RESULTS: Malaysian Grand Prix – Qualifying results
Lewis Hamilton will start the Malaysian Grand Prix from pole position after comfortably out-performing title rival Nico Rosberg for another Mercedes 1-2 at Sepang.
Considered the driver to beat coming into qualifying following an impressive run in FP2 and FP3, Hamilton duly delivered with a rapid first run of 1min 32.850s as Rosberg floundered in fourth position after running wide at the fast turn six left-hander.
Putting the emphasis on Rosberg's second run, the German was a tenth adrift after his first two sectors before a mistake into the final corner confirmed Hamilton's pole position and left him four tenths shy of the top spot.
Even so, it was just enough to ensure the championship leader will start from the front row at the expense of Max Verstappen, who nonetheless impressed in third position as both he and Daniel Ricciardo locked out the second row for Red Bull ahead of Ferrari.
A disappointing afternoon for Ferrari having out-paced Red Bull in FP1 and FP2, Sebastian Vettel will start ahead of Kimi Raikkonen on the third row.
Force India fills row four, Nico Hulkenberg qualifying ahead of Sergio Perez, while Jenson Button flew the flag for McLaren-Honda at the expense of the restricted Fernando Alonso as he qualified ninth for his 300th grand prix. Felipe Massa rounded out the top ten as the last of the Q3 contenders.
Failing to make it through Q2, Valtteri Bottas was the big name casualty as he was nudged down to 11th by less than four hundredths, while Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez both bounced back from offs in FP3 to qualify 12th and 13th for Haas.
Despite losing track time with yesterday's dramatic pit lane fire, Kevin Magnussen was a notable 14th quickest for Renault, ahead of both Toro Rosso, Daniil Kvyat ahead of Carlos Sainz.
With Alonso – who has already accumulated 45 positions of grid penalties this weekend - completing just a single modest lap to ensure he reaches the 107 per cent rule, he was joined in the Q1 drop zone by Sauber's Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, Renault's Jolyon Palmer and Manor duo Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein, the quintet filling 17th to 21st ahead of the McLaren.
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