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Malaysian Grand Prix 2012 Qualifying : Hamilton gets pole, Button second in all McLaren front row

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Sorry for being out of action for the Australian Grand Prix, too much work, missed some of today’s qualifying also. Karun Chandhok is commentating for Star Sports now, so things surely have changed. Sepang looks like a good place to start tracking the season.

I am starting a new thing, wherein I will be penning my thoughts as the sessions progress. The third session of qualifying is about to start and Star Sports just showed 30 seconds of footage with 10 seconds focusing  on a driver’s wife/girlfriend with race control headphones on before going into a commercial break again.

Iceman Kimi Raikkonen is the first man out on track in his Lotus Renault followed by last year’s champion Sebastien Vettel in his Red Bull and McLaren’s Jenson Button. Red Bull seems to be totally off pace so far this season although they tasted some success in Melbourne.

After the 1st three cars have set a flying lap, its Lewis Hamilton in P1,  leading Jenson Button who leads Kimi Raikkonnen.

www.hoch-zwei.net

As more cars set their 1st Q3 times, Sebastien Vettel only manages a P6 in his Red Bull. I am eagerly awaiting the 2 Mercedes and the Ferraris at this point. Nice Rosberg and Michael Schumacher are on their warm-up laps even as I write.

As they head onto their flying laps, Michael is inside the best time on Sector1 (Lewis Hamilton’s) while Rosberg is much slower in the 1st Sector and outside Hamilton’s P1 time. Schumi is just outside Hamilton’s time in sector 2 where Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren gained the most time and is the fastest.

Haven’t felt this excited by a Michael Schumacher flying lap in a long time, Schumi is off Hamilton by .18 of a second at the end of his flying lap, but its nice to see Michael Schumacher at the top again (almost). The Mercedes cars opting only for 1 lap in Q3, I wonder why, it was always awesome to see Michael doing flying laps 1 by  and getting awesome times in. Here is a photo from Friday with Michael surveying the track in trademark style on his scooter.

Michael Schumacher Sepang on track on scooter

Red Bull and Lotus are now pushing in their second laps in the last 20 seconds of Q3. Some random commentary chatter about Red Bulls (its Sebastien Vettel only) using harder compound tyres putting the race ahead of qualifying. Webber still gets P3 and Button is pushed to 5th position by Kimi Raikkonen’s 4th best time.

But wait Jenson Button fights back with a P2 time now. It’s an all McLaren front row with Button’s time, Michael Schumacher has to be content with a second row P3. Kimi Raikkonen has a 5 place penalty to contend with so his P4 isn’t actually a P4.

And the qualifying sessions ends, the final order being (before penalties):

Pos  No  Driver  Team  Q1 Q2 Q3  Laps
1 4 Lewis Hamilton  McLaren-Mercedes  01:37.8 01:37.1 01:36.2 14
2 3 Jenson Button  McLaren-Mercedes  01:37.6 01:36.9 01:36.4 14
3 7 Michael Schumacher  Mercedes  01:37.5 01:37.0 01:36.4 14
4 2 Mark Webber  Red Bull Racing-Renault  01:37.2 01:37.4 01:36.5 19
5 9 Kimi Räikkönen  Lotus-Renault  01:38.0 01:36.7 01:36.5 13
6 1 Sebastian Vettel  Red Bull Racing-Renault  01:38.1 01:37.4 01:36.6 14
7 10 Romain Grosjean  Lotus-Renault  01:38.1 01:37.3 01:36.7 14
8 8 Nico Rosberg  Mercedes  01:37.7 01:37.0 01:36.7 14
9 5 Fernando Alonso  Ferrari  01:38.2 01:37.4 01:37.6 16
10 15 Sergio Perez  Sauber-Ferrari  01:37.9 01:37.5 01:37.7 17
11 18 Pastor Maldonado  Williams-Renault  01:37.8 01:37.6   14
12 6 Felipe Massa  Ferrari  01:38.4 01:37.7   15
13 19 Bruno Senna  Williams-Renault  01:38.4 01:37.8   13
14 11 Paul di Resta  Force India-Mercedes  01:38.3 01:37.9   15
15 16 Daniel Ricciardo  STR-Ferrari  01:38.4 01:37.9   14
16 12 Nico Hulkenberg  Force India-Mercedes  01:38.3 01:37.9   13
17 14 Kamui Kobayashi  Sauber-Ferrari  01:38.4 01:38.1   12
18 17 Jean-Eric Vergne  STR-Ferrari  01:39.1     7
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen  Caterham-Renault  01:39.3     9
20 21 Vitaly Petrov  Caterham-Renault  01:39.6     6
21 24 Timo Glock  Marussia-Cosworth  01:40.9     8
22 25 Charles Pic  Marussia-Cosworth  01:41.3     8
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa  HRT-Cosworth  01:42.9     4
24 23 Narain Karthikeyan  HRT-Cosworth  01:43.7     6

Good news for the HRTs finally, they make the race cut this time unlike the disappointment in Australia. Although, I sometimes wonder if its even worth it. They are so off the race pace that it makes no sense for them to be in formula one racing,what do you think ?

Narain Karthikeyan’s sponsors have to do some soul searching and get him a better drive, who knows what he can do in a Sauber or a Red Bull.

Force India is not living up to their pre-season hype and is struggling to keep pace not making it to the Q3 also.

Onto the Press conference now, Lewis Hamilton isn’t swearing this season, what’s up with that ? Also its Michael’s best qualifying since Monza 2011, where he was 5th. That’s just wow !

With rain predicted for tomorrow, Steve Slater would bet on Lewis Hamilton, really Steve ? The lady host would bet on Michael Schumacher though, finally some support. sorry I don’t know who your are or your name Smile

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