It was a close finish to the delayed qualifying session in Malaysia as Red Bull Racing driver Sebastian Vettel lost out on pole position by just 0.055 seconds to Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.
Vettel almost lost out all together during Q1 when he was forced back to the pits shortly after heading out on track. “My heartbeat was rising very quickly in Q1 when we realised there was an issue” said the German.
Thankfully for the defending world champion the team managed to fix the battery issue with the age-old solution of switching the systems off and performing a restart.
“It was good to go out and get another feel for the car in the wet conditions. Q3 was not perfect” he admitted; “I would have loved to have had a second go – on my first attempt I felt there was a little bit of time to gain here and there.
“It was very close, maybe too close, as if you look at the margin it was possible to go faster, but then if Lewis would have had another chance he would have improved also so, would should, could, at the end of the day it’s good to be on the front row and it should be the good side of the grid for tomorrow – it depends on how our start is, but I’m happy with the result.”
Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo put in a strong performance to finish the session in fifth place after struggling with the weather conditions throughout the session. “When it rains here, it definitely pours and the weather was our biggest challenge today. Finding space on the track can be tough and the visibility is so bad, the spray comes from hundreds of metres away so just getting some clean road is something you really have to try and take care of.”
Ricciardo did manage to make a space for himself and battle his way up to fifth place but felt he could have achieved more and is looking towards the race to make up lost time.
“I was a bit off in Q3, so I’ve got to try and understand why, but nonetheless I think top five is not too bad, considering the conditions. I think we’ve definitely got a better chance in the wet. Mercedes were really quick this morning in the dry, so it would be good if it’s like this tomorrow. “ he added.
Team boss Christian Horner was happy with the performance of both of his drivers during the wet qualifying session.“An exciting session today that wet weather in Malaysia always brings and a great performance from both drivers to navigate their way through to Q3.”
Horner lamented the traffic conditions and believes that both drivers could have performed better. “Both drivers potentially had better laps in them had it not been for traffic in what was always going to be a slightly scrappy session, but to have Sebastian on the front row and Daniel in P5 was beyond our expectation and a great starting position for tomorrow’s grand prix.”