Ericsson storms to career-best qualifying in Malaysia

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Marcus Ericsson’s strong start to his sophomore season in Formula 1 continued in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday as the Swede claimed his highest starting position to date.

The ex-Caterham driver joined Sauber at the beginning of the 2015 season, and scored his first points in F1 at the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago after finishing eighth.

Ericsson continued this form in Malaysia on Saturday by avoiding elimination in Q1 for the first time in his career before then going on to make it through to the final top-ten shoot-out.

Although the Sauber driver finished at the bottom of the timesheets in a rain-affected Q3 to qualify tenth, he will make up a position by virtue of Romain Grosjean’s grid penalty.

“It has been a great weekend so far,” Ericsson said. “I was able to finish every session in a top ten position, and we can be satisfied to have repeated that in qualifying.

“In dry as well as wet conditions I felt comfortable in the car. At the end of Q3 we were quite close to our competitors, which is positive.

“It was another good day for us, so we can be happy with today’s result. Tomorrow we have a promising chance to again score points.”

In the second Sauber, Felipe Nasr was less successful as the Brazilian struggled in Q1 to leave him in the dropzone and out of qualifying in 16th place.

“After the third free practice session we saw that we were still struggling with the rear tires,” Nasr said. “In qualifying we seemed to have found something. However, on my second run on the medium tires the rear wheels locked in turn four, and I lost time there.

“It has not been an easy weekend for me. We need to review what happened and learn for tomorrow. I’m already looking forward to the race. We know our car is competitive in race conditions, so I am confident about making up some positions.”

The Malaysian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 2:30a ET tomorrow.