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Strategic error costs Hamilton in qualifying

Mar 23, 2013, 8:45 AM EDT

AUTO-PRIX-MAS-F1-QUALIFYING Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton believes that he missed out on pole position due to a strategic error in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

During the top-ten shootout for pole position, some of the drivers opted to pit with a few minutes left for fresh intermediate tires, but Hamilton stayed out on track in pursuit of an improved lap time. However, he could not post a quicker time, whilst Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso all benefited from fresh tires to finish in the top three.

“Putting new tires on was definitely the way to go,” said Hamilton. “Our strategy was to stay out, we thought it would dry up more and it work in our favor, but it didn’t.”

Hamilton eventually qualified fourth, but he was still disappointed with the result despite beating teammate Nico Rosberg and Australian GP winner Kimi Raikkonen.

“I want to be on pole so initially when you get out of the car you don’t think you’re happy.”

Nico Rosberg was also disappointed to have missed out on pole position, with the German driver qualifying in 6th.

“I was the fastest guy out there and had the best car,” said Rosberg. He had finished quickest in Q2, but the change in conditions made life difficult in Q3.

“Then unfortunately the rain came. I just messed up the strategy, staying out there when others came in for a new set and I had damaged tires.”

Mercedes may have repeatedly written off their chances of winning races in 2013, but their dry pace in Malaysia suggests that they could be in the running if the forecast rain does not hit Sepang during the race. However, with Ferrari and Red Bull also impressing in qualifying, they will have a fight on their hands to score heavily in Malaysia.

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