UPDATE: Start to Malaysian GP qualifying delayed due to heavy rain

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The start to qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix has been delayed due to a heavy rain shower that has hit the Sepang International Circuit on Saturday afternoon.

Around 40 minutes before qualifying was scheduled to get underway at 4am ET, heavy rain began to fall at the circuit, and has not since eased. With the race being held in monsoon season, such weather in Malaysia is not uncommon.

In 2009, the race had to be red flagged due to the weather, with a result being declared early and half points being awarded as the drivers were unable to get racing again.

With the rain continuing to fall, more delays could be required to allow the weather to improve so that the drivers can safely get out on track.

UPDATES

0400 – Qualifying is currently scheduled to start at 0415, with the next update coming at 0405.

0405 – Qualifying has been delayed by a further 15 minutes. New scheduled start is 0430 ET. Next update at 0420.

0420 – Another 15 minute delay, meaning that the new start time is 0445 ET. Next update at 0435.

0435 – Another delay, but only 5 minutes this time. Planned start is 0450. The rain has stopped falling.

0445 – FIA confirms that qualifying will begin at 0450 ET.

For all of the details on how to watch qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix LIVE on NBCSN and Live Extra, click here.

F1 2017 driver review: Sergio Perez

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Sergio Perez

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 11
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P4 (Spain)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 100
Championship Position: 7th

While failing to hit the podium as he did in both 2015 and 2016, Sergio Perez once again finished the year as Formula 1’s leading midfield team driver, but faced a greater fight from within Force India in the shape of Esteban Ocon.

Perez has long been knocking on the door of F1’s top teams should an opportunity come up, and 2017 saw him continue his solid if unspectacular form. The dominance of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari meant any finish higher than seventh was impressive, something he managed to do on five occasions.

But there were some missed opportunities along the way, most significantly in Baku. Force India had been quick all weekend, with Perez charging to sixth on the grid, and when drama struck at the front, he and teammate Ocon were eyeing a podium finish as a minimum.

Contact between the two forced Perez to retire and prompted Ocon to pit for repairs, leaving the team without the top-three finish it targeted heading into the season. With Lance Stroll taking P3 for Williams and Daniel Ricciardo winning the race, a maiden victory for Force India was not out of the realm of imagination.

Perez and Ocon came to blows on a number of occasions, with the final straw coming in Spa when they twice touched on-track, prompting Force India to introduce team orders. Perez finished the year 13 points clear of Ocon in the final standings, meeting his own pre-season target of 100 points, yet the Frenchman had arguably made the bigger impression at Force India through his first full season in F1.

Force India remains the top underdog in F1 with Perez spearheading its charge, but it is difficult to see either taking the final step to becoming true contenders at the front of the field anytime soon, as solid as their displays have been.

Season High: P4 in Spain after retirements for the ‘big three’.

Season Low: Losing a sure-fire podium, if not a win, in Baku after contact with Ocon.