March 29th, 2014 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Lewis Hamilton rubbed salt into the wounds of his competitors when he admitted after qualifying that his pole lap "was far from being my optimum".
Hamilton qualified just 0.055 seconds faster than second-placed Sebastian Vettel, but was six tenths of a second clear of his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg and over a second faster than fifth-placed Daniel Ricciardo.
Conditions were tricky in qualifying, particuarly in Q3 when the rain was at its heaviest. Hamilton described his experience of the end of the seassion: "I'm really happy with our result today. It was a very close session and I'm relieved to come away with pole position as it was pretty tense towards the end."
The Silver Arrows driver who is known for finding the maximum speed available from his car was not quite satisfied with his quickest lap. He said, "The lap was far from being my optimum: I should have been able to eke out a little more time but thankfully it wasn't needed."
In the wet conditions, a few drivers made costly errors, including Caterham's Marcus Ericsson who crashed out of Q1. Hamilton explained the difficulties he encountered: "Conditions were incredibly difficult and it would have been so easy to get it wrong today. At times towards the end it was almost impossible to see if anyone was behind me."
Although he also qualified on pole in the opening round of the season in Australia, Hamilton was unable to finish that race due to an engine problem. He is therefore looking for a chance to reward his team for all of their hard work in preparing the new car. He paid tribute to the Mercedes team after taking pole in Malaysia: "The team have done a great job once again, we have a great car, and we now have to convert this performance tomorrow."