PM: Sepang circuit will not be a white elephant after F1 race

Maurizio Arrivabene: “It Was Clear We Had A Very Competitive Car”

Hamilton kept the old parts for qualifying and, after seeing title rival Sebastian Vettel hit engine trouble in Q1, turned in a blistering lap in Q3 to edge Kimi Raikkonen to the 70th pole position of his career - one that left him over 0.6s up on his teammate's upgraded vehicle.

Hamilton, a three-time world champion, then produced a flawless performance to increase his standings lead over Vettel to 28 points with just six races remaining - starting at the Sepang International Circuit on Sunday.

"I've been struggling with the auto today, so we have to review and try to understand where we have gone wrong with the balance", said Hamilton, who leads Vettel by 28 points.

Vettel had surprisingly held the upper hand over Hamilton throughout practice but suffered an issue in the final session and required a new engine.

Kuala Lumpur: Formula One is losing one of its toughest races with the departure of Malaysia from the calendar after this weekend's grand prix, triple world champion Lewis Hamilton said yesterday.

"Somehow we managed to turn it around and it is a real surprise to be up here with these guys", added Hamilton, who secured his ninth pole of the season at the last-ever running of the race. Not a great day as you can imagine but the response from the whole team has been very positive. "The vehicle felt good".

Lewis Hamilton is 8/15 to win Sunday's Malaysia Grand Prix from pole position but title rival Sebastian Vettel must start from the back of the grid.

Ferrari had already made the fourth change on Saturday, when an electronic malfunction was detected late into the third practice session.

Hamilton claims Sepang pole, luckless Vettel to start from back of grid
Max Verstappen qualified third ahead of Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo , while Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas was fifth. The German team have struggled all weekend with what Mercedes boss Toto Wolff on Saturday described as a "capricious" vehicle .

"Who knows what will happen tomorrow", Vettel told AFP.

The Formula 4 South East Asia (F4 SEA) race, a support event at the Petronas Malaysia Formula One Grand Prix, ground to an embarrassing halt at the Sepang Circuit today.

"I want to be sure we can achieve our best".

Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton was handed a lucky break in Singapore but the Mercedes driver can take little more than the heat and humidity for granted in Malaysia this weekend. "I don't really know what happened to Sebastian today". You always find some things to improve but the vehicle has behaved nicely all weekend. I think it's part of racing.

The Ferrari driver's title chances have started to look a lot less rosy over the past month, with Hamilton scoring a hat-trick of victories.

"I think it's good for the people to have a distraction, to have a moment of happiness".

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

Valtteri Bottas, unable to overcome Mercedes problems in the way his team-mate did, will start a disappointed fifth.

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