Lewis Hamilton continued his perfect start to the 2015 Formula 1 season on Saturday by scoring his 40th career pole position in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The defending F1 world champion has lost none of the momentum that took him to six wins in the final seven races of the 2014 season, picking up pole position, the fastest lap and the race win at the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago.
Even a thunderstorm couldn’t stop Hamilton on Saturday. A deluge of rain partway through Q2 caused a lengthy delay ahead of Q3, and in the tricky conditions, the Briton managed to storm to pole position ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg.
Ferrari once again enjoyed a strong qualifying session, meaning that Vettel starts P2 today. The German driver believes that he still has a chance of claiming his first win for the Italian marque should more rain strike in the race.
Rosberg’s annoyance at finishing third was evident after qualifying. Although Mercedes should have the pace to secure another one-two finish under normal circumstances, the German driver knows that he risks losing yet more ground to Hamilton on Sunday unless he can beat his teammate – something he has done just once since last year’s Italian Grand Prix.
The other big story heading into the race on Sunday is the return of Manor. The ex-Marussia operation will complete its comeback by lining up on the grid for today’s race, even if Roberto Merhi will be its only starter following a problem on Will Stevens’ car.
You can watch the Malaysian Grand Prix live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 2:30a ET today.
FROM THE STEWARDS’ OFFICE
- Manor has been granted permission to start the race despite neither of its drivers posting a lap time that was within the 107% required to qualify. Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens will occupy the last row of the grid in Malaysia.
- Romain Grosjean has been dropped two places on the grid for failing to remain in the right place in the queue during Q2 on Saturday.
STARTING GRID FOR THE 2015 MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
5. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull
6. Max Verstappen Toro Rosso
7. Felipe Massa Williams
8. Valtteri Bottas Williams
9. Marcus Ericsson Sauber
10. Romain Grosjean Lotus
11. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
12. Pastor Maldonado Lotus
13. Nico Hulkenberg Force India
14. Sergio Perez Force India
15. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso
16. Felipe Nasr Sauber
17. Jenson Button McLaren
18. Fernando Alonso McLaren
19. Roberto Merhi Manor
DNS. Will Stevens Manor