Felipe Massa qualified 10th and Valtteri Bottas 11th for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Both cars easily advanced from Q1 to Q2 after setting one timed lap each on new soft tyres, one-tenth apart, with Valtteri finishing P8 and Felipe P9.
The first laps in Q2 saw both drivers qualify as high as P5 on softs. As the rest of the field crossed the line, Felipe dropped to P7 and Valtteri out of the top ten. He attempted a second lap, but didn’t improve and qualified P11 - just 0.4-seconds short of progressing into Q3.
In Q3, Felipe completed two flying laps. The first put him P7, but he couldn’t improve on his second run and qualified in tenth position.
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: Qualifying was disappointing because I think the car was good enough for seventh and we weren’t able to do that as a team. That does leave a bitter taste in your mouth. That said, the team did a good job across the whole weekend. We had a little bit of homework to do following Friday on the low fuel runs. I think we’ve done a reasonable job of getting into the mix. Valtteri didn’t get his lap together in Q2 for various reasons, so didn’t get through to Q3. Felipe’s Q2 lap would have been good enough for eighth in Q3. There was a little bit of track improvement for the final session, and everyone else improved but unfortunately we didn’t. Ultimately, it’s disappointing because we should be further up the grid than where we are. However, the main thing is that we are in the mix. We’re fighting at the back end of the top ten, and we’re aiming to have a good race tomorrow to pick up all the points that we can.
Felipe Massa: I think qualifying was going well, but for sure we expected to finish higher up. I had the pace in Q2 and it was a big fight for a couple of tenths. Unfortunately, we are three places back on where it was possible to be. Anyway, the race is tomorrow and I really hope the strategy, the pace, the weather and everything can be in our favour and can help our race. We will try everything we can.
Valtteri Bottas: That was quite a tricky qualifying session for us. I actually wasn’t very happy with the front end of the car, I felt like the balance was better in today’s practice, especially around turns six, seven and eight. I struggled with understeer and because of that I didn’t quite get a perfect lap in. It was very close and I’m sure tomorrow will be just as close. We do have a free choice of tyres to start tomorrow’s race, so our goal is still to have both of our cars ahead of Force India. I believe it’s possible. We can definitely score some good points from where we’re starting and I’m sure the understeer and balance of the car will be better for the race.
Track Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia Weather: Hot and dry
Lap Length 5.543 km / 3.444 miles Temperature: Air 30-31°C Track 38-42°C
Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1. L. Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.444 1:33.046 1:32.850
2. N. Rosberg Mercedes 1:34.460 1:33.609 1:33.264
3. M. Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:35.443 1:33.775 1:33.420
10. F. Massa WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING 1:35.267 (9th) 1:34.422 (7th) 1:34.671
11. V. Bottas WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING 1:35.166 (8th) 1:34.577 (11th) -