Hamilton on pole again after rain delay

2014 Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton will start from pole position for the second race in a row after beating Sebastian Vettel by less than a tenth of a second in a rain-hit qualifying session.

Nico Rosberg took third place from Fernando Alonso with his final lap, while Daniel Ricciardo made it two Red Bulls in the top five.


After three days of dry practice sessions a deluge hit the track three-quarters of an hour before qualifying began. The rain continued until the scheduled Q1 start time of 4pm, but before then race control had already announced qualifying would be postponed.

Q1 eventually began 50 minutes later than planned, though by the time it started all bar one of the teams were satisfied the conditions were dry enough to use intermediate tyres from the moment they left the pits.

The only exception was McLaren. While their rivals took up their places at the pit lane exit on intermediate tyres, Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen headed for the track on full wet tyres.

This initially looked like it might have been a mistake. More rain was threatening and a few drops did fall halfway through the session. But both drivers managed to claim a place in Q2.

Having started late the session came to an early end when Marcus Ericsson crashed. The rookie was struggling with his Caterham all the way through turn three, and finally lost control of his car at the exit of the corner. He struck the barrier a glancing blow, collected a corner marker and came to a stop on the approach to turn four.

The session was red-flagged while Ericsson’s car was recovered, and with only half a minute remaining it was not restarted. Ericsson, who had failed to make it out of the pits initially due to a technical problem which required a “reboot” of his car.

Red Bull chose a similar course of action for Sebastian Vettel’s fellow Renault-powered car during the session due to a problem with his energy store. Nonetheless he returned to the track to set the third-fastest time.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

17Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault2’02.074
18Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari2’02.131
19Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari2’02.702
20Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault2’03.595
21Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari2’04.388
22Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault2’04.407


The weather took another turn for the worse as Q2 began and this time most drivers opted for wet weather tyres. This time the Ferrari drivers were the exceptions, heading to the track on intermediates.

As Fernando Alonso tiptoed around the sodden track on his shallowed-grooved tyres Daniil Kvyat closed on him quickly on the approach to turn nine. Kvyat went for the inside, locked his front-left wheel and the pair made contact.

Alonso limped back to the pits with a broken suspension element while Kvyat warned his team about potential wing damage. But in a piece of fortune for both drivers, race control elected to red-flag the session – a surprising move given how minor the contact had been – and everyone headed back into the pits.

Once the session resumed some drivers were still in two minds about tyres. This time Valtteri Bottas took to the track on intermediates and although the conditions had scarcely improved he stuck with them.

This proved his undoing, despite a late switch to full wets. Team mate Felipe Massa pursued the opposite course and also failed to make the cut for Q3.

Kvyat seemed to have grabbed a place in the final ten but he was eliminated by his team mate’s final lap. Sergio Perez was also knocked out along with Adrian Sutil.

Romain Grosjean dropped out too, blaming Rosberg for holding him up on his quickest lap. He wasn’t the only driver frustrated with traffic, as Ricciardo furiously complained about being held up by Bottas. The stewards announced they would investigate the incident along with the Alonso-Kvyat collision.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault2’02.351
12Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari2’02.369
13Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes2’02.460
14Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes2’02.511
15Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes2’02.756
16Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault2’02.885


Still the rain persisted and still drivers hedged their bets on tyre compounds. It was wets all round for most but this time Button chose to go down the route of using intermediates.

The tactic worked brilliantly for Mark Webber at this track four years ago and McLaren hoped the extra two minutes in Q2 this year would afford a little more time for the track to dry out, playing into Button’s hands.

It didn’t work out that way. A mid-session burst of rain meant few drivers improved after their first runs. Hamilton, struggling with visibility, ran off the track on his final lap. Further back Vettel had failed to even start his having not made it to the start line in time.

But as conditions deteriorated Hamilton initial lap of 1’57.502 proved good enough for pole and Vettel’s fractionally slower time kept him second. Rosberg was an exception, moving up to third place at the expense of Alonso. The other Ferrari of Raikkonen ended up sixth alongside Ricciardo.

Button’s gamble failed and he remained in tenth place, two spots behind team mate Kevin Magnussen, the pair separated by Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso.

Top ten in Q3

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’59.431
2Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’59.486
3Nico RosbergMercedes2’00.050
4Fernando AlonsoFerrari2’00.175
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault2’00.541
6Kimi RaikkonenFerrari2’01.218
7Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes2’01.712
8Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes2’02.213
9Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Renault2’03.078
10Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes2’04.053

2014 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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49 comments on “Hamilton on pole again after rain delay”

  1. YES . Another Lewis pole . But having seen the stats , Vettel is way ahead of Lewis with 45 poles to 33 . I guess he will get a dozen or more this season .

    1. Lewis = the modern-era ‘Rain-meister’…

  2. Well done Lewis! My last minute prediction change nets me 2 points)))

    Interesting to note that unlike the last two years, Ferrari’s pace seems to suffer when it rains

    1. That’s what I thought, now I’m not sure the last 3 or 4 years I hoped for rain to bring Ferrari closer now I don’t want it to rain! A bit anti climactic in the end but class from Lewis but Vettel had a really good chance of pole. Should be good especially the race between Ferrari and Red Bull

    2. I loved this.

      F1F Predictions terms and conditions

      Double points will not be awarded at any round

  3. Holy Moly That Rain!! I was there and I was stuck in a store for half an hour before I sprinted straight to the grandstand! And it kept getting worse and worse. But back to qualifying. It was an okay session but does anybody else agree with me that Rosberg’s time at the end of the session was really impressive as nobody else could improve due to the deteriorating conditions?

  4. Vettel did not do so bad if you take he is in a car 1.5 sec slower than Hamilton in any condition

    1. Vettel did great but Mercs can’t really capitalize on their pace unless its dry. In the wet, even the Lotus almost made it into Q3.

    2. Well, it is certainly that much slower in the dry but how many people will you get to admit that Vettel punching above his weight (provided the car remains driveable) or that it is the Mercedes car that is producing the good timings? Certainly not even a tenth of what it would have been if the situation had been reversed.

    3. in the dry maybe,but not in the wet.

    4. Vettel’s car is not 1.5 seconds slower. Vettel set a time in the 1:39s in FP2 so how is their car 1.5 seconds slower. Stop giving misleading information.

      1. Yeah I agree. From what I saw Red Bull has the best aerodynamics again, and it’s just a matter of time when they manage to fine tune their car and unlock their potential. That is the reason why they are OK on wet, Ricciardo’s performance in Melbourne could back up my theory. Also with this tricky conditions no one could know who was risking and how much. After all tomorrow counts. Yes, Mercedes is dominant in dry conditions at the moment but…

    5. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      29th March 2014, 16:18

      @ean – So a car that is 1.5 seconds slower manages two front rows in two races, and is consistently setting the pace through the high speed middle sector of Sepang? Weird. Yes, in the dry, the RB10 is a second down on the W05, but in the wet, its poise, grip, balance and downforce makes it every bit as good as the Merc. On the basis of Malaysia, where Vettel appeared to have had similar pace to the Mercedes despite the long straights, Vettel would have easily been on pole in Melbourne, because of the shorter straights and wet conditions, had he not had that engine software issue.

      1. @william-brierty

        kind of reminiscent of Ferrari/Alonso in 2012. Not to mention VET was .5 sec up on ROS and over a second on RIC.

        HAM and VET (and ALO/HUK) epic in the rain. GUT almost made it into Q3 where SUT couldn’t get out of Q1.

        1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          29th March 2014, 23:01

          @uan – Yes, the F2012, which overheated its tyres in the dry, nicely got into the window in the wet, and yes, Gutierrez is mysteriously fast in wet, in spite of what sounds like awful throttle control in the dry.

  5. the pair separated by Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India.

    That should be JEV in his Toro Rosso.

  6. Congrats Lewis for the successive pole !!
    Go for WIN !!

  7. That cap.


    1. That comment.


      Who gives a flying **** what the guy wears, hes awesome in a car. Isn’t that why we switch the F1 on? to watch people race cars.

      1. That reply.


        Drivers have fans and critics too. It is part and parcel of being in the spotlight.

        1. ‘OMG his peak isn’t bent, I must go on the inranets and voice my displeasure!!!”

          1. …and yet you’re not stopping yourself voicing your displeasure on the internet over a comment. :D

            It looks ridiculous, end of. Not just the flat peak, but the overall size of it, and especially the colour. I will keep my upsetting comments about caps to myself though in future!

        2. If Vettel wants to wear an invisible cap then let him.

        3. I’ll criticise a drivers inability to not hit others (Maldonado), lack of speed, etc. but who really cares about Hamilton’s hat?

    2. What’s the problem with the cap? I often dislike Lewis’ fashion/self-presentation choices, but the cap is in Merc colours, doesn’t look our of place, so it’s ok.

    3. Really? After reading this I thought he would have a pink cowboy hat or something ridiculous on. But I scroll back up to look and its just a Mercedes baseball/trucker cap. Meh why such a fuss about nothing.

  8. Congrats Lewis!

    Superb job by Vettel. I remember that he did great last year in Qualifying, too.

  9. Can’t deny Vettel stepping up in this session, Mercedes will dominate if it’s ever dry so to be only 5 hundredths behind is amazing.

  10. But as conditions deteriorated Hamilton initial lap of 1’57.502 proved good enough for pole

    I think that’s a small mistake in the laptime Keith, Hamilton did a 1’59.431

  11. if vettel hadn’t mistimed starting that last lap, he would have been on pole. tomorrow will probably rain again, he is probably the only chance to challenge a 1-2 for Mercedes.

    1. I very much doubt he would have improved on his original lap, considering only rosberg achieved it and rosbergs first lap was relatively poor

  12. Haha I remember the ‘Vettel can’t drive anymore’ comments from the Australian GP ^^

    1. If there were such comments, that is remarkable.

      Why some people want to slate Vettel at any opportunity (even though his Melbourne qualifying session was affected by an engine software glitch), I don’t know. It annoys me greatly. I really don’t understand the dislike of him. He comes across as one of the nicest guys on the grid. And to question his speed is ignorant to say the very least. He is a four-time world champion. This boy can certainly drive.

  13. When you’ve spent 4 years Consistently insisting it’s the car, it’s hard to accept that it’s not the car.

  14. Larry Storm (@mrrealitychecker)
    29th March 2014, 15:20

    Congratulations Lewis, Well Done!
    Another British record, that means… well, nothing!
    Next up, most tattoos for a British driver? or perhaps most feminine appearance?
    Sorry, just being silly.
    Really well done, Lewis.
    Per most experts, Lewis has a car that is at least 1 second faster thn the Red Bulls and LH managed to beat SV with a massive 0.05 seconds – now lets discuss who is the better driver and if SV’s success to date was solely due to a better car…
    well, perhaps that debate is already settled.
    Enjoy the race tomorrow.

    1. You are completely ignoring the fact that the conditions were wet, and in wet condition the red bull is clearly considerably closer to the Mercedes than in dry conditions.

      1. Larry Storm (@mrrealitychecker)
        29th March 2014, 22:23

        of course – it is all in the car… except when LH is a split second faster, then it is the driver!

  15. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    29th March 2014, 15:29

    Nico and Seb get some extra money to wave their drink bottles for the pic…

  16. Steph (@stephanief1990)
    29th March 2014, 15:34

    It’ll be quite interesting if the Merc’s pace stays as strong as it is given how Lewis was so reluctant to give Seb any credit whatsoever for his domination (although Seb may well have challenged today but that was due to the conditions).

  17. Hamilton & Vettel, those are the fat ladies of F1, qualification simply isn’t over until they stop zinging around and park their cars.

    1. ..the difference would be = Vettel can repeat that fast lap 60 times.

      1. Paul Sainsbury
        29th March 2014, 17:28

        Um……….yep and so can LH, quite obviously……….

      2. Paul Sainsbury
        30th March 2014, 11:21

        Feeling a bit silly now?

  18. Button’s usual “brilliance” with tyre selection again. Of course no one remembers all his failed gambles, just the few that he luckily picked right. It’s a 50/50 score at best though.

    1. Yea, some claim he’s an “intelligent” driver.
      I guess that’s in comparison with other drivers.

  19. Impressed by

    Lewis: Did the business despite being a bit unlucky in Q3. Still, that Merc is class.
    Seb: What a lap! This really is going to be the year where Seb becomes a great in a lot of people’s eyes if he keeps that up.
    Nico H: I new he was good but never thought he’d rock Sergio’s world like that. Qualy so far this year is really showing who the best drivers are. Hopefully, Ferrari take note of Nico.
    Kevin: My new favorite is really proven to be a great qualifier. He has the Vettel/Hamilton ability to be completely unfazed by the pressure and deliver. If we ever have a Merc vs Redbull vs Mclaren battle for the championship qualifying will be intense.
    Grosjean: Honorable mention. Hopefully we see his face smiling again.

    Lots of opportunities for drivers to impress in the race so DOTW is going to be tough to pick. As it stands it’s Vettel, Hulkenberg, Hamilton. My eyes are going to be glued to the Ferraris because I’m expecting big things from them.

  20. Mercedes is the fastest car too, no matter the conditions, so no big wonder.

  21. Well done to Lewis!
    2:0 against Rosberg on quali

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