Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was 'pretty happy' to secure fourth on the grid for the 2013 F1 Malaysian Grand Prix, especially as rain made qualifying at the Sepang International Circuit rather tricky.

Hamilton looked on course for pole position towards the end of Q3, but was knocked down late on when Sebastian Vettel and the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa all improved.

The Englishman will now start alongside Alonso on the second row - and only one spot lower than he managed in Australia last weekend.

"I'm pretty happy with fourth place considering the conditions today," said Hamilton, who again out-qualified his team-mate, Nico Rosberg. "The car was not too bad in the dry but the balance could have been a lot better, then it was pretty tricky conditions in the wet during Q3.

"We did our lap with older tyres than the guys in front, which was a bit unfortunate, but our pace was good overall so I can't complain.

"It's the second race on the second row for me and there are lots of positives to take out of the weekend so far. Our long run pace looked pretty good compared to the other teams so I'm hoping for dry conditions tomorrow."

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff meanwhile agreed that it would probably have been better to have pitted for fresh intermediates in Q3, like Vettel did, but was nonetheless still pretty pleased. He was also keen to emphasise that Mercedes has spent more time focusing on race preparation than anything else.

"That was a tricky qualifying session, particularly in Q3 when it may have been better to run a second set of new intermediate tyres - but it's easy to be wise after the fact," he stated. "The reality today is that we have shown our trend is positive, we got a solid result with both cars in the top six - Lewis is fourth and Nico is sixth - and the team delivered a solid performance.

"We have spent the entire weekend working on our performance for Sunday, not Saturday, and we hope that we can confirm our positive trend tomorrow."