SEPANG, Malaysia — Despite heavy rain, Lewis Hamilton won his second consecutive Formula One pole during qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix Saturday at Sepang Int’l Circuit.
It was the Mercedes driver’s 33rd career pole.
The rain began falling heavily around 35 minutes before the start of qualifying and the session was delayed by 15 minutes.
Hamilton turned a best lap of one minute and 59.431 seconds during shootout qualifying to edge four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who was second for Red Bull with a lap of two minutes and .180 seconds.
“I’m really happy, firstly with the job the team has done and just generally how well we have done throughout the weekend,” Hamilton said. “But today was just incredible, how much, firstly, it rained before qualifying and then during the session it was very, very tricky out there I think for everyone.
“Particularly at the end it was almost impossible to see anything. During my last lap I just couldn’t see a thing behind Hulkenberg,” he continued. “I couldn’t see where the track went, didn’t know where the corners were, when to brake. To start the lap I couldn’t see where Fernando was behind me, so it was impossible to try to get a gap, so I had to bail out. But fortunately…very close. These guys (Vettel and Red Bull Racing) are definitely a little bit too close, so happy to be here.”
Australian Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg was third with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo completing the top five.
Marcus Ericcson was uninjured when he crashed his Caterham mount during the earlier full field qualifying session.