Strategic error costs Hamilton in qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton believes that he missed out on pole position due to a strategic error in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

During the top-ten shootout for pole position, some of the drivers opted to pit with a few minutes left for fresh intermediate tires, but Hamilton stayed out on track in pursuit of an improved lap time. However, he could not post a quicker time, whilst Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso all benefited from fresh tires to finish in the top three.

“Putting new tires on was definitely the way to go,” said Hamilton. “Our strategy was to stay out, we thought it would dry up more and it work in our favor, but it didn’t.”

Hamilton eventually qualified fourth, but he was still disappointed with the result despite beating teammate Nico Rosberg and Australian GP winner Kimi Raikkonen.

“I want to be on pole so initially when you get out of the car you don’t think you’re happy.”

Nico Rosberg was also disappointed to have missed out on pole position, with the German driver qualifying in 6th.

“I was the fastest guy out there and had the best car,” said Rosberg. He had finished quickest in Q2, but the change in conditions made life difficult in Q3.

“Then unfortunately the rain came. I just messed up the strategy, staying out there when others came in for a new set and I had damaged tires.”

Mercedes may have repeatedly written off their chances of winning races in 2013, but their dry pace in Malaysia suggests that they could be in the running if the forecast rain does not hit Sepang during the race. However, with Ferrari and Red Bull also impressing in qualifying, they will have a fight on their hands to score heavily in Malaysia.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”