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Vettel Welcomes The Rain To Take Second Pole Of 2013 – Raikkonen penalised
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Posted By: Matt Meadows  |  23 Mar 2013   |  12:14 pm GMT  |  274 comments

For Sebastian Vettel the Malaysian weather played in to his hands as he took a sensational pole position in changeable conditions for the second Grand Prix of 2013, almost a second ahead of Ferrari duo Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

It was the fourth Grand Prix in a row that Massa has outqualified his team mate Alonso, stretching back to Austin last season. Alonso bristled in the official press conference at suggestions that this is a problem for him, pointing out that Massa has always been a strong reference point for him, despite his problems of the last few years.

After barely making it out of a dry first phase of qualifying, due to nursing tyres for Q2 and the race, Vettel welcomed the rain and the opportunity to grab a second set of intermedia tyres for a pole position run. The heavens opened above the Sepang circuit and the triple World Champion and his Red Bull team timed his final run perfectly and he was able to take pole by 9/10ths of a second.

His tyre decision paid dividends as he secured his 38th career pole.

Red Bull looked to be struggling in the first two dry phases of the session as Mercedes and Force India were the pacesetters.

However, the session was massively shaken up during a short period of heavy rain before Q3 and Vettel remains the only man to take a pole position in 2013.


Massa, too, welcomed the rain in a fruitful session for Ferrari. They had also seemed to lack dry pace compared to Mercedes but turned it around in the wet conditions and crucially left it very late to cross the start/finish line for their final flying lap.

Massa’s front-row start is his first since Bahrain in 2010, where he ended the race in second place behind Alonso.

This weekend marks the 200th Grand Prix of Alonso’s career and is also the circuit where he took his first podium in 2003, decade ago.

Behind the top three in fourth place is Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes. He had held pole position with just a minute left in the top ten shoot out but with an ever evolving track he was shuffled down the order after passing the chequered flag. He had been outpaced by team mate Rosberg for much of the session, especially Q2, but he came through when the counting stopped.

The sister Mercedes of Rosberg was the fastest hard tyre runner in Q1 and went on to top the times in Q2; so the appearance of rain would not have pleased the team as the young German eded the day in sixth place.

The Mercedes pairing sandwich the Red Bull of Mark Webber, who was the first to pass the chequered flag and thus lost his chance to improve as the track continued to dry. Unclear radio communications were partly to blame, as Webber did not take a second set of intermediates like his team mate. He had previously topped the session but ended up over two and a half seconds slower than Vettel, indicating how much the track improved with new tyres.

Lotus had a disappointing qualifying session with Raikkonen suffering a hydraulic leak and failing to get heat into the intermediate tyres, after looking set for the front two rows in dry conditions. He ended the day in seventh place, but was dropped three places for blocking Rosberg.

Lotus again has plenty of race pace should tomorrow be dry and Alonso said that he expects Raikkonen to challenge him during the race.

Romain Grosjean was caught out by the rain; he was on a quick lap in Q2 when rain began to fall and he therefore could not improve and will begin the race in eleventh place.

Completing the top ten are Jenson Button, Adrian Sutil and Sergio Perez. McLaren once again looked to struggle in dry conditions but were closer to the mark in the wet.

Sutil showed very good pace in the dry and topped the times in Q1 as he continued his strong comeback to the sport.

Further down the field Jules Bianchi had another promising qualifying session for Marussia. The rookie is the only driver in the field to have never lapped the Sepang circuit prior to this weekend and he was able to end the day over a second ahead of team mate Max Chilton.

MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX, Qualifying
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m49.674s
2. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m50.587s + 0.913s
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m50.727s + 1.053s
4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m51.699s + 2.025s
5. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m52.244s + 2.570s
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m52.519s + 2.845s
7. Kimi Raikkonen * Lotus 1m52.970s + 3.296s
8. Jenson Button McLaren 1m53.175s + 3.501s
9. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m53.439s + 3.765s
10. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m54.136s + 4.462s

11. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m37.636s + 1.446s
12. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m38.125s + 1.935s
13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m38.822s + 2.632s
14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m39.221s + 3.031s
15. Paul di Resta Force India 1m44.509s + 8.319s
16. Pastor Maldonado Williams no time

17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m38.157s + 1.348s
18. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m38.207s + 1.398s
19. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m38.434s + 1.625s
20. Charles Pic Caterham 1m39.314s + 2.505s
21. Max Chilton Marussia 1m39.672s + 2.863s
22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m39.932s + 3.123s

* Three place grid drop for blocking Rosberg

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274 Comments
  1. Good result for Ricciardo.

    Lucky, but of his own making for Vettel. He will have a tough time keeping both the Ferrari’s behind him at the start.

    1. KRB says:

      Great result for Ricciardo. Also great result for Bianchi. Chilton 1.5 sec’s off of his teammate?!?!? How can he possibly claim – as he did – that he’s not a pay driver?!! He is a plug.

      1. I know says:

        When did Max Chilton ever claim he was not a pay driver? All I know is that he said that all the talk of him being a pay driver didn’t bother him.

      2. AuraF1 says:

        Chilton is clearly not in the same league as bianchi but didn’t he have a lot of breakages in practice so no time to dial the car in? Not that it would have made 1.5seconds of difference of course.

        And the resurgence of sutil – looks like force India were spoiled for choice! Looking more and more like di resta deserved booting down to marussia and sutil/bianchi would have been the ideal SFI lineup.

      3. Deano says:

        1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m49.674s
        5. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m52.244s + 2.570s

        and your point is?

      4. DC says:

        Slightly different situation in Q3 to Q1 mate. Track drying for Vettel, Webber still sorting out communication with a new race engineer after losing the man he’s had since ’07.

      5. KRB says:

        Yeah, as DC said, not applicable for Q3. Q1 was bone dry.

      6. Tealeaf says:

        I totally agree Chilton is [mod] constantly over 1 sec slower than Bianchi is massive, carry on like this then it’ll be his only season in F1, maybe even replaced sooner.

      7. KRB says:

        Except it won’t, because of the money he brings. Bianchi would be first to be booted. It’s pathetic.

      8. Darrin from Canada says:

        Meee-ow

    2. Andy says:

      Both Vettel and Webber are virtually the slowest through the speed trap. As soon as someone gets close, as they will this early in the season with these tyres, they will breeze past.
      A maximum of 7 gear ratios and an expanded ERS system does not bode well for an Adrian Newey designed car in 2014.
      Red Bull could be championship winners this year, but I would definitely put my money on another team in 2014.

      1. gil says:

        I agree. But this has always been a Newey trait. Unless they’re on pole. Red Bull are nowhere as they certainly won’t out drag anyone.

    3. Steve says:

      I dont think Vettel will mind dropping a place at the start and having 2nd in the early part of the race – the guy is showing more tactical awareness now than in his early days and he’s more than capable of pacing himself waiting to see how the race unfolds.

      PS James – the countdown to the next race on your web site seems to be wrong by one hour

  2. Chris says:

    I heard on twitter that during Q3 Lotus had a problem and Kimi was told to stay in one gear to maintain hydraulic pressure, “do not upshift or downshift” Can you confirm this james

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, they had a slow hydraulic leak on KR’s car.

      1. Galapago555 says:

        Do you know if it can be fixed under parc fermé conditions?

      2. James Allen says:

        Yes, it’s no problem for the race

      3. Stephen Taylor says:

        James do we have footage of the incident for which Kimi was given a penalty?

  3. Anil says:

    Great qualifying session and it’s amazing to finally see TWO Ferrari’s up there!

    James, any word on the rumours going round that Mercedes and Red Bull are asking for the 2012 tyres to return as they aren’t happy with the current ones?

    1. James Allen says:

      They have certainly spoken to Pirelli.

      But it needs all the teams to agree and the ones doing well on them may have a view

      That said, RBR and Merc looked pretty fast today, so..

      They may struggle a bit more in the race, it’s very open

    2. Forget going back to last year’s spec… bring back the Bridgestones!

      1. Andrew Carter says:

        LOL, I remember everybody complaining about them as well and how rediculous it was a car could go a full race distance on the soft tyres (Vettel at Monza)!

      2. Andrew says:

        Isn’t Formula One into saving money now?

        Durable tyres would save a great deal of waste.

      3. Dizzy says:

        I never saw the issue with Vettel going the full race on them at Monza as I grew up watching F1 at a time when there were zero pit stops.
        Racing was better as well as all racing/overtaking was done on the track by drivers able to push hard rather than all this conserving & strategy nonsense we have now.

        Also monza is the easiest track on the tyres so tyres lasting longer there is nothing new.

      4. Darrin from Canada says:

        All that strategy stuff is too hard to keep track of… (sarcasm) Just have them run round and round in souped up family sedans, or has that been tried…

      5. brendan says:

        i said after the 1st race the tyres were a joke,if its dry vettel has got no chance, be lucky to finish 3rd.even his team has said they have to reduce downforce to help the tires last longer.
        button said even if you nurse the tyres,you cant get any more laps out of them.
        they are falling apart even in cold conditions.
        (big chunks are falling off).
        i know lotus was testing the tyres for pirelli for this season, so i guess thats why they are lighter on them.
        whats gonna happen on a high tyre wear circiut? (like suzuka) 10 pit stops?
        i said last week it aint proper racing.
        i bet bernie is going grey over it.(joke)

      6. Yak says:

        Lotus don’t do testing for Pirelli. They leased (I believe) a 2010 Renault to them, to replace the out of date Toyota they’d been using. With the rate at which F1 cars develop, I doubt the Renault is really any closer to the current Lotus than any of the other 2013 cars.

      7. Trent says:

        I sincerely hope you jest…

      8. Rich B says:

        that’ll bring back boring races. lotus can use the current pirellli’s, others should stop complaining and learn how to as well

      9. Gate 21 says:

        Bring back Bridgestone? Why? 2010 was the dullest season for on-track action in ages. I am very grateful for what Pirelli has done for F1 in only their 3rd year.

        It must be groundhog day. The start of every year we are blessed with the moaning of certain teams who haven’t yet worked out how to maximise the tyres: “we may have to make 5 pit stops”.

        [mod]

      10. 2010 dull? Maybe you’re thinking of 2009? Apart from the opener in 2010 the rest of the races were awesome. Yes there were issues with overtaking but the reasons for that were well documented and it *WASNT* tyres!

        (by the way to the mod… the comment you removed of Gate 21 still made it to my notification email. I _think_ it was directed at the teams, not me. So I don’t really think it needed to be deleted)

  4. Timmay says:

    Paul di Resta – LOL

    1. MJSib says:

      Couldn’t have happened to a grumpier driver! Least this gives him more to moan about for the weekend

    2. Wade Parmino says:

      Indeed. Di Resta should go back to DTM or try out V8 Supercars (touring cars seem to be where his skills are best applied). Sutil has been out for a full season, yet he is straight away seriously outperforming Di Resta. Force India should not have kept him on. They should have picked up Kovalainen or Kobayashi to partner Sutil instead.

      1. Basil says:

        Indeed!

      2. Paige says:

        The issue is that di Resta has shown flashes of being able to do a very high quality job. There have been periods when he has had the better of his teammate and looked like quite a driver. I think you have to give a driver like that a third year to show if they can take the next step in their development. Sometimes, guys are late bloomers. Look at Jenson Button, who used to get beat by the likes of Fisichella, Trulli, and Michael Schumacher’s brother. (And let’s not forget: di Resta beat Vettel in F3. Not at all saying he’s better than Vettel, just saying that he’s not chopped liver, either.)

        But this is year three. And if you are ever going to show it, this is the year to do it. It’s put up or shut up time for di Resta. He has behaved a little bratty at times, so he needs to pipe down and get to work. Having Sutil come in after a year away with tons of motivation and perform the way that he is right now has really put his feet to the fire. So if di Resta wants to be a real F1 driver when he grows up, this is the year to show it.

      3. Sami says:

        Well Alguersuari is available, should Force India change their mind…
        And the boy certainly deserves a chance.

      4. James Allen says:

        It was his 23rd birthday on Saturday (yesterday)

      5. AuraF1 says:

        Should have been bianchi and sutil – with di resta partnering Chilton in the marussia.

    3. Quade says:

      I don’t understand the badmouthing of Paul Di Resta. Surely, it isn’t a crime for a driver to be a quiet person?
      Even if he’s slow, he’s not the slowest out there. The race hasn’t even started yet.

  5. Craig in Manila says:

    No point mentioning that Sutil had P1 in Q1 as it was clear that other drivers weren’t trying to beat him.

    It’s all getting a bit difficult to gauge as we really don’t know when drivers are going hard or “nursing”.

    I mean, for all we know, it’s quite possible that the team’s computer will decide that it’s best to deliberately drive “slow” in Q3 (and sacrifice a possible pole position) to preserve tyres for their race strategy.

    F1 sure has changed.

    1. Paige says:

      Yeah, it’s obviously quite early in the season, but I think Sutil dserves a lot of credit for the way he has started the year. He jumped right in the car and has done an outstanding job. He had great race pace in Australia, and he made Q3 today. For someone who has been out of the sport for a year, he’s done a very nice job and is really putting the heat on di Resta to start delivering.

      1. Craig in Manila says:

        Agreed.

    2. kmcc says:

      It hasn’t really. Now it gets more press. Once upon a time (let me tell you a tale…) teams and drivers had to manage tyre, fuel, engine, gearbox, & suspension (And ego, that has not changed). Now the reliability is so good – when was the last time you saw an engine detonate? – we can have tyres with grip instead of permeant grooves for”safety”. Good Luck to Pirelli for filling their brief.

      Less kudos to the schedule that puts a tropical race in the middle of the rain… oops, that’d be Mr E. He gets his track sprinklers then

      1. Quade says:

        The thing is that gearbox, engine, suspension etc belong to the teams. They are all parameters that are within a teams direct control.
        The tyres on the other hand, are run by an external monopoly that can single handedly decide the championship by underhand means if they so wish. Teams spend half the year designing cars, only for Pirelli to surprise them by providing crazy compounds for testing at the last race. This makes nonsense of the teams engineering efforts and spending, ridicules F1 as the pinnacle of high tech that runs on the lowest quality tyres, as well as mocks the FIA’s spending cut crusade. Its a waste of effort, money and a killjoy. I once sked if anyone would enjoy seeing Ussain Bolt run in shoes that deliberately slowed him down; it really mocks F1 that the fastest drivers in the World have to go slowly to win. Maybe F1 will end up redifining the meaning of the word, race.

      2. Craig in Manila says:

        +1.

      3. Dan says:

        Quade, I take your point but would suggest that teams also have direct control of their “ability to adapt”. I haven’t considered the pros/cons of “ability to predict” compared to “ability to adapt”.

  6. Andrew M says:

    Interesting qualifying, a shame about Raikkonen, and rain tomorrow will presumably nullify any tyre advantage Lotus have over Ferrari/Rd Bull. Rosberg seems to have the measure of Hamilton right up until Q3, where Lewis pulls something out of the bag.

    Speaking of Hamilton, how come he didn’t improve in his last lap? He was last over the line after all, did his tyres just drop off?

    1. Dan says:

      Yeah Lewis’ tyres were past there best.

      The top 3 came in for a new set and it paid off.

      I think Mercedes will be very strong tomorrow, if they get a good start, they look very strong on long runs and one lap pace.

    2. Paige says:

      re: Rosberg and Hamilton

      You get your grid position in Q3. Q1 and Q2 mean absolutely nothing aside from whether or not you make it through. The great drivers are on top of it when they need to be. There have been times when Massa, Button, Webber, etc. have set quicker times than their faster teammates in Q1 and Q2 (i.e. Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel) and then gotten punked in Q3 and/or the race.

      The only measure that matters is whether or not you deliver over your teammate when it counts, and so far Rosberg hasn’t been able to show he can do that. So there is no “measure” that he has over Hamilton. When he starts showing he can beat Hamilton when it counts, then he start running his pompous little silver-spooned mouth about how great is (as he always does).

      1. Richard says:

        I think what you have currently at Mercedes is Rosberg who is used to the car and systems, and Hamilton who is still on a learning curve at Mercedes. On top of that Hamilton has said there are aspects of the current car particularly in the wet he doesn’t like. All that said most top drivers will leave it until Q3 before they finally pull the stops fully out for their fastest lap because there is no point in increasing the risk for Q1 & Q2. it will probably be near mid-year before Hamilton feels comfortable, but let’s give credit where it’s due Rosberg has been very fast, just somehow falls short in Q3.

      2. Marcelo Leal says:

        Could not agree more. Just a few races more and Hamilton will have the confidence he needs with this car. But this talk about Rosberg Beating Hamilton in Q1 and Q2 is non-sense. Really… why Rosberg is not pole? Vettel was almost the last classified in Q1 and Q2. Why, because you need to deliver in Q3! And with these tyres, you need to be the Yoda of tyre management. ;-)
        It”s like say that Jenson has beaten Hamilton ober three years. That does not exist. Hamilton did beat him two years, and lose one. Fact.
        Loosers create non-sense statistic to prove something non-sense. It’s the first time HAMILTON drive a Mercedes formula 1 car, with a nut steering wheel, and having to adjust the car to his style, and he was third in AUS, and now just Ferrari and RB are at his front at Malaysia grid.
        That is sufficient to show what caliber LH driving habilities are…

      3. Red Rider says:

        I agree with you that it’s in Q3 that it counts etc.

        But why does Rosberg’s person require so much bashing? As to the silver spoon in mouth, they all have have it: Alonso, Massa, Vettel, Hamilton and so on. they’re all millionaires. As a matter of fact, the only thing I have against the silver spoon, is that it isn’t in my mouth. Mine’s stainless steel.

      4. Wade Parmino says:

        I agree. Rosberg is a good driver who may have got into F1 because of his father but has remained in F1 as a result of his talent.

        These drivers that you mention have all earned their ‘silver spoons’. However, Pic and Chilton are the only drivers in which the ‘silver spoon’ idiom can truly be applied. Their abilities are below Formula 1 quality.

      5. Hal says:

        I’m a Hamilton fan but that was a bit harsh about Rosberg.

      6. Paige says:

        re: Hal and Red Rider

        Nico Rosberg is an incredibly annoying personality to me- by far the most annoying of all of the personalities on the grid. He has long displayed an incredible overestimation of his own ability and greatness and is a shameless self-promoter at every opportunity- however shaky the grounds on which he makes his arguments. He used to toot his own horn at Williams about how he was so good at developing and setting up the car, and he basically implied that it was him and only him who kept Williams relevant- all while many have reported, including James in the past, that Rosberg is not at all regarded for his skills at setting up the car. This was particularly true in 2009 when he had some good results- his comments obviously completely ignoring the fact that Williams was one of the three teams who started the year with a big advantage in the double-decker diffuser that they were basically able to use to remain respectable. (And seriously, when your teammate is Nakajima, you darn well should be destroying your teammate.)

        On top of it all, he really does nothing at all to avoid the stereotype of a spoiled rich son of a former F1 World Champion who grew up in Monaco and feels a sense of entitlement. His sense of entitlement really shone through moreso at Williams than at Mercedes, a time in which he repeatedly questioned the quality of the car and the team publicly and did absolutely nothing to stunt talk of him moving on to bigger and better things. I’m sorry, but that is just not what real racing drivers do. When real racing drivers are with crap teams in crap cars, they give 150% every race nonetheless and do all they can to help the team improve. Sebastian Vettel at Toro Rosso is a fantastic example; he was driving a dog that was usually no better than the Williams, yet he helped get turn the car into one that would make Q3 routinely and even went on to win a race. If Rosberg is as good as his regular public self-aggrandizement suggests he is, then he should have had no problem pulling off a similar feat when he was at Williams.

      7. Andrew M says:

        “You get your grid position in Q3.”

        Really?!?!?!? Since when??!?!?!

      8. Doobs says:

        DNF in Melbourne wasn’t his fault.

      9. Paige says:

        Getting beat by almost a half-second in Q3 by Hamilton was.

      10. brendan says:

        you forget lewis is a very good driver(even better in quali)you cant judge nico on what happened today,with the conditions and being held up.
        lewis didnt have a silver spoon his parents wasnt rich(he had a silver arrow)
        lewis has got where he is throught hard work and talent.
        lewis and nico are a good pairing, together they can biuld a good team.
        as for the spoon mine is plasic.
        good luck to them both i say.

      11. Quade says:

        Lewis is faster than Rosberg, but that is no reason to insult Rosberg.
        I’m sure we can all support our favourite drivers without saying horrible things about the others.

      12. Jeff says:

        Speaking as a Hamilton fan, the facts are these.
        Australia
        Lewis out-qualified Nico. He was ahead of Nico in the race when Nico’s car failed, but not by much. We don’t know whether he would have had the same tyre problems as Lewis, so Lewis didn’t prove whether he would have won on Sunday, when it counts.

        Malaysia
        Lewis makes it 2 for 2 in qualifying. Difficult conditions, and reportedly Nico was balked by Kimi. This was written before the race, so I can’t comment on the race result.

        In conclusion, Lewis is winning the statistical battle so far, but it’s way too early to say whether he’s truly faster than Nico.

        Also in conclusion, the comments on Nico’s personality are more than a little harsh. He’s earned his place in F1 on merit, not just because he’s the son of a former world champion.

  7. goferet says:

    Another fantastic qualifying session, this time thanks to just the right amount of raindrops to spice up the grid.

    Yes, a jumbled grid is always fun to watch as drivers out of position try to make up places during the race.

    Without doubt Vettel is such a lucky lad for it wasn’t too long ago that it was all looking pear shaped in Q1 only for the clouds to say hellooooo.

    The Ferrari drivers also did a great job to judge the conditions and with Alonso starting from the second row, tomorrow’s first lap is not to be missed

    As for the Lewis-Rosberg battle, for sure Rosberg is keeping Lewis on his toes which is great for it will have the knock on effect of raising both drivers’ game.

    It’s a shame about Kimi’s reliability and his penalty but the evidence seems to show Kimi doesn’t enjoy high pressure environments such as qualifying and wheel to wheel battles for didn’t he impedi Alonso (i think it was) during qualifying last year.

    Looking further down, Mclaren look decent in the wet so must be hoping for more of the same tomorrow whereas the Williams are just slow both in the dry and wet.

    As for Sauber having qualified out of the top 10, they can try and do their magic with a different strategy. Their long runs if free practice 3 looked strong.

    1. trullili says:

      As has been mentioned Vettel was nursing tyres in Q1 to use them in Q2 again. So setting a fastest lap in Q1 or Q2 was not possible. It has nothing to do with luck.

      1. kmcc says:

        And he went out on his nice fresh options in Q3.

      2. DC says:

        Really? In the wet……

    2. mhilgtx says:

      Vettel made is own luck and appeared to be the smartest driver of the day. Saving tires for the race while making sure he had the best tires on for the end of Q3.

      Not sure about Kimi, I like something about him not sure what though.

      Masa’s lap was telling either his tires were starting to go or RBR is seriously fast with the new small wing.

    3. azac21 says:

      The start tomorrow should be great! There is a straight long enough for the red cars to catch and pass Vettel. Throw Hamilton in the mix too! I hope the rain doesn’t spoil it.

  8. Rodger says:

    A second quicker than anyone else.
    Rubbish that Vettel.

    1. Dan says:

      lol it that worth a response?

    2. Richard says:

      I bet he doesn’t win the race as the Ferrari’s will be all over him at the start before his tyres give up.

      1. Kenny says:

        I will take you up on the bet. The Redbulls were struggling in Q1 and Q2 because
        1) They were saving tyres
        2) They have setup their cars for race pace after learned from last week.
        Dont expect a repeat of last week. If its a dry race, i wouldnt be surprised to see Mercedes ahead of Ferrari and If Redbull has done its hope work right. I bet Vettel will be raising his finger once again tomorrow

      2. Kenny says:

        Guess what i won the bet. I told you Redbull will get behind the type issues. Where was lotus or the Ferraris? Good Show from Mercedes

      3. Michael says:

        I also doubt Vettel will win this race. His pole position was based on a drying track and and coming in for new intermediate tires. The Ferrari’s will be all over him the start.

  9. goferet says:

    Some fun facts.

    a) With 7 winners out of 14 having come from pole, it appears the Malaysia track is pretty 50/50 in respect to pole having an advantage.

    b) Massa is the only driver to have two poles in Malaysia and no wins

    c) With the exception of Vettel in 2010, whoever has beaten the pole guy to the win has gone on to lose the title and in most cases by a few points e.g. 1999, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2012.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Not sure Massa would call (b) a fun fact ;)

    2. Sebee says:

      Alonso for Malaysia win then! :-)

    3. I know says:

      If this was a race with just two cars in it, or if all other wins came from, say, P2 in qualifying, you may be right. Since there are typically 20 or more cars on the grid, a 50% conversion rate from poles to wins shows a definite advantage to being on pole.

      For tomorrow’s race, however, I don’t think qualifying position matters as much as does tyre management. One fewer pitstop is worth quite a few places, particularly if you can pit later and pass cars in front of you.

    4. Sebee says:

      Turns out it’s 2010 all over again!

      Domination.

  10. Great race for tomorrow. Good watching Massa back.

    Massa needs to not only get around qualifying ahead of alonso but crucially to finish ahead of him in the race.

    1. Dan says:

      Unfortunately, Massa will always finish behind Alonso because of team orders, which is a joke.

      His only chance, is staying ahead of Alonso, But crucially, keeping someone in between him and Alonso.

      Saying that Ferrari are that sad, they’d probably mess with his strategy to help Alonso.

      1. Mingojo says:

        I’m afraid Massa is slower than Alonso during the race as it was proved last weekend. Nothing to do with team orders. I guess some drivers set up their cars for qualy whereas others focus in the race.

      2. Dan says:

        Last week, Both Massa and Alonso were held up by Sutil.

        The team then favoured Alonso and pitted him first on the second round of stops, even though Massa was lead driver.

      3. BW says:

        It’s been ALO’s decision to come earlier than planned. Part of the game, too.

      4. Johnny Z says:

        The way you talk Dan, you make it sound like Alonso has never beat Massa on merit. Fact is Alonso called his own pit stop early last week. Massa failed to keep up from there on after. Massa had 30 plus laps to reel Alonso and Vettel in after that second stop and Felipe was unable to do so even though he had newer tyres than both Alonso and Vettel during those last two stints. His 4th place had nothing to do with team orders, his race pace was not as strong.

      5. Anne says:

        Well if Massa wants to finish ahead of his team mate he needs to be a risktaker in the first place. If he spends 15 o more laps behind Vettel he can´t expect congratulations from his team. He can´t afford to be conservative.

      6. Doobs says:

        Massa can do quick laps but tends to go off the boil mid race. Alonsois the go to man.

      7. Wade Parmino says:

        Considering how close the championship was last season; Alonso almost won it. So yes, Ferrari would tell Massa to hand over 1st place if Alonso is running 2nd (7 points difference). Ferrari will back the driver who is the most likely to win over an entire season. And so they should.

        Consider the following scenario: Massa wins at Sepang, Alonso is 2nd. Alonso then goes on to consistently get good podium results all year. Massa gets average middle points finishes with some occasional podiums throughout the year. By the conclusion of the season Massa is sitting 5th place in the championship and Alonso is 2nd by 6 points. A championship has been lost because the right decision for the team and driver was not made earlier in the season.

        Jean Todt made such a decision in 2002 at that infamous Austrian GP. Later in the year when the Driver’s championship had been secured, Schumacher had the opportunity to return the win which he owed to Barrichello and he did so at the US GP.

        Ferrari are a TEAM who will not sacrifice the team’s great success (a championship) for an individual driver’s minor success (a race win).

      8. quattro says:

        “The team then favoured Alonso and pitted him first on the second round of stops, even though Massa was lead driver.”

        Empty, groundless, unproven statement.

        Can you in any way, other than your obvious dislike of Ferrari/ALO, tell us how you got to know this?
        It is obvious that ALO side of the garage choose to make a gamble and pit him earlier than planned, since ALO was just loosing time behind the two slower cars infront (Yes, MAS IS slower, and has always been – refer to the previous three years worth of qualy/race stats if facts interest you at all!). MAS side could have done the same but choose not to, hence pitting 3 (not 2 not 1) laps after ALO.

      9. Dan says:

        I don’t dislike Alonso at all, he is the most complete driver on the grid for me.

        What I don’t like is teams having number ones.

        Red Bull and McLaren always let their drivers race, even if it costs them in the long run, Ferrari don’t.

      10. quattro says:

        @Dan

        “Red Bull and McLaren always let their drivers race, even if it costs them in the long run[...]”

        The above statement is so far from the truth, that no more than a simple youtube search is needed to prove it is uninformed.

      11. [MISTER] says:

        Sour grapes about Alonso?
        This morning, the Sky comentators made it clear that is was Alonso who “like a boss, asked for the early stop” in Melbourne.

        So if any driver is behind his teammate but asks for a different strategy, should the team refuse him just because his teammate has the first choice and hasn’t made it yet? Are you joking me?

        Massa and Smedley, I think, thought they will be much faster in clean air, and tried to put some fast laps after Vettel pitted. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.

        I don’t know for how long you’ve been watching F1, but it’s not always the team which makes the strategy calls, just like RBR were asking Vettel this morning which tyres he want. Just like Button in qualy in Melbourne which decided he wanted to go back on Inters after the team put him and Perez on Slicks.

        Is it so hard to for you to accept the fact that Alonso and his engineer tried something different and it worked? If there would’ve been team orders at Ferrari last race, they would’ve moved Massa on the 2nd or 3rd lap as he was clearly slower that Alonso.

        [mod]

      12. Elie says:

        I will say it again – If Felipe was advised that Fernando was pitting – do you think he would have waited – if he were allowed to- Comeon use your brains – no wonder he was annoyed !

      13. Doug says:

        Very true Dan, couldn’t agree more.

    2. Colombia Concalvez says:

      Then Ferrari needs to stop benefitting Alonso like they did in Australia and other raceses

      1. Nick4 says:

        Alonso made the call to come into the pits early to undercut Vettel and Massa. Massa had the opportunity to come straight in after Alonso and chose not to – the Team did not impose either decision on Massa – see the race report. Seems fair to give credit where it is due. Massa came in first in the 1st pitstops which was his prerogative for qualifying ahead of Alonso.
        Good for Massa that he has put Alonso under pressure but Alonso seems to always have an eye on the race during qualy and like Prost is not an outright qualifier.

    3. Andy says:

      I’m surprised Ferrari haven’t painted the underside of Massa’s rear wing to say ‘Honk To Pass’ for Alonso.
      Massa seems to be more than a match for his team mate over the last four races.
      I don’t have a problem with team orders but this early in the season?
      In the post qualifying press conference, Massa didn’t look particularly happy. He looked like someone who knew it didn’t matter where he qualified because come the race, he would be finishing behind his team mate.

      1. Justin Case says:

        Felipe wanted to try two stops, Fernando went for three. Ferrari have stuffed Alonso through strategy plenty of times. If he finished behind Felipe people would say why did they put him on a 3 stopper…….
        Anyway, what most of you are saying is Ferrari should back a guy who will possibly put in 3 or 4 great results this year, sprinkled with a lot of above average and 3 or 4 stinkers. Felipe did just that in his so called glory years 2006, 07, 08.
        The 2008 battle was defined by who could make the least amount of mistakes not an Alonso, Vettlel masterclass.

    4. Sikhumbuzo says:

      For Massa to survive there would hv to be a few cars between him and Alonso other than that he ll be shaffled back behind his teammate like in Melbourne.

      ST

  11. Miha Bevc says:

    So the reason for Red Bull being so slow in Q1 and Q2 is only tyre nursing? If this is true it was dangerous game they were playing, but I am afraid tyre nursing is not the only reason for their lack of pace. I doubt Vettel would get P1 in dry conditions.

    Too bad for Kimi but tomorrow anything can happen. Alonso now looks like the favorite for the win, Ferrari looks strong and they are good starters.

    What’s the weather forecast?

    1. Paige says:

      When you can run within two tenths of the top lap time every single lap of the grand prix and still be able to do one less stop than everyone else- as Lotus can do- then you basically start every dry weather race with a 15-25 second advantage over a race distance. So as long as Lotus is in the top-5 by the end of the first pit cycle, then I think at this point of the year, Raikkonen has to be the favorite to win every race a ceteris paribus.

      Tomorrow is a crap shoot with the weather. If it’s dry, I think you’ll see more of what you saw in Australia, with Kimi storming through the field and outlasting everyone for the win. If it rains, it’s anyone’s call, as we haven’t really seen what the teams can do over a race distance. Hell, we almost always see a driver from one of the midfield teams suddenly look like a world beater in the wet- ex. Perez and Hulkenberg last year. Sutil is a notably good wet weather driver, so he could very well be a factor tomorrow.

    2. KRB says:

      I think Vettel has already said that pole in the dry was unlikely today. It seems they’ve given up some quali pace for race pace, which is only sensible.

  12. Rockie says:

    “Alonso bristled in the official press conference at suggestions that this is a problem for him, pointing out that Massa has always been a strong reference point for him, despite his problems of the last few years.”

    This means last season he wasnt really getting the best out of the car and Pat Fry was correct at Abu-dhabi Massa’s woeful season made him seem like a superman.

    1. rafa says:

      I have read your paragraph 3 times and fail to see the logic behind it. You infer that alonso was underperforming based on the fact that Massa was having a terrible season… how? how can two unrelated events -alonso’s performance vs massa’s performance- result in you comming to such a conclusion? The only way you could claim that alo was underperforming is if his teammate were beating him on a regular basis… which he didn’t. the rest is just tired revisionism, and I’m surprised that you guys just won’t put the case to rest. Whatever….

      1. David Ryan says:

        The logic, as far as I can make out, is that Rockie is claiming Alonso wasn’t necessarily getting the best out of the car (which is as always a debatable statement but let’s bear with it for the moment), but that because Massa was having a complete mare in the other car it wasn’t being highlighted as much as it would be had Massa been on his game (as he was at the end of the season). Instead, Massa’s problems made Alonso look like a genius. Now that Massa is back on form, so the argument goes, it’s demonstrating Alonso’s true level.

        Whether you buy the argument or not is another matter – personally I don’t; the F2012 wasn’t much cop and until the last few races of the season Alonso was dragging as much as possible out of it in my opinion – but there is some logic behind it. It just takes a bit of finding.

    2. Random 79 says:

      Having Massa as a team mate has made Alonso appear stronger, but I think it’s fair to say that Alonso did more with the F2012 than maybe most others would have.

      Still, good to see Massa keeping him honest :)

      1. F1Aficionado says:

        +1

        Certainly Alonso has been faster than Massa, and with Felipe’s poor performance, it wasn’t difficult to figure who was Ferrari’s number 1 driver. Fernando’s 2012 performance was exquisite.

        It’s great to see Felipe is back in the game after all the sour years with mediocre performance. Question is… With Jules Bianchi doing so well at the back of the grid, and Massa going back on track, how long is going to take before we see Jules driving a tutto rosso?
        (James you are welcome to comment)

      2. Marcelo Leal says:

        The two times world champion does not like a rookie beating him. Just take a look at the Alonso’s team mate after he had his a** kicked by Hamilton at McLaren: Piquet and Massa. Enough said… one even crashed on purpose to give him a win!
        When Ferrari needed Massa last year, the guy was unleashed, and Massa started to perform. This year Alonso need to admit that the car is fast, so let’s see how it goes, as last year was just lamentation eve with the best car in terms of reliability. One single lap for pole? I never saw Alonso being good in that. With the best car this year, let’s see how many poles he can do.
        Strange that all the “technicals” about Mercedes car from last year are not mentioned anymore. Lewis is putting Mercedes on top with just two races and everyone now treats like a “normal” fact. Even everyone saying last year that this would be impossible! Seems like people do not want to admit that Hamilton is really making the difference.
        And McLaren now with the worst car??? The best car from last year now is worst than Mercedes, the car that was one of the “dogs”? Testing, adjusting, driver, etc… no? Mclaren just “messed” the whole car and Mercedes did find 4seconds in sic months? Crazy…

      3. jeffrey says:

        I am also impressed by Bianchis speed. Though I wish to see his fiercest competitor, Robin Frijns, behind the wheel as well. I am sure he would be just as good.

        Anyhow: I think Ferrari is pleased with Bianchi, but still think theyd rather give him one or 2 years in a midfield team, before he moves to Ferrari.

      4. [MISTER] says:

        If Jules continues this great form, I don’t think Ferrari would give their driver to RBR.
        Jules Bianchi is a Ferrari academy driver, and most likely they would put him in a Sauber to get experience than give it to RBR in their sister team TR.

      5. F1Aficionado says:

        @Jeffrey totally agree, similar to what happened to Massa with Sauber.

        @(Mister) tutto rosso is “all red”, sorry if I misled you to think I was talking about the RBR’s sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso.

        Enjoy the race guys.

      6. quattro says:

        “Having Massa as a team mate has made Alonso appear stronger”

        Stronger than who/what?
        Forget about comparing with the slow Brazilian. Pick your season of choice 2010-2012 and compare with the final results of a strong driver instead, one who even had a faster package than what ALO all seasons. Let us take…HAM in the Mclaren for example.

        As far as I can see, we have 3-0 to ALO there as well…

  13. Miha Bevc says:

    Oh, and brilliant job by Vettel in Q3. This guy sure is fast, and its not only the car!

  14. Mocho_Pikuain says:

    Looks like the Ferrari is the most balanced car. Gentle with tyres, but able to warm them fast and also good in the rain. I don’t know what’s the weather forecast for tomorrow but if its dry I can see an easy victory for Fernando, specialy after Kimi’s penalty.

    1. Dan says:

      Mercedes look the most balanced for me.

      Ferrari on only P2 and P3 because they made the right call and used a second set of tyres, unlike Mercedes who opted to stay out.

      I think tomorrow is between, Lewis and the Ferrari’s.
      Red Bull eat tyres to much, but Kimi might be strong again even from 10th if he can do one less stop again.

      1. Dalton says:

        A bit too much optimism regarding Mercedes. Hamilton had nothing for the Ferrari’s in Melbourne, it’s not going to get better in Malaysia. On full tanks Ferrari was easily able to drive around Lewis, they should pull away from him pretty easily at the start. Hamilton should target finishing in front of Kimi.

  15. Anne says:

    Mercedes complaint about Kimi or was FIA´s call to investigate the incident?
    Webber has communication problems, tyres problem, KERS problems. His season is turning into a Shakespearing tragedy. LOL!!!

    1. Sebee says:

      Don’t worry…soon he will come good and become Ferrari’s problem.

      Conspiracy theory 29:
      Disadvantage Webber early on so he is forced to support his #1 sooner in the season. Naaaah…that’s one of my crazier theories and no way it’s true.

      1. mhilgtx says:

        Not with MC coming out and admitting the ECU-KERS problem was of their making not RBR’s.

    2. KRB says:

      Shakespearing … that’s why English is such a great language, always evolving.

      I’m being sincerious. :-D

      1. Anne says:

        My kingdom for a KERS!!!

        Something is rotten in the tyres

    3. brendan says:

      poor webber, he has no luck,tomorrow he will lose at least 2 places at the start.sayin that maybe just one,cause its only button 2 places behind him.
      must be hard for webber having vettel as a team mate,you give it 110% and you still get beat.

  16. Horno says:

    The should have put Bianchi next to Sutil in the Forca India.. Di Resta is making a joke of himself!

    1. Random 79 says:

      I can see him in there next year. Right now Marussia is a good stomping ground for him to show his stuff.

      FOr whatever reason, going from DTM to F1 / F1 to DTM doesn’t seem to work.

      1. Martin says:

        I’m not a particular expert on DTM, but I understand there are a 1100 kg car with 375 kW with a lot of downforce an quite a low centre of gravity for a touring car. So you’d get a car that is quite pure in its dynamics and you’d want a driver to be very smooth, accurate and precise to be quick. High minimum corner speeds, rather than braking a bit later to a more “V” rather than “U” shaped line.

        An F1 car is probably more compromised by the aerodynamic regulations along with the current exhaust blowing trend further complicating driving styles.

        I expect DTM would be a category that would favour Jenson Button more than Lewis Hamilton in the way they drive F1 cars. I suspect Hamilton would be better than Button in more compromised touring cars – V8 Supercars, NASCARs or Lianas on the Top Gear track.

        Just on Top Gear F1 driver appearances and tyres, I suspect it is hardly a level playing field across all the drivers as it would be very difficult to get tyres from 2003 to match those of 2012. It is generally recommended that you don’t use tyres that are more than six years old, and manufacturers keep improving their tyres.

        Cheers,
        Martin

  17. Tealeaf says:

    Nico please sort out the choke you experience when it comes to the crunch, you were like that last year and you’re like it now, he’s undoubtedly faster than Hamilton but the final laps lets him down, please fix it or you won’t ever be a contender, and Perez? He doesn’t deserve the Mclaren drive, Kobayashi should still be in F1, and as goes for Seb well he flatters the car to be honest, as Coulthard says join another team blow everyone away and cement the legacy, but maybe not before the 4th and 5th title haha.

    1. Dan says:

      Undoubtedly faster than Hamilton…. Ok then

    2. Paige says:

      Undoubtedly faster?

      Does anyone think Massa is “undoubtedly faster” than Alonso after beating him recently not just in Q1 or Q2, but in Q3?

      Does anyone think Webber is faster than Vettel because he occasionally outqualifies him?

      What about Kovalainen when he occasionally set a quicker time than Hamilton when the two were paired at McLaren?

      Come on, man. This is Formula 1. If you are a proper Formula 1 driver, then you should be capable of occasionally putting together a time that is faster than your teammate’s- otherwise, you don’t really belong in Formula 1. Just because one driver occasionally sets a faster time than his teammate in no way, shape, or form means he is a faster driver. The best drivers are the ones who put up or shut up on a consistent when the money is on the line. Going for glory runs in practice or Q1/Q2 for rhetorical purposes in your media interviews- because you are absolutely frightened that a guy who comes into your team is widely considered to be one of the 2-3 fastest guys in F1 at the moment and could end up ruining your little boyhood dreams of getting to challenge for a title- does absolutely nothing to raise the profile of your talent level.

      If Rosberg wants to show he is on Hamilton’s level as an elite F1 driver, he needs to wipe the smirk off his face, shut his mouth, and get the freakin’ job done. He has run his mouth his entire career about how good he is and how he could do all of these great things if he just got the right car. Well, now he is the closest he’s ever been to having the right car, and he has a proper reference point in a world champion with blazing pace by which his talent is to be judged in the court of public opinion.

      1. newton says:

        Sadly the jurors in the court of public opinion have far too many hangups ever to come close to a sensible verdict.

      2. Kenny says:

        +1
        but i bet you Rosberg will surprise you and i am an lewis fan but the writing is clear, there wasnt much between them last week and this week two his performance has been interesting. But hey being a lewis fan i hope to be wrong

      3. mhilgtx says:

        +1

        While new and not aware of Nico’s comments. I take it he has said those things and you are right he needs to put up or shut up. If he thinks he is as fast as these guys he will compete with Hamilton as they have the same cars. Maybe not the same set ups and not sure how that team works but Kobi was able to compete.

      4. joel says:

        I fail to see your point, Rosberg is a well liked guy.

    3. dren says:

      It was the team’s choice to stay out on one set of tires. Had they not, he might have been higher up. In the dry it looked like Bergy had it. Freakin’ rain.

      1. [MISTER] says:

        It’s a bit weird. Last race, Rosberg was so fast in the wet, and he said he would’ve preferred to finish the qualy on the wet Saturday rather than Sunday morning. Same for Vergne, he was so fast in the wet in Melbourne.

        Now, in the wet, Rosberg is not that fast. But he is fast in the dry. Woot? What’s going on?

      2. Martin says:

        In Melbourne Rosberg chose to run more wing than Hamilton. That seemed to give a clear edge in the wet that wasn’t apparent in the drier Q3. Last year, Lewis went for more downforce than Button and edged it in qualifying and was slower in the race. It may be that Lewis went for less wing in qualifying based on that experience, rather than Rosberg adding more. In the race, Hamilton was ahead – the gap was described as steady, but I felt Lewis was edging away.

        In Malaysia there is the added complication of Q2 only really being half completed. Pat Fry thought the Ferraris would not have need to run again in Q2, so there was probably a bit of driving to a target time to get through to Q3. Go too slow and you need to do another lap. Go too fast and you take too much out of tyres you may need later. Depending on how cautious each team is, there will be some fat in the times due to fuel loads in Q2 – the cars might go out with fuel for 5 or 6 laps even though the lap time is set on the second lap. So there can be a couple of tenths hidden in fuel weight variations.

    4. madmax says:

      Faster in the wet than Hamilton in Aus then it drys, faster in the dry than Hamilton then it rains!

    5. Steven says:

      undoubtely faster? LOL No, not at all. Times dont lie, Hamilton keeps beating Britney. No, Hamilton is faster than him, period.

      1. KRB says:

        Yeah, ask Coulthard about how Hakkinen would always “pull something out” in the final qualifying session. DC said it perfectly: “when that keeps happening all the time, then you have to think it’s not by accident.”

        Still too early for any conclusions on HAM-ROS … we haven’t had a “normal” qualifying to date.

        If it’s a dry start tomorrow, I could see some dicing out front at the start … the Ferrari is very good off the line.

      2. mhilgtx says:

        Is that something skill?

  18. Again Rosberg appears to outpace Hamilton right up to the moment it really counts. Is Hamilton finding something extra at the final moment? Or is Rosberg baulking when it matters most?

    1. Dan says:

      Rosberg has never outpaced Hamilton in reality though.

      Q1 and Q2 is just about getting through using the least amount of tyres.

      Q3 is when it counts and Hamilton is undoubtedly the fastest driver in F1 when it comes to natural raw pace.
      (This isn’t just my view, but most pundits and ex drivers too)

      1. Andrew M says:

        I think quite a few Vettel fans would take issue with that…

      2. Dan says:

        They might do.

        But I think we all agree, Hamilton, Vettel & Alonso are the the top 3 drivers in the world, all with their own attributes.

        Hamilton lacks some areas, which he is slowly improving, but his natural raw pace is unrivalled for me.

      3. KRB says:

        Mostly just Vettel fans, yer right.

        Hopefully we will see Lewis and Seb in the same team sometime. Lewis sure wanted to join RBR.

        Seb is no doubt quick. I think you’d get 95% agreement by saying that those two are the two fastest flying-lap drivers in F1.

      4. Kenny says:

        If Ferrari keep Vettel Waiting, I wont be surprised in 2 or 3 years if Mercedes can keep up the development race with the new talent it has acquired from other teams it is more likely that Vettel being German and Multiple World Champion would be on Mercedes shopping list. Remember if they could convince Hamilton to drive for them, I bet they could convince Vettel too if they have a competitive car. Alonzo wont retire for the next 6 years at least. And Alonzo wont risk his rep by allowing Vettel into his team

      5. Quade says:

        The incredible 1.1 sec trouncing in a reasonably priced car doesn’t lie.
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2013/08/top-gear-ep-4.html

      6. Doug says:

        Yes…but they’d be wrong! :-)

      7. Martin says:

        Just on Quade’s comment on Top Gear, we have no knowledge on everything being equal, particularly tyres. At some point Top Gear would have had to have changed the tyres used as it pretty unlikely that the original supplied tyres in 2002 are still made now and it is generally advised to not use tyres that are more than six years old.

      8. Paige says:

        Don’t know about “undoubtedly.” It’s pretty tight between Hamilton and Vettel over a single lap. Both of those guys have the ability to pull some absolutely unruly times out of a car. I think once Lotus adds some one-lap pace, you will start to see more 2005 McLaren-esque performances from Kimi in qualifying, as well. (His fitness is also reportedly improving, which will help him shed the reaction time that is so critical for hot laps.)

        Alonso may not have quite as much one lap pace as Hamilton and Vettel, but he is not far behind at all and has certainly shown an ability to pull out some miracles. It’ll also be very interesting to see what happens with Hulkenberg finally gets a shot in a fast car.

    2. djr says:

      It only matters when it counts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. Colombia Concalvez says:

      Massa keeps out-qualifying as well right ?, and besides it’s Lewis first year with the car so what’s big deal ?

      1. It’s not a big deal. I’m just interested to know what’s happening.

    4. Paige says:

      Heikki used to be faster than Hamilton in a lot of Q1 and Q2 sessions. The best drivers turn it on for Q3 after getting through Q1 and Q2. If you have a Q3 car, there is no reason to maximize your performance in Q1 and Q2. There is a good chance that Rosberg feels incredibly insecure (as he always seems to have felt, given that he is perhaps the most defensive and self-aggrandizing of any of the drivers when he makes public comments) and is thinking that he needs to take every single lap as a necessary moment to prove himself, given that he is going up against the fastest driver he has ever faced who comes into the team as the widely assumed lead driver for the future. If Rosberg doesn’t do this, he risks not ever being entrusted with a real chance to win a world title.

      On the other hand, Hamilton comes in as a world champion with a clearly solid mind about things and seems to have a very systematic approach with his new team. He knows when to show his cajones and when not to.

      1. kmcc says:

        Fastest driver he has ever faced???

        I’m no Schumacher fan but really…

      2. Paige says:

        In terms of where Hamilton is right now in his career vs. where Schumacher was when he was Rosberg’s teammate, then yes.

        Obviously if we are talking about pre-retirement Schumacher, then that is another discussion. My apologies for not clarifying my point. But there has to be no doubt that Hamilton right now in his career is much faster than Schumacher was in his comeback. To argue otherwise would be quite a stretch. I think we can also very safely argue that Hamilton is quicker than the likes of Webber, Nakajima, and Alex Wurz. (Unless you are the most deranged of anti-Hamilton fans.)

      3. JSK says:

        2008 fuel played big role, because you were not alloyed to refuel cars after Q3. So one car had always more fuel for at least one race lap than the other car. Same thing in every team. So it´s difficult to compare team mates. How much penalty that extra fuel caused in different tracks? So witch one was actually faster? I´m not just talking about Lewis and Heikki. But I remember that Heikki told he had only once lighter car in Q3. And that time he beat Lewis. Was Heikki actually faster? I can´t remember the difference and don´t know how much on that track Lewis suffered from carrying that extra fuel. But in all other Q3s Lewis had lighter car, so that explains why Lewis usually drove better time in Q3. Was he always really faster? You should compare time difference and know fuel penalty for every track. Difficult. As you said, Heikki used to be faster Q1 and Q2 session. Maybe that does tell something. But it´s true that guys in fast cars don´t have to give their max performance in Q1 and Q2, they just have to get through.

        Lewis was better overall than Heikki 2008. No question about that. And I´m really happy that rules then changed so that Q3 is now with minimum and equal fuel loads.

  19. Chromatic says:

    This will be the first time Kimi has a penalty since Melbourne 2003 [speeding in the pitlane]. Pretty sure it wasn’t deliberate but it didn’t come up on the coverage.
    However Hulk was def impeded by somebody, yet .. nothing from the stews.

    1. Chromatic says:

      Perez impeded Hulk

      1. KRB says:

        Well, Hulk got around w/o too much time loss, but Perez was on the racing line, and shouldn’t have been.

      2. mhilgtx says:

        Is it just me or does Perez seem not right to others. The Q2 mess in Australia and being on the line but not at speed?

      3. Wade Parmino says:

        Perez moved over as far as he could without leaving the bounds of the track. It was just an unfortunate point on the track where Hulkenberg encountered a slow moving car. Just unlucky; there was no malice or inconsiderate negligence on the part of Perez.

    2. Dom says:

      Derek Warwick is the chief steward this time. Hes not a fan of KR but not a [mod]. Formerly a Lotus driver way back. Ok driver but never title chaser.

      1. James Allen says:

        I had a chat with Derek on Thursday and he was singing Kimi’s praises for the way he has started the season.

        Everyone here is – Kimi’s really on it this year

    3. Lisa Thomas says:

      A bit harsh if this is Kimi’s first offence in ten years. Seb got a reprimand for impeding in Q3 last year, I believe.
      That should have been the penalty in this case. Did not look blatant or intentional, also Kimi was nursing his car at the time….

  20. Irish con says:

    I don’t understand today much at all. Yesterday it looked like the merc was no were really and that lotus and red bull and Ferrari was out in front. And the times havnt really got faster today. Something strange is going on. Are teams all making there cars slower over a lap to protect the rear tyres or what? If its dry it wil be a Ferrari 1-2 into the first corner.

  21. Richard says:

    The combination of going at the right time and new inters gave Vettel pole, however I think he will be swamped by the fast starting Ferraris when the lights go out. Mercedes were a little unlucky, and I can’t help feeling that Hamilton would have challenged Vettel for pole. It remains to be seen it the work Mercedes have done will benefit in the race, but I suspect Red Bull may be disadvantaged by tear excessive wear in the dry.

    1. Slueth says:

      I didn’t have that feeling.

    2. Sikhumbuzo says:

      Tomorrow we ll also know if Ferrari should hv let Aldo go.

  22. Kidza says:

    Vettel will be mobbed by one or both Ferrari’s into the first corner. In the dry though the Mercedes is looking good for the win!

    1. Slueth says:

      If everyone else crashes.

      1. madmax says:

        And their two cars make it to the finishing line without breaking down.

      2. Jake says:

        Not everybody, but Vettel, Alonso and Massa will reach the first corner all together, wonder who will chicken out?

  23. Hendo says:

    As the 3rd most influential person in F1 (after Bernie & Niki Lauda) would it be possible James, for you to pull some strings and get whoever does the timing graphics to indicate which tyres each driver is on during qualifying and also the race.
    Since its all about tyres, tyres, tyres nowadays we really need this to improve the viewer experience.
    And while you’re at it- can you please convince the FIA to release a dumbed down version of their Live Timing app that just has the times and not all the other rubbish of cgi overlays of the cars. There’s no way I’m paying $36 for it – but I would go $5 for just the timing screen. Thanks.

      1. Random 79 says:

        Just smile and nod James…just smile and nod ;)

      2. rafa says:

        I think he really means it James.

      3. Pete says:

        Yeah that’s crazy…. James is so fourth behind Eddie Jordan …

      4. Miha Bevc says:

        Haha! Yes James, and can you bring back Robert Kubica and end world hunger!? Oh c’mon James! :)

    1. Sebee says:

      Fan Of The Day winner!

    2. AlexD says:

      The app today was showing vettel on Medium vs intermediates…shich was a mistake

    3. Glennb says:

      Maybe they could also paint the side walls a different colour to indicate which tyres are on the cars James. I think that would improve the viewer experience no end ;)
      Maybe you could raise that with Paul Hembrey, the real #3 in F1.

    4. brendan says:

      i use the f1 website one its free,(very good).if you turn ur tv/pc on, you can see the tyres yourself.
      intermediates are green medium is white> simple.

    5. Andras F. says:

      There is an alternative for Android which work quite well…

    6. Gate 21 says:

      And while you are at James: I want paddock tickets for Monaco, the 2nd Marussia seat for 2014 and a signed copy of each of your books.

      Don’t want to pay for it though.

  24. IJ says:

    This Jules kid is looking pretty special! Very impressive performances so far….

    1. Paige says:

      He’s always been a quick guy. For one reason or another, though, he never did put it together in the step below F1 to a degree that many expected of him.

      Still, it is good to see he has gotten a chance and is making the most of it. He’s doing a lot of good for himself at a time in his career when the pressure should really be on him.

      1. KRB says:

        Also boosts Frijn’s stock then.

    2. dren says:

      Yes, I think di Resta needs the boot, retain Sutil and bring on Jules.

    3. Wade Parmino says:

      Yup. It shows how an F1 seat is being wasted on Chilton. Should have kept Glock.

  25. Sanky says:

    Hamilton and Mercedes missed out on an opportunity for a front row start by staying on the same set of inters….Vettel nd RedBull once again made the most of the opportunities delivering an amazing lap as the track improved…..Will be an interesting race nd the Ferraris seem to be in a very strong posn…..hoping for a dry rac e

  26. rafa says:

    Uh oh.. massa’s on top form, please countdown for the furore on ja on f1!

  27. Val from montreal says:

    Text Message to Michael S. from Ross :

    Ross : Hi Michael , have you given consideration to my request last week ? It looks likes the team is slowly going backwards compared to last year because we only managed 4th today ,last year you were a brilliant 3rd …remember Michael ??

    Michael : Yes I do remember … But no , my retirement still stands … By the way Ross , back in the days at Ferrari do you ever remember If Rubens or Felipe ever outqualified me 4 races in a row ??

    Ross : Not to my knowledge …

    Michael : Thought so too , good luck this weekend !

    1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      Non sense, in 2012 Schumacher got retired in Australia and got just P10 in the race in Malaysia, nothing impresive.

      1. madmax says:

        It’s hardly his fault when the car broke down in Aus and he was spun by Grosjean and sent to the back in Malaysia.

    2. Andrew M says:

      Text Message to Michael S. from Ross :

      Ross : Hi Michael , have you given consideration to my request last week ? It looks likes the team is slowly going backwards compared to last year because we only managed 4th today ,last year you were a brilliant 3rd …remember Michael ??

      Michael: Yes, I do remember. But Lewis qualified third in Australia when I qualified fourth last year, so that’s hardly conclusive is it? Maybe we should wait until we get more than one race into the season before we start making snap judgements about where the team is going, especially considering how badly the team flatlined last year (not helped by the fact that I had a nasty habit of driving into the back of cars and getting grid penalties). Good luck with the impending boardroom coup Ross!

    3. Mike Hunt says:

      Apologies val……the “ow nico” was supposed to read something along the lines of “i cant believe schumi needed so much help from the FIA to beat Juan Pablo Montoya!!”

  28. Skanda says:

    As if having the fastest driver and the fastest car is not enough, RB has the best track operations – They are so perfect with timing of their qualifying laps, fastest in the pits, perfect in the race strategies! This is one team that executes brilliantly – that goes unnoticed most of the time!

    1. Random 79 says:

      It may not much attention in the media, but trust me, it gets noticed.

    2. femi akins says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more. I’m not a fan of the way they go about managing the driver equality but as far as track side operations and reacting to situations, they make the old teams (I’m looking at you Scuderia and Mac can look old and slow

      1. Kenny says:

        How they manage driver equality? If Webber had similar views he would have signed up for Ferrari last year. They were very interested in him and only signed Massa once he was off the market.

        I think they treat their Drivers more equally than Ferrari at least. Vettel out shines his team mate just like Alonzo did with Massa in the last 3 years and Hamilton to Button(purely on pace and not on the championship standing)

    3. Glennb says:

      Wow! And I always thought from reading these forums that they just had the fastest car and 2 mediocre drivers. So they really are a top professional outfit eh? Who woulda thunk it…
      Not bad for a soft drink Co.

    4. [MISTER] says:

      I think Mark Webber would disagree with your comment..

  29. Dan says:

    James, Noticed you (and Kimi) didn’t think much of Crofty’s blue flag question in the press conference. Or was it just clever editing? :)

    As for qualifying, I had a hunch that worn inters might be the best rubber to be on going into the last few moments of Q3.

    Do you think Lewis was anywhere near putting a lap together given he was last over the line? Or was the difference from new inters that great? Obviously grid suggests latter but wasn’t clear if Lewis had any specific issues on his last lap.

    Also, I remember the Bridgestone inter having a wide working window. How does the Pirelli inter compare?

    1. KRB says:

      His last lap was 3-tenths down from his prior lap, but still 5-tenths quicker than Rosberg. Don’t think he could’ve beaten Vettel’s time even with new inters on.

    2. Paige says:

      The last time I remember a team trying the “slick inters” trick was that famous demonstration of default English weather, Silverstone 2008. Ferrari and Renault both tried it with Raikkonen and Alonso, respectively, and I distinctly remember it resulting in disastrous times and Kimi spinning like a 45 on multiple occasions. (Not as often as Massa.)

      I’m surprised anyone was stupid enough to try it again after that very failed experiment. Everyone knows only Michael Schumacher touch asinine ideas like that and turn them into gold. (Four-stopper at Magny Cours, anyone?)

  30. trullili says:

    I think Vettel had the pace for pole position in dry conditions as well. He was using the same set of tyres in Q1 and Q2, meaning he couldnt take maximum out of them in Q1 to save them for Q2 and then they had 3 more laps in them compared to Webbers who used fresh sets in both sessions. And Webber was second after Rosberg in Q2 so beating the Mercedes would have been doable. It was a gamble because he just made the cut to reach Q2 but reaching the next qualifying session is the name of the game, by what margin is irrelevant as long as you do it.

    Dissapointing results for Webber who stayed out with the intermediates on an ever improving track (which is most of the time the smarter decision but not today) and Rosberg and Raikkonen. Sutil starting to expose DiResta right from the start of the season this year.

  31. Rach says:

    The race is going to be brilliant. The startegy and threat of rain mean forecasting a winner is going to be very difficult.

    If I had to choose it will be Alonso. However I hope Ferrari doesn’t resort to the blatant favouritism it showed last week. On here before the season I debated with someone that if Massa was fast enough they would let him race Alonso (like they did with Kimi in 07-09). I really hope I’m right but I am more frightened after the blatant favouritism shown to Alonso last race.

    Just to clarify I have no problem with what Ferrari did to Massa in Austin or even in Germany in 2010. By that point it was sensible to back Alonso. This season is not clear what the picture is so I hope for a fair battle.

    1. Mingojo says:

      Last week Alonso was faster than Massa during the race. Alonso took a gamble and won!

      1. Aaron Noronha says:

        Its not possible to assume Alonzo was Faster than Massa because Massa was never in clear air. Over the last 3 years Alonzo has had a speed advantage, but the latter part of last year and this year proves that Massa is back to the Massa Ferrari hired before his accident. He has been lacking some speed after the accident partly due to confidence issues and partly due to the accident. That doesnt mean he is in the same league as Alonzo, to do that he needs to out shine Alonzo over the course of the year.

    2. Irish con says:

      U obviously missed the part were alonso came into the pits and told the team to have the tyres ready. Not the team telling Fernando. Felipe could of done this also but didn’t. This is why Fernando is ahead of him. He leads and doesn’t need to be led.

      1. Rach says:

        No I didn’t miss it. The driver who is behind always has the advantage in that if he pits first he will get the undercut. Massa as he was in front should always get first option and the team should not allow him to be undercut. Ferrari did this knowing that it would compromise massa and benefit Alonso.

        If you don’t understand this simple bit of strategy then you won’t understand why there is dissapointment at Ferrari’s actions.

      2. Irish con says:

        U obviously are missing the point here. Fernando drove into the pits and told Ferrari to have his tyres ready at the last second before Ferrari could do anything other than respond to his request. What did u expect Ferrari to do then? Tell him to drive on through and not change his tyres. Please open your eyes and stop bashing Ferrari any chance u get. Fernando made the call. Felipe had the same chance as fernando but didn’t make the call. It was the same as today when seb pitted for new inters and mark stayed out. It’s the extra capacity that seb and fernando have that there the 2 most successful drivers on the grid.

      3. Martin says:

        It is the driver who stops first who has the advantage of the newer tyres, not the driver who is behind. Stop too early and you run out of tyres. If we believe what Massa is quoted to have said, he thought it was too early to stop, so he wasn’t considering it at that stage. Massa suggested the track rubbering in allowed Alonso to get home with three stops (38 laps on two sets) when Alonso had only done nine laps (and Massa ten) on his second set. Vettel would not have wanted to stop that early either, but the key was undercutting Sutil.

        The teams have tyre temperature data and weather predictions, but the driver has the best feel for track evolution. So, if as reported, Alonso said “I want to come in early” why should Ferrari then offer it to Massa? The first pit stop situation was different as it was Ferrari reacting to Red Bull.

        At lap 20, stopping that early would be regarded as a significant risk. It wasn’t too bad at that stage, but from what Massa said stopping on lap 20 would have been a Plan C option. With two cars stuck behind two rivals running both on them on a reactive strategy would have seen both of them lose to Vettel. If you are going to take a risk, it would make sense to try it with your worst placed car as there is less to lose.

        Massa is not known for having a strong strategic view of races in the way Alonso is, so to me it is entirely plausible that Alonso made the call and Ferrari let the drivers race. Ferrari did exactly that a few times with Massa and Raikkonen, most notably in Malaysia in 2008 where Raikkonen was short fueled on his first stop to get track position. Massa lost the plot a bit after this even after Rob Smedley was telling him that Raikkonen’s fuel strategy would put him behind after the final stops. And this was in a year when Kimi fans accused Ferrari of favouring Massa.

        Ignoring people who don’t like Alonso, the most obvious pattern in Ferrari’s behaviour is that the team is the most important thing. Alonso is the better paid driver, and if one driver is out of contention in the championship then it makes sense to favour the other.

        To me your argument reads more of a bias of wanting to see a particular outcome. Ferrari has generally been very open about when it has favoured drivers, such as the occasions when the drivers have had different specification cars, or Massa’s gearbox seal change in the US last year. So why create a story about who came up with the strategy call when the FIA records all the voice traffic anyway? Massa was unlikely to be happy at the end of a race where he was ahead of his team mate for one third of the race and with equal circumstances available to him finished 21 seconds behind.

        To say that Massa must stop first because he is ahead could have put him at risk of needing an additional tyre stop. At that point of the race the Mercedes were trying to do the race in two stops, so if Massa needed four stops then he could have turned fourth into sixth. If a driver thinks it is too early then it is an unusual approach to force him to in.

      4. Rach says:

        @ Irish con/ Martin

        I understand your arguements but you have to consider that if massa was in the same situation would he be allowed to do the undercut? We will see in the future but I doubt it.

    3. [MISTER] says:

      The Sky commentators said this morning before the qualy that in Melbourne it was Alonso “like a boss who asked for the early pit stop” and how right he was.

  32. D17MO.D says:

    Erm… JULES BIANCHI!!!!

    Can anyone explain how Max Chilton got that drive? [mod]
    Money is power I guess…

    1. D17MO.D says:

      *EDIT*

      He wasn’t special in GP2 either!

    2. Tim says:

      I think you answered your own question. His Dad is a multi millionaire and chair of insurance company Aon. I imagine that might help :-)

  33. kmcc says:

    Hi all

    Quick question. Was Vettel the only runner in Q3 to use 2 sets of inters?

    The race is in the tropics during monsoon season – it will rain.

    Was that such a bright idea?

    Cheers,
    K

    PS Massa does it again

    1. James Allen says:

      No, both Ferraris too I believe

      1. kmcc says:

        Thanks for that, must have missed the stops.

  34. yassin says:

    Hi James,

    What strategy will Lotus apply to give kimi a chance for a podium spot?

    Thanks

    1. James Allen says:

      He has great race pace, but he’ll need to make progress at the start and in undercuts on stops 1 & 2.

      1. Martin says:

        Hi James,
        Are you suggesting Kimi will stop as many times as everyone else? You at times seem to have a loose use of “undercut”, for example applying it to what Kimi did in Hungary by staying out and doing fast laps on old tyres. The standard usage is where a driver who is behind stops before a driver in front to get the benefit of new tyres to get ahead.

      2. James Allen says:

        Kimi probably will have to stop as many times as the others, but he can do a longer first stint, a more “ideal” strategy and make up places that way.

        He’ll be on the podium today in a dry race

  35. Ahmed says:

    +1000
    Lmao, very creative, yet very true points

  36. nusratolla says:

    Sutil and Bianchi were a revelation during qualifying. It was good to see Massa again on pace. Gutted for Kimi, it would be difficult for him to go for the win unless he manages exploit the changeable weather conditions which are expected.

    Rest were usual suspects in usual slots.

    The drivers which are expected to pull a rabbit out of their hats are Sutil, Button, Perez, Raikkonen and dare I say Hulkenberg (remember the changeable conditions in Brazil?)

    For Win its Fernando’s race to lose for Massa will be wronged and Vettel will fall prey to degradation.

  37. Becken says:

    James, a question: who is doing the strategy calls at Mercedes? Is it Ross?

    Interesting that let the drivers in ‘inter’ tyres until they wear down to slicks resembles from Bridgestone´s era.

      1. Chromatic says:

        James, was it Brawn who complained about Rosberg being held up, as Rosberg himself didn’t bring it up in any interviews with the media. You would expect him to if he felt he was blocked.

      2. Stephen Taylor says:

        Niki Lauda told the team to complain

  38. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    I was positively impressed by:

    - Sutil in comparison with the middle field, he’s showing maturity and getting TV time for the sponsors, while teammate Di Resta cannot keep the car on the track;

    - Vettel, this year he hasn’t have a clear winner car, but he is bettering his skills and in this qualy he was very impressive;

    - Mercedes as a team, in 2012 they were P5 in the WCC and this year 2013 they are moving up fighting both drivers for the top 6 positions in two different track layouts.

    - Ferrari’s reliability.

    1. Random 79 says:

      For the first 3: Early days yet, but they’re looking good.

      As for Ferrari, it was their reliablity that kept them in the game in 2012 – in 2013 they are going to be a force to be reckoned with.

  39. Devero says:

    Great effort by Vettel. Massa did a good job, too.

    Ferrari cars always start amazingly well, so I don’t see how Vettel is going to keep his P1. He’ll be 3rd after the first turn. I hop Ferrari allows Massa to race Alonso.

  40. kmcc says:

    Slightly off topic…

    Is there anyone out there who remembers Mansell v Senna at Adelaide?

    There’s a case for managing your tyres!

    1. Martin says:

      Yes – Senna was driving pretty hard to keep up with Mansell. If we go by Berger and Patrese, McLaren was probably aiming for Senna to stop once and Williams probably not at all prior to Senna giving Vettel some inspiration for his one-finger salute.

      Given those first 19 laps were the high point of the 1992 season for true racing it is more something I’d want to avoid trying recreate. The cars were so uneven that the tyres were largely irrelevant to the results.

  41. Goldeneye76 says:

    I’m a die hard F1 fan but I’m getting bored with the same predictable quali sessions (and probably soon to be predictable races). I’m genuinely impressed by Vettle’s skill and likeability, but daaayyyuuummm it’s getting boring now. Pulling the pole lap at the last minute, pretty soon will be running away with the lead… dangerously close to Schumacher and Ferrari. Time to find something else to do on a Saturday and Sunday soon

    1. [MISTER] says:

      Vettel’s likeability? What? What’s that? :)

  42. aveli says:

    hi james, do you think mercedes is enjoying hamilton’s technical input while mclaren miss it?
    i don’t think luck had anything to do with vettel’s pole as suggested by many above after all the opportunity was open to all drivers and he took it by the scruff of the neck. it’ll be an interesting race with raikkonen way down the grid. i wonder how far he can climb up this time with fewer pits tops.

    1. Martin says:

      From the commentary that I’ve seen, the suggestion has been that McLaren probably listened less to Hamilton than Button due to Hamilton still being treated as the child of the team. It is probably very difficult to judge whether Hamilton is of more benefit than Schumacher. Both drivers obviously would have a lot of feel for what a car is doing based on their ability to drive around problems. They both seem quite articulate when talking about less technical stuff in media (when they aren’t grumpy), so if they can convey what they feel and what characteristics need to change then that gives the team a lot of go on. A driver who can cope with problems is a plus and a minus – some things can get ignored but real problems get highlighted rather than the race engineers being given a long list.

      Hamilton will obviously have a lot of experience from McLaren and can bring ideas across. Sauber being a smaller team, and Perez’s less experience mean that McLaren have gained less than McLaren there. Hamilton could encourage the Mercedes designers to look for performance in certain areas – especially low speed short corners as that was an area Hamilton was able to exploit at tracks such as Singapore and Abu Dhabi, although these were tracks that Rosberg has been strong at, so there may not be that much gain.

  43. Gareth says:

    Laughable message on the BBC saying “Mclaren are getting there”, I thought April fools day was next week?
    In terms of the race, I dont see Vettel running and hiding if its dry, his car looked all over the place at some stages in qualifying. I see a Ferrari win, with Alonso taken it because Massa has a “long stop”

  44. Methusalem says:

    Everyone has an unconditional free choice of tyres at start, right?

    1. Slight tangent, but I was pondering this today…

      Say a driver makes an inspired decision to go out on slicks at the last minute; all the other drivers don’t have time to react and this guy puts his Williams, Sauber or whatever on pole, but destroys his tyres in doing so.

      If it’s a dry race then all the others, having qualified on inters, get to start on a new set of whatever compound they like, while poor super star of quali starts from p1 but will undoubtedly get mugged by the others on the start line.

      I know it’s an extreme example, and there’s more likely be a bigger split between drivers who were on inters/slicks. But it does highlight a pretty major flaw with the tyre regs.

      1. Random 79 says:

        You’re right. I wouldn’t call it a flaw in the tyre regs, but if a driver wants to switch to slicks to get pole, then that’s his (or the teams) choice; no one forces them to, it’s just a strategy call like any other.

    2. Glennb says:

      No. The top 10 must all start on inters.
      Only joking, teams can use whatever they like to start the race when Q3 was officially wet.

    3. brendan says:

      yes they all asking for bridgstones(ha ha)

    4. Stephen Taylor says:

      Yep

    5. Random 79 says:

      Everyone who is knocked out of Q1 or Q2 or qualified on inters or full wets can choose their tyres…so yes, that’s right.

  45. Andrew says:

    As a Hamilton fan I was dissapointed that the Mercedes team didn’t bring their drivers in for a fresh set of inters, I felt it was a mistake at the time, and it proved to be that way.

    On a positive note, it doesn’t really matter that Hamilton is behind the Ferrari’s as they would no doubt have rocketed past him at the start regardless, their launch is usually vastly superior and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them passing Vettel before the first corner.

    1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      This year maybe is the other way around, Hamilton should be very happy if at the end of the race he can keep P4.

      Webber looked fast, and also Rosberg.

      Finishing in P4 and P5 for Mercedes and getting 22 points should be a very good result in race day.

    2. danny says:

      I’m not so sure it’s too bad a mistake – if tomorrow’s race is wet/dry like Q3 was then the inters will take a beating – having an extra new set could prove to make all the difference

  46. fia ointment says:

    RE james clayton bridgestones and pre 2009 spec itv coverage and real racing please

  47. Danny Almonte says:

    Red Bull and Ferrari are in trouble if it rains. They used up two sets of intermediate tires in the fight for pole position.

  48. David Ryan says:

    Must say it’s quite amusing how readily people are calling for di Resta to be issued with a P45 off the back of one dodgy qualifying session. Lest we forget, last time out he out-qualified Sutil and in the race he would have probably finished ahead of Sutil but for Force India instructing them to hold position and secure the points (Sutil’s tyres being pretty much gone). Today’s result was down to a fairly straightforward error – namely, misjudging when the rain was going to come down. Once you get Malaysian weather doing what it does to part of the circuit, it’s pretty much a given you’re not going to improve your time. Di Resta is under pressure this year, no doubt, but I think the pitchforks could do with being put away for a bit…

    Anyway, impressive lap from Vettel in the conditions – 0.9s quicker than the rest is no mean feat – and strong qualifying from Ferrari and Hamilton as well. Not sure who’s going to figure in the result mind you, given what said Malaysian weather likes to do this time of year.

    1. Martin says:

      Being in Australia, I don’t see much of di Resta being interviewed – especially compared to Webber and Ricciardo – but the impression I get from this site is that the fans haven’t found much reason to like him personally. He seems to have an excuse for everything – his crash in Suzuka practice that compromised the next two races with a damaged chassis as even blamed on something other than driver error. So while the results don’t tell the whole story, di Resta’s story seems to be to talk himself up.

      Being a smooth driver who gets good results by looking after his tyres doesn’t bring back memories of Mansell charging through the field (or Hamilton).

  49. Rob says:

    Alonso was struggling big time against Hamilton as a rookie… the stats hide the actual beating he took in 2007.

    Alonso blows his own trumpet, but does get caught with his pants down time and again.

    Massa is an okay driver, but Alonso is struggling again.

    It may have been the mass damper that did a lot of the winning for Alonso’s WDC… just like the double diffuser won the WDC for Brawn.

    1. F1Fan4Life says:

      If only they had a mass damper for your comments..

    2. Martin says:

      Thank you for your positive contribution to this site. You remind me a lot of a Rob Newman [mod]

      0.003 second in Australia and then a strong race. A tenth of a second in Malaysia. Are we seeing much change from 2012 in Alonso? A year where the great majority of professional journalists rated Alonso as the best of the year? Are you smarter and more knowledgeable than all the journalists who attend every race and make F1 their livelihood?

      Alonso was hardly flawless in 2007 – he struggled to adapt to the brakes that McLaren used, and he made ill-judged passing attempts at the start of Spain and Canada, and he aquaplaned off the road in Japan, which was particularly costly. Alonso’s races in the final two GPs were pretty poor, but the situation with the FIA was that he was forced to run parts specifically tailored to Hamilton, so that probably didn’t help his mental state.

      However, if you look through the season on racing performance with equal conditions, Hamilton rarely made time on Alonso. Despite the hype, Alonso was quicker in Monaco. If you take Hamilton’s second win, Alonso was stuck right behind him all the way. In Australia, Malaysia, UK, Belgium and Italy in races where both had clear tracks, Alonso was the faster driver in the race, putting a significant amount of time on Hamilton. Hamilton had more pole positions, but a number of those came from light fueling and trying to beat the Ferraris.

      Given his experience, Alonso should have done a better job, but the McLaren team clearly had a favourite driver in Hamilton.

      Your okay driver in Massa did quite well in 2008 in nearly beating Hamilton in what is was generally regarded as the slower car across the season – it varied from race to race. If you are looking for Massa’s best attributes, pace would have to be up there, so for Massa to be making a return to form, and Alonso being just behind is hardly a big deal.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        That’s the second great reply I have read of yours today. It is a revelation to read someone with unbiased facts stating them so clearly.
        Regards your comment about rob Newman, +1, if Alonso or Ferrari are mentioned his thought process becomes disturbingly unhinged.

        There is one thing I want to add to the 2007 season debate, many drivers were running Bridgestones for the first time in 2007. They required a very specific technique to get the best out of them at the limit. Something that Mark Hughes reckoned would take 1/2 a season.
        Hamilton during testing on Michelins was nowhere near Alonso’s pace, yet when they introduced the Bridgestones he was level with Alonso.
        Significant? Yes, because Hamilton used Brudgestone tyres in GP2, whereas Alonso needed to learn the subtle nuances. Kimi was similarly disadvantaged in 07 against Massa who understood the tyres far better, this being one of the main reasons why Kimi performed so much stronger in the second half of 2007.

      2. Martin says:

        Hi HWS,

        Thanks. I’ll note that great has two meanings and James has encouraged me to be brief at least once.
        Your point on tyres is probably valid, but it is more supposition than fact. There are arguments against it: Hamilton would have done a lot of kms on Michelins in 2005 and 2006; and the spec 2006 GP2 Bridgestone’s equivalence to a grooved tyre war developed F1 tyre is unknown to me. The reality is that it is history and has probably no effect on how Hamilton and Alonso race now. Vettel and Webber’s history might be more relevant to future races…

        Cheers,
        Martin

    3. Val from montreal says:

      + 791 …. I watched today on Youtube the post race 2006 Chinese GP interview , with MSC , Alonso and Fisichella …

      Schumacher said it was like a miracle for Ferrari being where they were in the standings (1st ) with only 2 races left , considering their slow start to the season and how far they had to come from to catch Renault ..,

      Mass Dampers that were declared illegal by the FIA was Renault’s biggest advantage ..

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Mass dampers were declared illegal by the FIA after Jean Todt and MSC decided that they had been legal for long enough , ie the previous 18 months.
        It was similar to Michelin, had run their tyres since 2001 and yet as Ferrari were fighting Mclaren and Williams for the championship in 2003, they were told their dimensions were illegal.
        And people wonder why Schumacher isn’t respected more than he is.

  50. Dominic J says:

    During the BBC highlights I saw the Williams of (I think Pastor) Maldonado get in the way of Webber who was near the end of a timed lap in Q1. Was that incident investigated?

    Similarly, Hulkenberg complained about Checo approaching turn 9.

    Is no action taken in these cases, because neither driver failed to progress to Q2? The Maldonado/Webber incident brought an “ooh” from the commentary team, is there a safety aspect to this?

    1. Martin says:

      Maldonado was on the left side of the track, off the racing line. Webber was just getting a slipstreaming benefit, so there was no issue as it was dry and there were no visibility concerns. The drivers generally have to maintain certain delta times to avoid driving too slowly in qualifying for safety purposes, so Maldonado was effectively avoiding what Perez ended up doing – being a slow car on the racing line near a braking zone.

    2. Random 79 says:

      I think the ‘ooh’ was because the direcor cut to it just before Webber jinked to the right which made it look worse than it was.

  51. Hiten says:

    Looks like its Ferrari for 2013 WCC.

    Regards,
    Hiten

  52. Elie says:

    Very marginal call on Raikkonens penalty. But I don’t think it will change Raikkonens approach . This time he will be hunting down both Ferraris and Vettel for the win on Sunday. Brilliant onboard video of Sebs quali win- that RBR is epic over a lap.

    By mid year no one will be saying the name Rosberg. Like I predicted Lewis is already on his pace and too many posters have forgotten that Nico has had 3 years in Mercedes and Lewis only one winter and he’s already got his measure.

  53. Anne says:

    What a horrible start by both Ferrari. Alonso DNF after crash with the Vettel difusser. And Massa lost many positions.

    But for some miracle Webber had a great start

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