Lewis Hamilton has claimed pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton has secured successive pole positions in the space of a week after he claimed the P1 starting spot for tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix, the first time the Woking outfit starts from pole at Sepang. With Jenson Button lining up alongside him, this marked the first back-to-back McLaren all front row since the 2007 season.

Schumacher qualified an excellent third-fastest, but will he have the pace in the race?After claiming the best qualifying result since his comeback to the sport last weekend, Michael Schumacher went one better this weekend and will start from third place in his Mercedes AMG, which was the fastest car through the speed trap in qualifying. He shares the second row of the grid with Mark Webber, who outqualified team-mate and defending champion Sebastian Vettel once again.

The rain again stayed away for the three phases of qualifying, and it was little surprise to see HRT, Marussia and Caterham knocked out in the first stage, although HRT at least managed to get both of its cars inside the 107% cut-off.

Webber was the quickest driver in Q1, edging out Schumacher, Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg and Pastor Maldonado. There was concern in the lower reaches of the timesheets, with Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo and Bruno Senna narrowly managing to edge out Toro Rosso rookie Jean-Éric Vergne after the Frenchman had a problem on his final flying lap.

Maldonado had an off in Q2, costing him a shot at a Q3 berthThe second phase of qualifying saw Kimi Räikkönen – who will incur a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change – as the fastest driver, ahead of Button, Rosberg and Schumacher. Those eliminated included Pastor Maldonado – who had a wild off-track moment at Turn 10 – along with Paul di Resta, Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hülkenberg and Kamui Kobayashi.

The first Q3 hot-lap attempts were underway, and Hamilton quickly staked his claim for pole position, and clocked a rapid 1:36.219 despite a considerable lock-up at the final corner.

A cleaner lap from team-mate Button didn’t quite prove quick enough, and he lines up alongside his team-mate for the second race running, 0.149 seconds slower.

Button had demoted Schumacher from second place, denying the 43-year-old the honour of being the oldest front-row starter since Sir Jack Brabham in 1970, but it was still an impressive single-run effort from the seven-time World Champion.

Karthikeyan was the slowest qualifier, but he will at least start the raceWebber finished up fourth-fastest and team-mate Vettel was sixth, with the defending champion opting to set his hot-lap on the harder tyre compounds – a unique decision that could give the German a significant advantage tomorrow.

The pair was split on the timesheets by Räikkönen, but the Finn will start from tenth place as a result of his grid penalty, promoting team-mate Grosjean into sixth, followed by Nico Rosberg (who had a ragged hot-lap attempt in his Mercedes), Fernando Alonso and Sergio Pérez.


2012 Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Qualifying Results:

Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1. Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes 1:37.813 1:37.106 1:36.219
2. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes 1:37.575 1:36.928 1:36.368
3. Michael Schumacher DEU Mercedes AMG F1 1:37.517 1:37.017 1:36.391
4. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault 1:37.172 1:37.375 1:36.461
5. Kimi Räikkönen* FIN Lotus F1 Renault 1:37.961 1:36.715 1:36.461
6. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault 1:38.102 1:37.419 1:36.634
7. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault 1:38.058 1:37.338 1:36.658
8. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG F1 1:37.696 1:37.996 1:36.664
9. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari 1:38.151 1:37.379 1:37.566
10. Sergio Pérez MEX Sauber Ferrari 1:37.933 1:37.477 1:37.698
11. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault 1:37.789 1:37.589  
12. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari 1:38.381 1:37.731  
13. Bruno Senna BRA Williams Renault 1:38.437 1:37.841  
14. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes 1:38.325 1:37.877  
15. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:38.419 1:37.883  
16. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Force India Mercedes 1:38.303 1:37.890  
17. Kamui Kobayashi JPN Sauber Ferrari 1:38.372 1:38.069  
18. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari 1:39.077    
19. Heikki Kovalainen* FIN Caterham Renault 1:39.306    
20. Vitaly Petrov RUS Caterham Renault 1:39.567    
21. Timo Glock DEU Marussia Racing Cosworth 1:40.903    
22. Charles Pic FRA Marussia Racing Cosworth 1:41.250    
23. Pedro de la Rosa ESP HRTF1 Cosworth 1:42.914    
24. Narain Karthikeyan IND HRTF1 Cosworth 1:43.655    
  107% CUT-OFF     1:43.974    

* Will incur five-place grid penalty

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.