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Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Fernando Alonso qualified second for the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang with a time of 1m35.310. Lewis Hamilton's time of 1m36.045 puts him fourth on the grid in only his second Formula 1 race - equalling his qualifying position from the Australian Grand Prix. Qualifying took place with ambient temperatures reaching 34 degrees celcius.
What was the focus of the practice session this morning?The team was fine tuning the set-up on both cars and tried a few new things on Fernando's car in the process. A few changes had been made to Lewis' carovernight which proved beneficial.
What is the team's view on the Bridgestone Potenza tyres available at Sepang?Bridgestone has provided the teams with two options which both perform well and have relatively low degradation. The option tyre has a slight advantage on first lap performance but then retains a smaller performance margin than the prime tyre.
Fernando Alonso: "All in all I'm very pleased as I think we have closed most of the gap to Ferrari. We made some improvements overnight and also between running this morning and qualifying, and the car is working well. I think we can have a strong race tomorrow, but the heat and humidity makes it tough on everything and everybody, but we will push 100%. A lot of work took place at the test last week but also back in Europe, and the car has definitely improved so we are going in the right direction."
Lewis Hamilton: "The car is working well and I think we could have had two cars on the front row. However when I came to Turn 7 it had started spitting with rain a little bit. I had experienced this at the test last week and knew it could be slippery, so I eased off a small amount. Apart from that everything went smoothly, and I'm confident for the race tomorrow. I'm on the clean side on the track and will aim to make a good start."
Ron Dennis: "The team has been working hard since Australia both at the track and back at base on closing any possible gap to our main competition. Qualifying seems to indicate that we have taken a step forward but whether this is enough we will only see in the race. Both the drivers and the rest of the team put in strong performances in tough conditions. We look forward to the race tomorrow."
Norbert Haug: "A thrilling qualifying session until the very end and I'm sure the spectators, both here in Sepang and in front of the televisions enjoyed it. With two cars on the first and second row we equalled our Melbourne result. Fernando, Lewis and the team did a first class job. With all their efforts during the last weeks, it looks as if the team has taken a step forward. We now have to see what the strategies of our competition will be tomorrow to see where we really are with our race pace."
To check out our Sepang qualifying gallery, click here
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