Lewis Hamilton, (C) celebrates in parc ferme after finishing first alongside Sebastian Vettel (R) and Nico Rosberg  (L) during qualifying for the Malaysia Formula One Grand Prix. (Photo: Getty)

Lewis Hamilton, (C) celebrates in parc ferme after finishing first alongside (R) and Nico Rosberg (L) during qualifying for the Malaysia Grand Prix. (Photo: Getty)

Sebastian Vettel showed just how much progress Red Bull has made by earning second place in wet qualifying in Malaysia – just 0.05s shy of pole man Lewis Hamilton.

With rain likely to stir things up on Sunday, the German has a shot at challenging Mercedes for the win.

“Obviously the beginning of Q1, the heartbeat was definitely rising very quickly when we realized there was an issue, restarted the car, which seemed to solve the problem. After that it was fine, so it was good to go out and get another feel for the car, in the wet, with the conditions. It was very tricky. Q3 was not perfect; I would have loved to have a second go.

“My first attempt, I felt there was a little bit of time to gain here and there, so obviously very, very close; too close because definitely the margin was possible to go that much faster but equally I think if Lewis had another chance he would have improved as well. Would, could, should – at the end of the day it’s good to be on the front row. If I’m not wrong I should be on the good side [of the grid] tomorrow. It depends on how good the start is, but for sure very happy with the result.”

Vettel had some interesting views on the current status quo: “Well, to be honest I think Mercedes as a team has the best package. They’ve done a very good job across the break. Obviously with new rules there was a lot of work, so I think they’re the favorites at the moment, no matter, I think, where we go. As a fact, after that I think it’s fairly close between the other Mercedes-powered teams and probably Ferrari and us. I think we’re similar, depending on the day, conditions etc., but difficult to judge.

“It’s only one-and-a-half races in. But I’m very happy, to be honest, because we had a bad winter, but the team is fired up, the guys are pushing still flat out. I cannot even imagine how they must feel. It was very tough, we didn’t run a lot, so for us drivers it wasn’t very tough but they surely had a lot of jobs to do on the car: cover off, engine off, change the engine, change this, change that. A lot of work, but they are very happy and it seemed to pay off, bit by bit. Obviously we still have a way to go.”


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