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Hamilton claims pole for Malaysian F1 GP

World champion Lewis Hamilton is eight points adrift of Nico Rosberg ahead of the Malaysian GP.
Hamilton up for the chase in Malaysian GP
Photo Source: AP

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World Champion Lewis Hamilton has won pole position for the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix after setting the fastest time in Saturday's qualifying, while Australia's Daniel Ricciardo will start from fourth on the grid.

The Briton's championship-leading German teammate Nico Rosberg will start alongside Hamilton in second with Max Verstappen of the Netherlands third for Red Bull.

Hamilton drove his Mercedes to the quickest lap time of 1:32.850, with Ricciardo's Red Bull recording 1:33.4672.

Sebastian Vettel of Germany was fifth fastest in his Ferrari, with Kimi Raikkonen, Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg, Jenson Button and Felipe Massa rounding out the top 10.

Hamilton is only one win shy of his 50th in Formula One, but has struggled off the start-line this season, converting only three of his seven poles into wins.

"A huge thank you to the team who continue to improve," Hamilton said. "Great work coming into this weekend, and the car felt fantastic, but the lap could have been faster."

Rosberg made mistakes on both of his timed runs during the 12-minute shoot-out for pole.

"I would have come close but, unfortunately, I made a mistake in that last corner.

"So, second place - I have got to live with that - but, as we know from this year, second does not mean victory isn't possible. I am optimistic about tomorrow."

Mercedes are on course to wrap up their third straight constructors' title on Sunday.

Rosberg, winner of the past three races, leads Hamilton by eight points in the overall standings with six of a record 21 races to go.

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