Vettel storms to Sepang pole
Sebastian Vettel has secured his second pole position in a row with a scintillating wet-weather lap around SepangVettel hauled his RBR9 through variable track conditions on intermediate tyres in 1minutes 49.674seconds, almost one second faster than the next-best car.“I think it was a generally interesting qualifying session,” said Vettel. “I think we had a bit of a different approach to other people.”The reigning World Champion says his decision for a last-moment pit stop was key to his impressive lap time.“In Q3, obviously with the circuit drying, it was clear it was better to change tyres. So yeah, I think we did the right thing.”“I think we saved some tyres, which could be crucial for tomorrow.”Felipe Massa qualified second, nine-tenths off the pace, and two-tenths faster than his teammate.It’s the second week in succession Massa has outqualified Fernando Alonso, and Massa completed the lap despite some lairy moments in the rain early in Q3.Massa believed the wet weather flattered the Ferrari.“I don’t know if we’re able to be second or third in the dry,” said Massa. “We had some other quick cars back [behind us].”“We took the right decision to stop and change tyres, and managed to put a good lap together well.”Alonso lapped quick enough for third, despite holding provisional pole for a few precious seconds.The Spaniard was more optimistic on Ferrari’s pace, however, believing the car’s underlying potential is ready to be exploited.“We didn’t have big problems in the long runs on Friday,” Said Alonso. “So there’s no reason not to be optimistic.”“We’ll try to do a good race and score as many points as possible.”Lewis Hamilton was fast enough for fourth, his Mercedes still thereabout in terms of pace.Hamilton remarked last week after qualifying in Australia that he felt uncomfortable in his car when the track was wet, suggesting he’ll be well placed to score points should tomorrow’s race be dry.His teammate Nico Rosberg will start for sixth on tomorrow’s grid, the two Mercedes cars separated by the Red Bull of Mark Webber.Webber was critical of the Pirelli tyres for much of Saturday, claiming racing now has more to do with tyres than true pace, and seemed unhappy with what he could extract from the rubber after qualifying.Kimi Raikkonen, winner in Australia, qualified in seventh, staving off a late mechanical issue that threatened to stop his car on track.The Lotus pit wall warned him he may have to switch off the car at any moment due to low hydraulic pressure, but the car was ultimately brought home safely.Jenson Button had another disappointing day, unable to capitalise on the changing conditions in a McLaren that continues to be uncompetitive – he was almost three and a half seconds slower than Vettel’s pole timeAdrian Sutil had to wring his car by the neck as the only Force India representative in the top ten, eventually placing his car between Button and teammate Perez, in tenth.Q2Qualifying’s second session ended early with the arrival of rain, eliminating any chance for the cars to improve their times up to that point. Paul di Resta, in particular, was caught without a lap time, and could only manage P15 on a dampening track.Outside the top ten will start Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg in places 11 and 12, ahead of Ricciardo and Gutierrez in 13 and 14.Maldonado proved Williams still has serious issues to sort out, managing just P16, the slowest car to make it through to Q2.Q3The usual suspects found themselves out at the first hurdle, accompanied by Jean-Eric Vergne in P17, and Valtteri Bottas in P18.Jules Bianchi and his Marussia was fastest of the backmarkers, while Charles Pic’s Caterham followed in twentieth place.Max Chilton and Giedo van der Garde will fill the very back row at Sepang tomorrow evening.The 2013 Malaysian Grand prix kicks off tomorrow at 5PM AEDT.