• Malaysian Grand Prix - Qualifying

Vettel shows class to take pole in wet conditions

ESPN Staff
March 23, 2013

Sebastian Vettel took his second pole position of the season at the Malaysian Grand Prix, coming out on top in wet conditions during the final session of qualifying.

Vettel was in a class of his own as the rain came down, setting a lap nearly a second clear of Felipe Massa in second place and Fernando Alonso in third. Rain at the end of Q2 and start of Q3 meant the track was changing from lap to lap in the top-ten shootout, but Vettel judged the conditions perfectly to put his Red Bull on pole for Sunday's race.

Lewis Hamilton was fourth fastest ahead of the second Red Bull of Mark Webber, Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg. Kimi Raikkonen qualified seventh fastest but received a grid penalty for blocking Rosberg and will now start the race from tenth. Both McLarens made Q3 with Jenson Button promoted to seventh by Raikkonen's penalty and Sergio Perez to ninth. Adrian Sutil in the Force India split the McLaren pair after showing strong pace in the dry but struggling in the wet in Q3.

The rain in Q2 caught out Romain Grosjean who was 11th at the time and dropped out ahead of Q3 alongside Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Gutierrez, Paul di Resta and Pastor Maldonado. Di Resta and Maldonado didn't even get a chance to set a time on the dry track after leaving their runs later than the cars ahead, with Maldonado not setting a time at all.

Jean-Eric Vergne and Valtteri Bottas dropped out in Q1 after a tight battle among the midfield drivers. They were joined by the Marussias and Caterhams, of which Jules Bianchi was the star performer, clocking a time just 0.2s off Bottas' Williams and 0.9s faster than the Caterham of Charles Pic behind him. He was also just 0.6s off Vettel's Q1 time on the same tyres as the Red Bull squeezed into Q2 in 15th. Max Chilton and Giedo van der Garde will make up the back row of the grid.