Lewis Hamilton beat Sebastian Vettel in a dramatic rain-interrupted qualifying session to take pole for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Hamilton clocked a 1:49.834 early in a wet top ten shootout to secure the 40th pole position of his Formula 1 career, following a lengthy delay following a washed out second part of qualifying.
Vettel split the two Mercedes in second, the Ferrari racer lapping less than a tenth shy of Hamilton’s pole setting time.
Nico Rosberg improved on his final flying lap, but was forced to settle for third, ahead of the Red Bull duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat, and the excellent
Max Verstappen was sixth for Toro Rosso, while Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean, Valtteri Bottas and Marcus Ericsson rounded out the top ten after gambling on the wet tyres early in Q3.
Kimi Raikkonen was a high profile victim of a heavy rain shower in the second part of qualifying, losing out on a spot in the final shootout by four tenths of a second.
The Finn was stuck in traffic as all 15 cars battled for track position in the opening minutes, posting a time only good enough for 11th before heavy rain brought Q2 to a premature end.
Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado was another driver to lose out due to the rain shower in 12th, ahead of the Force India duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez.
Carlos Sainz Jr. was 15th in the second Toro Rosso, while Felipe Nasr 16th failed to clear Q1 for Sauber.
The two McLaren-Hondas of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso were both eliminated in the opening part of qualifying, the Briton ahead of his returning team-mate.
It was a difficult session for Manor, as Roberto Merhi lapped outside the 107 per cent time and Will Stevens failed to set a time following a fuel pump problem.
Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG PETRONAS