Malaysia GP: Button puts Brawn on pole again
F1's best driver by far in the best car, Sebastian Vettel, put his Red Bull third on the time sheets at 1m35.518s, but will start 10 grid positions down to P13 due to his penalty in Australia. Rubens Barrichello (Brawn) and Timo Glock (Toyota) rounded out the top-5. Barrichello will drop 5 spots to P9 on the grid as a result of his penalty.
With both Ferraris and McLarens down on the grid once again the F1 starting grid looks much different than in recent years.
Felipe Massa and his crew committed a strategy catastrophe, comfortable to sit out the final 'Q1' dash but ultimately watching the field go quicker and strand him at sixteenth on the grid.
Massa said he blames "everybody" wearing red in the Sepang paddock this weekend for his atrocious qualifying result.
The Brazilian, despite the Ferrari F60 looking competitive on the Malaysian layout in practice, will line up just sixteenth on the grid after deliberately sitting out the final dash for pace in 'Q1'.
"The team thought it was enough to go through and maybe I thought the same, honestly. In the end there was not enough time to go out again," he said.
Asked if he blames the team for the bad call, Massa answered: "I blame me, I blame the engineers, I blame everybody that was working (for Ferrari). It is a Ferrari mistake and a wake-up call for us."
He said part of the problem could be Ferrari simply adjusting to no longer having the best car in F1, after a disastrous start to the season in Australia last week.
His teammate Kimi Raikkonen was quick enough only for ninth, after narrowly surviving a similar 'Q1' scare.
Kimi Raikkonen made a similar mistake but scraped through, ultimately however qualifying just ninth on the grid, despite being the pre-qualifying favorite.
Fernando Alonso told reporters after the session that his ear infection has improved overnight, but was disappointed with the Renault, admitting that tenth place "is what we deserve".
Both McLarens are outside of the top ten, and Toro Rosso's rookie Sebastien Buemi brings up the rear of the grid.
Trulli was happy with his 2nd place starting position.
"The team has done a fantastic job, we stayed away from traffic and the car was feeling good, so it has been a very successful day for us. The car feels strong now but I have to admit I wasn't sure I would be in this position after practice yesterday because it was quite difficult.
Eliminated in knockout round 1 were Felipe Massa, Giancarlo Fisichella, Sebastien Buemi, Nelson Piquet, and Adrian Sutil.
Eliminated in knockout round 2 were Sebastien Bourdias, Heikki Kovalainen, Lewis Hamilton, Kaz Nakajima and Nick Heidfeld.
Timo Glock had good speed at Sepang on Saturday, and with Sebastian Vettel and Rubens Barrichello's grid penalties, the German moves his Toyota up to third on the grid for the Malaysian grand prix.
But he was way too fast in the pitlane in practice, caught by the FIA doing nearly 80kmh in the 60kmh zone. The infraction costs him 4000 euros.
"Overall the qualifying went quite well and I'm happy to be starting third, said Glock.
Nick Heidfeld went 3.7kmh over the limit in the same practice session, attracting a 800 euro fine.
The race starts Sunday morning early at 5:00 AM ET. Pre-race coverage starts on SPEED at 4:30 AM.
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