Hamilton storms to second consecutive pole in Malaysia

By on Saturday, March 24, 2012

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton has stormed to his second consecutive pole-position for tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix, with his team-mate Jenson Button slotting nicely into 2nd place creating the second consecutive all-McLaren front row. Michael Schumacher has qualified 3rd, his best qualifying since Japan 2006.

With the constant threat of rain throughout yesterday’s running, today saw relatively dry running for the teams. Q1 got underway with Charles Pic and Paul Di Resta joining the track first, with the Force India setting the first timed lap of the session with a 01:38.927. That time was quickly beaten by Kimi Raikkonen, before times really began to tumble with Hamilton, Button, Rosberg and Schumacher all sharing the top sport throughout Q1. The usual drivers’ were eliminated after the first session, with the two Caterham’s, two Marussia’s and two HRT’s failing to progress to Q2. Jean-Eric Vergne was the other driver who failed to progress through to Q2, after making a mistake on his flying lap.

HRT have ended a successful day on track, finally setting times within the 107% rule which means that both Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan will qualify for their first race in 2012.

The Sauber’s of Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi were first out as Q2 got underway, with the Mexican setting the first timed with a 01:39.043. Kimi Raikkonen then set a scintillating lap 1.4 seconds quicker than Perez, a time which kept the Finn top for the remainder of Q2.

Pastor Maldonado suffered a big off at turn 10 as the Venezuelan driver ran wide and suffered a high-speed excursion through the gravel. His car sustained some damage due to the off, and subsequently Maldonado failed to progress to Q3.

The two Mercedes’ were lucky to progress to Q3, with Michael Schumacher in particular momentarily out of contention down in 11th position. However, a cool, calm and collected lap saw the 7-time World Champion eventually join his team-mate and progress through to the top 10 shootout.

As Q2 came to an end, Maldonado, Massa, Senna, Di Resta, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg and Kobayashi all failed to progress to Q3. Ferrari’s Felipe Massa once again suffered a difficult qualifying session.

After setting a scintillating lap in Q2, Kimi Raikkonen seemed a real threat to the likes of McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull. However, the ‘Iceman’ would unfortunately suffer from a 5-place grid drop due to a gearbox change after qualifying, so wouldn’t qualify on pole.

Kimi Raikkonen was the first out on track in Q3, and also set the benchmark time with a 01:36.837. That time was beaten almost instantly by Jenson Button, before the other McLaren of Lewis Hamilton flew to the top with a 01:36.219. That time went unbeaten as the session drew to a close, with Michael Schumacher momentarily holding 2nd place before Jenson Button demoted the German to 3rd and created the second consecutive McLaren front row lockout.

With tomorrow’s race set to feature high amounts of tyre degradation, as well as the possibility of rain looming over the race, it looks as though the 2012 season is set to get even more exciting!

P    Name           Period 1 Period 2 Period 3 Sec 1 Sec 2 Sec 3 Ls
1  4 L. HAMILTON    1:37.813 1:37.106 1:36.219  24.8  32.2  39.1 14
2  3 J. BUTTON      1:37.575 1:36.928 1:36.368  25.0  32.4  38.9 14
3  7 M. SCHUMACHER  1:37.517 1:37.017 1:36.391  24.7  32.5  39.0 14
4  2 M. WEBBER      1:37.172 1:37.375 1:36.461  25.0  32.4  38.8 19
5  9 K. RAIKKONEN   1:37.961 1:36.715 1:36.461  24.8  32.5  39.1 13
6  1 S. VETTEL      1:38.102 1:37.419 1:36.634  25.0  32.5  39.0 14
7 10 R. GROSJEAN    1:38.058 1:37.338 1:36.658  25.0  32.4  39.1 14
8  8 N. ROSBERG     1:37.696 1:36.996 1:36.664  24.8  32.7  39.0 14
9  5 F. ALONSO      1:38.151 1:37.379 1:37.566  25.2  32.6  39.6 16
10 15 S. PEREZ       1:37.933 1:37.477 1:37.698  25.1  32.8  39.6 17
11 18 P. MALDONADO   1:37.789 1:37.589           25.2  32.6  39.5 14
12  6 F. MASSA       1:38.381 1:37.731           25.2  32.8  39.6 15
13 19 B. SENNA       1:38.437 1:37.841           25.2  32.8  39.7 13
14 11 P. DI RESTA    1:38.325 1:37.877           24.9  32.9  39.9 15
15 16 D. RICCIARDO   1:38.419 1:37.883           25.1  32.9  39.8 14
16 12 N. HULKENBERG  1:38.303 1:37.890           25.1  33.0  39.7 13
17 14 K. KOBAYASHI   1:38.372 1:38.069           25.3  32.7  39.6 12
18 17 J. VERGNE      1:39.077                    25.3  33.3  40.2  7
19 20 H. KOVALAINEN  1:39.306                    25.4  33.6  40.1  9
20 21 V. PETROV      1:39.567                    25.3  33.7  40.3  6
21 24 T. GLOCK       1:40.903                    25.7  34.1  40.9  8
22 25 C. PIC         1:41.250                    25.9  34.1  41.1  8
23 22 P. DE LA ROSA  1:42.914                    26.0  35.1  41.6  4
24 23 N. KARTHIKEYAN 1:43.655                    26.1  35.0  42.0  6


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