Malaysian Grand Prix - Qualifying and FP3

The final practice session concluded with 3 different top runners in 3 FP's of the Malaysian Grand Prix, as Sebastian Vettel finally put his RB9 in P1 with 5 minutes remaining in the session. Both the RedBulls sat out for most of the session, and when they were out, they lapped in the 1.40's, there was no confirmation as to if they were on a race simulation or not. But the 1 lap pace they had to the end of FP3 showed nothing was wrong with the car, just that Vettel and Webber were pretty confident in their cars to not run or set times early. 
Here's the lap time sheet: 

Sebastian Vettel  Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:36.435
2 Lewis Hamilton          Mercedes                         1:36.568
Adrian Sutil                Force India-Mercedes 1:36.588

The weatherman was finally right this weekend! Malaysian weather showed its true color(s) - grey, right during the most important session of the weekend. Q1 is, was and will mostly always be the same. The lower two teams like the Caterham and Marussia will get eliminated, and this weekend was no exception. So that makes 4 out the 6 spots taken, who were the other two to be caught out in the mess? Its rookie Valtteri Bottas and JEV in the STR. 
The RedBulls were struggling with  whatever it is, off paced-ness, tyre wear or grip, and even seeing them make it to Q3 considering Vettel's pace in Q2 surprised me. Q2 was a mixed session of the first 13 minutes being dry, and the rest wet. And that wet condition is the reason Vettel got into Q3. 
The quickest cars were that of the Force India, and Mercedes. Ferrari and Lotus were there too, but werent standing front. And Mark webber's RB9 looked decent, and miles better than his teammates'. The situation in the FI garage was the tale of 2 cities, Adrian Sutil was setting fast laps and playing cars with the higher field while his teammate Paul DiResta spun around, and managed to get himself eliminated in Q2. 
Q3 was done on full wet, where Sebastian Vettel didnt drive, but somehow flew to get pole for the 2nd time this season.  It was a Vettel style pole lap. Do 2 warm up runs - call in for new set of tyres - bring them up to temperature - and start flying - end of 2 minutes scream into the radio "yes yes yes and yes again". RedBull does give you wings - confirmed. Behind him are the 2 'very quick in the race' Ferraris, with Massa out-qualifying Fernando Alonso once again. The dark sky shone a bright ray of light for the troubled McLarens, P8 isn't too bad, is it?  And as for Hamilton's replacement, Perez, he couldnt be happier with P10. Raikkonen fell short of time in Q3 and hence had to settle for P7. But wait! news just came in that Raikkonen has been handed a 3 place grid penalty due to impeding. So Button, Sutil and Perez will all move 1 place up each. Adrian Sutil, who has had the best comeback by leading a GP in his first race, and lucky enough to have a fast car, had to deal with a P8 (now P7). 
Here are the top 10 drivers: 

K.Raikkonen (P10)
S.Perez (P9) 

Thats qualifying, now lets talk about the race. Since the downpour during Q3, the teams in the top 10 get to have a free choice of tyres for tomorrow's race. And mostly, the top 10 drivers on the grid will be starting on the hard tyres. Tomorrow's race win again has to do with the team with the best strategy, who knows? Even the McLaren might win! 
The last time Seb was on pole, he finished the race 3rd. The Ferraris are behind a car which lacks straight line speed, that is on the long straights, and as expected, the RB9 is slow in sector 1. So turn 1 might be the part of the track Massa and Alonso will be routing for to hunt down Vettel. And further back, Raikkonen will hunt Sergio Perez. Lewis Hamilton did a good job and is starting P4, and hopefully he'll take the fight to Alonso. 
Mark Webber, has more trouble. He's prone to constant electronic failures and more commonly (now seems like 'always') suffers from terrible starts, and hopefully that clutch of his works. 


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