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Hamilton clinches Malaysian GP pole

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iol spt mar24 Hamilton

REUTERS

Lewis Hamilton put his McLaren on pole for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday, as the team locked up the front row of the starting grid.

Sepang, Malaysia - Lewis Hamilton put his McLaren on pole for the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday, as the team locked up the front row of the starting grid for the second race in a row.

The Briton clocked one minute, 36.219 seconds in the third round of qualifying to follow up his pole position in Australia last week and will line up alongside Melbourne winner Jenson Button, who finished 0.149 seconds behind.

Michael Schumacher was third fastest in his Mercedes with Red Bull's Mark Webber completing the second row of the grid in fourth. World champion Sebastian Vettel finished sixth but will be promoted one place above Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus, who finished ahead of the German but will lose five places on the grid for changing his gearbox this weekend.

Displaying the lightning pace his car had shown through Friday practice, Hamilton blazed out his fastest lap early in the final round of qualifying and one-by-one his challengers tried but failed to beat the 2008 world champion's time.

The Briton last enjoyed two poles in a row in 2009, at Italy and Singapore, and it will mark the first time since 2007 that McLaren have taken the top two spots in qualifying in cinsecutive races.

With Raikkonen's demotion to 10th, team mate Romain Grosjean backed up his third-place qualification in Australia with sixth, but Ferrari's woes continued for the second race in succession.

Double world champion Fernando Alonso did well to make the final round of qualification and will start in eighth, behind Nico Rosberg in the other Mercedes, while Felipe Massa failed to make it out of Q2 and will start in 12th.– Reuters


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