Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton maintained his good form this afternoon in Sepang, as he finished at the top of the timesheets, but instead it was Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who was 0.4s off Hamilton’s pace, splitting him and teammate Nico Rosberg.
Verstappen securing 2nd showed Red Bull’s real potential at this track, showing that they have the pace to challenge at least the Ferrari’s later in Qualifying. Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel finished the session in 4th and 5th, ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
After a dramatic FP1 session yesterday, Renault’s Kevin Magnussen made up for it in today’s final practice, the Dane going 16th fastest.
McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who will start tomorrow’s Grand Prix in last place following a grid penalty for a new turbocharger and MGU-H, chose to complete development work on his car, as he lapped seven seconds off the pace.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton will start tomorrow 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix from pole position, as he completed an early quick lap of 1:32.850, leaving teammate Nico Rosberg in the dust, 0.4s behind, as he joins him on the front row of the grid, for yet another Mercedes front row lock-out.
Red Bull kept Ferrari at bay as Max Verstappen out-qualified teammate Daniel Ricciardo for only the third time this season, as the two complete the second row of the grid.
The Prancing Horses were unable to get a fast enough time to reach the first or second row, so they settle for the third row, with Sebastian Vettel out-qualifying teammate Kimi Raikkonen after a final faster lap.
Behind them sit the two Force India’s of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, as the top eight places are dominated by pairs of teammates.
As the penalty-stricken Fernando Alonso only took his McLaren round the track as a perfunctory run in Q1, the opportunity revealed itself for a slower driver to get into Q2. It was Renault’s Kevin Magnussen who took advantage of this in the end, as teammate Jolyon Palmer struggled to bring his car home to qualify 19th.
It was a good day for McLaren’s Jenson Button, who managed to get into Q3 after a late surge in Q2, as he will start his 300th Grand Prix from 9th position on the grid, ahead of Williams’ Felipe Massa.
After Hamilton set the pace in Q3 with his early lap of 1:32.850, Rosberg knew he had some work to do, as the top seven drivers went back to the pits to review their laps.
With time running out, they dashed back out to set what would be hopefully faster laps, in order to secure pole, or get as far up the grid as they could.
On his final flying lap, Hamilton locked up in the first corner, causing him to abandon it. Unfortunately for Rosberg, he also made a mistake on his final flying lap and was unable to catch the Brit, after running wide on the final corner.
Verstappen was also unable to reach the front row, however was in front of Ricciardo. Raikkonen abandoned his final flying lap, knowing that he would not improve.