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Hamilton edges Button in Malaysia

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton will begin tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix in pole position, ahead of teammate and rival Jenson Button and seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher.

Lewis Hamilton (L) and teammate Jenson Button share a moment.
Lewis Hamilton (L) and teammate Jenson Button share a moment.
Image: Lai Seng Sin/AP/Press Association Images

McLAREN DRIVER LEWIS Hamilton won the pole position Saturday for the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix.

Hamilton made it back-to-back poles to start the season, clocking a time that was a tenth of a second faster than teammate Jenson Button, also making it an all-McLaren front row in successive races.

Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher was third fastest, ahead of Red Bull’s Mark Webber and Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen, who will take a five-place grid penalty for changing his gearbox and will start Sunday’s race tenth.

World champion Sebastian Vettel qualified sixth, Lotus’ Romain Grosjean seventh, and Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg eighth. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Sauber’s Sergio Perez completed the top ten.

Rain held off throughout qualifying but is an ever-present threat at Malaysia and could well affect Sunday’s race.

“I don’t know if (pole) is the best place possible to start here, it’s a long haul to turn 1,” Hamilton said. “It’s about positioning, it’s about tire management. It’s a tricky circuit with the track temperatures and the humidity outside — it’s going to be tough tomorrow.”

Button was again second-best to his teammate but the 2009 Malaysia winner will be bolstered by the memory of last weekend in Australia when he beat Hamilton off the line and careered away to victory.

“I can’t complain too much — it’s good for us as a team to be in the front row,” Button said. “You want it the other way around, but Lewis did a great lap at the start.”

Schumacher came inside two tenths of his first pole position for six years but was enthused by the progress Mercedes is making.

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“This was the maximum that was available,” Schumacher said. “It’s a great achievement. When you think about who is behind us, who would have thought last year?”

– AP

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