Skip to main content

Record setting pole position for Lewis Hamilton in Malaysia

updated 11:25 AM EDT, Sat March 29, 2014
Lewis Hamilton was all smiles after finishing first in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton was all smiles after finishing first in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
  • Lewis Hamilton finishes first in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix
  • Hamilton claims his 33rd pole position to equal the British record
  • Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel places second behind Hamilton
  • Wet conditions at the Sepang Circuit made it tricky for drivers Saturday

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- Lewis Hamilton grabbed his second straight pole position to begin the 2014 Formula One season. But he hopes the Malaysian Grand Prix goes better than the opener in Melbourne.

Hamilton was forced to retire early into the Australian Grand Prix this month and could only watch as Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg emerged victorious.

"For myself and for the team the priority is to try to bag as many points, collectively, me and Nico," Hamilton told reporters Saturday. "I think we have a great opportunity.

"We've got a great car and the team's just performing fantastically right now, so fingers crossed we both see our way through to the finish line."

Hamilton praises Mercedes progress
Can Caterham secure points in 2014?
Vettel: 'It will be a long season'
Vettel's dominance could bore F1 fans

Hamilton bettered reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull by 0.055 seconds in a rain-hit, eventful qualifying session at the Sepang International Circuit for the 33rd pole of his career. That ties him for the British record with Jim Clark.

Rosberg was third.

"Today was just incredible, how much, firstly, it rained before qualifying and then during the session it was very, very tricky out there I think for everyone," said Hamilton. "Particularly at the end it was almost impossible to see anything.

"During my last lap I just couldn't see a thing behind (Force India's Nico) Hulkenberg. I couldn't see where the track went, didn't know where the corners were, when to brake."

Even though he was only fractionally behind Hamilton in qualifying, Vettel suggested Mercedes was the team to beat Sunday.

"I think Mercedes as a team has the best package," he told reporters. "They've done a very good job across the break.

"I think they're the favorites at the moment, no matter, I think, where we go. As a fact, after that I think it's fairly close between the other Mercedes-powered teams and probably Ferrari and us."

Former world champion Fernando Alonso finished fourth -- despite colliding with Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso -- followed by Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

Caterham's Marcus Ericsson crashed in the first qualifying session, losing control of his car and hitting the wall.

Williams' Valtteri Bottas received a grid penalty -- going from 15th to 18th -- after impeding a not impressed Ricciardo.

"We raced each other a lot in the junior categories and I thought we had a lot of respect for each other, but it's a little difficult how many times he's done that now," Ricciardo was quoted as saying by

Read: Rosberg takes season opener

Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
updated 7:10 PM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
It stimulates all five senses, creating an unparalleled experience for drivers and fans alike. Take a tour of Monaco with Mark Webber.
updated 8:33 AM EDT, Thu May 22, 2014
To be a champion you must win a title -- but to become an F1 legend you must win races at Monaco, the calendar's most testing circuit.
updated 10:59 AM EDT, Wed May 21, 2014
Caterham F1 reserve driver Alexander Rossi takes you on a tour of the Monaco racing circuit.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Mon May 5, 2014
The Formula One driver transcended his sport and even 20 years after his death, Ayrton Senna commands the adoration of fans worldwide.
updated 11:00 AM EDT, Thu May 1, 2014
TO GO WITH AFP STORY IN ARABIC BY SUHEIL HOWAYEK: (FILES) Brazilian F1 driver Ayrton Senna adjusts his rear view mirror in the pits 01 May 1994 before the start of the San Marino Grand Prix. Senna died after crashing in the seventh lap. Some 45 drivers, including Senna and Canadian Gilles Villeneuve, have been killed during Formula One races whose tracks are dubbed by some as the 'circuits of death.' AFP PHOTO/JEAN-LOUP GAUTREAU (Photo credit should read JEAN-LOUP GAUTREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
F1's greatest racer was killed during the San Marino Grand Prix on May 1 1994. The sport hasn't been the same since.
updated 11:16 AM EDT, Wed April 30, 2014
Just four F1 drivers turned up to Roland Ratzenberger's funeral after his death during qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix on April 30 1994.
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Fri April 25, 2014
For a championship with a distinctly Iberian streak, it is no surprise that South America should be high on MotoGP's list of territories to conquer.
updated 7:13 AM EDT, Fri April 18, 2014
Too weak. Can't handle the pressure. Susie Wolff has heard it all -- but she is determined to become the first female F1 driver in 20 years.
CNN's Amanda Davies visits the headquarters of Mercedes, the dominant team in Formula One this season.
updated 9:08 PM EDT, Fri March 14, 2014
The big winners of this Formula One season could be road drivers rather than F1 racers, according to one former world champion.
updated 3:16 PM EDT, Thu March 13, 2014
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton sums up the dawn of a new Formula One era in three juicy words -- weird, mind-blowing and challenging.