Vettel grabs pole in rain-hit Malaysian GP qualifying

Sepang (Malaysia), March 23 (IANS) Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull will start the Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix on pole position after becoming the fastest driver in qualifying Saturday for the second consecutive time this season.

The youngest three-time world champion won his 38th pole position by setting the fastest lap time of 1 minute 49.674 seconds in the rain-hit session at the Sepang International Circuit, ahead of the two Ferrari drivers, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.
The top ten drivers started Q3 on intermediates as shower hit the race during in Q2, Xinhua reports.
“It was a decent lap,” Vettel told a press conference after the qualifying session. “Obviously it was quite tricky because some parts of the track were still wet and the other were dry.”
He said his team has managed to save some tyres, which could be “crucial” for the race Sunday.
Vettel secured the pole position last week in the first race of the season, but only came home in third place.
“If you start in the front, you always want to finish there as well,” he said.
“Managing the tyres will be crucial tomorrow. We know the paces is there so hopefully we will get to the chequered flag in the same position.”
Massa will start ahead of his teammate Alonso for the second time in a row. He admitted that the rain had helped his team in the qualifying.
Alonso, who won the last Malaysian Grand Prix in 2012, said the performance of the Ferrari cars in the long run was a little bit inconsistent, but “no reason not to be optimistic” as the cars were in good pace in Melbourne.
He said he would try to do a good race and score as many point as possible.
British driver Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes was on the fourth place, starting next to Alonso Sunday, followed by Mark Webber, another Red Bull driver.
Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen, who won last week in Melbourne with an impressive two stoppers, was seventh fastest. However, he will start on the tenth place after being handed a three-place grid penalty for impeding Nico Rosberg of Mercedes in the qualifying.