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frozenmail.net January 20, 2018


Hamilton takes pole position for Malaysian GP; Vettel last

01 October 2017, 09:43 | Randolph Howard

Motor racing-Formula One losing its toughest race, says Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton: 'Formula 1 losing toughest race on calendar'

Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton can sleep easy on Saturday night after mastering his car's temperamental nature to seize pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Vettel, 28 points behind Lewis Hamilton in the standings after a DNF in Singapore, will start at the back after failing to set a time in Q1 with his title rival on pole.

Hamilton fought off a challenge by Vettel's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen despite Mercedes struggling all weekend in Malaysia.

This allowed Red Bull to snatch an unlikely one-two finish, Daniel Ricciardo leading home Max Verstappen, and it was shoeys all round as Rosberg recovered to join the Bulls on the podium. Race coverage starts at 6.30am on Sunday - with lights out at 8am. Hamilton, meanwhile, will begin on pole. While Bottas continued to use the new kit, Hamilton reverted to the parts he had used previously this season. Up until final practice everything had been going perfectly, with Mercedes struggling to break the top four and Ferrari setting the pace in dry conditions.

Verstappen managed just 11 laps but his best at 1min 48.962sec was 0.757sec quicker than Ricciardo.

" "So, it's a surprise to be up here, but I am very grateful."

While an engine failure condemned Vettel to last on the grid, Hamilton, a distant sixth in Friday practice and just fourth in Q2, secured one of the most unlikely pole positions of his career with a bolt-from-the-blue lap at the start of Q3.

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He returned to the pits but the team ran out of time to diagnose the problem, let alone fix it.

"To be honest I don't know if we're going to miss it", said Raikkonen. "I've been struggling with the auto, so we have to review and try to understand where we have gone wrong with the balance". It is what it is. "Why that all happened, right now we don't know". That's maybe why I am pretty relaxed.

According to Alonso, he left a fist-sized hole in the McLaren garage wall when he saw the replay.

Though he appeared comfortable with the changes his team made to his auto ahead of FP3, Hamilton said the time constraint between that session and qualifying was the only reason he did not move back to the upgraded package Bottas had stayed with.

Officials said in a statement that it was because they "consider that the circumstances causing the crash of vehicle 8 were entirely and clearly beyond the control of the Driver and the Competitor". If we have any chance of seeing a great championship battle down the stretch, Vettel will need to close the gap this weekend.

One year ago, Lewis Hamilton was questioning whether some people inside his own team actually wanted him to win.

As for his most memorable race through the years, he recalled the event in 2001 where Brazilian driver Ruben Barrichello drove for Ferrari when he won the Grand Prix.



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