Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2015

“Not again!” Hamilton pips Vettel to Malaysia pole

2015 Malaysian Grand Prix qualifyingPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2015For the second year in a row Lewis Hamilton narrowly beat Sebastian Vettel to pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix in a rain-hit qualifying session.

The pair will share the front row of the grid as they did last year, again with less than a tenth of a second between the pair of them.

Nico Rosberg will line up second in the other Mercedes, but the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen failed to make the cut for Q3 when the rain arrivew.

Q1

The skies were gradually turning darker as qualifying began so the drivers did not waste any time in getting their first laps done. Mercedes comfortably led the way, Hamilton a tenth ahead of Rosberg, their advantage over the rest of the field bolstered by their decision to use the softer medium compound tyres.

That was bad news for Manor, whose chances of competing in tomorrow’s race rested on whether they could set a time within 107% of the quickest lap in Q1. They had done so in practice, but when crunch time came Roberto Merhi failed to make the cut and Will Stevens never made it out of the garage as the team grappled with a fuel system problem which had struck during final practice.

Whether they can start the race is now in the hands of the race stewards. Previously teams who failed to beat the 107% time in qualifying but had shown they could in practice have been allowed to start the race, but on each occasion the stewards had said those decision did not set a precedent for the future.

Both Lotus drivers came close to elimination in the dying minutes but escaped the clutches of the bottom five. That left the McLaren duo facing an early exit for the second race ago, with Jenson Button narrowly pipping Fernando Alonso.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 1’41.308
17 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 1’41.636
18 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1’41.746
19 Roberto Merhi Manor-Ferrari 1’46.677
20 Will Stevens Manor-Ferrari

Q2

Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, Sepang International Circuit, 2015The decisive moment in the second part of qualifying came when the drivers made the dash from their garage to the pit lane exit. By now the skies were ominously heavy – when Rosberg asked his race engineer how urgent it was to keep up the pace on his out-lap he was told it was “very urgent – first lap will be it”.

So it proved. The first spots of rain were falling as the drivers finished the lap, and as always in Sepang this was swiftly followed by a deluge.

This was no problem for Sebastian Vettel, who had positioned himself at the front of the queue, but further back several drivers were struggling in traffic.

Kimi Raikkonen began his lap trying to pass Marcus Ericsson and was still trying to overtake the Sauber as he completed his lap. The result was Ericsson’s lap was four-tenths of a second quicker – and Raikkonen found himself eliminated.

The pair were overtaken by Hamilton as they began the next lap. His departure from the pits was delayed because of a problem getting his engine to fire up and the Mercedes driver only just managed to snatch a place in the top ten. By now the rain was lashing down, and there was no prospect of anyone setting any further times.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’42.173
12 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Mercedes 1’42.197
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’43.022
14 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’43.468
15 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso-Renault 1’43.700

Q3

Heavy rain continued to fall as the clock ticked down in Q2, and the start of Q3 was postponed for over half an hour. By the time the session had begun most drivers had decided intermediate tyres were the way to go – and those who opted for full wets soon returned to the pits to change them, including the Williams drivers and Grosjean’s Lotus.

Meanwhile those who had started the session on intermediates were pressing on. Rosberg posted a 1’51.066 but Hamilton beat that with ease, lapping over a second quicker than his team mate. Max Verstappen briefly went third-quickest before being demoted by Vettel.

For the final runs all the drivers were on intermediate tyres, and Hamilton immediately set the fastest time through the first sector of the lap. But Rosberg, ahead, had backed off, and Hamilton had to overtake his team mate as they went into turn seven, spoiling his run.

That meant Hamilton led the way as they began their last lap and Rosberg behind him potentially stood to benefit from the ever-drying track. But as it turned out neither of them improved their times – and that brought Vettel into play.

The Ferrari driver produced a 1’49.908 with his final run which lifted him ahead of Rosberg, and left him just 74 thousandths shy of Hamilton. Given the Mercedes had out-qualified everyone by 1.3 seconds in Australia, this was a significant improvement.

But although Vettel was clearly pleased with the result he was also disappointed at having come so close for two years in a row. “Not again!” he exclaimed on the radio. “After last year, the same, one tenth!”

His former team got both their cars in the top five, bumping Verstappen back to sixth place. The Williams drivers, who had looked more competitive in the dry practice sessions, fell to seventh and ninth on the wet track.

Top ten in Q3

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’49.834
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’49.908
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’50.299
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1’51.541
5 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull-Renault 1’51.951
6 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso-Renault 1’51.981
7 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’52.473
8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Mercedes 1’52.981
9 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’53.179
10 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1’53.261

2015 Malaysian Grand Prix

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133 comments on ““Not again!” Hamilton pips Vettel to Malaysia pole”

  1. Amazing performance by Vettel! Almost got pole not having fastest car. He is still proving to be a master in wet conditions.

    Meanwhile Button proves doubters wrong. He is going to push Alonso whole year and his stock will definetely rise.

    1. I’m a massive Button fan, and whilst I do think that Alonso is quicker than him I have a feeling that Jenson will be very close throughout the year.

    2. Though seb’s lap was good, I think you’ll have to look at when both he and lewis did their fastest times. It took Seb 2 goes at it and still came up short. Lewis would’ve bettered his time had it not been for his very intelligent (and I use that term lightly) teammate.

      1. He had another go at last, any reason why he couldn’t improve?

        1. It’s because his tyres were not ‘fresh’ anymore, after going for a hot lap earlier on, only to be held up by his team mate.

          1. But Vettel was able to improve in the next laps after getting 4th spot provisionally. Can we take it as a fact that Ferrari couldn’t bring the tires up to temperature then, since we are into making excuses?

          2. Seb only did 2 flying laps and he only improved on the 2nd of the 2.

          3. Sorry Seb did 3 runs 2 laps on 1 set of inter 1 on another set of inter
            He set p3 then pipped by Verstappen then improved to P3 after another run then pitted got fresh set of tires and matched Lewis
            and for the answer of Lewis is being better He was also a good Driver in WET but the Merc chassis is way better than ferrari

        2. Massa was slower ahead

          1. And he got held again. He was fastest in s1 again for the last run

          2. Lewis did his best when the track was at its worst. A Champ Champ unmatched.

        3. Maybe after Rosberg slowed him down he on his second lap slower slightly so as to make Nico drive in his spray. Wouldn’t have been a bad idea and suitable payback.

          1. I was thinking this same thing.

            What the team are saying behind closed doors I’d love to know. I’m not even sure Nico was that badly affected by the Williams to make him abort, given that in the wet a wide line and late apex in T1 can pay off.

      2. If the track was so massively better and assuming Merc has a upper-hand on Ferrari then I do not think that Rosberg conspiracy towards Ham did change much..

        1. Hamilton was going faster again on the last run until he caught up to the back of a slower Massa also on a flying lap. So Hamilton had more pace in hand, he just got compromised on both of his final flying laps. As for Rosberg he is really beginning to make me cringe. He only extended his contract for this year and next year do he might wanna be a tad more careful…….!

      3. Can we use the same the argument for Lewis that so many people used for Vettel when he was driving (and winning) for RBR? He has the better car.

        1. as a Ferrari tifoso, i think that Lewis was held up by Massa, but not for Massa trying to block him, he just was slower and ahead. I think tht if tomorrow Lewis wins the first corner, is almost done, he just have to manage the race. But, if Vettel win that same corner, then the race will be more than trhilling, to see how Vettel can defend his position on a slower car (even with the big leap forward made by Ferrari, Mercedes still is in a class of their own)

          1. After first lap, Lewis will be like this:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ApeH_ynA8Q

          2. @mysticus hahahahahaa, totally right

    3. @osvaldas31
      Vettel made a lot of mistakes on that lap.
      He would’ve had pole otherwise, so I wouldn’t call it amazing.

      1. Like where? I watched his lap a couple of times and it was a very good one. He had a bit of wheelspin out of the first few corners, but he didn’t lose too much. It’s wet, so obviously you are going to struggle for traction.
        But the rest of the lap was really good. Very good lines, good speed. His last sector, especially, was impressive.

    4. What are you talking about. Jenson has had 1 PODIUM IN 2 YEARS

    5. If you look on Rosberg’s Sectors Both Mercs had at least six-tenths of time in hand. Vettel did a better job staying out of trouble basically, he did exactly as what his Ferrari can do that six-tenths gap was still there and will be there tomorrow.

  2. Shows that Red Bull have a good chassis this year if they are within a second of the Mercedes in the wet. Looks like the majority of issues are indeed to do with Renault.

    Good pace by Ferrari as well, if the race is wet it could be very interesting.

    1. RB’s chassis is definately not bad, but still nowhere near as good as Mercedes’.
      To be honest, I expected even more from them in the wet, because their pace in the wet was very good last year. Seems like the drivability of the Renault is still pretty bad.

      Ferrari are very quick indeed. Vettel was just 0.25 sec behind ROS in Q1 and nearly grabbed pole at the end in the wet.
      Very bad timing for Kimi. Ericsson totally ruined his lap in Q1 X( He could’ve been on the 2nd row. That ruined his chances of a podium for Sunday, but he should still be in the Top5.

      I think they have even better chances if stays dry. They have good straight-line speed and good tyre wear. If Seb gets ahead of HAM at the start, it could get very interesting.

      1. Mashiat Lam Gofran
        28th March 2015, 11:30

        Kimi also totally ruined Hamilton’s lap. @srga91

        1. Not totally, since Hamilton went through to Q3 @mashiat

        2. Yes Kimi should’ve overtaken Ericsson much earlier, instead of blocking Lewis.

          1. If Kimi stayed behind Hamilton he had a better chance of Qualifying!
            >> Hamilton was keep a healthy gap to Ericsson on the outlap, if i remember correctly, before Kimi being impatient, or wanted to mess up ham’s lap (which probably he wasnt thinking) or whatever reason decided to overtake Hamilton on the last corner before the straight, caused gap mishap for both hamilton and himself! Behind Hamilton on the other hand, he would have a nice tow, and less risk of a slow car!

          2. Ericsson, Kimi, Hamilton was the order from pits. Ham overtook both at the start of the second hot lap after finishing behind them in the same order on the lap he set the 8th fastest time.

            Kimi’s only mistake was trying to overtake Sauber all through the lap. Should have stayed behind and got on with his lap.

      2. Hamilton wont have a problem retaking Vettel if that happens im not worried, however im not sure that Rosberg can do it that easily so im hoping Vettel stays ahead into turn 1 so that we can still have a close battle behind Ham, Theres no way Hamilton is losing unless he has a failure.

        1. It helps that he’s got the best car. I’ve decided to use this premise as the reason for Hamilton’s successes this year. It’s what so many people said when Vettel was winning races at Red Bull, especially in 2012 and 2013. And, I think, it will amuse me.

          1. well, i’m not a Hamilton fan, but i think he’s getting most of his dominant car than his teammaete, with a lot of pressure on and a quite fair treatement by the team. If hamilton is the 1 in his team is because he won the battle against his teammate without any help or contractual status. I don’t know if Red Bull had the same policy. They only wanted Seb to win, and gave a clear number 2 status to Webber. There’s a difference.

          2. @matiascasali

            Just like RedBull gave Ricciardo No 1 status in team last year when he joined RBR for the first time? Coz they wanted only Ric to win the races.

          3. @matiascasali sure man, Vettel came in the team in 2009 and he immediately got clear #1 status. Yep.

            Also, why on earth do you think Malaysia ’13 caused such a fuss? Vettel was asked not to attack because he had a clear #1 status?

          4. Just to clear my point, I used Ric example because you said RBR never wanted Webber to win races. They only wanted Seb to win.

            I think both Seb and Ric earned their status in the team because they delivered performance and not just because of some contractual obligation.

            Dont hate anyone to the point that when you make any point regarding them it becomes irrelevant.

          5. @matiascasali

            Except last year showed they clearly didn’t favorite Vettel. The RBR in 2012 had issues in the first part of the year. Webber was doing better with it, and RBR basically expected Vettel to adapt to it.

            Newey’s strategy for the car is not to tailor it to the driver, but to make it as fast as possible under the regulations. Vettel adapted better in 2010-2013. RIC, who is legitimately fast, adapted better in 2014.

            It’s clear that HAM is just a better driver than ROS, and this qualifying, considering the car advantage, shows that VET is better than ROS (Rosberg even radio for help on selecting the best line to take).

    2. Yeah,so much for Renault putting blame partly on Red Bull chassis. They show again that their car is top notch but engine is dead dog at list at this phase.

      1. @tthwaite The Redbull chassis is not that great if you consider that Kyviat was only 0.03 ahead of Max’s STR. They should be trouncing the junior team if the chassis was so great.

        1. @blackmamba, in dry conditions Red Bull are actually slower than the Toro Rosso’s in the middle sector, which is the sector where aerodynamic performance is considered to be most crucial.

          The engine may be hurting them but, as you say, given they are not establishing a clear performance advantage over their junior team – and, given they have the same engine, it removes that aspect from the equation – it suggests that the chassis may not be quite as strong as in the past.

          @tthwaite, are Red Bull really any closer in wet conditions? Ricciardo’s best time came later in the session when the track conditions seemed to be improving slightly, so it is not a like for like comparison.

          If anything, the performance gap has grown in wet conditions between Mercedes and Red Bull actually increased – Ricciardo was lapping within 0.8 seconds of the slower Mercedes in dry conditions in the practise sessions, but that gap grew to 1.2 seconds in wet conditions (Rosberg, who was the slower of the two Mercedes drivers, set a best time of 1m50.3s, whilst Ricciardo’s was a 1m51.5s).

          1. When you look at RIC and VET from Malaysia 2014, also in the wet, VET is a much better wet weather driver than RIC, at least in qualifying. Iirc, VET had close to a second on RIC last year.

            By the same token, not too impressed with Bottas in the wet.

        2. @blackmamba it’s a bit disingenious to use only those numbers that suit you – the fastest RBR was .45s clear of the fastest STR. Those are the numbers you want to compare.

          Also, there’s this tendency to downplay what STR is expected to be able to achieve. Why? Why couldn’t Key come up with a solid design that is capable of coming within half a second of RBR? Why is it instead RBR having a bad chassis when STR comes closer?

    3. Chassis wise, I think Mercedes is better than RB and Ferrari is also better than Red Bull. Toro Rosso is looking good too, I’m impressed with young Max!

    4. LOL …

      Am I the only one seeing that there are 3 Renault cars in the top 10 and only 2 Ferrari’s + that Kvyat is only 0.03 seconds ahead of a Toro Rosso.

      Red Bull are struggling quite a lot with the rear of their car. If you are fighting with a Toro Rosso, it isn’t a good chassis.

      1. so by your logic, the williams chassis must be terrible….. they have the best engine too

  3. All good, happy for my Ferraris, but calm down… it was wet. Merc will take off as usual if it’s dry tomorrow. Podium can do, that’s it
    Shame for Kimi…

    1. It will rain tomorrow. The race will probably start dry but rain will come at some point, things can be tricky tomorrow.

      1. I hope you are right :D

  4. alonso must be gutted tho.

    1. he seemed quite jolly and happy with the improvements made over the past 2 weeks during his TV interview (Spanish TV) after the race.

      1. @coldfly

        It’s too early in the season and TV folks get too into the “sky is falling” mentality.

        By midseason, Honda/McLaren could be the best car on the grid.

        It’s similar to how the Sky folks were bemoaning Hamilton’s P8 in Q2, as if that put him on a back foot. What??? These are F1 experts? All he needed was to get through to Q3, which he did. Nothing carries over. The rain was always going to help him over Rosberg too.

    2. He keeps reminding everyone best of the rest isn’t good enough. Ferrari’s upturn in form may make his move look bad, but he’d lost faith they will ever take him to the top again. One year of progress after 4 years of regression isn’t conclusive that they’re back on their way to the top. 2010 also followed a dreadful 2009 and this could still be a false dawn.

      For what it’s worth I think the moves have been the best thing for each individual driver. I think Vettel in the team will prove more effective that Alonso would have been if he’d stayed, and I think Alonso will get closer to the title in the years to come than he would have done staying at Ferrari.

  5. Joni (@theflyingfinns)
    28th March 2015, 10:56

    As a Finn, this is getting pretty frustrated. So much potential, both are in a top 3 car, but nothing seems to go right. Well, at least it will be fun to see them both making their way up in the race. Although, at this rate, they will hit somebody in the first corner…

    Also, the rain always seems to come at the worst time for Kimi. In a normal quali, he would have likely been in row 2. If I remember correctly in German GP 2012, Kimi did the fastest time in Q2 on a harder tire, and surprise, rain for Q3 and result is P10. It’s not an excuse, but it’s funny that luck never seems to favor him.

    1. As a non-Finn, it is frustrating, Nothing seems to go Kimi’s way lately, he has looked quick and then not getting into Q3. I am wondering if he could have had pole now as Lewis didn’t improve and Seb was so close.

      Looks like Rosberg was playing some games again, he should have got out the way!

      1. Yeah he should be driving and not playing games

      2. Kimi is not that good in the wet so I doubt he would have taken pole!

      3. Rosberg got his wish, he wanted Ferrari to be closer to the Mercs to add to the sport.

    2. It was quite funny, the reporter saying “you can really prove your talent in the wet” and then Bottas gets beaten by Massa …

      1. and then Massa got beaten by Verstappen (the son that is).

        1. @coldfly not in the same car though

          1. @evered7, exactly!
            MAS in Williams and VES in Toro Rosso!!

          2. @coldfly so you believe that STR don’t have a better car than Williams in the wet? Massa did the best he could; beat his team mate in similar circumstances.

            If he got beat by a slower car then Bottas (with champion genes) must be further embarrassed by it logically :)

          3. @evered7, maybe Bottas forgets to pack his champion genes when he goes to Malaysia ;-)

    3. They both now also have very dangerous grid positions. Kimi is between grosjean and maldonado then ericsson and Bottas right in front of them. It is very likely i will throw my laptop to a wall within first minute of the gp.

      1. Kimi is between Grosjean and Maldonado… I actually laughed when I read it

  6. Seb is unquestionable a top driver. For those who considered him finished, and Ric the next big thing. Try again. Great job in this qualify and hopefully tomorrow again in the race. Bad luck for Kim and Nasr. And Nico is still trying to figured out how is possible to beat “the guy in front”. Yeah, Nico, maybe you’ve find out your limits. And they are not enough

    1. +1 on Vettel.

      But on Rosberg: if he manages to get inside Lewis’ head, like he managed to do after Monaco last year, he might be the real winner here.

      1. I doubt it. First he scuppered his chance of improving and ended up third with Lewis still on pole. So inept rather than clever. Second Hamilton after the Spa collision last year and Rosberg’s implication that he did it on purpose, whether true or not, clearly taught him how to respond. I think it just fuels his determination now and allows him to be ruthless when need be without worry.

        1. Totally agree, also Hamilton has won a WDC since Monaco and wont let Nico into his head so easily in future. Nico will only pickup wins when Lewis has a problem with his car, or gets compromised some other way.

      2. Jean-Christophe
        28th March 2015, 14:26

        I think that’s what he tried to achieve by blocking Lewis. Could have worked if Seb got pole. Only speculation here but I believe that Lewis knows it and that’s why he chose to completely ignore Rosberg by not even mentioning the incident

    2. Is there anyone who considered him finished??
      Vettel is a class act, that’s obvious.

      And watching him fighting the power, like others did on the last few years is as good as it was.
      Hamilton too took some poles from him on similar fashion, like Spa 2013.

      Rosberg, on the other hand, seems to be starting to crack. There’s no doubt who Mercedes will favour in case there’s a battle for the title with Ferrari. RosBERGER better be nice and help Hamilton!

    3. His teammate is only Kimi. Don’t get ahead of yourself.

  7. Impressed with vettel, can he hold rosberg this year tho?

    i know rain was a factor, but how about verstappen!

    Renault and red.bull might be happier with these results😊

    1. Ferrari looked good their runs on friday. Looked even better than Mercedes, but that’s hardly the real scenario. Mercedes always sandbags on fridays.

      I see him sailing peacefully for a podium finish, but Ricciardo and Massa are right there too, we may have good fights.

  8. So, Rosberg just got what he wanted, a competitive Ferrari splinting the Mercedes!

    Another point: were Rosberg asking for help from his engineer about the better lines to take on his flying lap? And have him blocked Lewis?

    Anyway, happy to see Vettel challenging Mercedes, although Lewis passed Kimi so easly in the start of Q2 that I can’t see Ferrari really able to resist to an attack in case of a good start from Vettel.

    1. It looked very much like a block made on purpose, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, it wasn’t exactly easy conditions.

      1. Yeah, but few moments earlier both went to box. Rosberg ahead and Hamilton waiting in line. Rosberg knew Hamilton was right behind him on the track.

        He screwed his lap right on the start, let Massa through, then stayed on the dry line, knowing Hamilton was coming.

        It didn’t work, so it doesn’t matter anyway.

    2. One explanation for ROS in Q3 is that he didn’t know how to go faster, which line to pick, so decided to let HAM pass and then follow his line.

      Lots of disappointment with ROS this year – from his comments with VET after Melbourne (“I thought you would be happy your teammate didn’t finish so you’d get some points on him” – ah, only if that’s the only way you can get points, smh). Then asking about the line to take and ending a half second down on Lewis.

      I do hear his wife is having a difficult pregnancy, so that could explain some of this.

  9. Rosberg once again having to play dirty tricks to beat Hamilton, this time blocking him when he was on a Q3 lap. Rosberg cannot beat Hamilton in a fair fight. Stop cheating Rosberg!

    1. steve (@maximustotalus)
      28th March 2015, 11:08

      It’s the only way ROS can try to level the difference in ability I think Sen will even manage to keep ROS behind as he is a better driver than him even with a car a little behind on power

      1. You mean if the race is wet?

        1. steve (@maximustotalus)
          28th March 2015, 14:04

          Yes sorry forgot to put that I see rosberg gettin into some 1st corner accident

    2. Im pretty sure he threw one of his “sanitary napkins” at Lewis when he zoomed by.

  10. I think people are being a lot hard on Rosberg. He already aborted that lap and was cruising to be last to the chequered flag. Maybe Mercedes should have informed Hamilton about it and Rosberg as well to avoid any confusion since Hamilton would have know Rosberg had two hot laps, same as him. Only Rosberg aborted the first to gain an advantage being last on the track.

    Happy that it didn’t matter in the end and happy for Ferrari as well to show some great pace all weekend. Hoping for a nice, clean reliable race tomorrow.

    1. Rubbish! Maybe he should’ve used his mirrors and he knew quite well that Lewis was behind him, given that’s how they crossed the line to start their lap. Lewis only did a 2nd lap because Nico screwed up his first after messing up his own. And where did you get this info that they had 2 hot laps?

      If he aborted the lap as you say, then get off the racing line.

      1. The very fact that the rain had stopped and the track was improving all the while should be enough to make them do 2 hot laps. If not they wouldn’t have the fuel for it.

        He aborted the lap and yet had plenty of time to do another. Which tells that they had planned to do 2 as the track would certainly be faster as time progresses.

      2. If he aborted the lap as you say, then get off the racing line.

        He did get off the racing line.

        1. Not when lewis past him he didn’t! He was bang on the racing line forcing lewis to abort his fast lap!

    2. If Rosberg had done that to Vettel on his fast run (considering Hamilton was purple in S1) then he’d have well deserved a penalty. He is only really getting away with it because it was the other Merc and Hamilton ended up P1 anyway. How would this have gone if Rosberg has gone faster?

  11. Rosberg clearly broke Hamilton’s momentum with that block. The rules are pretty straightfoward and he should be given a penalty. As we saw last year the stewards are too chicken to do their jobs properly. The other thing to point out is that it was Lewis’ turn to be last over the line in q3 (Rosberg had the choice in Aus). More cheating from Rosberg.

    1. In what way is it cheating?
      Nico had to run a bit wide in T1 because of the Williams exiting the pit lane so decided to abort the lap & slow down to save the tyres. From there unless the team specifically told him Lewis was coming, Due to the spray coming off the rear tyres taking away visibility in the mirrors its probable Nico had no idea Lewis was there.

      As to a blocking penalty, No need as it didn’t affect the positions & neither Mercedes or Hamilton have complained or lodged a protest to the stewards.
      Had Lewis ended up losing out then I’d say arguing for a penalty was fair, But given how it didn’t have any real affect on anything taking no action is the correct call.

      1. Just so I’m clear, then, penalties should be awarded on the outcome of an action rather than the action itself?

      2. RogerA
        A penalty would discourage Rosberg from doing this sort of this again.

      3. As I said earlier, if that was Vettel on his fast lap and he blocked him like that we’d all be calling for a penalty and frankly he’d deserve it.

      4. He knew Hamilton was there, behind him and getting closer as he aborted his lap.

        Both just went for pit stops together moments before and he was ahead.

  12. Very disappointing qualifying. Rosberg keeps making mistakes and Kimi was out when it mattered the most. Hamilton did solid, even if it wouldn’t grant him pole wasn’t the Merc the fastest car, today Hamilton’s engineers could have cost him, a misfire is one thing it doesn’t explain the rest, that said he really is at home with this car. At this moment everything is going as expected, I see a repeat of RBR’s dominance in many small details, Merc is Hamilton’s team and it’s only going to get harder to for Nico to do anything about it. Inter team battles are riddled with mystery, as of now Nico is clueless.

  13. kenneth chapman
    28th March 2015, 11:36

    i think a lot of people have missed what was a sensational lap from ricciardo to take that red bull to fourth on the grid with kvyat in fifth, considering the underpowered lump in the back of the car. great work under testing conditions.

    1. That was the engine setting they used in testing and they were impressive then. So no big surprise there if I’m honest.

    2. 1.7 seconds off the pace is “impressive” indeed….

      1. Especially considering Hamilton left at least 0.5 seconds on the table.

  14. Just a little note regarding Nico ‘blocking’ Lewis, That been that with the spray its probable that Nico didn’t know Lewis was there given how its been said many times in the past that when you have even a bit of spray coming off the rear tyres it totally blocks the visibility in the mirrors.

    In that situation its left to the teams to inform drivers if someone is coming up behind them on a faster lap & i’ve not seen anything regarding if he was told about Lewis or not by the team.

    1. What spray are you talking about? What car was in front of him at that time to have messed with his vision?

      Nico knew Lewis was behind him, because they crossed the line in that some position.

      1. The spray from his own car which would have hampered his sight in his mirrors. Maybe he also thought Lewis had backed out on that run too. Maybe the team could have told him and helped him out.

      2. Wasn’t on about spray coming off another car, I was referring to the spray coming off Nico’s own tyres.
        Its been said many times over the years that in the wet the spray coming off your own tyres blocks your visibility in the mirrors.

        There was a big gap between them up until Nico slowed down so he may not have known that Lewis was coming up behind to pass him at that point unless the team informed him via the radio which as i’ve said i’ve not seen anyone say they did or didn’t do.

        I’d also note that i’ve not heard Lewis complain about it either so he perhaps just doesn’t see it as an issue like many fans seem to?

          1. Oops, beginner’s faux-pas with the link button:)

        1. Lewis was playing it down in interviews but if you watch Brundle / Hamilton Sky Pad interview (which was really good) Brundle brings up the incident and there is a lot of hesitation from Lewis before he states that it didn’t affect pole so didn’t matter. Seems to me that it was an issue but Lewis doesn’t want to get drawn into negativity. Would spoil the vibe man!

  15. Don’t you think these incidents with Nico are happening way too frequent for them to be just coincidence? Its just obvious now they are engineered. Now if he came out worse as a consequence some people call that Karma.

    1. Well to be honest the last race in Abu Dhabi would count as big karma pay-off for last season, I think. And he took it well enough.

      What I found weird were his answers today after being asked about blocking Hamilton and his mock interview of Lewis. I think he was trying to turn the situation to his advantage through mind games again, except nobody seemed to have a clue what he was on about.

  16. Oh boy, I’m sure there will be a lot of headlines tomorrow regarding Rosberg’s block on Lewis.

  17. In the press conference, I think it was James Allen who asked Hamilton about the awkward moment with Rosberg at that turn and he couldn’t even recall it happening….so either we’re making a big deal of it when it wasn’t or they’re saving that conversation for the motor-home later with Toto and Niki.

    1. Or it could be Lewis deciding not to dwell on it. But don’t for 1 second think he’s not peeved off about it. He got pole, so there was no need to speak on it.

    2. @serv
      Or you can’t read between the lines

      1. @supremacy buddy you’re seeing things between the lines that aren’t there. Maybe it wasn’t so significant to Hamilton because he got the pole and he’s quite confident he can outrace Rosberg anyway…he doesn’t need to get into games with Rosberg. I think fans like yourself are more shaken by the incident than Hamilton.

    3. Neil (@neilosjames)
      28th March 2015, 15:53

      That looked like painfully fake ‘amnesia’ from Hamilton. Probably just didn’t want to discuss it with the press.

    4. Yeah right. He couldn’t remember despite abandoning his lap immediately after the block.
      If he has that much amnesia then maybe he should had joined Alonso in the check-ups for concussion.

  18. Stop it! Just stop it you lot. The grid looks like it should Ham Vet Ros. Whatever your opinion on the Rosberg going slow incident it didn’t affect the results.

    On a positive note it’s great to see Seb smiling again :)

    1. Agree with all your points @funkyf1. Hopefully we can have a more competitive race tomorrow.

  19. Poor show from Rosberg, Martin Brundle pointed it out, that if it were an inter team situation Rosberg might well have been facing a penalty for his blocking tactics on Hamilton. Do I sense desperation setting in…

    1. You started to make a potentially good point, but then you mentioned Brundle.

      1. @coldfly Brundle needs a better producer/director/staff to ward off some of his errors.

      2. David Coulthard was saying on BBC even before the previous corner he wondered if Nico was trying to spoil Lewis’ lap with dirty air, then outright laughed at the impeding and said it was ‘a bit naughty’, so trying to rubbish Brundle doesn’t mean it didn’t happen @coldfly @curmudgeon ;)

        1. One of the Brazilian commentators went on for some time about Rosberg being ‘anti-ethical’. Bit of an over-reaction, but it certainly wasn’t seen-only-by-Brits.

  20. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    28th March 2015, 13:18

    A nicely mixed up grid, tyre strategies will be crucial (are they ever not these days?), and wet weather could play a role, should be an interesting race tomorrow :)

  21. Sad to Raikkonen got out in Q2 and i have belief watching so many races in the past it will be difficult for him to be among top five even with good pace among the field. Vettel in his shoes would have charged through the field but Kimi nowadays don’t indulge in Aggressive driving which will surely hamper him till 1st Stop.

    Still being Ferrari Fan would love to see both in top five – wish him luck for tommorrow (MAL is nearby too).

  22. Fair play to Ericson, Not a bad effort. I saw him in Melbourne, really nice guy, happy to go out of his way to meet the fans.

  23. I think Rosberg’s constantly asking for coaching is undignified

    1. +1
      And also the resorting to playground tactics when he thinks Hamilton had the psychological upper hand.
      He always seems to want to know what the other car is doing… He simply hasn’t got what it takes to beat him on a level field.

      And no, I’m not particularly a Hamilton fan – but the man is a genius behind the wheel, even if he isn’t the worlds best character.

      1. Kind of hard to be a genius at anything and still be the worlds best character. Just as hard when your good at nothing at all. Drivers are only paid to be good at driving, but I believe that most of them are also of good character, and fashion is a matter of taste.

  24. Wow great job by Vettel and Ferrari. Shame the other seat is being wasted on Raikkonen, with so many promising young talents out there.

  25. Kimi’s result is terrible.

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