Hamilton heads second all-McLaren front row
24 March 2012 – Lewis Hamilton has sealed his second pole position within the space of a week, again heading McLaren team-mate Jenson Button in Malaysia. Michael Schumacher will start third for Mercedes, sharing Row 2 with the first Red Bull of Mark Webber. Felipe Massa was eliminated in Q2 but both HRT cars qualified for the first time in 2012.
Caterham had hoped by Q2 by Malaysia at the latest, but the green and yellow squad was again knocked out at the earliest possible point, with Heikki Kovalainen being demoted to last after passing cars illegally in Australia. At the back, Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan were inside the 107 percent threshold but the biggest Q1 surprise was Jean-Éric Vergne; the Toro Rosso rookie failed to make the cut and, despite his promising time on Friday, starts only 18th.
Paul di Resta this time out-qualifies Force India partner Nico Hülkenberg, as the pair sandwich the leading Toro Rosso of Daniel Ricciardo. Sergio Pérez managed his first top ten qualifying of the year, but Sauber team-mate Kamui Kobayashi was frustrated with 17th place.
Fernando Alonso knew that he could not compete with the leading runners and qualified ninth, which becomes eighth thanks to Räikkönen’s demotion. Pérez also moves up and heads the fifth grid row from the 2007 World Champion. Ahead, Nico Rosberg is out-qualified by Mercedes team-mate Schumacher once again, and Romain Grosjean follows up from third on the grid in Melbourne with sixth at Sepang.
Lewis Hamilton’s 21st career pole moves him ahead of 1996 Champion Damon Hill and former arch-rival Fernando Alonso, to 11th position in the all-time rankings. Today's result also marks McLaren's first pole position in Malaysia.
GPUpdate TV video:
Sepang track guide with pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton
Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix begins at 5pm local time (GMT +7) and can be followed through the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Race Report