Malaysian GP qualifying as it happened

Live text and video highlights of qualifying for the Malaysian GP at Sepang, where Sebastian Vettel starts on pole position.

23 March 2013 Last updated at 12:01

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As it happened

  1. 0955: 
    Sebastian Vettel

    All that's left for me to do is thank you for your company and contributions and bid you farewell. Sebastian Vettel may be on pole again, but I think tomorrow's grand prix is anything but a foregone conclusion. Join me tomorrow, from 0700 GMT, to watch the race unfold. Until then, it's a very good morning from me. See ya.

  2. 0950: 

    Here's Andrew Benson's qualifying report, which sums up today's action nicely. Or if you have a bit of time, have a scan through this live text for all the major incidents. As always, we'll have all the latest reaction from the Sepang paddock online later today.

  3. 0945: 

    Before tomorrow, though, we've got highlights of today's qualifying session on BBC One at 1300 GMT, plus all the gossip from the paddock in Inside F1 with Lee McKenzie at 1845 on BBC News channel.

  4. 0941: 

    So here's a rundown of the state of play for tomorrow. I'll be back at 0700 GMT tomorrow morning for an hour-long build up to the Malaysian Grand Prix, round two of the Formula 1 World Championship. BBC Radio 5 live will be on the airwaves from 0745 with the lights going out at 0800 GMT. Highlights will follow on BBC One at 1430 GMT.

  5. 0936: 

    I think we've got a grid that has all the ingredients for an explosive start. Sebastian Vettel may be on pole, but he's got two fast-starting Ferraris right behind him. Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean are out of position in the Lotuses and are notoriously good on their tyres while Force India have shown great pace in the dry, too.


    James Holman: "If only Felipe was allowed to beat Alonso in the race..."

  7. 0932: 

    In the 14 previous Malaysian Grands Prix, the driver on pole has gone on to win on seven occasions. Last year, Fernando Alonso won last year's race from eighth on the grid, the lowest position to triumph from at Sepang.

  8. 0930: 

    Every driver will be able to choose which tyre they want to start the race on tomorrow because it rained in the final part of qualifying and they obviously won't be expected top start the race on inters if it's dry. Lots for the teams to think about tonight.

  9. 0926: 

    Red Bull's Mark Webber, who qualified fifth, says a misunderstanding meant he backed off towards the end of Q3, thinking he had time for another timed lap when in fact he didn't.


    The last word from Sebastian Vettel, who took his 38th career pole position: "If you start in the front, you always want to finish there as well. As Fernando touched on, it will be a long race and it's difficult to know the true pace. We confirmed what we saw in Melbourne. I'm happy with the balance of the car. Considering where we were here last year [in terms of performance], it's a big step forward. Managing tyres will be crucial and then we go from there. Hopefully we can get to chequered flag in the same position."


    Fernando Alonso, who starts third after being out-qualified by Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa for the fourth successive race: "We will try to do a good race and try and score as many points as possible. We are not sure about the performance of the car [in terms of] race pace. Every run we do is inconsistent. We need to see how the race goes. We have not had big problems during the long runs on Friday. In Melbourne, the race pace was OK so there is no reason not to be optimistic tomorrow."


    Felipe Massa, who starts second for the first time since Bahrain 2010: "I don't know if we would be able to be second and third in the dry. There were some other fast cars - Webber and also Kimi. It was a good qualifying from us, we took the right decision to change tyres so maybe the rain helped a bit."


    Sebastian Vettel, who starts on pole: "It was an interesting qualifying as we knew the rain was on the way. We expected some at the beginning of qualifying so we took a bit of a different approach to other people. Q2 was quite on edge and I think the rain probably helped us a little bit otherwise we would have had to go out again. It was just enough to go to Q3 where with the circuit drying. It was clear that it was probably better to change tyres [midway through] - we confirmed that pretty early - and I think we did the right thing. I'm a bit surprised by the gap. I had a decent lap and we managed to save tyres which could be crucial for tomorrow."

  14. 0912: 
    Felipe Massa, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso

    The drivers have completed their mandatory post-qualifying weigh-in and are now busy doing media interview. Here's what the top three have to say...

  15. 0908: 

    Lewis Hamilton outperforms Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg for the second successive race. Good work, too, from the McLarens - Jenson Button and Sergio Perez - who both made it into the top 10 for the first time this season.

  16. 0906: 
    THE TOP 10

    1) Sebastian Vettel 2) Felipe Massa 3) Fernando Alonso 4) Lewis Hamilton 5) Mark Webber 6) Nico Rosberg 7) Kimi Raikkonen 8) Jenson Button 9) Adrian Sutil 10) Sergio Perez

  17. 0905: 

    The reigning world champion does it again. When it comes to pressure in qualifying, there are few who can cope better than Sebastian Vettel. The German finished 0.9 seconds quicker than anyone else. Sensational effort.

  18. 0904: 

    Sebastian Vettel takes pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

  19. 0903: 

    It's not quite good enough from Felipe Massa, but it's still a great effort as he goes second quickest. It's been over 50 races since he's started on the front row. And let's not overlook the fact the Brazilian has outqualified Fernando Alonso again.

  20. 0902: 

    Fernando Alonso goes quickest, but Sebastian Vettel smashes through that time by a second. The reigning world champion does it again. Only Felipe Massa has a chance to beat him...

  21. 0900: 

    No. Kimi Raikkonen goes fourth but Sebastian Vettel is flying! He's 1.1 seconds quicker than anyone else after two sectors.

  22. 0859: 

    Kimi Raikkonen outbrakes himself into Turn Four as he battles to get everything out of that Lotus. Impressive commitment from the Finn here. Will it pay off?

  23. 0858: 

    Stonking lap from Mark Webber to go fastest, but Lewis Hamilton nails a brilliant final sector to steal P1 off the Australian by more than half a second. Great stuff from the Mercedes driver.

  24. 0857: 

    "You have to get it in one timed lap," says Kimi Raikkonen's race engineer to his charge. No pressure, then.

  25. 0856: 

    Mark Webber pops into second to make it a Red Bull 1-2 at the moment. Adrian Sutil, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel all dive in for a fresh set of intermediates. Jenson Button currently seventh, Sergio Perez eighth, Kimi Raikkonen ninth and Adrian Sutil 10th.

  26. 0855: 

    BBC Radio 5 live pit lane reporter Jennie Gow says nobody's got radar at the moment. That spices things up, eh? So after the first run, Sebastian Vettel heads Nico Rosberg from Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. Vettel's engineer Rocky asks his charge what tyres he wants to which the German replies: "Inters".

    Gary Anderson, BBC F1 technical analyst

    "I don't think anyone's brave enough [to change to slicks] at the moment."

  28. 0853: 

    Adrian Sutil sets the first timed lap, but Sergio Perez goes two second quicker. The times keep tumbling though, with Lewis Hamilton, then Nico Rosberg and finally Sebastian Vettel taking P1. It looks like the last man across the line is best placed to set a good time here.

  29. 0852: 

    Lots of squabbling over position down the back straight as everyone tries to give themselves some space, away from spray from the car in front, so they can put the hammer down. Adrian Sutil is best placed, because he's out at the front.


    Nico Rosberg's race engineer over team radio: "We haven't got good radar, but we're expecting [the weather] to get better."

  31. 0850: 

    This is it. Ten cars, one pole position and a little bit of rain. Lovely.


    Jacques: "Even in the rain, Button won't be able to do very well in a poor Mclaren car so far. Mercedes improving a lot though!"


    Force India driver Paul di Resta, who starts 15th: "It's frustrating when it happens. It's made life hard for tomorrow. We'll come back fighting. I'm confident we've got a strong car. I'll be fighting."

  34. 0848: 

    There's a queue forming at the end of the pit lane, with Adrian Sutil heading Sergio Perez and Mark Webber. Intermediates are the tyre of choice in these slippery conditions. Get ready for some fireworks, folks. This could be spectacular.


    Williams' Pastor Maldonado, who starts 15th: "We were not expecting any rain [in Q2]."

  36. 0846: 

    1) Rosberg 2) Webber 3) Hamilton 4) Raikkonen 5) Sutil 6) Massa 7) Alonso 8) Button 9) Vettel 10) Perez

  37. 0845: 

    11) Grosjean 12) Hulkenberg 13) Ricciardo 14) Gutierrez 15) Di Resta 16) Maldonado

  38. 0844: 

    Well that was a bit of an anti-climax, with the rain preventing any improvements in the final minutes. But the tricky conditions do mean we've got a corker of a pole position shoot-out coming up for you shortly. Rain continues to fall at Sepang. This is prime Jenson Button territory, this.

  39. 0843: 

    Nico Rosberg finishes fastest in the second part of qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

  40. 0841: 

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard says it may be a "blessing in disguise" for Romain Grosjean to miss out on Q3 because it means he can start the race on his choice of tyres and will have a couple of extra fresh sets to use as well.

  41. 0839: 

    So it looks like Romain Grosjean, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Gutierrez, Paul di Resta and Pastor Maldonado will get knocked out of qualifying with less than two minutes to go as the rain continues to fall lightly.

  42. 0838: 

    It's all gone wrong for Paul di Resta. The Scot spins his Force India not once but twice as he desperately tries to put a lap together in the slippery conditions. It's not going to happen, though. The rain has all but ended any hopes of improvements in this session.

  43. 0836: 

    Paul di Resta has just had a massive moment out on track, getting caught out by the rain and running well wide before rejoining. The conditions look pretty tricky out there now. Di Resta will be hoping the rain eases off otherwise he's out of qualifying.

  44. 0835: 

    Mark Webber gets it together early, unlike in Q1, to go second quickest in his Red Bull, with Sebastian Vettel down in ninth.


    Marussia's Max Chilton, who starts 21st: "I was actually pleased with my lap, but I just had a massive moment at Turn Six."

  46. 0835: 

    "It's raining at Turn Five," says Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. This. Just. Got. Interesting.

  47. 0834: 

    Lewis Hamilton can't quite match his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg's pace and goes second, three tenths off the pace. His former team-mate Jenson Button goes ninth.


    Paul di Resta's race engineer over team radio: "There is rain on the way."

  49. 0833: 

    Adrian Sutil almost matches his time from Q1 to go fastest of all in the Force India, but his time at the top doesn't last long as Nico Rosberg snatches P1 by quite some margin - six tenths to be precise. That lap - 1:36.190 - is one tenth quicker than the pole time from last year.


    Ben McPhillips: "I love what Bianchi's doing, but we need to see him against a more competitive team-mate to see how good he really is."

  51. 0831: 

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson believes drivers will need to do a 1m37.2 or better to ensure they make it into the top 10 shoot-out. Only three drivers managed to do that in Q1.

  52. 0829: 

    Here we go again. Fifteen minutes, another six drivers to take an early bath.

  53. 0827: 

    Another strong performance from Force India, with Adrian Sutil fastest and team-mate Paul di Resta seventh. Further back, Jules Bianchi continues to impress at Marussia. He's the best of the new teams by quite some margin. He leads Caterham's Charles Pic by just under a second and his own team-mate Max Chilton by 1.2 seconds.

  54. 0824: 

    1) Sutil 2) Raikkonen 3) Rosberg 4) Alonso 5) Grosjean 6) Button 7) Di Resta 8) Hamilton 9) Webber 10) Perez 11) Gutierrez 12) Massa 13) Ricciardo 14) Maldonado 15) Vettel 16) Hulkenberg

  55. 0822: 

    17) Vergne 18) Bottas 19) Bianchi 20) Pic 21) Chilton 22) Van der Garde

  56. 0822: 

    Adrian Sutil finishes fastest in the first part of qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

  57. 0821: 

    Mark Webber improves to ninth overall, which should be enough to get him through to the next part of qualifying. Sebastian Vettel is 15th, two places above the drop zone, but no one is going faster at the moment.

  58. 0820: 

    What is going on here? Mark Webber goes 15th fastest, while Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel drops to 13th. Webber's race engineer gives him the hurry up because there are only a couple of minutes left in the session and the reigning world champions are perilously close to the drop zone with both cars.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Vettel was able to improve his lap time on those tyres this morning. So whatever strategic decision they've made they are not taking quite as much out of the tyre than they did in Melbourne."

  60. 0816: 

    Sebastian Vettel can only manage 11th on that first lap. That'll still be enough to get him through but not exactly the kind of pace we have come to expect from the Red Bull. "You need to go again Sebastian", says his race engineer Rocky. That lap from Adrian Sutil is looking might fine at the moment. The German is definitely the dark horse of the weekend.


    Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg over team radio: "Perez was really in the way at Turn Nine."

  62. 0815: 

    Romain Grosjean pops his Lotus in fourth, but he's soon demoted a place by team-mate Kimi Raikkonen who nails a good effort to go second, one tenth off the pace. Sebastian Vettel is finally out and about now, while Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber has bailed out of his current lap and is cruising down the back straight ready to have another go.


    Lewis Hamilton over team radio: "Where do I need more speed?" Race engineer: "Looks like most of the improvement will be in sector 3, particularly Turn Nine."

  64. 0811: 

    Boom. What a lap from Adrian Sutil. The Force India driver bolts on a set of the softer, medium tyre and goes four tenths quicker than anyone else. I reckon the German will be right in the mix for a decent grid slot today. Mark Webber finally heads out of the garage, on a set of the medium tyres.

  65. 0809: 

    Fernando Alonso gets on the power a little early out of the final hairpin and the rear of his Ferrari gets a bit lairy, but he still clocks the second fastest time of the session, 0.075 seconds off the pace set by Nico Rosberg. Lewis Hamilton pops into third, three tenths off the pace.

  66. 0807: 

    Nico Rosberg lights up the timesheets, setting the fastest time in each of the four sectors to go quickest in the Mercedes with a 1:37.239. Nico Hulkenberg pops into fourth in his Sauber. I wonder how the German feels about his old team Force India running so strongly at the moment...

  67. 0805: 

    Valtteri Bottas sets the early pace, clocking a 1:38.376 in his Williams. Esteban Gutierrez is second, ahead of Pastor Maldonado and Daniel Ricciardo. Both Red Bulls, Force Indias and Lotuses are still sat in their garages.


    Paul Colbran: "would be great to see Sutil in the mix during quali but still think Lewis is pushing the envelope for Mercedes."

  69. 0802: 

    "Go get them dude," says Max Chilton's race engineer to his charge as the Marussia driver crawls down the pit lane before getting on the power and charging out onto the track.

  70. 0800: 

    The light at the end of the pit lane goes green and we're off for the first part of qualifying!

  71. 0759: 

    McLaren's Jenson Button on some new parts McLaren have brought to Sepang: "It's not a big as that might sound. It's great we already have those parts but a lot of what we're doing with the car is try to understand how the aero is working. They're not necessarily to make the car quicker. They might make the car quicker, though, but it's confusing when I was testing them [in practice] because I got two punctures."

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "You've got to get out there and get a banker lap in - you don't want to get caught out by a sudden downpour."

  73. 0757: 

    James Allen is up and running in the BBC Radio 5 live commentary box - you can listen via the link at the top right of this page or on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra. Jennie Gow is down in the pit-lane scooping up all the gossip.

  74. 0753: 

    Just seven minutes until qualifying gets under way, then. We'll kick off with a 20-minute session that will see the six slowest drivers get the boot. A 15-minute session follows, which sees the six slowest eliminated and that just leaves 10 to fight it out for pole in a 10-minute session.

  75. 0749: 

    The devil is in the detail, they say, and reigning world champions Red Bull do love a good bit of detail. If they're not pushing the limit with their car, they're looking at something else to get an edge. In Malaysia, the team have sent out a team of people out into all corners of the Sepang track to act as human weather radars, reports the Mirror. It could be the vital couple of second head-start the team need to gain an advantage over their rivals.

  76. 0745: 

    Right you lot, don't be shy. Qualifying is almost upon us which means now is the perfect time to start throwing in your thoughts on who will take pole position. Will reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel make it two on the bounce? Will Lewis Hamilton, second fastest in third practice this morning, get his first pole for Mercedes? Or will Force India spring a surprise? You know the score - tweet us using the #bbcf1 hashtag or text 81111 (UK only), remembering to put your name on those messages


    Beck723: "Best of luck Kimi, no matter where u start on the grid I'm sure you'll be as determined as ever tomorrow."

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie at Sepang:

    "There are intensifying rumours that Heikki Kovalainen will be back in the Caterham before too long. The Finn, who drove for the team for the last three years, is here and the official line is that he has come out to see team owner Tony Fernandes, to whom he remains close. But it seems a long way to come for a social visit. Kovalainen was dropped for this season but, given the pace of Jules Bianchi in the Marussia, there has to be a concern that Caterham will lose their lucrative 10th place in the constructors' championship if nothing changes. It's unclear who would be dropped were Kovalainen to return.

    "Giedo Van Der Garde and Charles Pic are both bringing money to the team. Van Der Garde is believed to have a budget more than three times that of Pic, but the Frenchman is very close to Renault, which supplies Caterham's engines. And the new turbos next year look like being considerably more expensive than the current V8s. Keeping Pic might help procure a discount."

  79. 0742: 

    Heikki Kovalainen, who was given the boot by Caterham at the end of last season, raised a few eyebrows this morning when he rocked up in his former team's garage to have a chat with owner Tony Fernandes during practice. Not sure I'd fly hundreds of miles to hang out with the lad who handed me my P45, but it seems the Finn has good reason...


    Ferrari: "Less than one hour to qualifying, expectations rise and so do the clouds in the sky...rain forecasted once again!"

  81. 0739: 

    But while it might be beautifully sunny one moment, a freak thunderstorm could suddenly hit - and it appears the team's radars are suggesting "activity" in the local area which might impact on qualifying. Tasty.

  82. 0736: 

    As you'd expect in Malaysia, it's sweltering with temperatures hovering around the 34C mark. The track is even hotter at 46C. Liquid, and lots of it, is the key to survival here whether your a driver, team member or fan lazing on the grass banking.

  83. 0733: 

    Welcome, one and all, to qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix, round two of the Formula 1 World Championship. The Sepang International Circuit is our host, located right next to Kuala Lumpur city and just 60km south of the capital city.

  84. 0730: 

    Morning. I was hoping you'd be back. Ready for some qualifying action? Thought so. Let's do this.

  85. 0615: 

    Here's Andrew Benson's practice report to tide you over during the break. I'd be interesting to know what your strategy is now - do you head back to sleep for an hour or so or stay awake and get involved in some breakfast action? Let me know when I'm back. See you in a bit.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson:

    "We know the Red Bulls have that one-lap pace. We saw that at the first race in Australia last weekend. Looking after the tyres in the race is another matter. Sutil and Di Resta third and sixth for Force India - that's a fantastic effort."

  87. 0611: 

    We escaped a freak downpour in final practice, but will the field be so lucky in qualifying? Well not long to wait to find as the session gets under way at 0800 GMT. I'll be back at 0730 to begin building up to the one-hour battle.

  88. 0609: 

    So Sebastian Vettel regains his grip of P1 with a flier late in session to head Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes. Force India are looking good, with Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta third and sixth respectively, while Jenson Button and McLaren look like they've found a little bit of pace.

    Ferrari look to have fallen back a bit, with Felipe Massa beating double world champion Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso once more, while Kimi Raikkonen is still looking sharp with the fifth fastest time. The stage is perfectly set for qualifying. I simply cannot wait.

  89. 0605: 

    1) Vettel 2) Hamilton 3) Sutil 4) Webber 5) Raikkonen 6) Di Resta 7) Button 8) Massa 9) Rosberg 10) Alonso 11) Maldonado

    12) Perez 13) Hulkenberg 14) Grosjean 15) Bottas 16) Gutierrez 17) Vergne 18) Ricciardo 19) Pic 20) Bianchi 21) Van der Garde 22) Chilton

  90. 0602: 

    Sebastian Vettel finishes quickest in third and final practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

  91. 0600: 

    Out comes the chequered flag to signal the end of the session. The front right tyre on Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes looks in bad shape as he crawls back down the pit lane towards his garage.


    Will Meredith: "I feel Hamilton is just taking the pressure off himself, Mercedes is looking competitive!"

  93. 0557: 

    Boom. Sebastian Vettel sets personal bests in the first two sector before lighting up the timesheet in the final sector to go quickest by one tenths of a second. Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen improves to fifth fastest, 0.371 seconds off the pace.

  94. 0556: 

    As we count down to the end of the session, everyone apart for Adrian Sutil is out on track. Paul di Resta goes fourth quickest in the Force India, 0.239 seconds off the pace. Felipe Massa goes sixth quickest, 0.378 behind Lewis Hamilton's leading time.

    BBC Radio 5 live commentator James Allen

    "Lotus seem to have changed something with their set-up and are struggling a little bit. The cars go in Parc Ferme at the start of qualifying, so some big decisions have to be made in the Lotus garage with regards the direction they want to go with."

  96. 0555: 

    Lotus look to have lost a bit of pace after looking so strong yesterday. Kimi Raikkonen, the championship leader, is only eighth fastest, one second off the pace, but team-mate Romain Grosjean is one tenth further back in 10th.

  97. 0553: 

    All coverage for the Malaysian GP this weekend is live here on the BBC Sport website, through live text and audio commentary. Qualifying is at 0755 GMT on 5 live sports extra, with the live text beginning earlier.

    Qualifying highlights are on BBC One & BBC HD later at 1300 GMT. Race coverage on Sunday is online and on 5 live from 0745 GMT. TV highlights are on BBC One & BBC HD at 1430 GMT.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Kimi Raikkonen has been comfortably ahead of Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean for the last two races and some of that has been down to Raikkonen sometimes having new parts that the Frenchman does not have - as is the case in Malaysia. Technical director James Allison said: "He's not had an easy weekend either here or there (Australia), because we haven't been able to provide two cars in exactly the same configuration on either occasions. In Melbourne on Friday he was running a step behind Kimi in terms of his aero package, and then he had the upgrade for Saturday morning but then Saturday was disturbed by the weather. Here, once again, we only have one set of (new) kit and we've chosen to run that with Kimi and Romain is disadvantaged for that." Allison added: "We will always try to get two sets (of upgrades) available but it's not always possible. So he (Grosjean) has had a difficult set of circumstances and he's also up against a team mate who is really firing on all cylinders."

  99. 0549: 

    Decent effort from Jenson Button on the medium tyres. The McLaren clocks a 1:36.850, whcih is 0.282 seconds off the pace and good enough for third. That becomes fourth when Force India's Adrian Sutil pops up into second, 0.020 seconds off the pace.

    Jessica Michibata

    The beautiful people are beginning to arrive in the paddock for qualifying, including Jenson Button's model girlfriend Jessica Michibata.

  101. 0546: 

    Sebastian Vettel runs a little bit wide at the final hairpin to go sixth fastest on the medium tyres, one second slower than the fastest time of the day.

  102. 0544: 

    Mark Webber bolts on a set of the medium, option tyre and goes quickest of all in the final sector, hitting the apex of the Turn 15 hairpin perfectly. However, he's 0.045 seconds shy of Lewis Hamilton's leading time.

  103. 0540: 

    Lewis Hamilton goes purple (fastest of all) in each of the three sectors to set the quickest lap time of the weekend so far, 0.381 seconds quicker than Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Compared to last year, it has been an encouraging start to the season for Ferrari in terms of overall competitiveness but technical director Pat Fry says they still have work to do. 'I still think we're behind,' he said. 'And we still need to keep on developing. I don't think anything changes back at the factory we still need to keep the development we had last year so we can catch up and hopefully pull out a lead. You can't hide from the truth. Last year we didn't have the quickest car; maybe we did at one race. We still haven't got the quickest car. We need to develop it so it is.'"

  105. 0537: 

    Jenson Button pops his McLaren up into second, 0.572 seconds behind Nico Rosberg's leading pace, after nine laps. Both Red Bulls are sat in the garage, but Felipe Massa has finally set a lap time - a 1:37.845 to get him started, which is good enough for eighth fastest.

  106. 0533: 

    Nico Rosberg sets the fastest time in the second and third sector to go quickest on the medium tyre - which is the softer option tyre here this weekend. That laps put him 0.578 seconds clear of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.


    Nico Rosberg's race engineer over team radio: "Need more brake energy, Nico, not enough brake temperature at the moment."

  108. 0531: 

    The Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel have completed 12 laps apiece, focusing on a run of laps which explains why they are 20th and 21st respectively, 5.8 seconds off the pace.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "McLaren continue to struggle for ultimate pace in Malaysia but, like in Australia, the car showed strong form on intermediate tyres in damp conditions, something which is perplexing Jenson Button, who said he 'doesn't understand why quick on the inter but not on the dries'. There might, of course, be a very simple explanation - Button himself. He is truly exceptional on a damp track, able to find pace that others can't by his exquisite feel for grip levels. McLaren, meanwhile, say they have a 'pretty good idea where we think the issues (with the car) are,' according to sporting director Sam Michael, but won't reveal them. Michael admitted they had been surprised by how fast some of their rivals were."

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson:

    "I believe McLaren have an aerodynamic problem and they're trying to fix it mechanically by having a stiff ride. You have to make sure your front wing is sympathetic to your airflow. There are two teams with problems at the moment - McLaren and Williams - and they're both running with a less aggressive front wing."

  111. 0527: 

    Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado have yet to set a time, although the latter has just headed out on track in his Williams. Over at McLaren, Jenson Button and Sergio Perez, who have been locked together all weekend, are ninth and 10th respectively. Just 0.03 seconds split them.

  112. 0524: 

    Romain Grosjean goes third quickest, 0.2 seconds slower than pacesetter Lewis Hamilton.Paul di Resta continues his and Force India's good form with the fourth fastest time.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Jules Bianchi continues to impress in the lowly Marussia. Drafted in at the last minute after failing to land the Force India drive and Marussia's signing Luiz Razia fell upon sponsorship touble, the French rookie has looked a class apart at the back of the field. He set the 11th fastest race lap in Australia and on Friday in Malaysia he was faster than the Williams of Valtteri Bottas in second practice. Even in a bad car, true talent always shines - as was the case, for example, with Fernando Alonso in the Minardi in 2001. Whether Bianchi is that good remains to be seen, but he certainly seems to have a bright future."

  114. 0520: 

    Lewis Hamilton takes his turn at the top of the charts with a 1:37.527, which is 0.389 seconds quicker than Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg. Adrian Sutil improves on his next lap in the Force India to close to within 0.014 seconds of Hamilton.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson:

    "There is a lot of controversy about the tyres being too soft this year but you have to drive to the limit of the tyre. If you had super-durable tyres, the big teams with a lot of money would just spend their way out of it. This way, everyone has the same tyre and the same opportunity. I was speaking to one of the Lotus engineers and he told me that during the entire Australian Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen spun the wheels just three times. That's just three times they were beyond the slip he wanted in 58 laps. That's fantastic. You have to drive to the maximum of the grip you have. The car is just on top of that; it creates forces. But you still have to drive to the grip of the tyre, no matter what that grip is."

  116. 0517: 

    Adrian Sutil, who has been on form since returning to the sport with Force India after a year out, is absolutely flying out there. The German clocks a 1:37.933 to go quickest, but he's then usurped by countryman Nico Rosberg by 0.017 seconds.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Lewis Hamilton said on Friday that he had 'absolutely no idea' whether Mercedes were more competitive in Malaysia this weekend than they had been in Australia a week ago, when he qualified third. The threat of rain meant Mercedes inverted their usual Friday plan, doing their race-simulation run first, which meant Hamilton did not do a 'qualifying-type' run until the track was damp. 'I think we're there or thereabouts,' he said. 'We just have to go and get a clear lap and show it.'"

  118. 0513: 

    Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg is our new leader, clocking a 1:38.218, two tenths clear of Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus.

  119. 0510: 

    The Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen looks like a bit of a handful through Turns Two and Three. The Finn suffers with understeer as he enters the corner and oversteer as he exits.


    Former Caterham, McLaren and Renault driver Heikki Kovalainen in Sepang: "Of course I would rather be driving but that's how it is. I have enjoyed my time at home and have been doing other things. That's how life is sometimes. I don't know about the future, I can't look into tomorrow. I have no plans at the moment and have not been active in looking around. I just want everything to settle down and make sure I'm in a good shape and see what happens."

  121. 0507: 

    Caterham's Charles Pic is our early leader, clocking a 1:41.040, which is 0.308 seconds faster than Giedo van der Garde. The Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel are third and fourth respectively, 2.6 and 2.9 seconds off the pace. Don't think that order will last long...

  122. 0503: 

    Australian Grand Prix race winner Kimi Raikkonen is among the first men out on track to complete their installation laps, but Paul di Resta is delayed as his Force India mechanics work on the rear of his car.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "It did not escape people's attention that Felipe Massa was faster than Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso on their 'qualifying simulation' runs in second practice on Friday. Massa has out-qualified his illustrious team-mate in the last three races, too. Alonso blamed a balance problem and said he felt he could have been first or second fastest without it. An analysis of the sessions suggests he's right - Alonso was about half a second faster than Massa in P1, on low and high fuel, and again on the 'hard' tyres in P2. Still, it's one to keep an eye on. Because a fast Massa is both good and bad for Ferrari - good because he could take points off Alonso's title rivals; bad because he might get in Alonso's way - as he did in the first third of the race in Australia - or even take vital points off him."

  124. 0500: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    The pit lane has opened for business and we're up and running in third practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix. One hour + 22 cars = lots of action (I hope).

  125. 0457: 

    Heikki Kovalainen, who got the boot from Caterham at the end of last season, is back in the F1 paddock and looks set to enjoy third practice from the comfort of his old team's garage. The Finn is busy chatting away with the team's founder Tony Fernandes as the team put the final touches to their shiny green machines.

  126. 0455: 

    The track temperature is a whopping 46C, the hottest of the weekend so far, with air temperature a little lower at 34C. The humidity is 51%. All that adds up to pretty unpleasant conditions for the drivers inside their cockpit.

  127. 0450: 

    BBC Radio 5 live commentary with James Allen, Jennie Gow and Gary Anderson gets under way in just five minutes. You can hear them via this very website and then on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra once New Zealand and England finish hitting a ball around.


    Stuie Neale: "Kimi for top in FP3 and qualifying."

  129. 0445: 

    Malaysia is prone to freak heavy downpours. Just take Friday's second practice session - where rain hit in a short burst - and then stopped and the track dried in super quick time because of the heat. If one hits in qualifying, that could really mix up the grid.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Sebastian Vettel was only a smidge slower than Kimi Raikkonen in second practice on Friday - but he was comparatively unhappy, for him. Usually, Vettel is sunny and uncontroversial, but he came as close as he is going to to making it clear he really does not like the Pirelli tyres this year. 'I hope we have enough tyres to survive the race,' he said. 'Tyre wear was pretty severe for everyone. You end up going around way under the car. It's not a lot of fun but that's the way it is.' Team-mate Mark Webber was even more outspoken: 'The whole category is geared around tyres at the moment. Everything is around tyres - tyres, tyres, tyres, tyres...' No mistaking the message from Red Bull..."

  131. 0442: 

    It would be a dull morning without your high level chat scattered into the live text. You can send us your thoughts on all things F1-related, whether it's Kimi Raikkonen's blistering start, Ferrari's renaissance or McLaren's misery. Use the hashtag #bbcf1 or lob a text on 81111 (UK only), remembering to put F1 and your name on it. Thanking you kindly.

  132. 0439: 

    Time to get down to the business of the day. Third and final practice starts at 0500 GMT and lasts an hour. It provides the teams with one final chance to tinker with their machines before qualifying, which starts at 0800. That's split into three sessions, the first lasts 20 minutes and sees six drivers get the boot. The second part lasts 15 minutes with another six taking an early bath. That leaves 10 drivers to fight it out in a 10-minute pole position shoot-out.


    Max Chilton: "Seriously hot this morning here in Sepang! Going to be a interesting day."

  134. 0436: 

    Welcome, one and all, to our coverage of final practice and qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit. Famed for it's hot, humid and sticky conditions, this race always provides a challenge to drivers both physically and mentally. The unsettled weather systems can cause chaos, too, with bright sunshine one minute, a torrential downpour the next.

    BBC Sport's chief F1 writer Andrew Benson:

    "Kimi Raikkonen was in top monosyllabic form on Friday, mumbling his way through his post-practice news conference and falling back regularly on his favourite phrase: 'Let's wait and see.' But you didn't need to talk to him to get the message about him and Lotus - they are on fire in steamy Sepang this weekend. Fast whenever he took to the track on Friday, the times seemed to be coming easily for Raikkonen, despite him claiming he did not have the right set-up on the lap that put him fastest of all. Right now, he is looking like he will be tough to beat."

  136. 0433: 

    Kimi Raikkonen continued his good form from Melbourne with the second fastest time in first practice, despite a Kers sensor issue which disrupted his running. The Lotus driver then stormed to the top of the charts in the second session, ahead of the Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.

  137. 0430: 

    Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel needs to look over his shoulder, because a challenger for his crown is coming up on the inside, thick and fast. Kimi Raikkonen, winner of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix - and therefore our championship leader - is a man in the zone.

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FIA Formula 1 World Championsh 2015

Position Driver Team Pts
1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes 43
2 Germany S Vettel Ferrari 40
3 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes 33
4 Brazil F Massa Williams 20
5 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari 12
6 Brazil F Nasr Sauber 10
7 Finland V Bottas Williams 10
8 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull 9
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India 6
10 M Verstappen Toro Rosso 6
11 C Sainz Toro Rosso 6
12 Sweden M Ericsson Sauber 4
13 Russia D Kvyat Red Bull 2
14 Mexico S Perez Force India 1
15 France R Grosjean Lotus 0
16 Great Britain J Button McLaren 0
17 R Merhi Manor Marussia F1 0
18 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus 0
20 Spain F Alonso McLaren 0
21 W Stevens Manor Marussia F1 0


After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham