Mercedes error cost Hamilton victory at Monaco

Rosberg 2015 MonacoGP

A pit-stop error by Mercedes cost a guaranteed victory for Lewis Hamilton, which handed the Monaco Grand Prix to his team-mate Nico Rosberg.

For 64 of the 78 laps the race around the tight, twisty streets of the Principality, this was a high speed processional, with the defending champion Hamilton seemingly unruffled from the moment the five red lights disappeared to signal the start.

But then Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen misjudged a move and crashed into the rear-right wheel of the Lotus of Romain Grosjean at Sainte Devote, immediately turning the fortunes on the Grand Prix result.

Hamilton had a 21-second lead at the stage but Mercedes made an unnecessary strategy call in covering off rival Ferrari during this safety car period.

The championship leader was called into the pits to take on the super-soft compound tyres, yet as Hamilton emerged back on track, Rosberg and Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel had passed him.

From a commanding position Mercedes have changed the outcome of the race and for Hamilton, this should have been the 37th win of his Formula 1 career.

Despite being on much faster tyre over the final eight laps after the withdrawal of the safety car, Hamilton was unable to find a way past Vettel, never mind catching Rosberg.

It was an astonishing end to an otherwise dull race, with the opening lap providing a frantic action.

Come the sweep through Mirabeau, double world champion Fernando Alonso was involved in a collision with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, sending the ‘Hulk’ into a barrier, resulting in the loss of his front wing.

The incident forced the race stewards into an immediate investigation, with the blame on Alonso. The McLaren driver was handed a five-second time penalty.

Such was Alonso’s pace, however, throughout the opening 30 laps that by the time he pitted to take on a set of soft tyres – switching from the opening stint super-softs – the additional penalty proved redundant.

Alonso, though, did not last too long after his pit stop, pulling his Honda-powered car off track at Sainte Devote with a gearbox issue caused by rising temperatures a day after an MGU-H problem brought an early end to his qualifying session.

Behind the leading trio Daniil Kvyat scored the highest finish of his career with fourth, followed by his Red Bull Racing team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Kvyat was ordered to let Ricciardo through in the closing stages, but the Red Bulls swapped back on the final lap once it became clear that Ricciardo could not make any progress against Hamilton.

Force India’s Sergio Perez took seventh, the team’s best result of the season, with Jenson Button claiming McLaren’s first points this season with eighth.

Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and Carlos Sainz in the Toro Rosso completed the top ten.

This was a disappointing race for Williams. Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa – who suffered a lap-one puncture – were classified P14 and P15.

So a hat trick of victories for Nico Rosberg at Monte Carlo and yet the major talking point was the bad strategy call from Mercedes which cost Lewis Hamilton a certain win.

The team will learn from this but the championship leader will need to remain calm and collective. This is racing after all and as Murray Walker would often say: “Anything can happen in Formula 1 and it usually does.”

MonacoGP 2015 SC

Monaco Grand Prix, race results after 78 laps:

1    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes        1h49m18.420s
2    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    4.486s
3    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    6.053s
4    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault     11.965s
5    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault      13.608s
6    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari       14.345s
7    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes      15.013s
8   Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda     16.063s
9    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari     23.626s
10    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault     25.056s
11    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes     26.232s
12    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes     28.415s
13    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari     31.159s
14    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    45.789s
15    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1 Lap
16    Roberto Merhi    Marussia-Ferrari    2 Laps
17    Will Stevens    Marussia-Ferrari    2 Laps
– Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault  Collision
– Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    41    Gearbox
– Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    5    Brakes

Fastest lap: Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1m 18.063s (lap 74)

Drivers’ standings:

1    Lewis Hamilton    126
2    Nico Rosberg    116
3    Sebastian Vettel    98
4    Kimi Raikkonen    60
5    Valtteri Bottas    42
6    Felipe Massa    39
7    Daniel Ricciardo    35
8    Daniil Kvyat    17
9    Felipe Nasr    16
10    Romain Grosjean    16
11    Sergio Perez    11
12    Carlos Sainz    9
13    Nico Hulkenberg    6
14    Max Verstappen    6
15    Marcus Ericsson    5
16    Jenson Button    4
17    Fernando Alonso    0
18    Roberto Merhi    0
19    Will Stevens    0
20    Pastor Maldonado    0

Constructors’ standings:

1    Mercedes    242
2    Ferrari    158
3    Williams-Mercedes    81
4    Red Bull-Renault    52
5    Sauber-Ferrari    21
6    Force India-Mercedes    17
7    Lotus-Mercedes    16
8    Toro Rosso-Renault    15
9    McLaren-Honda    4
10    Marussia-Ferrari    0

Next race: Canadian Grand Prix, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. June 5-7.

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Hamilton achieves his first pole around Monte Carlo

Hamilton Monaco GP 2015

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton claimed his first pole position around the streets of the principality, beating his Mercedes team-mate to the top spot.

The Silver Arrows continue to have the pace advantage over their competitors and thus engaged in an exclusive battle for P1.

Hamilton trailed Nico Rosberg by nearly four tenths of a second after Q2, but reversed the positions by just over a tenth of a second after their first runs in the all-important top ten shootout.

The defending champion found even more lap time on his final run in Q3, while Rosberg abandoned his after locking up heavily at Sainte Devote.

That left Hamilton 0.342 seconds clear earning his 43th pole position in the sport and his first at Monaco.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was the only other driver to lap below one minute, 16 seconds as he secured third place, just under two tenths of a second ahead of Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo, who also failed to improve on his second run in Q3.

Team-mate Daniil Kvyat did find time on his second run to take fifth, ahead of the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.

Force India’s Sergio Perez hustled the VJM08 to a superb seventh place, just ahead of Carlos Sainz, Pastor Maldonado and Max Verstappen, who all ended up on the same tenth in eighth, ninth and tenth.

Romain Grosjean failed to join his Lotus team-mate Maldonado in Q3, after locking up at the second part of the Swimming Pool on his quickest lap in Q2.

An expected five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change ahead of the event means Grosjean will start P16 in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.

McLaren-Honda was confident of getting both cars through to Q3 for the first time this season, but neither made the cut.

Fernando Alonso’s car suffered a suspected electrical problem before he could complete a flying lap in Q2, while team-mate Jenson Button was less than a tenth of a second away from making the top ten.

The 2009 race winner described the situation as “painful” when he learned of his fate, having had to slow for yellow flags – after Rosberg locked up and went off at Ste Devote – on his final flying lap.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was lucky to get away with striking the wall at Mirabeau in Q1 and ended up P13, just under 0.2 seconds adrift of team-mate Perez.

Williams struggled badly in Monaco, with Felipe Massa winding up P14 while team-mate Valtteri Bottas ended up being the highest-profile casualty in Q1.

Bottas was more than six tenths of a second away from making the cut and wound up P17, between the Saubers of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.

The Manor/Marussias were over two seconds further back in filling the final row of the grid.

Will Stevens was three tenths quicker than team-mate Roberto Merhi through the first sector of their quickest laps, which proved crucial in the final reckoning.

So an important qualifying for Lewis Hamilton. Track position at Monaco is vital as overtaking is limited around the tight and twisty street circuit.

Nico Rosberg will need to be in a racy mood or have a great strategy to score that hat-trick of wins. Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix is going to be fascinating. Bring on the street fight.

Monaco GP 2015

Qualifying positions, Monaco Grand Prix:

1 Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m15.098s
2 Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m15.440s
3 Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m15.849s
4 Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull/Renault    1m16.041s
5 Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull/Renault    1m16.182s
6 Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m16.427s
7 Sergio Perez    Force India/Mercedes    1m16.808s
8 Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso/Renault    1m16.931s
9 Pastor Maldonado    Lotus/Mercedes    1m16.946s
10 Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso/Renault    1m16.957s
11 Jenson Button    McLaren/Honda    1m17.093s
12 Nico Hulkenberg    Force India/Mercedes    1m17.193s
13 Felipe Massa    Williams/Mercedes    1m17.278s
14 Fernando Alonso    McLaren/Honda    1m26.632s
15 Felipe Nasr    Sauber/Ferrari    1m18.101s
16 Romain Grosjean    Lotus/Mercedes    1m17.007s*
17 Valtteri Bottas    Williams/Mercedes    1m18.434s
18 Marcus Ericsson    Sauber/Ferrari    1m18.513s
19 Will Stevens    Marussia/Ferrari    1m20.655s
20 Roberto Merhi    Marussia/Ferrari    1m20.904s

*Five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change

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Rosberg victorious at the Spanish Grand Prix

Rosberg Spain 2015

Nico Rosberg answered his critics and responding back with victory at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The Mercedes driver led away from pole and remained unthreatened during the Spanish Grand Prix.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton recovered from a slow start and had to settle with second. At least he finished ahead of Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari thanks to a three-stop strategy.

By winning the race, Rosberg has reduced the gap to his team-mate to twenty points, with Vettel another 11 adrift.

This result showcase the sheer speed of the Mercedes W06 Hybrid as it remains the class of the field, especially aerodynamically which enhances the advantage.

After four exciting Grands Prix to start the season, the first European race will not go down as a thriller, with the track layout not helping in providing much overtaking.

That meant Rosberg, who had only led ten laps this season before arriving in Spain, was always going to be favourite for the win after taking pole position and the Mercedes driver duly controlled the race from the front.

Hamilton lost a track position to Vettel at the start and after struggling to find a way past, Mercedes called him in to the pits to try the undercut.

But a problem fitting the left-rear tyre lost Hamilton three seconds so when Vettel pitted the next lap, he easily came out in front of the reigning world champion.

When Hamilton was told by his race engineer that he had to pass Vettel on track, he responded: “I can assure you that’s pretty much impossible. Find another solution.”

When the Mercedes star pitted for the second time, taking on the hard tyres after two stints on the mediums, it became clear he was on a three-stop strategy.

In contrast, Vettel stayed out to suggest he was on a two-stopper. When the Ferrari driver pitted with 26 laps to go, he rejoined behind Hamilton, who was pushing hard to try to build a gap to enable him to pit and rejoin ahead of Vettel.

And it worked out, with the Silver Arrows exiting the pits after his third stop, and on fresher medium tyres, well clear of the Ferrari.

Hamilton traded fastest laps with Rosberg in the closing stages but the gap to his team-mate was too much to close down and had to settle with second to secure a 14th one-two as a pairing for Mercedes AMG Formula 1 team.

Valtteri Bottas finished fourth for Williams, ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa.

Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo continued his solid run in the points this season with seventh place, albeit it a lap down.

At least the honey badger was ahead of Lotus’s Romain Grosjean, who scored points for the third successive race despite a gearbox problem and overshooting his pitbox and scattering his crew, who were unhurt.

Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, Jr finished ninth, after banging wheels and passing Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat on the final lap. The Russian completed the points-finishers.

Max Verstappen was P11 in the other Toro Rosso, ahead of Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, while his team-mate Marcus Ericsson was two positions adrift in P14.

Both Toro Rossos swiftly fell back from their row-three qualifying positions.

Force India, which is expecting to have its updated ‘B-spec’ car in the Austrian Grand Prix, ended a difficult weekend with Sergio Perez P13 and Nico Hulkenberg P15 respectively.

McLaren-Honda’s wait for its first points of the season continues, with Jenson Button – making his one hundreth start for the team – P16 while his team-mate Fernando Alonso retired with brake problems after running in seventh on an alternative strategy.

There was a fright in the McLaren pit box as Alonso couldn’t slow his car down. Luckily, the front jack man jumped out of the way. Quick reaction to avoid serious injury.

Bad luck continued for the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado, who ran as high as seventh. He retired having driven much of the race with a broken rear wing.

The Manor-run Marussias brought up the field, with Will Stevens three laps down in P17 and Roberto Merhi P18, a further lap behind.

So an important victory for Nico Rosberg in terms of the championship. Just twenty points the difference between the Silver Arrows. While Mercedes recorded their 24th consecutive finish on the podium which means 70 points advantage over rival Ferrari.

Spanish GP 2015 winner

Spanish Grand Prix, 66 laps:

1    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1h41m12.555s
2    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    17.551s
3    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    45.342s
4    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    59.217s
5    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m00.002s
6    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m21.314s
7    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1 Lap
8    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    1 Lap
9    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1 Lap
10    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1 Lap
11    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    1 Lap
12    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
13    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
14    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
15    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
16    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1 Lap
17    Will Stevens    Marussia-Ferrari    3 Laps
18    Roberto Merhi    Marussia-Ferrari    4 Laps
–    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    Retirement
–    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    Brakes

Drivers’ standings:

1    Lewis Hamilton    111
2    Nico Rosberg    91
3    Sebastian Vettel    80
4    Kimi Raikkonen    52
5    Valtteri Bottas    42
6    Felipe Massa    39
7    Daniel Ricciardo    25
8    Romain Grosjean    16
9    Felipe Nasr    14
10    Carlos Sainz    8
11    Max Verstappen    6
12    Nico Hulkenberg    6
13    Sergio Perez    5
14    Marcus Ericsson    5
15    Daniil Kvyat    5
16    Fernando Alonso    0
17    Jenson Button    0
18    Roberto Merhi    0
19    Will Stevens    0
20    Pastor Maldonado    0

Constructors’ standings:

1    Mercedes    202
2    Ferrari    132
3    Williams-Mercedes    81
4    Red Bull-Renault    30
5    Sauber-Ferrari    19
6    Lotus-Mercedes    16
7    Toro Rosso-Renault    14
8    Force India-Mercedes    11
9    McLaren-Honda    0
10    Marussia-Ferrari    0

Next race: Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo. May 21-24.

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Rosberg halts Hamilton’s run of pole

Rosberg Spain 2015 driver

Nico Rosberg achieved his first pole position of the season, halting the run from his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The Mercedes driver laid down the marker with a time of one minute, 24.681 seconds on his first Q3 run. That proved enough as Hamilton was unable to beat this on his second run.

In fact, the speed advantage from the Silver Arrows proved significant as Hamilton and Rosberg could afford to run the harder tyre compound and still outpace everyone else in Q1.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was best-of-the-rest and yet he was almost eight tenths adrift of Rosberg, while his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen used a new set of medium tyres to get through Q1 and paid the price.

The Iceman was four tenths slower on his sole Q3 run than he had been in Q2 and ended up seventh on the grid, behind the Williams of Valtteri Bottas and the Toro Rossos of Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen that have looked strong all weekend.

This was a fantastic achievement by Scuderia Toro Rosso, with both drivers recording a top six grid positions in their first appearance at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Felipe Massa ended up ninth fastest, over a second slower than his Williams team-mate Bottas.

The Brazilian split the Red Bulls, with Daniil Kvyat getting the better of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo by 0.141 seconds to qualify eighth.

This was a tough qualifying session for Lotus, as both drivers failed to make it through to Q3 by over half a second. Romain Grosjean will start P11 – complaining of a lack of front-end grip – while Pastor Maldonado is P12.

The McLarens made it through to Q2 for the first time this season, but lacked the speed to be top ten contenders.

Home crowd favourite Fernando Alonso was eleventh fastest on his first Q2 run on used medium tyres, but he failed to improve on new rubber on his second run and slipped down to P13, one position ahead of team-mate Jenson Button.

Felipe Nasr’s Sauber split the Honda-powered cars in Q1, but the Brazilian lost pace in Q2 and ended up P15.

His team-mate Marcus Ericsson joined the Force Indias and Manor Marussias in falling after the first segment of the qualifying session.

Ericsson found six tenths of a second on his final run in Q1, but it wasn’t enough for him to join team-mate Nasr in Q2.

Ericsson was almost half a second slower than Nasr – lapping 0.171 seconds shy of making the cut – just ahead of the struggling Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez.

The Manor predictably brought up the rear of the grid, almost 2.8 seconds adrift of the next quickest car.

Will Stevens again had the better of team-mate Roberto Merhi, to the tune of eight tenths of a second.

Rosberg Spain 2015

Spanish Grand Prix, qualifying positions:

1 Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m24.681s
2 Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m24.948s
3 Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m25.458s
4 Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m25.694s
5 Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m26.136s
6 Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m26.249s
7 Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m26.414s
8 Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1m26.629s
9 Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m26.757s
10 Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m26.770s
11 Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    1m27.375s
12 Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    1m27.450s
13 Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m27.760s
14 Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m27.854s
15 Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m28.005s
16 Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m28.112s
17 Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m28.365s
18 Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m28.442s
19 Will Stevens    Marussia-Ferrari    1m31.200s
20 Roberto Merhi    Marussia-Ferrari    1m32.038s

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Hamilton extends championship lead after win in Bahrain

Hamilton Bahrain GP 2015 winner

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton scored his third victory in four races with a commanding drive in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver was always in control at the front and yet the battle behind was thrilling. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen came out on top to take his first podium of the season.

Nico Rosberg finished third, ahead of Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel. The latter experiencing a tricky race – running off track and damaging his front wing.

Hamilton made a clean start from pole position, with Vettel going defensive and successfully holding on to second. That backed Rosberg up, allowing Raikkonen to snatch third place.

However, Rosberg battled his way back past Raikkonen and then took advantage of Vettel running wide at Turn 1 to close and then pass at the same corner next time around.

Ferrari successfully used the undercut to jump Rosberg at the first round of pit-stops, but Vettel was then distracted by Hamilton exiting the pit lane and Rosberg took advantage – diving down the inside of Turn 1 to retake second place.

The Scuderia repeated the undercut trick at the second  round of pit-stops and yet again it worked, with Vettel jumping Rosberg. But another mistake by Vettel, this time running wide at the final corner, allowed Rosberg back through.

That error also caused front wing damage for the Malaysian Grand Prix winner and Sebastian was forced to pit for repairs.

Raikkonen then started catching Rosberg in the final stint of the race, as he was running the softer of the two compound tyres.

And The Iceman capitalised when Rosberg – who also had brake problems – ran wide at Turn 1 in the closing laps, allowing the Ferrari to grab second.

Vettel dropped to fifth with his extra pit-stop and could not get back past Bottas despite a long chase.

Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault power unit let go spectacularly out of the final corner of the last lap, but he managed to cross the finishing line to take sixth for Red Bull Racing.

Romain Grosjean scored points for the second successive race with seventh for Lotus, ahead of Sergio Perez.

The Force India driver recorded some points thanks to a two-stop strategy working well compared to the three-stopping rivals in the midfield.

Daniil Kvyat rescued some points with ninth in the Red Bull, having started in P17, with Felipe Massa completing the top ten and recovering well from a pit lane start after stalling on the grid.

The Williams driver ran eighth late on but his very long final stint on his two-stop strategy proved ambitious and his tyres faded.

Fernando Alonso equalled McLaren’s best finish of the season in P11, while his team-mate Jenson Button did not even make the start after a problem was detected with his energy recovery system.

Sauber’s Felipe Nasr was P12, one position ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg with Marcus Ericsson P13, having run in the points before losing at least twenty seconds during a pit-stop when his team struggled to fit the front-left tyre.

Pastor Maldonado was also in contention for points but he was delayed in the pits with smoke pouring from the front brakes of the Lotus and he ended up P15.

Manor got both cars to the finish for the second successive race, with Will Stevens P16 and Roberto Merhi P17.

But this was a disappointing race for Toro Rosso. Both   Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen were forced to retire from the Bahrain Grand Prix.

So an entertaining race in the twilight and yet the the champions reign supreme. This was Hamilton’s 36th career victory in Formula 1 and is now 27 points ahead of his championship rival and team-mate.

Mercedes extends their lead in the constructors’ standings over the Scuderia. Formula 1 will return in three weeks time and the start of the European leg in the fascinating season.

Mercedes Bahrain GP 2015

Bahrain Grand Prix, 57 laps:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1h35m05.809s
2    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    3.380s
3    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    6.033s
4    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes     42.957s
5    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    43.989s
6    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m01.751s
7    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    1m24.763s
8    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
9    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1 Lap
10    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1 Lap
11    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1 Lap
12    Felipe Nasr         Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
13    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
14    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
15    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    1 Lap
16    Will Stevens    Manor-Ferrari    2 Laps
17    Roberto Merhi    Manor-Ferrari    3 Laps
–    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    Retirement
–    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    Retirement
–    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    Not started

Drivers’ standings:

1    Lewis Hamilton    93
2    Nico Rosberg    66
3    Sebastian Vettel    65
4    Kimi Raikkonen    42
5    Felipe Massa    31
6    Valtteri Bottas    30
7    Daniel Ricciardo    19
8    Felipe Nasr    14
9    Romain Grosjean    12
10    Nico Hulkenberg    6
11    Max Verstappen    6
12    Carlos Sainz    6
13    Sergio Perez    5
14    Marcus Ericsson    5
15    Daniil Kvyat    4
16    Fernando Alonso    0
17    Jenson Button    0
18    Roberto Merhi    0
19    Will Stevens    0
20    Pastor Maldonado    0

Constructors’ standings:

1    Mercedes    159
2    Ferrari    107
3    Williams-Mercedes    61
4    Red Bull-Renault    23
5    Sauber-Ferrari    19
6    Lotus-Mercedes    12
7    Toro Rosso-Renault    12
8    Force India-Mercedes    11
9    McLaren-Honda    0
10    Manor-Ferrari    0

Next race: Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona. May 8-10

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Four out of four poles for Hamilton

Bahrain GP qualifying 2015

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton maintains his dominance in Formula 1 qualifying with his fourth successive pole position at the Bahrain International Circuit.

The Mercedes driver was a class of the field and achieved a superb Q2 lap that was 0.5 seconds quicker than last year’s pole set by his team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton found a tenth of a second on his only run in Q3 to secure P1 and beating Sebastian Vettel in the process.

Vettel is a major threat to the Silver Arrows and for the second time this season (just like Sepang), the Ferrari driver relegate Hamilton’s team-mate Nico Rosberg to third spot.

Rosberg, who qualified on pole for the Bahrain Grand Prix for the last two years, lost crucial time in the first sector and wasn’t able to recover, ending up 0.147 seconds slower than Vettel, but just ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.

Williams locked out row three, with Valtteri Bottas marginally quicker than team-mate Felipe Massa.

Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo qualified less than a tenth adrift in seventh place, but with a gap of over six tenths to the remainder of the top ten.

Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India recorded a superb eighth, just 0.012 seconds clear of the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr, while Romain Grosjean’s Lotus completed the top ten, just 0.022 seconds further back.

Both Force Indias made it through to Q2 for the first time this season, with Sergio Perez edging out his team-mate by two tenths of a second in Q1.

But Perez just missed out on joining Hulkenberg in Q3 during a tight battle in the middle part of qualifying.

Perez looked on course to make the top ten as the session finished, but lost out Sainz Jr by just 0.063 seconds so will start in P11.

That meant the Sauber missing out in Q3 – with Felipe Nasr just 0.033 seconds slower than Perez in P12.

Marcus Ericsson made an error on his best lap so was almost three tenths further back in P13.

Despite that, Ericsson was only fractionally faster than Fernando Alonso, as McLaren-Honda made it through to Q2 for the first time this season.

Alonso qualified in P14, just ahead of the Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen, who complained of a lack of power at the start of Q2.

Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus, the Red Bull of Daniil Kvyat and Jenson Button’s McLaren-Honda joined the Manor in filing through the Q1 exit door.

A problem with Maldonado’s Mercedes power unit meant he missed the cut by just 0.024 seconds, having looked strong throughout practice.

A poor lap from Kvyat, who lost much of third practice session when he beached his RB11 in the gravel, meant the Red Bull driver will start the race in P17. His worst qualifying result so far.

Will Stevens again comfortably outpaced team-mate Roberto Merhi, as Manor qualified off the final row of the grid thanks to more technical problems for Button’s McLaren.

Button’s car, which suffered reliability dramas throughout practice, stopped exiting Turn 3 on his out-lap with a suspected electrical problem, so the 2009 world champion failed to set a time.

Bahrain GP 2015

Qualifying standings:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m32.571s
2    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m32.982s
3    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m33.129s
4    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m33.227s
5    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m33.381s
6    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m33.744s
7    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m33.832s
8    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m34.450s
9    Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso-Renault    1m34.462s
10    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    1m34.484s
11    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m34.704s
12    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m34.737s
13    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m35.034s
14    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m35.039s
15    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m35.103s
16    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    1m35.677s
17    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1m35.800s
18    Will Stevens    Manor-Ferrari    1m38.713s
19    Roberto Merhi    Manor-Ferrari    1m39.722s
20    Jenson Button    McLaren/Honda    No time

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Hamilton leads home Silver Arrows one-two in China

Mercedes China 2015

Reigning world champions Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes reconfirm their superiority over Formula 1 with a commanding victory at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Nico Rosberg had to settle with second position, but was not too happy with his team-mate during the Chinese Grand Prix, blaming Hamilton on intending to slow him down…

At least the Silver Arrows finished ahead of rival Ferrari. Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen gave chase throughout the race and yet it wasn’t really an entertaining Grand Prix.

Hamilton had made his intentions clear by aiming his car very aggressively towards Rosberg’s on the starting grid.

The pole sitter duly held his lead off the line, with Rosberg and Vettel stringing out behind the defending champion through the first stint.

The situation became more tense in the middle stint of the two-stop race, as both Rosberg and Vettel closed on the race leader.

A frustrated Rosberg got on the radio to Mercedes asking if Hamilton could speed up, as his tyres were wearing out too much whenever he got closer than two seconds away from his team-mate’s rear wing.

When Ferrari brought Vettel in for his second pit-stop ahead of the Silver Arrows, Rosberg was pitted a lap later in an effort to prevent the Malaysian Grand Prix winner getting an undercut on his new tyres.

But rather than his rivals’ earlier pit-stops putting Hamilton at a disadvantage, he was able to raise his pace considerably on his final laps on soft tyres.

Hamilton ran two laps longer than Rosberg and rejoined with a six-second cushion rather than the two-second advantage he had held prior to the pit-stops.

Rosberg reduced Hamilton’s lead slightly before the chequrered flag.

A safety car appearance with just two laps to go – caused by Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso parking on the pit straight in a cloud of smoke – made things even more comfortable for Hamilton, as the race finished under yellow caution.

Vettel was not a match for the Mercedes once all were onto medium tyres and dropped away in third place.

The Ferrari driver then came under late pressure from his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

The Iceman quickly cleared both Williams on the opening lap to make up for his qualifying frustration, and though he could not keep pace with the top trio initially, he ran long in his middle stint and made up lost ground.

Raikkonen was still 1.4 seconds behind Vettel when the late safety car came out and had to be content with fourth.

Williams ran a lonely and distant fifth and sixth with Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, a minute behind the leaders prior to the field being bunched up.

Lotus achieved its first championship points of the year with Romain Grosjean in seventh position, but it was a crazy race for his team-mate Pastor Maldonado.

Maldonado got ahead of his team-mate in the first pit-stop sequence, before going down the pitlane entry escape road at his second pit-stop.

A spin while trying to recover left him even further behind, and Pastor was then involved in a spectacular battle with the McLarens of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso.

After several laps, this came to a conclusion when Button hit the back of the Lotus at Turn 1, ending Maldonado’s race and prompting a stewards’ investigation.

The race stewards didn’t take too kindly on Button and decided to add two penalty points on his license.

Despite that, McLaren still got its first double finish of the season with Alonso and Button’s battered cars P12 and P13.

Until his late engine failure, Verstappen was on course for eighth position, having sliced through the field with some very bold overtaking.

But his problem completed a terrible day for Renault and the Red Bull-owned teams.

Daniel Ricciardo had tumbled to P17 after a terrible start and was having great difficulty in coming back through the field to ninth between the Saubers of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson, which scored again.

Daniil Kvyat was also out early with a suspected engine failure, while Carlos Sainz Jr spun at Turn 1 in the opening laps and later lost time with a gearbox problem before finishing between the McLarens and Manors in P14.

Force India spent a while in the points as a unique three-stop strategy for Sergio Perez shook out, but in the end 11th was his limit.

A gearbox failure ended team-mate Nico Hulkenberg’s race.

So not a thrilling race but it’s fascinating to see that the same three drivers have finished on the podium three times already.

Lewis Hamilton is riding on a crest of confidence, while Sebastian Vettel appears to be a close challenger.

As for Nico Rosberg, he needs to turn this situation already and start reducing the points gap to his Mercedes team-mate.

Hamilton 2015 China winner

Chinese Grand Prix, 56 laps:
1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1h39m42.008s
2    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    0.714s
3    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    2.988s
4    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    3.835s
5    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    8.544s
6    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    9.885s
7    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    19.008s
8    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    22.625s
9    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    32.117s
10    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
11    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
12    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1 Lap
13    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1 Lap
14    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1 Lap
15    Will Stevens    Manor-Ferrari    2 Laps
16    Roberto Merhi    Manor-Ferrari    2 Laps
17    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    Engine
–    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    Collision
–    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    Engine
–    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    Retirement

Drivers’ championship:
1    Lewis Hamilton    68
2    Sebastian Vettel    55
3    Nico Rosberg    51
4    Felipe Massa    30
5    Kimi Raikkonen    24
6    Valtteri Bottas    18
7    Felipe Nasr    14
8    Daniel Ricciardo    11
9    Romain Grosjean    6
10    Nico Hulkenberg    6
11    Max Verstappen    6
12    Carlos Sainz    6
13    Marcus Ericsson    5
14    Daniil Kvyat    2
15    Sergio Perez    1
16    Jenson Button    0
17    Fernando Alonso    0
18    Roberto Merhi    0
19    Will Stevens    0

Constructors’ championship:
1    Mercedes    119
2    Ferrari    79
3    Williams-Mercedes    48
4    Sauber-Ferrari    19
5    Red Bull-Renault    13
6    Toro Rosso-Renault    12
7    Force India-Mercedes    7
8    Lotus-Mercedes    6
9    McLaren-Honda    0
10    Manor-Ferrari    0

Next race: Bahrain Grand Prix, April 17-19.

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Hamilton achieves hat trick of poles this season with P1 in China

Hamilton China 2015

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton scored his third successive pole position this season after fending off his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by four hundredths of a second to take P1 at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Hamilton had been the favourite for the top spot after setting the quickest lap in all three practice sessions plus Q2.

His first Q3 run with a time of one minute, 35.782 seconds underlined his status as number one. Rosberg was unable to compete and was three tenths behind.

The gap between the Silver Arrows was reduced to 0.042 seconds in the final Q3 run, set by Rosberg but last season’s runner-up was left feeling frustrated on missing out on P1.

Malaysian Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel was nearly a second off Hamilton’s pole time in third position for Ferrari.

That denied the Williams pair of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, which were top-three contenders but ultimately found themselves three tenths and half a second down on Vettel respectively.

They still managed to beat Kimi Raikkonen, who was sixth ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

His Red Bull team-mate Daniil Kvyat failed to reach Q3 and will start the race in P12.

Romain Grosjean was eighth for Lotus, while Pastor Maldonado missed out on Q3 by just 0.007 seconds and will line up in P11.

The most improved team in qualifying was Sauber. Both Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson will the start the Chinese Grand Prix on row five ahead of Toro Rosso.

After scoring his first championship point in the last race, Max Verstappen made a mistake when locking up heavily on his final run. His team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr will share row seven.

McLaren’s encouraging practice times proved deceptive as Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso found themselves out in Q1 and on row nine, just 0.004 seconds apart.

At least McLaren-Honda was within a tenth of the Force Indias. Nico Hulkenberg only got ahead of Button with a final Q1 effort, while Sergio Perez scraped through into Q2 then languished seven tenths off the Toro Rossos.

The Manor-run Marussias were three seconds off the tail of the field but made the 107 per cent target in Q1 so are both clear to start the Chinese Grand Prix, Will Stevens ahead of Roberto Merhi.

So pole position number 41 for Lewis Hamilton. The reigning world champion has serious speed and confidence in the Mercedes this season.

It’s going to be fascinating if his team-mate Nico Rosberg can challenge for race victory but will Sebastian Vettel spoil the party once again, just like Malaysia? We shall find on on race day in China.

Hamilton China 2015 pole

Qualifying positions, Chinese Grand Prix:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m35.782s
2    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m35.824s
3    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m36.687s
4    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m36.954s
5    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m37.143s
6    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m37.232s
7    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m37.540s
8    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    1m37.905s
9    Felipe Nasr          Sauber-Ferrari    1m38.067s
10    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m38.158s
11    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    1m38.134s
12    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1m38.209s
13    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m38.393s
14    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m38.538s
15    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m39.290s
16    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m39.216s
17    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m39.276s
18    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m39.280s
19    Will Stevens    Manor-Ferrari    1m42.091s
20    Roberto Merhi    Manor-Ferrari    1m42.842s

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Vettel takes first victory for Ferrari at Sepang

Vettel Sepang 2015

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel achieved his first victory for Scuderia Ferrari in a thrilling Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver took advantage with track position thanks to staying out during a safety car period and assumed the lead.

Vettel then made a two-stop strategy work while Mercedes did three stops with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

It proved to be the wrong strategy call for the world champion team as neither Hamilton nor Rosberg had the speed, tyre longevity or enough laps to catch and pass Vettel in the final stint.

This was Ferrari’s first victory since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix, with Vettel’s first since that year’s season finale in Brazil.

Hamilton maintains the championship lead with 43 points, with race winner Vettel three points adrift and Rosberg, who finished third, seven further back.

Following a dominant Mercedes performance in Australia, this result was well deserved for the sport and Ferrari. The Manarello-based team provided a challenge to the reigning world champion squad.

Vettel held onto second at the start, behind Hamilton, and chose to stay out when the safety car was called into action following Marcus Ericsson’s spin into the Turn 1 gravel on lap four, while Hamilton and Rosberg, in third, pitted for the hard compound.

Vettel pitted at the end of lap 17 and fitted the medium compound before chasing down and passing both Rosberg and Hamilton on their older Pirelli.

The Mercedes had needed to fight back through traffic as several midfield cars followed Vettel’s strategy and Rosberg was delayed in the pits queuing behind Hamilton.

The Brackley-based team then decided to split the strategy when it pitted Hamilton and Rosberg for the second time, with Hamilton taking the mediums and Rosberg the hards.

Vettel only made his final pitstops with 14 laps to the flag after a long middle stint, taking on the hards and crucially rejoining ahead of Rosberg in second.

The Ferrari driver then regained the lead when Hamilton pitted and had hard tyres fitted a lap later.

Hamilton was unhappy with the choice, with the defending world champion saying on team radio: “This is the wrong tyre, man,” but being told Mercedes only had used mediums as an alternative.

While Mercedes assured him that he would be in a position to catch and pass Vettel for the win, it soon became clear that that wasn’t the case, with Hamilton unable to close in.

Kimi Raikkonen recovered from a poor start with a solid fourth position having dropped to the back of the field following a puncture sustained in contact with Felipe Nasr’s Sauber on the first lap.

Valtteri Bottas passed his Williams team-mate Felipe Massa with a brilliant late move around the outside at Turn 5 to finish fifth, with the duo followed by Max Verstappen, who passed Toro Rosso team-mate Carlos Sainz late on.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat, who recovered from a spin having made contact with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, completed the top ten.

And yet, Red Bull faced some embarrassment by being lapped by their former driver during the race. While Toro Rosso scored some championship points to be ahead of the main factory team in the constructors’ standings.

Romain Grosjean had an eventful race, the Lotus driver trying an ambitious move around the outside of Sergio Perez at the fast Turn 12, only to clip the Force India and spin.

Though he rejoined, Grosjean finished outside the points in P11, with Perez receiving a 10-second time penalty for causing the incident and ultimately finishing P13. Felipe Nasr in between them.

Hulkenberg was P14 in the Force India, having been given a 10-second time penalty for hitting Kvyat at Turn 2, with Manor’s Roberto Merhi the last driver to see the chequered flag in P15.

At least Manor made the finish considering a complete lack of testing. A remarkable achievement for everyone  at this little team.

Pastor Maldonado retired the Lotus, having run well down the field after picking up a puncture on the first lap, while the McLaren-Hondas showed improved form but had nothing to show for it as Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button retired with mechanical problems.

Will Stevens did not start the race – his Manor team was unable to cure the fuel system issue that stopped his car running in qualifying.

So a brilliant result for Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari. After a period of Mercedes victories, it’s refreshing to see the four-time world champion put on a fight and won. Ferrari have a good car and can mount a challenge to the Silver Arrows.

Vettel Ferrari Sepang 2015

Malaysian Grand Prix, 56 laps:

1    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1h41m05.793s
2    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    8.569s
3    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    12.310s
4    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    53.822s
5    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m10.409s
6    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m13.586s
7    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m37.762s
8    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1 Lap
9    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1 Lap
10    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1 Lap
11    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    1 Lap
12    Felipe Nasr       Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
13    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
14    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
15    Roberto Merhi    Manor-Ferrari    3 Laps
–    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    Retirement
–    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    Retirement
–    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    Retirement
–    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    Retirement
–    Will Stevens    Manor-Ferrari    Withdrawn

Drivers’ standings:

1    Lewis Hamilton    43
2    Sebastian Vettel    40
3    Nico Rosberg    33
4    Felipe Massa    20
5    Kimi Raikkonen    12
6    Felipe Nasr          10
7    Valtteri Bottas    10
8    Daniel Ricciardo    9
9    Nico Hulkenberg    6
10    Max Verstappen    6
11    Carlos Sainz    6
12    Marcus Ericsson    4
13    Daniil Kvyat    2
14    Sergio Perez    1
15    Romain Grosjean    0
15    Jenson Button    0
17    Roberto Merhi    0

Constructors’ standings:

1    Mercedes    76
2    Ferrari    52
3    Williams-Mercedes    30
4    Sauber-Ferrari    14
5    Toro Rosso-Renault    12
6    Red Bull-Renault    11
7    Force India-Mercedes    7
8    Lotus-Mercedes    0
8    McLaren-Honda    0
10    Manor-Ferrari    0

Next race: Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai. April 10-12.

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Hamilton resisted Vettel challenge to take Sepang pole

Sepang 2015 F1 qualifiers

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton edged out Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari to pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix by less than a tenth of a second in a rain-affected qualifying.

Hamilton’s first flying lap on intermediate tyres in Q3 proved enough to secure P1, as Vettel split the reigning Formula 1 world champion from his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg with second.

The Silver Arrows drivers appeared to get in each other’s way in the crucial closing stages of Q3, and Hamilton failed to improve on his final run while Rosberg’s final lap was only good enough for third.

The Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat will line-up fourth and fifth, just ahead of the Toro Rosso of super rookie Max Verstappen, who rounded out the top six.

The drivers who began the delayed Q3 session on full wet tyres and had to switch to intermediates filled the remaining spots in the top ten.

Romain Grosjean’s Lotus split the Williams pair of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, who could only manage seventh and ninth fastest times respectively, while Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber rounded out the Q3 times.

A thunderstorm in the early stages of Q2 effectively reduced the second segment of qualifying to a single-lap shootout, and delayed the final session by 30 minutes.

The big casualty of the scramble for track position to get one dry lap in before the rain came was Kimi Raikkonen.

The 2007 world champion was delayed at the final corner trying to pass Ericsson’s Sauber – the last car to make the cut in tenth –  and by being passed by Hamilton’s Mercedes at Turn 1, and wound up only P11.

Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus, the Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez – who both ran on used medium tyres – and the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr – who impressively matched Vettel in setting the fourth quickest time in Q1 – were also eliminated.

Australian Grand Prix star Felipe Nasr had a troubled Q1, having struggled to get comfortable with his Sauber’s handling since taking his car back from Ferrari junior driver Raffaele Marciello after the first practice session.

The Brazilian qualified almost three tenths adrift of Perez and that same time margin ahead of Jenson Button’s McLaren-Honda.

Yet again, this was a difficult qualifying session for McLaren. With both cars knocked out in Q1. Making his Formula 1 return is Fernando Alonso but this was a shock to the double world champion to only be down in P18.

Manor GP has at least completed some track running this weekend, but failed to qualify within the 107 per cent cut-off in Q1.

Roberto Merhi set a time almost half a second too slow to make the cut-off. 7.4s shy of the outright pace compared to the leading Mercedes.

While a fuel system problem discovered in final practice confined his team-mate Will Stevens to the garage, so no lap time was set in qualifying.

Despite that, Stevens registered a lap quick enough to make the cut in the second free practice session.

Previously the stewards have allowed cars to start the race in such circumstances, even if they haven’t posted a time in qualifying.

The wet weather tried to spice up the establishing order of Formula 1 and yet the same result reveals Mercedes still the quickest car. Ferrari are a close competitor and it’s encouraging to see Vettel splitting the Silver Arrows.

As for Max Verstappen, this talented 17-year-old is doing a solid job for Toro Rosso. Hopefully his car can get to the end and score his first championship points.

Hamilton Sepang 2015

Qualifying times from Sepang:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m49.834s
2    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m49.908s
3    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m50.299s
4    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m51.541s
5    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1m51.950s
6    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m51.980s
7    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m52.473s
8    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    1m52.980s
9    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m53.179s
10    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m53.260s
11    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m42.173s
12    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    1m42.197s
13    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m43.022s
14    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m43.468s
15    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m43.700s
16    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m41.308s
17    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m41.635s
18    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m41.745s
19    Roberto Merhi    Manor-Ferrari    1m46.677s
20    Will Stevens    Manor-Ferrari

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