Maldonado (19), Kovalainen (20), Trulli, Glock (21), d’Ambrosio (22), Liuzzi (23), Karthikeyan (24) were the first casualties of the qualifying session. In contrast to Australia, both Hispania drivers will be on the grid having finished within 107% of the fastest time in Q1.
Michael Schumacher failed to get into the Top 10 shoot-out and will start at 11th on the grid tomorrow. Paul di Resta (14) ‘out-qualifies’ his team-mate Adrian Sutil, who starts in 17th place after a gear-box problem in Q2. The rest of the mid-field was made up of Buemi (12), Alguersuari (13), Barrichello (15) and Perez (16).
Q3 was an exciting affair with McLaren’s Hamilton being the first out on track and he set an impressive time of 1min 35.000. All other drivers apart from the McLaren and RedBull drivers stayed in their garages till about 4mins to the end of Q3. Hamilton stayed on provisional pole even after Vettel and Webber completed their first laps. In the closing minutes of Q3, the top 4 drivers (HAM, VET, WEB, BUT) all went back out for another lap. Hamilton improved his time to 1min 34.974 to keep provisional pole but Sebastian Vettel crossed the line 0.104seconds faster than Lewis to retain 100% pole position qualifying for the 2011 season so far.
Final order of Top 10: Vettel (1), Hamilton (2), Webber (3), Button (4), Alonson (5), Heidfeld (6), Massa (7), Petrov (8), Rosberg (9) and Kobayashi (10).
With changeable weather, high tyre degradation, and high temperatures in Malaysia, tomorrow’s race could be even more exciting than the season opener in Australia.