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Published: 10:50 | 1/10/16

Hamilton takes pole in Malaysia


Lewis Hamilton will be on pole position for Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton, who trails championship leader Rosberg by eight points going into Sunday's race, was 4/10 seconds faster than his Mercedes team-mate.

After dominating the second and third practice sessions, Hamilton recorded a fastest lap in qualifying of 1:32.850, the fastest at Sepang since 2005, to record his seventh pole of the season and fourth of his career in Malaysia.

Hamilton, who has not won a grand prix since July, praised the Mercedes engineering team for their work on the car over the weekend.

"A huge thanks to the team - we have improved," the Briton said.

"We’ve come here with the best the car has been this year. Great work done coming into this weekend. It could have been a faster lap."

Rosberg says he is "still optimistic" of winning a fourth consecutive race, following his victories in Belgium, Italy and Singapore, despite a wobble at the final corner in his final lap of qualifying.

"I was going for pole, what else would I be doing out there?" he said.

"I would have come close but made a mistake at the last corner. I couldn't get the settings right at the last corner. Second place doesn't mean victory is not possible, we have seen that many times."

Germany's Max Verstappen was third ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, while Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel finished fifth, a place ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

Sergio Perez finished seventh for Force India, 0.7 secs behind Raikkonen, with team-mate Nico Hulkenberg eighth. Jenson Button was ninth in the McLaren with Williams’ Felipe Massa tenth.

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