Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has expressed his 'relief' after taking pole position for the 2014 F1 Malaysian Grand Prix.
Hamilton finished the top-ten shootout just 0.055 seconds up on Sebastian Vettel and with conditions wet throughout qualifying it was a tricky to say the least: “I'm really happy with our result today. It was a very close session and I'm relieved to come away with pole position as it was pretty tense towards the end,” Hamilton reflected.
“The lap [at the end in Q3] was far from being my optimum – it was not my best lap. I should have been able to eke out a little more time but I messed it up. I was in an awkward position. I wasn't able to get another lap, but naturally I think with the fresh tyres, and more grip, I should have been able to gather a bit more time. Thankfully it wasn't needed,” he continued.
“Conditions were incredibly difficult and it would have been so easy to get it wrong. At times towards the end it was almost impossible to see if anyone was behind me.”
It was Hamilton's 33rd career F1 pole, putting him level with the great Jim Clark: “[Overall] the team have done a great job once again, we have a great car, and we now have to convert this performance tomorrow,” he added.
Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff meanwhile is also keen to see them make the most of things in the race: “That was another difficult qualifying session with constantly changing conditions. It was tricky to find the right track position, at the right time, on the right tyres and for the drivers to deliver a mistake-free lap,” he noted. “The team ran a calm session though, making the right calls at the right time.
“Lewis was able to convert his speed into pole position for the second race in a row. It is a special pole position because we are at the home race of our title partner, Petronas, who have played such an important role in developing the lifeblood of our new Power Unit and that gives us extra pride in our achievement. We aim to build on these strong starting positions tomorrow but we know that we have a very tough race ahead of us, whether it's wet or dry.”