Hamilton claims Sepang pole, luckless Vettel to start from back of grid

Red Bull Dominates First Practice Session at Malaysia GP

"There is a gremlin in the vehicle", team boss Toto Wolff told Sky F1. We initially thought we would be very late going out, but we were on time. In the wet, in the dry, on all tyres. "It doesn't change anything for how we tackle the last races", Vettel said. I also had a bit of an off in FP2 that cost us some time, we lost a few laps because of that.

"The last race was a strong reminder that sport always has the power to surprise and defy all predictions", said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff after the two Ferraris collided at Singapore.

Hamilton had been close on pace with team-mate Valtteri Bottas for much of the weekend, yet beat the other Mercedes man by nearly seven tenths in Q3.

"You can compare Malaysia to Silverstone probably, where we were very good, but there is a fundamental issue with the vehicle that we need to find out". That is why we ended up staying on it. "I'm good and fine, that's the main thing". "The engineers will do a lot of analysis tonight and the guys back at the factory will be working overtime to try and understand it to see if they can rectify it".

The Briton's Mercedes team struggled throughout practice, lagging behind Ferrari and Red Bull but he took pole from Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen by 0.045 seconds. But speaking on Thursday, Vettel said he has already cast it from his mind.

"We didn't put the tyres in the right window the whole weekend and then when the temperatures dropped and cloud cover started to come over the circuit, the auto was very quick".

Raikkonen said: "Everything went smoothly, not too bad. I think we can not finish fifth but we try to finish seventh", Steiner said.

Red Bull Dominates First Practice Session at Malaysia GP
Sebastian Vettel: “Anything can happen and that's why we race”

Questioned about Mercedes' apparent struggles, Vettel expressed both surprise and a degree of suspicion. "Obviously it's never good to be behind, we'd like to be in front, but we're not, so we've got to take it from there".

"I really want to improve and redeem myself because previous year we did not achieve a great result from my side here", he told reporters in a press conference at the Galeri Petronas, here, Tuesday. If Ricciardo were to win in Malaysia, it would snap a three-month winless streak for Red Bull Racing, as the team's last win came on Sunday, June 25th when Ricciardo won at Azerbaijan in a controversial race that may end up weighing heavily into the title tilt.

"We had quite limited running because of the rain in the morning. But unfortunately we won't be able to prove that".

"The race is tomorrow not today".

"We can still find hopefully half a second somewhere and then we can be more in the fight".

Still, retired champion Nico Rosberg finished third past year after dropping to the back of the field with a spin on the opening lap and Vettel is optimistic he can minimise the damage.




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