Starting grid for the 2014 Malaysian GP

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Formula 1 arrives in Malaysia at a difficult time in the nation’s history following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 22 days ago, but the sport is looking to entertain at a difficult time in Kuala Lumpur.

Albeit with reduced fanfare, the race weekend has gone ahead as normal, and Lewis Hamilton was the man to watch on Saturday as he took pole position in a wet qualifying session for the Malaysian Grand Prix. After a delayed start to proceedings due to the weather, the 2008 world champion managed to tame the tricky conditions and equal Jim Clark’s record for pole positions by a British driver.

However, with Sebastian Vettel qualifying an excellent second and Australian Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg looming in third place, Hamilton may face a fight if he is to win his first Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang today.

Following qualifying, there has been just one change made to the starting grid following qualifying:

  • Valtteri Bottas has been handed a three place grid penalty after the stewards deemed that he blocked Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo during Q2 yesterday. The Finn also received two points on his FIA superlicense, and became the first driver to fall foul of this new rule.

For full details on watching the Malaysian Grand Prix live with NBCSN and Live Extra, click here.

Starting grid for the 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
6. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
7. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
8. Kevin Magnussen McLaren
9. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso
10. Jenson Button McLaren
11. Danill Kvyat Toro Rosso
12. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
13. Felipe Massa Williams
14. Sergio Perez Force India
15. Romain Grosjean Lotus
16. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
17. Adrian Sutil Sauber
18. Valtteri Bottas Williams
19. Jules Bianchi Marussia
20. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham
21. Max Chilton Marussia
22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham

Fernando Alonso confirmed for Toyota LMP1 test in Bahrain

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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Fernando Alonso will take his first step towards a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans when he tests an LMP1 car for Toyota on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit.

McLaren Formula 1 driver and two-time world champion Alonso is hoping to appear at Le Mans next year as part of his bid to become just the second man in history to complete the ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport’.

Alonso has already completed one leg by winning the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and made his debut at the Indianapolis 500 in May with McLaren-Honda-Andretti, retiring late on due to an engine failure.

Momentum is building for Alonso to make his Le Mans debut with Toyota in 2018, starting with a first sports car run-out in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s end-of-season rookie test in Bahrain on Sunday.

Alonso arrived in Bahrain on Saturday to watch the six-hour WEC race as an invited guest of the Bahraini royal family, with his participation in the test being confirmed after the race.

“We are very excited that Fernando will test our car. When he visited us in Cologne everyone who met him could sense his enthusiasm and passion for our sport; he is a true racer,” Toyota Gazoo Racing team president Hisatake Murata said.

“We very much respect his interest in different forms of motorsport and it is a pleasure to offer him this chance to drive a hybrid LMP1 car. It will be interesting to hear his feedback on the TS050 Hybrid.”

Alonso will share running in the Toyota car with 19-year-old Thomas Laurent, who received a test as a prize for his star display during his rookie WEC campaign this year, while regular Toyota racer Mike Conway will also complete laps.