After a difficult qualifying session in changeable conditions, Mark Webber has set about redeeming himself from his Australian adventures last weekend by taking pole position with a sensational lap on intermediate tyres. Beating second placed driver Nico Rosberg by 1.3s, Webber made the call to use different rubber to his rivals which proved to be a good decision as the Sepang circuit started to dry in the final moments of Q3.
Nico Rosberg once again out-qualified his team mate and multiple world champion Michael Schumacher, starting on the front row for the first time in his career. Nestling into third is the sister RB6 of Sebastian Vettel while Germany continues to feature heavily in the top-five with Adrian Sutil taking fourth ahead of rookie Nico Hulkenberg in the Williams.
Robert Kubica, who went fastest in Q1 managed to finish his afternoon in sixth while Rubens Barrichello failed to match his team mate and settled for seventh. Schumacher rests in eighth with Kamui Kobayashi starting just behind in ninth with Vitantonio Liuzzi completing the top-ten.
McLaren and Ferrari made poor calls with tyre choices in Q1 and Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton failed to get through the first session. Jenson Button scraped in to Q2 but ended his run in the gravel, meaning he could take no further part in qualifying. Conversely, Heikki Kovalainen once again made his Lotus team proud by getting through to Q2, finishing just ahead of Timo Glock in fifteenth.
Qualifying proved to be all about the weather, with light rain failing initially before getting heavier. Everything appeared to clear up for Q2 but it didn’t take long for more rain to come and Q3 was red-flagged for a few minutes with drivers complaining of dangerous conditions. When the session restarted it was meant to be about the last driver to cross the line, but the decision by Webber to run intermediate tyres proved he would be unmatched, setting two outstanding laps to complete his Saturday.