Lewis Hamilton qualified on pole position with Nico Rosberg in third place after a closely contested qualifying session for the 2014 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix. Heavy downpours at the Sepang International Circuit delayed the start of the session by 50 minutes, with wet conditions remaining throughout.
Lewis claimed his 33rd Formula One career pole position - and his second in a row in 2014 - this afternoon in Sepang. Nico qualified in third position, also for the second time in two races, after struggling on the full wet tyre at the end of Q3. A Mercedes AMG Petronas driver topped every part of qualifying: Nico in Q1, Lewis in Q2 and Q3. In changing wet conditions, the drivers ran intermediate tyres in Q1 and full wet tyres in Q2 and Q3. Lewis' pole position was the 19th for a Silver Arrow in Formula One and the 101st for Mercedes-Benz power.
Lewis Hamilton: I'm really happy with our result today. It was a very close session and I'm relieved to come away with pole position as it was pretty tense towards the end. The lap was far from being my optimum: I should have been able to eke out a little more time but thankfully it wasn't needed. Conditions were incredibly difficult and it would have been so easy to get it wrong today. At times towards the end it was almost impossible to see if anyone was behind me. The team have done a great job once again, we have a great car, and we now have to convert this performance tomorrow.
Nico Rosberg: I didn't feel very comfortable on the extreme wet tyres at the end of Q3, especially on the brakes, but I was still able to improve enough to claim third from Fernando which was the positive for me. We've definitely improved the way we manage the sessions since Australia, so I was the last car to cross the line, but unfortunately the track didn't really improve. It will definitely be a difficult and eventful race as the weather is predicted to be the same again, but that will give me opportunities to gain some positions. I'm looking forward to the race and I want to get the best out of it, like we did in Melbourne.
Toto Wolff: That was another difficult qualifying session with constantly changing conditions. It was tricky to find the right track position, at the right time, on the right tyres and for the drivers to deliver a mistake-free lap. The team ran a calm session, making the right calls at the right time. Lewis was able to convert his speed into pole position for the second race in a row. Nico was not quite so comfortable on the full wet tyre, but still claimed P3 as in Melbourne two weeks ago. It is a special pole position because we are at the home race of our title partner, Petronas, who have played such an important role in developing the lifeblood of our new Power Unit and that gives us extra pride in our achievement. We aim to build on these strong starting positions tomorrow but we know that we have a very tough race ahead of us, whether it's wet or dry.
Paddy Lowe: Rain in Malaysia normally falls as short, sharp showers, which meant we were hoping for a more straightforward session than we ultimately got. The rain was stopping and starting throughout, which made it especially challenging to judge the track conditions in each part of qualifying. Conditions in Q1 were stable and we ran the intermediate tyre throughout; for Q2, there was more rain falling and the full wet proved to be the tyre of choice; and then in Q3, when it really counts, it was marginal between full wets and the intermediate. Q3 also featured the added challenge of traffic, with each car wanting to cross the line as late as possible. In the circumstances, P1 and P3 is a fantastic result. While a wet session is stressful for the team, it's toughest of all for the drivers, who cannot afford to put a foot wrong. Well done to both of them and we are now looking forward to tomorrow. From our starting positions, we will be racing for the win.
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