Malaysia GP: Lewis Hamilton's sleepless night ends in dream qualifying

Sheri Evans
October 1, 2017

"I really didn't think our vehicle was well suited to the track, but Lewis' problem opened the door and then I held off Max in the closing stages to take the win".

"We're definitely lacking some performance, it seems like Ferrari and Red Bull are very strong". In Friday's second practice, Vettel was fastest ahead of Raikkonen.

But Bottas has struggled for form since the summer break and Saturday's deficit was also consistent with a gap of over half a second to Hamilton in every qualifying session since the season resumed in August. I think tomorrow is a long race, it's going to be tough for tyres and I think we should have a very good vehicle tomorrow.

Speaking to Sky Sports television, Wolff said the team had struggled from the start and in both wet and dry conditions with a temperamental vehicle he has previously described as being a bit of a "diva".

Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo complete an all-Red Bull second row, with Hamilton's team-mate Valtteri Bottas having to settle for fifth on the grid.

When he did re-emerge with 40 minutes of the session remaining his auto appeared still to be handling erratically, and his first timed lap was fully 1.4 seconds down on Vettel.

"I didn't want a [performance] penalty, but there wasn't enough time and there was a risk of changing the auto again and maybe getting something wrong".

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Wolff says while the tense title fight means there is no reason to feel guilty about taking advantage of a rival's misfortune, he can't help feeling sympathetic given past experience.

"Not for a second am I thinking about that [the championship]", he said.

"Difficult day with the auto".

"We did try some new aero parts today, so one answer may be that one of those parts didn't work as expected", he said. Sure he will be good tomorrow. "Obviously it's never good to be behind, we'd like to be in front, but we're not, so we've got to take it from there. I don't know if it's legit or they are playing some games".

"We had quite limited running because of the rain in the morning".

Hamilton, the 32-year-old Mercedes racer from Hertfordshire, ended the day in P6, with Bottas in P7 when the afternoon session was suspended due to a red flag.

Still, retired champion Nico Rosberg finished third a year ago after dropping to the back of the field with a spin on the opening lap and Vettel is optimistic he can minimise the damage. Watch the Malaysia GP live on Sky Sports F1. "You always want to negotiate a deal when you're winning and leading the championship!" The race begins at 8am on Sunday, October 1.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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