Malaysian Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton claimed his ninth pole position of the season as power unit problems prevented Vettel from competing.
Mercedes’ Hamilton took pole position by a margin of just 0.045 of a second over Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen to give himself the best chance of capitalising on Vettel’s technical dramas.
His first flying lap in Q3 of 1:30.076 was sufficient to see off a late challenge from Raikkonen, whilst the Red Bull Racing duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo fell half a second off the pace, despite their pace in free practice.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas lines up in fifth, but was almost seven tenths of a second off the Briton’s pace.
Following power unit-related dramas at the end of free practice three, Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari was equipped with a new internal combustion engine and a new MGU-H.
However, attempts to qualify were hampered by further gremlins, and Vettel was unable to set a time during the first part of qualifying, meaning he will start the Malaysian Grand Prix from the back of the grid.
Force India’s Esteban Ocon topped the midfield competition by qualifying in sixth ahead of McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne and Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg.
The more experienced drivers at Force India and McLaren – Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso – completed the top ten after being out-qualified by their less-experienced team-mates.
Williams’ Felipe Massa narrowly missed out on a Q3 appearance; he finished eleventh ahead of Renault’s Jolyon Palmer and team-mate Lance Stroll.
Debutant Pierre Gasly finishing just behind his Toro Rosso team-mate Carlos Sainz, with the pair finishing fourteenth and fifteenth.
A difficult weekend for the Haas team failed to improve, with Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen being eliminated from Q1, ahead of the Saubers of Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson.
To view the full results of qualifying, click here.