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By Alan Davies, Formula One correspondent
Saturday, March 24, 2012
LEWIS Hamilton will start the second Formula 1 race of the season from pole position after today’s qualifying session for the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix.
Top speed: 310km/h
Average speed: 220km/h
Pit straight length: 927m
Circuit length: 5.543km
Race length: 56 laps/310km
Number of corners: 15
Longest section at full throttle: 11.0s/927m
The 27-year-old F1 racer from Hertfordshire qualified fastest in hot and humid Malaysia this morning (Saturday) for his 21st pole of his career.
Jenson Button will complete an all-McLaren front row – just as in Australia.
The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver from Herts clocked a flying lap of 1m 36.2s around the Sepang International Circuit near Kuala Lumpur to bag provisional pole position on his first run in Q3.
The McLaren pitwall told Hamilton: “You are currently P1 by 0.4s. Great job.”
Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher then split the McLarens.
Hamilton was told over the radio: “Schumacher has just gone half a tenth quicker than us in the first sector, but he’s quite a lot slower in the middle sector.”
Hamilton’s McLaren team-mate Button eventually snatched second place on the grid tomorrow (Sunday).
Schumacher and Mark Webber will start on the second row, with Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel qualifying fifth and sixth respectively, although Raikkonen will take a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.
Lewis secured his place in the top 10 shootout with the fifth fastest time in Q2 as Kimi Raikkonen went quickest for Lotus.
Hamilton safely got through Q1 in sixth place as Red Bull driver Mark Webber posted the fastest time on the harder compound tyre.
Webber was followed by Schumacher, Button and Nico Rosberg on the timesheets in Q1.
After his first run, Hamilton asked: “Where do I need to find time?”
The McLaren pitwall told Hamilton: “Time-wise we’re 0.3s off the fastest time in the middle sector. I think there’s time to be found there. We’ll give you an overlay.”
The 2012 Grand Prix of Malaysia starts at 9am BST tomorrow (Sunday).