Sepang (Malaysia), March 24 (IANS) McLaren repeated their performance at Melbourne with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button settling the front row in the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying here Saturday. Sahara Force India failed to make the top-10.
Hamilton's first flying lap of 1:36.219 in Q3 was enough for the 21st pole of his career. Button pipped Michael Schumacher for the second spot with 1:36.368, as just .4 seconds covered the top eight drivers. Schumacher's 1:36.391 was his best qualifying result since returning to F1 in 2010.
Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel were fourth and sixth fastest, in between Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn, however, will start from 10th on the grid after being penalised for a gearbox change.
Force India's of Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg finished 14th and 16th.
Di Resta had already expressed his doubts of breaking into Q3 with very little separating the mid-field teams.
Hulkenberg, who managed a top-10 grid position in Australia, was back in the pits in the initial part of Q2. The Silverstone-based team though are confident of a better race pace Sunday.
"Our race pace should be better than what we produced in qualifying, so we can still compete. But it is pretty warm in the car," said di Resta referring to the hot and humid conditions at the Sepang International Circuit.
Narain Karthikeyan will be seen on the starting grid for the first time in the season after both HRTs lapped within 107 percent of the fastest time.
Karthikyean will start 23rd as Caterham's Heikki Kovalainen will drop from 19th to last for a grid penalty incurred at Albert Park last weekend. Pedro de la Rosa will begin the race one place ahead of his Indian teammate.
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