Mercedes technical chief Paddy Lowe has admitted his amazement at Lewis Hamilton’s pole position lap at Sepang, which was meant to be a “trial lap”.
Hamilton’s fastest lap proved unbeatable, despite being set on his first set of intermediate tyres on a drying track.
“Fantastic,” said Lowe. “We expected the circuit to be improving through the session, the natural thing with the water draining away, but actually Lewis got the pole with his first lap, which should have been a trial run, but it was a great lap.”
On Nico Rosberg’s struggle to third on the grid, he denied that the team’s positioning of the cars in Q3 had anything to do with him not making the front row.
“I think the positioning we got both cars in was perfect,” Lowe stated. “Nico just didn’t get a great lap in the end. We can see he lost quite a lot of time in the final corner, because he was up until that point. He just sort of lost it at the last moment.
“You’ve got to be a bit more philosophical when you’ve come through a wet session.”
When asked about the threat of Sebastian Vettel from the outside of the front row, he replied: “I think it’ll make for some excitement, how it’ll pan out I don’t know. Hopefully we will see some overtaking. Tomorrow is the competition.”