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Sunday, 24 March 2013

Vettel Pole Malaysia

Sometimes a pole position is a matter not of outright pace but of timing.

Vettel's pole was a great example of this. His pole time was some ten seconds slower than practice times.  Practice was relatively dry on the track. However as a wet final qualifying drew to a close and the track dried off, each car that went out eclipsed the previous one where the provisional pole sitter had completed his final lap. Hence Raikkonen's pole time was bettered by Rosberg, Rosberg's by Webber, Webber's by Hamilton. Then Hamilton was displaced by Alonso, Alonso by Massa and Massa by Vettel.  Exactly so they finished on the grid, in that reverse order.

So as in Australia, albeit for reasons of weather rather than degradation, mechanical grip and tyre wear are and will be the key issues in the outcome of the race itself.

Two or three stops will be computed by the teams as race strategy is determined.  Will Raikkonen succeed, again from seventh position on the grid, in managing his tyres to win with a two stop strategy?  Or will Vettel or Alonso or Hamilton succeed this time by better preservation of their tyres? 

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