February 21, 2018

Track Torque: Ferrari look to fight back

30 September 2017, 05:37 | Randolph Howard

Lewis Hamilton takes pole position for Malaysian Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel last

Image of Asia Mercedes driver Hamilton steers out of garage

Vettel, 28 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the title race, lost drive on his first flying lap.

After facing a wet session in the morning, the dry condition at Sepang Circuit saw the Scuderia Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen set the pace in the second practice session classification of the 2017 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix at Sepang Circuit.

Vettel had surprisingly held the upper hand over Hamilton throughout practice but suffered an issue in the final session and required a new engine.

While reflecting on his unfortunate session, Vettel said, "I think we would have gone all the way today but now we start last".

"Obviously we had a good race there previous year and it's going to be the last time we're in KL, at least in the near future, so we'll try and finish strong".

Stevenage-born Hamilton added: "I had a great group of people who were in front of my garage today all day long, sending really positive energy". "For sure, it's not ideal, it's not what we want, especially on a day where you feel that you've got it in you, you've got it in the vehicle but we won't be able to prove that".

Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo filled the second row, with Valtteri Bottas fifth in the second Mercedes.

"I was a little surprised in what we have managed to do".

"We had such a hard day yesterday, it was hard to know where we stood", Hamilton said.

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His Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg had collided with Sebastian Vettel at the start and fallen to the back.

He added: "We had such a hard day (on Friday) and it was hard to know where we stood".

The Red Bull of birthday boy Verstappen was third, nearly half a second behind Raikkonen. "We have a very strong vehicle". The Finn was on course to take pole from Hamilton until that error and ended up losing out by just 0.045 seconds.

Sharing his views was Bottas, who is now in third position with 212 points, but looking motivated to bring home glory as well as to chase Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari who is in second place. "So I think it's more the driver here than the vehicle, to be honest".

The Red Bull junior driver replaces Daniil Kvyat who has struggled for form in recent years. "Quite the contrary. I have been working very hard in the past few years to make it to F1 - why should I crack now?"

"It is a close battle in the championship and you are looking to gain every advantage you can wherever possible".

It was also his ninth pole this season and further boosted his hopes of clinching a fourth title after the 32-year-old Briton capitalised on Vettel's crash to win in Singapore.

The Spaniard stressed that he was already eager to get back into the vehicle after the Singapore Grand Prix, where he had to leave the race in the ninth lap due to loss of power in his car's engine.

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