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Vettel Takes Pole In Malaysia

posted 23 Mar 2013, 11:14 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 23 Mar 2013, 11:14 ]

World champion Sebastian Vettel puts his Red Bull on pole position in Malaysiaahead of the Ferraris in a rain-hit qualifying session

KUALA LUMPURMALAYSIA, (MARCH 23, 2013) (FOM) -  Red Bull's Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel made the most of a well-timed change of tyres in a rainy qualifying session to seize pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel will be joined on the front row for the second round of the season by Ferrari's Felipe Massa, with the Brazilian outqualifying his Spanish team mateFernando Alonso for the fourth race in succession.

Alonso, last year's winner in Malaysia and second in the Australian season-opener last weekend, will start in third place.

Lewis Hamilton will complete the second row in his Mercedes with Red Bull'sMark Webber disappointed to be fifth after getting his timing wrong in the final session.

Vettel's raw pace in Australia was negated by excessive tyre wear in the race and after finishing third there, the German adopted a cautious approach in the first two rounds of qualifying on Saturday.

The first drops fell in the second phase but the Red Bull's speed shone through once the 10 cars in the final round were all fitted with intermediate tyres as a downpour soaked half of the Sepang Circuit.

Vettel opted to change his intermediates early in the final phase and, after lapping more than a second ahead of early pace-setter Hamilton, his time was far too competitive for the two Ferraris to better as the chequered flag was waved.

"With the circuit drying it was clear that probably it was better to change tyres and yeah, we confirmed that pretty early," said Vettel.

"So I think we did the right thing. It was obviously very tricky because you don't know if there was more rain coming or not. But we took the decision, and yeah, a bit surprised by the gap. (I) had a decent lap and basically it was quite tricky because some parts of the track, they were wet and others were dry.

"But all in all, a very good session for us, I think we managed to save some tyres which could be crucial tomorrow, so we will see what we can do."

Melbourne winner Kimi Raikkonen finished down in seventh place for Lotus, the same position he started from a week ago before the Finn battled through the field to victory by making one pitstop less than other frontrunners.

Massa was unsure if his car was quick enough to finish as high as it did had the weather stayed dry, but the Brazilian, like Vettel, used an early change of tyres in the third phase to secure a first front row start since Bahrain in 2010.

"I think it was a a good qualifying from us," he said. "We took the right decision to stop, to change tyres and managed to put a good lap together as well, so I think may be the rain helped a bit."

Alonso, who finished second in Melbourne and won a rain-hit Sepang race a year ago, remains cautiously optimistic of at least scoring points from a good place on the grid.

"We are not sure about the performance of the car in terms of race pace. Every run we do is inconsistent so we need to see how the race goes," the double world champion said.

"We are not sure about the performance, the car in the race pace," he said. "Obviously every long run we do is a little bit inconsistent. Sometimes we are ok, sometimes we are not and we need to see tomorrow how the race goes. We haven't big problems in the long drives on Friday. In Melbourne the race pace was ok, so no reason not to be optimistic for tomorrow, but we can see what we can do."


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