry.

    Btw, I hope the DiResta defenders noticed the difference in FP3 and Q1 between Sutil and DIR; Sky even had a video analysis of it. Personally, I think its the difference between a natural talent (Sutil) and a hard worker (DIR). I hope Sutil’s rain driving skills will return to him soon, because ninth is a bit disappointing all in all. A matter of time I suppose.

  19. Great quali. A few distinguished points

    Great job by Seb in the wet. His lap was mega! Thoroughly deserved P1

    Excellent drives by Massa and Sutil.

    And Bianchi! What a star! He gets more than the car’s capability and Chilton gets less than the car’s capability and hence the gap seems really big. He even trounced the Caterham badly!

    1. I agree with your points, but I would note that by the end of last season the Marussias were already ahead of the Caterhams in terms of pace and reliability. Now the Marussias have a very good driver to develop the car further but let’s get real, the Marussias are still a good step behind the other teams. Maybe the Toro Rosso will follow the Caterhams down the hill, and eventually the Marussias will be able to race one of the Williams. But that’s it. Bianchi is the right guy for Marussia, and the team will let him to show his *massive* potential.
      Regarding the qualy today, I was impressed by both Ferrari’s pace (Alonso’s face at the press conference was priceless, it is clear that he doesn’t like to have Massa ahead of him, and let’s see how long will it take for this to create tension in the team). I am *massively* disappointed with the Saubers, and it’s a shame that Di Resta was out of Q3.

      1. 0.2 second is a “good step from the other teams”?

        1. Yeah, today Bianchi was 0.2 behind the slower Toro Rosso. But in my opinion, and here it doesn’t matter how much I like Bianchi, his Marussia is still behind the Toro Rosso, a team that seems complete lost and down the hill. I believe that by mid season Bianchi will be able to fight them regularly.

  20. This says to me RB went for a gamble on a wet setup, a gamble which payed off nicely.

    Sebastian Vettel (bbc. co.uk) “It was an interesting qualifying as we knew the rain was on the way. We expected some at the beginning of qualifying so we took a bit of a different approach to other people. Q2 was quite on edge and I think the rain probably helped us a little bit otherwise we would have had to go out again. It was just enough to go to Q3 where with the circuit drying. It was clear that it was probably better to change tyres [midway through] – we confirmed that pretty early – and I think we did the right thing.

  21. Malaysian GP: Raikkonen handed three-place grid penalty


  22. For the fourth time in a row, Massa has outqualified Alonso. For Alonso this is the fourth he has been outqualified 4 consecutive races; in 2003 and 2004 by Trulli and in 2007 were the other times it happened.

    1. Interesting statistic, thanks for that!

  23. How important is the clean side of the track for the start?

    1. @valentino – Probably not that important this time, with all the rain washing away the rubber.

      1. Together with the fact that the cars tend to take a line that goes down the middle of the circuit as they pass from right to left along the straight.

        Tomorows start is going to be tense :]

  24. Kimi is still going to win it. Vettel and Alo will end up on the podium.

  25. did Alonso come in for fresh inters? bbc states that he didn’t. and if he didn’t, that would have been an equally fantastic qualifying lap.

    hoping for a ferrari 1-2. we haven’t had one for a while.

    1. If I saw correctly, Alonso came into the pits right behind Vettel to change on new intermediate tyres.

  26. I see Massa has been working on his Godfather accent during the off season

  27. I think a lot of people are forgetting that Vettel is the best F1 driver in the rain, bar none. Remember Brazil– “Sebastian, you are a second faster than anyone else, please slow down”. And he’s the smartest and knows his car better than anyone else. He was immediately on the radio getting the tires he needed, accepting the obvious trade-off of fewer laps and more uncertainty. Too many of you want to make love to Teflonso.

    1. My word.

      Anyway, nowadays, the best performers in the wet seem to change regularly. Last year it was Alonso who took 2 poles and a win in the rain, we’ve had Vettel take 2 stunning wet weather wins in China and Italy, plus more great races for STR, and Hamilton/Button have done well too in the Mclaren.

      I hope that no male users of this website want to “make love to Teflonso”.

      1. Yup, clearly the characteristics of the cars have a big influence on the drivers wet weather pace so it changes regularly.

  28. When was the last time a car designed by either Adrian newey or Rory Byrne won the title? (Apart from the brawn gp car, but since that was a one off stroke of good luck I’m not counting it lol)

  29. *designed by someone other than newey or Byrne I meant to say

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