Saturday, 23 March 2013

Malaysian GP Qualifying: Everybody loves the sunshine

The qualifying in Malaysia started in predictably sunny and dry conditions, allowing the teams to set up the cars in a more optimum way to what they had to for qualifying in Australia. However, it wouldn't prove to be that way throughout the session.

Q1 was dry and, despite this, still managed to throw up a couple of surprises. Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel both left it very late to secure their places in the second session of qualifying. They looked to be massively off the pace, whilst once again the Force India cars were looking extremely competitive, as were the Lotus cars. Sutil is really relishing the new found pace and performance in his Force India and is likely to be a cause for concern to the front runners again on Sunday. It'll only be a matter of time before Sutil is considered one of them, instead of just in amongst them...

The Red Bull drivers made it through to Q2, Sebastian Vettel by the skin of his teeth, and as Q2 got underway it became clear that something was worrying all of the teams. It was revealed that the reason all of the cars were out on track at the same time, and desperately trying to get a decent lap in, was that rain was on its way. It was inevitable that it would catch somebody out and that somebody was Paul Di Resta, who found himself pirouetting through the KLIA Curve. He didn't fair any better after that and ended up qualifying fifteenth. He and the team will have to work on an interesting strategy for the race.

Sebastian Vettel cut it close again, in Q2, and was lucky not to be a victim of the same fate as Di Resta. He was just outside the elimination zone and joined the other ten cars as they went out for the final session of qualifying, on intermediate tyres. As the cars completed lap after lap, the times got quicker and quicker on a drying track. Unbelievably, and probably to all of his rivals' dismay, Vettel managed to bag pole position. The two Ferrari's are hot on his heels again and it will just be a case of whether Seb can keep them behind him this time.

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