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Malaysian GP: Hamilton says pole was just his banker lap

Lewis Hamilton reckons his Mercedes Formula 1 team's advantage in the wet is bigger than it looks, after setting his pole position time on a banker lap.

The Mercedes driver moved to the top of the timesheets early on before pitting for fresh extremes, but his final run was ruined when he ran off the track after finding it tricky to see in the wet.

That meant his first run was his best lap, and he claimed that it was nowhere near as good as he could have done.

"For the first lap in Q3, we have to be a little bit more within the limit to make sure you definitely get a lap in, just in case you have something like I have happens or there is a yellow flag," said Hamilton, who just edged out Sebastian Vettel to grab pole for the Malaysian GP.

"But the most important thing is to get a banker lap, maybe eke out a bit more time. But it doesn't matter. I got what I needed out of it."

Malaysian GP qualifying report

Hamilton said his last run did not come together because of the visibility issues and some time lost stuck in Nico Hulkenberg's spray.

"It was very difficult to see - that was the trickiest part particularly at the end," he said.

"I was stuck behind Hulkenberg who slowed down on his lap. I thought he was coming in, and he looked like he was coming in because he went wide on the final turn, but as I got to start the lap he came across so I was stuck behind him.

"I couldn't see a thing as it was like driving through thick fog. And that was the lap that I needed and I should have had to really get pole. So I am so glad or happy that the lap I did before was good enough."

Although closest rival Sebastian Vettel nearly wrestled pole position away, Hamilton reckons that if he had delivered what he was capable of then the gap would have been much bigger.

"If I had another lap as Sebastian did, I think I would have been able to eke a bit more time out," he said.

But Vettel also said he did not produce all that he could have done after missing out on pole by 0.055 seconds.

"For my first attempt I felt there was a bit of time to gain here and there, so obviously very, very close; too close because definitely the margin was possible to go that much faster," said the Red Bull driver.

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