Hamilton takes Malaysian pole with record lap

Sport360 staff 16:30 01/10/2016
Hamilton on pole

Lewis Hamilton blitzed his rivals in qualifying Saturday to secure pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The reigning world champion clocked the fastest lap ever recorded at the 5.543km circuit in 1min 32.850sec.

His amazing drive eclipsed the pole position lap record for Sepang set by Juan Pablo Montoya in a Williams way back in 2004.

But Hamilton still reckoned it wasn’t perfect despite being more than four-tenths faster than Mercedes rival and championship leader Nico Rosberg.

“I really enjoyed the lap. It could have been faster,” said Hamilton, who has consistently outpaced his rival Rosberg all week.

It marks a welcome and timely return to form for the three-time world champion after his Mercedes teammate won the last three races to open up an eight-point title race lead.

Hamilton trailed Rosberg by 43 points after the first four races of a rollercoaster season, only to turn that into a 19-point lead.

The hard-won advantage evaporated as the German sped to victory in Belgium, Italy and then Singapore two weeks ago.

“This is definitely the best the car has been here,” Hamilton told reporters.

“A huge thank you to the team, who continue through the whole year to improve,” he added after his eighth pole position in 15 races so far this season.

“It’s great work coming here after the last few weeks with Nico’s wins.”

Rosberg’s best lap was hampered by a wobble at the remodelled final hairpin turn 15, which now has a tricky negative camber to negotiate under braking.

“Lewis’s lap was very quick so it was always going to be difficult,” said Rosberg. “I would have been close, but unfortunately I made a mistake in the last corner.”

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#360live: Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying

Sport360 staff 11:58 01/10/2016
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Will Rosberg continue his good form on the track?

Will Nico Rosberg put himself in the best position possible as the German driver continues his march towards a maiden Formula One title?

Or will team-mate and rival Lewis Hamilton stop him in his tracks?

Follow all the qualifying action live with Sport360.com!

Who do you think will take pole? Share with us your thoughts by commenting below, using #360fans on Twitter or getting in touch via Facebook.

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Hamilton tops second practice at Malaysian GP

Sport360 staff 18:40 30/09/2016
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Lewis Hamilton.

Rosberg has been in dominant form over the past three races, winning them all to turn a 19-point deficit into an eight-point lead in the title race.

But his Mercedes team-mate and the reigning world champion Hamilton returned to top form with a lap of the 5.543km Sepang circuit in 1min 34.944sec on his soft-tyre qualifying simulation run, 0.244sec quicker than the German.

With the sun heating the newly-laid track to a blistering 58 degrees Celsius (136 Fahrenheit), Hamilton proved most adept at getting the best from his tyres in the harsh conditions.

After losing more than half of his set-up time to mechanical problems in practice two weeks ago in Singapore,

Rosberg praised the new track surface and the remodelled final turn 15 which now has a slope toward the outside of the hairpin bend.

Ferrari were the next best in the classification, with last year’s winner Sebastian Vettel third fastest in 1:35.605 followed by Kimi Raikkonen.

Raikkonen was less pleased after he struggled with the balance of his car early in the session.

Late in the session birthday boy Max Verstappen, who turned 19 on Friday, gave himself something to celebrate by pushing up to fifth behind the Ferraris with a lap of 1:36.037.

But the other Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo was relegated to eighth place as the Force India of Sergio Perez and the McLaren of Fernando Alonso went sixth and seventh fastest respectively.

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