Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Webber on pole in disrupted qualifying

Mark Webber continued Red Bull's run of pole positions with a brilliant gamble on intermediate tyres in a dramatic, rain-interrupted, Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying session

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg will join Webber on the front row, with Sebastian Vettel third in the second Red Bull.

Both McLarens and both Ferraris were caught out by the weather and will start outside the top 16.

Rain began just before the session, leaving the track initially sodden in places, slippery in others, but also with some virtually dry sections.

Expecting conditions to get better rather than worse, all of the top four teams' drivers bar Sebastian Vettel waited in the pits for the first eight minutes.

It was the wrong decision, as the rain quickly intensified. Webber and the Mercedes got adequate laps completed just in time, as did Button - only to spin into the Turn 6 gravel on his next lap, leaving the world champion 17th on the grid as he would be unable to run in Q2 despite qualifying for it.

Hamilton spun at the last corner on his first run and the Ferraris' initial efforts were too slow, leaving all three outside the Q2 cut. They kept pushing - Alonso having a triple spin out of Turn 8 and Massa sliding through the gravel - but were all 0.2-0.4s adrift of the required time and will line up in 19th to 21st places.

While Q2 was uneventful by comparison, Q3 was then red-flagged before any of the drivers had completed a flying lap as the heavens opened again. The officials waited 15 minutes to let the storm pass before resuming for a final seven minute pole shoot-out.

Force India's Adrian Sutil set the early pace, but then track conditions began to come to Webber - the only man on intermediates. He jumped to provisional pole, and then on his third and final lap of Q3 moved 1.3s clear of his wet-shod competition.

Rosberg denied Red Bull another front row sweep by taking second ahead of Vettel, with Sutil pushed back to fourth.

Williams' rookie Nico Hulkenberg was a frontrunner throughout the session and took a brilliant fifth, ahead of Renault's Robert Kubica, who had topped Q1.

Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher are on row four in the second Williams and Mercedes, ahead of Kamui Kobayashi - who gave Sauber its first top ten start of 2010 - and Force India's Tonio Liuzzi.

The big names' mistakes allowed Lotus' Heikki Kovalainen and Virgin's Timo Glock to reach Q2 for the first time in their teams' history - Kovalainen pipping his team-mate Jarno Trulli to 17th in Q1 by just 0.009s. Kovalainen and Glock will share row eight tomorrow.

There were no wet weather heroics for Toro Rosso today, Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari filling row seven. Renault's Vitaly Petrov only just missed out on a Q3 spot and will start 11th, ahead of Pedro de la Rosa, who was a second off his Sauber team-mate Kobayashi's Q2 pace.

Karun Chandhok out-qualified Hispania team-mate Bruno Senna for the first time as the Brazilian spun off early in Q1. Both beat Lucas di Grassi - who only joined Q1 for the saturated closing minutes as post-practice work on his Virgin over-ran.

Pos  Driver         Team                   Q1        Q2        Q3
 1.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault       1:51.886  1:48.210  1:49.327
 2.  Rosberg        Mercedes               1:52.560  1:47.417  1:50.673
 3.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault       1:47.632  1:46.828  1:50.789
 4.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1:49.479  1:47.085  1:50.914
 5.  Hulkenberg     Williams-Cosworth      1:49.664  1:47.346  1:51.001
 6.  Kubica         Renault                1:46.283  1:46.951  1:51.051
 7.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1:50.301  1:48.371  1:51.511
 8.  Schumacher     Mercedes               1:52.239  1:48.400  1:51.717
 9.  Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari         1:48.467  1:47.792  1:51.767
10.  Liuzzi         Force India-Mercedes   1:49.922  1:48.238  1:52.254
11.  Petrov         Renault                1:47.952  1:48.760
12.  de la Rosa     Sauber-Ferrari         1:47.153  1:48.771
13.  Buemi          Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:48.945  1:49.207
14.  Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:48.655  1:49.464
15.  Kovalainen     Lotus-Cosworth         1:52.875  1:52.270
16.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth        1:52.398  1:52.520
17.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:52.211
18.  Trulli         Lotus-Cosworth         1:52.884
19.  Alonso         Ferrari                1:53.044
20.  Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes       1:53.050
21.  Massa          Ferrari                1:53.283
22.  Chandhok       HRT-Cosworth           1:56.299
23.  Senna          HRT-Cosworth           1:57.269
24.  di Grassi      Virgin-Cosworth        1:59.977

Be part of Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Alonso downplays Q1 exit in Sepang
Next article Vettel backs Q3 stoppage decision

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe