Sebastian Vettel was just 0.074s shy of taking his first pole position as a Scuderia Ferrari driver in a wet Malaysia, and believes he can take the fight to Mercedes during the race on Sunday, while Kimi Raikkonen will be looking to make up for a disappointing afternoon after qualifying outside the top ten.
Vettel qualified second on the grid in Malaysia for the second year in a row, having done so while as a Red Bull Racing driver in 2014, and joked about missing out to pole man Lewis Hamilton by a tiny margin once more. He knows you have to be in the right place at the right time in changeable conditions, and hopes for a strong race on Sunday.
“I think we had a good pace in the end, it was very tight with Lewis,” said Vettel. “If you look back to one year ago, we had the same conditions, intermediates in the end and it was one tenth, so maybe next year…
“For sure the result puts us in a good position for tomorrow. I think the target for Sunday is to extract the best race we can, and then we go from there. The nature of the track suits our car well, I expect nothing else than to be very strong tomorrow, but you never know about the conditions in Sepang.
“There is rain in the air that can hit you at the right time, but also make go all wrong, you just never know. Let’s keep our feet on the ground, in the end we have to look after ourselves.
“Mercedes is very strong and has an advantage, but it would be nice to give them a hard time tomorrow, it has been a bit too chilled for them in the last months”.
Team-mate Raikkonen bemoaned his track position when the rain began to fall, believing he should have been up at the front of the queue where his team-mate was in Q2 rather than embroiled in the pack, and ended up ruing getting tangled up behind the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson.
“Today it was simply a bad time to go out, we should have been out earlier,” said Raikkonen. “I did try to pass Ericsson but he was there trying to do his job; it’s not an unlucky situation but it was a mistake.
“Tomorrow we’ll try to climb some positions, for sure we have the speed but we are quite far from the front and when you start in this position is not going to be an easy race. Obviously there is going to be more risk in the first corner, but we’ll try to make the best out of it tomorrow.”