He’ll still have his work cut out for him tomorrow, as reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing posted the second fastest time, a 1:59.486, and thus secures the second spot at the front of the grid.
Third on the grid went to Hamilton’s Mercedes AMG teammate Nico Rosberg, who set a fastest time of 2:00.050, while fourth place went to Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard collided with Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat during the session and stewards are still investigating the matter. The Russian rookie ended up 11th fastest.
Rounding out the top five was Red Bull’s new driver Daniel Ricciardo. Then it was Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen in sixth, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg in seventh, McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen in eighth, Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne in ninth and McLaren’s Jenson Button in tenth.
Unfortunately, more rain is predicted for tomorrow’s race so we could see more of the red flags and delays that we saw today. Tire supplier Pirelli has brought its full wet tires just in case. Otherwise, teams will be using P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium, the two hardest compounds this year. This is to cope with the abrasive asphalt of Malaysia’s Sepang circuit; tire degradation will be a key issue during Sunday’s race.
Going into the race, Nico Rosberg sits on 25 points in the Drivers’ Championship while McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button have 18 and 15 points respectively. In the Constructors’ Championship, McLaren leads with 33 points versus the 25 of Mercedes AMG and the 18 of Ferrari.