Malaysia Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton on pole at Sepang

Malaysia Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton on pole at Sepang

Malaysia Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton on pole at Sepang

Vettel already trails Hamilton by 28 points and the Briton's lead looks likely to stretch further on Sunday.

"I really want to improve and redeem myself because past year we did not achieve a great result from my side here", he told reporters in a press conference at the Galeri Petronas, here, Tuesday.

Hamilton was clearly surprised to be on pole after a torrid weekend where he had failed to be quicker than fifth in any practice session.

"It feels like I have no turbo", he said over team radio as he crawled back to the pits in his first qualifying stint.

Hamilton has tasted victory only once in Sepang, back in 2014, and with the race being hosted in the country for the last time this represents his final chance to improve that record.

Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo are complementing each other extremely well and as Ricciardo has quoted, Max brings out the best in him.

Raikkonen became 5/2 second favourite after qualifying with Verstappen available at 8/1 for the win.

"Who knows what will happen tomorrow?"

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

Though he appeared comfortable with the changes his team made to his auto ahead of FP3, Hamilton said the time constraint between that session and qualifying was the only reason he did not move back to the upgraded package Bottas had stayed with.

Following the morning rain, practice two was completely dry and teams quickly got to work on a mixture of medium, soft and super-soft tyres.

"There's another image to add to the Baku bumper cars and Singapore first-corner crash for significant moments of 2017". Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton waves after getting pole position in qualifying.

"We had such a hard day yesterday (Friday), did not know where we stood and did not know whether we could fix the issue, it was hard to sleep", said Hamilton.

"We will have a tough battle. We made some changes into qualifying that should suit the auto tomorrow so I am hopeful we will be there or thereabouts".

Earlier this month, Hamilton said he was expecting to extend his contract with Mercedes beyond 2018, when it runs out.

"Lost drive, let me know what to do", Vettel said over the radio.

"Tomorrow will be a long race and it will be tough on the tires but we have a good vehicle and a good feeling". "I think we have a very good race auto, so we'll see".

"I turn it back to the media - what changes have you seen that makes it any more exciting than in the Bernie days, in terms of the sport, in terms of racing, what have they done?", he asked.

So, too, it seemed were Mercedes themselves with the team attributing the unexpected pole position, secured by less than a tenth of a second over Kimi Raikkonen, to the "Hamilton factor".

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