Vettel to start from the back as Hamilton secures pole at Malaysia

Lewis Hamilton will start from pole for the Malaysian Grand Prix, as title rival Sebastian Vettel will start from the back of the grid following engine problems.

The Ferrari driver was second quickest in Practice 3 but had to stop towards the end of the session with engine problems, prompting the team to make a precautionary engine change in-between the sessions.

Vettel was able to get out in time for Q1, but after just a few minutes he reported problems with the turbo which stopped him from being able to post a lap time. As a result he will start from the back of the grid, along with usual suspects Marcus Ericsson, Pascal Wehrlein, Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean.

In the second part of qualifying Pierre Gasly was out qualified by Carlos Sainz on his F1 weekend debut, although the GP2 champion was just 1.5s off his team mate having just run in the car this weekend alongside a handful of tests.

Jolyon Palmer escaped a penalty at the end of Practice 3 when he made contact with Max Verstappen, although he only starts from 12th on the grid behind Felipe Massa who out qualified team mate Lance Stroll.

When the top ten shootout began it was Hamilton who posted the initial best lap time of 1m30.076s, two and a half tenths quicker than Kimi Raikkonen. Daniel Ricciardo initially qualified ahead of Verstappen, but in the final runs the birthday boy was able to find a tenth to start from third on the grid while Raikkonen closed in on Hamilton and managed a lap time that was 0.045s off.

On closer inspection it seemed that Raikkonen locked his front left heading into the final corner, which compromised his lap time. Hamilton also suffered a similar problem, which is what stopped him from improving but it was enough for him to extend the all-time poles record to 70 having eclipsed Michael Schumacher’s record in Belgium of 68.

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