After ten front row lockouts in a row, Mercedes’ domination of F1 qualifying sessions was brought to an end after Ferrari’s four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel produced a stunning lap in Saturday’s rain-soaked Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying session to finish second.
Just 0.064 seconds ahead of the German with a time of 1:49.834, reigning world champion and 2015 Australian GP winner Lewis Hamilton took pole for the second race in a row, with teammate Rosberg having to settle for third after a fastest lap time of 1:50.299.
Bad Qualifying Session for Raikkonen But Verstappen Impresses in Malaysia
While his Ferrari colleague stunned the F1 paddock by snaring P2 in Malaysia, 2008 F1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen could only qualify eleventh – citing bad traffic and changing weather conditions for his Q2 elimination.
Meanwhile, Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen – a rookie who’ll be competing in only his second ever F1 race on Sunday – qualified in sixth place and looks set for the points finish that would make him the youngest-ever driver to score points in the history of the sport.
Good Qualifying Session for Red Bull in Malaysia
Finishing fourth and fifth at Sepang’s International Circuit with respective times of 1:51.541 and 1:51.951, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat enjoyed a productive qualifying session on Saturday and will hope to maintain their pace during Sunday’s race.
Williams Falling Down the Grid
The Williams tandem of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas had a poor qualifying session in Malaysia, finishing just seventh and ninth respectively. With neither driver on the podium in Australia, this appears to confirm that Ferrari are now the second best team in F1, behind Mercedes.
Button Out Qualifies Alonso in Malaysia
Both McLaren drivers were eliminated in Q1 and will therefore start from the back of the grid in the 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix, but Britain’s Jenson Button enjoyed a little success after beating teammate Fernando Alonso by 0.11 seconds to line up seventeenth on the grid in Sunday’s race.
Malaysian F1 Grand Prix Betting
Pole-sitter Hamilton is priced at 1/3 with Betfred and several other firms, while teammate Rosberg is 4/1 with Paddy power. Second on the grid, Ferrari’s Vettel is offered at 8/1 with Stan James.
The Malaysian F1 Grand Prix Betting Verdict
All in all, Hamilton’s car could break down during the race, he could get passed on the first corner or even have a bad pit stop, so the Briton – while by far the likely race winner – isn’t worth betting on at the price.
You could back Rosberg e/w at ¼ odds and likely get your money back or better – and I wouldn’t talk you out of that – but I prefer two other bets.
Firstly, after the Jerez test and in my last race preview for TVBet, I noted how the Ferrari engine had occasionally topped the timesheets in Spain and looked to be second best to the dominant Mercedes works cars. Besides the obvious podium opportunities for Ferrari themselves, this also meant that the Ferrari-powered Sauber cars now had a chance of top ten finishes or better.
I backed and recommended a Nasr points finish down under at 5/2, and he got it. Of course, the bookies then got wise to this and reduced his points finish price to 10/11 prior to Saturday’s qualification session in Malaysia, so no value to be had.
However, since Nasr was surprisingly eliminated in Malaysia’s Q1, finishing sixteenth, his points finish price has gone back out to 9/4. Now, the Brazilian has a fast car and is capable of rising at least six places in the race, so a Nasr points finish is one of my post-qualifying bets.
It’s a similar story with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen for a top six finish, as we know he’s a good enough driver to finish in such a position or better and he has the second best car on the grid.
Tune into Sky Sports F1 from 08:00 on Sunday to watch the action unfold, but don’t forget that the clocks go forward an hour!