Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel beat the Ferrari drivers to take pole position in a rain-affected qualifying session for the Malaysian Grand Prix. The defending World Champion was nearly a second quicker than Felipe Massa, who edged out teammate Fernando Alonso with the last lap of the session. Vettel and the two Ferrari drivers were the three final cars to cross the line in a session that started in the rain and dried throughout, but always stayed too wet for ‘slick’ dry-weather tires. “We thought it was best come in for new tires and we confirmed that pretty soon. I was surprised by the gap in the end,” said Vettel.
Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were fourth and sixth, split by Red Bull’s Mark Webber. Lotus’s Kimi Räikkönen was seventh ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button. Räikkönen was later given a three-place grid penalty for impeding Rosberg and dropped down to 10th place, behind Button, Force India’s Adrian Sutil and McLaren’s Sergio Perez.