Lewis Hamilton has taken his 57th career pole position – his fourth at the Sepang International Circuit and eighth of the 2016 season so far. Nico Rosberg completed a ninth Silver Arrows front row lock-out of the season in P2. Both drivers completed a single run in Q1 and Q2, another two runs in Q3, using soft tyres throughout.
Lewis Hamilton: “It feels great. I’m incredibly grateful for the car being where it is. The guys have done a great job for us to have such performance this weekend. To be able to extract it from the car is the thing I’m really happy about. It’s been night and day in comparison to Singapore. Of the laps I had there, I only really got a few of them together. Here, though, we’ve had lots of mileage, I’ve been able to build through the sessions and I felt really comfortable in the car.
“My final qualifying lap was the first lock-up I’d had all weekend into Turn One, so there was more time out there. It’s a shame I didn’t get to show it but I still got pole and it’s looking good for tomorrow. I’ve been here since last Saturday, so I’ve been able to prepare really well and I’ve been pretty quick all weekend. I’ve had incredible support ever since I arrived here in Malaysia from the people here – and from everyone else around the world too, as always. I want this just as badly as they do, so hopefully we’ll see it through tomorrow. It’s too soon to say how the race will go. When I’m on top of it like I have been this weekend, it generally goes my way on a Sunday. Let’s hope that pattern continues.”
Nico Rosberg: “Congrats to Lewis for the pole. He did a better job today. I was closer to him on my last lap but then I lost a couple of tenths in the last corner, which was a pity. I can be happy with a front row start as we have seen this year that there are some opportunities at the start and qualifying is not quite so important anymore – especially at a track like this where you can overtake. So, overall I’m quite confident for tomorrow. I hope we can give our Malaysian friends from Petronas and the whole country a great race.”
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “That was a pretty awesome session from Lewis, setting fastest time in all three parts of qualifying and taking pole by a big margin – and without completing his final effort. He’s been on point from the first laps this weekend and, without any reliability problems, he’s got the job done.
Nico also did a great recovery in Q3 after an oversteery first run left him P5. He got a strong P2 on his final lap and he probably left a couple of tenths out there on the track as well. Looking ahead to tomorrow, we need to keep the ball flat and focus on the job. It will be a challenging race with our main rivals very close on long run pace. Strategy will be important and so will avoiding mistakes in the challenging conditions. We’ve hit our first target for the weekend but the big one is still to come.”