Once again it was a very close qualifying session with the Red Bull racing duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo giving the two Mercedes drivers a run for their money. However, a front row start wasn’t meant to be there in Malaysia this weekend with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton in a world of his own time wise.
Early in Q3 it looked as if one of the Red Bulls could make it onto the front row after Nico Rosberg made an error on his first run, however the German put in a faster time that slotted him into P2 at the end of the 12 minute session.
For Max Verstappen, third on the grid is a good starting point, especially as he thought this weekend’s event was going to be a tough one for the Milton Keynes based squad…
“I thought it was going to be a tough race for us before we came here. Now it seems like the balance of the car is there, the long runs seem good and we have improved our short run pace a lot,” he explained. “We were pretty close to the Mercedes on the front row and I’m really enjoying the new surface here, the car is working very well on it.”
“For both of us to be on the second row, in front of Ferrari, means we can be very pleased with the day’s work. Out of the past three or four races this has been my best long run pace on a Friday, we haven’t changed much on the car so it should be similar tomorrow.”
“After Singapore I talked with the team and we changed some things on the car and it seems to have worked, hopefully we can keep improving in this way. We have made some changes to the clutch so we shall see if it has improved tomorrow, so far everything looks positive. The set up feels really good here and we will no doubt check everything tonight to make sure we are in the best position possible on race day."
Lining up alongside his young teammate, Aussie driver Daniel Ricciardo is comfortable enough with his car and the pace he had….
“It was quite an exciting quali session and my lap was pretty clean. I pushed quite a bit in the first two sectors; I think I got more out of the tyres compared to the last sector where I struggled for traction and lost a little bit of time,” he said. “From where we were yesterday, I am pretty happy.”