Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

Qualifying - Vettel storms to pole at showery Sepang 23 Mar 2013

(L to R): Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari. pole sitter Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari celebrate in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 23 March 2013 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 23 March 2013 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F138.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 23 March 2013 Paul di Resta's Force India swaps ends as he loses traction in the rain in pursuit of a fast lap Good timing by Mercedes means that Lewis Hamilton is the last man round the track. He runs too deep into the final turn, spoiling his chances of a top-three position It's that man again. Sebastian Vettel takes pole in Malaysia, ahead of Ferrari team mates Massa and Alonso

Sebastian Vettel snatched another dramatic pole for Red Bull in the closing moments of a wet Q3 session in Sepang on Saturday, taking the honour away from Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who was then bumped back another place by team mate Felipe Massa.

Qualifying began in even hotter conditions than FP3, with a track temperature of 41 degrees Celsius, as Adrian Sutil set the pace for Force India with 1m 36.809s from Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Rosberg, Alonso, Romain Grosjean, Jenson Button, Paul di Resta, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber and Sergio Perez.

Down the back, Jean-Eric Vergne failed to make the cut by a couple of tenths, his 1m 38.157s for Toro Rosso leaving him 17th. Valtteri Bottas didn’t make it either, with 1m 38.207s, while a late improvement saw Jules Bianchi jump both Caterhams with his Marussia to take 19th with an impressive 1m 38.434s. Behind him, Caterham's Charles Pic just won the fight with Marussia’s Max Chilton and team mate Giedo van der Garde, their respective laps being 1m 39.314s, 1m 39.672s and 1m 39.932s.

Q2 saw Rosberg set the pace with 1m 36.190s from Webber, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Sutil, Massa, Alonso, Button, Vettel and Perez. Rain in the final half of the lap with six minutes to go ruined Paul di Resta’s chances. The Scot had been set to go fastest early on but had to abort his lap. His subsequent efforts saw him run wide, then later have a multiple spin, as the track became super-slippery.

Grosjean also left it too late, and lines up 11th on 1m 37.636s for Lotus, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg’s Sauber on 1m 38.125s, Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso on 1m 38.822s, Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber on 1m 39.221s, and Di Resta on 1m 44.509s. Pastor Maldonado didn’t venture out for Williams.

The rain, while not as heavy as that on previous afternoons, showed little sign of abating prior to Q3, even though the track and ambient temperatures stayed the same. Intermediate tyres became the new order of the day.

In an up and down session, the track was continually evolving. Sutil set the early pace, before his 1m 58.293s was beaten by Perez, then Hamilton, then Rosberg, then Vettel.

In the final runs, Webber went fastest with 1m 52.244s, only for Hamilton to beat that with 1m 51.244s. But right at the end Alonso snatched the honours away with 1m 50.727s before Vettel, moments later, redefined pole at 1m 49.674s. Just to add insult to injury, Alonso was bumped to third by Massa, with 1m 50.587s.

Hamilton thus fell to fourth ahead of Webber, as Raikkonen’s final effort yielded only seventh ahead of the improved McLarens of Button and Perez, which sandwiched Sutil.

Thus the provisional grid reads: Vettel, Massa; Alonso, Hamilton; Webber, Rosberg; Raikkonen, Button; Sutil, Perez; Grosjean, Hulkenberg; Ricciardo, Gutierrez; di Resta, Maldonado; Vergne, Bottas; Bianchi, Pic; Chilton, Van der Garde.

For tickets and travel to 2013 FORMULA 1 races, click here.
For FORMULA 1 and F1 team merchandise, click here.