Lewis Hamilton achieved his 100th front row appearance with his eight pole position of this season. His speed in the Mercedes was incredible, breaking the lap record at the Sepang International Circuit. The pole time was an impressive one minute, 32. 850 seconds.
Championship rival and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg was under pressure and yet was able to recover to grab second position from the Red Bulls. Although he was 0.414 seconds adrift from Hamilton.
Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo will form row two with the birthday boy – just turned 19 years old – ahead of the honey badger by a margin of four tenths of a second.
It’s a Ferrari row three with four-times Sepang winner Sebastian Vettel ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.
Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg represents a Force India row four.
As for Jenson Button – celebrating his 300th Grand Prix at Malaysia – ninth position is a solid result for the McLaren ace.
Button made it through to Q3 with a fine late effort that, along with improvements from the Force India pair, meant the Williams of Valtteri Bottas missed the cut by just 0.039 seconds, as Bottas failed to improve on his second Q2 run.
Romain Grosjean beat Haas team-mate Esteban Gutierrez to the 12th fastest time by less than a tenth, while Kevin Magnussen did an excellent job to qualify his Renault P14, having missed most of Friday practice after his car caught fire in the pits in FP1.
A late improvement from Daniil Kvyat meant he beat Toro Rosso team-mate Carlos Sainz to P15 on the grid by just 0.005 seconds.
This was the first time Kvyat has out-qualified Sainz since June’s European Grand Prix in Azerbaijan.
Jolyon Palmer’s Renault and Fernando Alonso’s McLaren-Honda joined the Saubers and Manors after Q1.
Given Magnussen’s performance Palmer had a realistic shot at making Q2, but his final lap of the session was scrappy and he ended up dropping behind the Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr into P19.
Esteban Ocon out-qualified Manor team-mate Pascal Wehrlein for the first time, beating him to the P20 by 0.136 seconds.
Alonso completed a cursory run on medium tyres in his McLaren, knowing he will start at the back of the grid regardless owing to a 45-place grid penalty for various illegal engine component swaps.
Malaysian Grand Prix, qualifying times:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m32.850s
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m33.264s
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Renault 1m33.420s
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1m33.467s
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m33.584s
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m33.632s
7 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1m34.319s
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m34.489s
9 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 1m34.518s
10 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1m34.671s
11 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1m34.577s
12 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1m35.001s
13 Esteban Gutierrez Haas-Ferrari 1m35.097s
14 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1m35.277s
15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m35.369s
16 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m35.374s
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.816s
18 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 1m35.949s
19 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m35.999s
20 Esteban Ocon Manor/Mercedes 1m36.451s
21 Pascal Wehrlein Manor-Mercedes 1m36.587s
22 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1m37.155s