Lewis Hamilton has heaped praise upon the Mercedes team after securing his second consecutive pole position in Malaysia after edging out defending world champion Sebastian Vettel during qualifying on Saturday afternoon.
Conditions throughout qualifying were incredibly difficult for the drivers after a monsoon storm hit the circuit just before qualifying was due to get underway. As a result, the start had to be delayed by 50 minutes, but once the on-track action got underway, Hamilton and Mercedes were dominant in every session.
In Q3, Hamilton managed to post an early lap time that was good enough for pole position after more rain fell and denied Vettel the chance of claiming pole position. Although he believes that he could have gone faster, the pole-sitter is pleased to have done so well given the difficult conditions.
“I’m really happy with our result today,” Hamilton said. “It was a very close session and I’m relieved to come away with pole position as it was pretty tense towards the end. The lap was far from being my optimum: I should have been able to eke out a little more time but thankfully it wasn’t needed.”
The wet weather caught out a number of drivers, including rookie Marcus Ericsson who crashed heavily at the end of Q1. However, Hamilton was delighted to have scored his 33rd career pole position, and praised his team for their hard work across the course of the weekend.
“Conditions were incredibly difficult and it would have been so easy to get it wrong today,” he said. “At times towards the end it was almost impossible to see if anyone was behind me. The team have done a great job once again, we have a great car, and we now have to convert this performance tomorrow.”
Mercedes has dominated proceedings in Malaysia so far this weekend, with one of its cars finishing fastest in every session that has taken place at Sepang International Circuit this weekend. With Nico Rosberg in third place, the team will be hoping to take control of the constructors’ championship with a strong double-score this weekend.