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Summary

  1. Hamilton on pole, Vettel 2nd, Rosberg 3rd
  2. Rosberg blocks Hamilton on fast lap
  3. Torrential rain and thunderstorms delay session
  4. Raikkonen out in Q2 as rain arrives, Hamilton just makes Q3 in 8th
  5. Both McLarens and Manors out in Q1
  6. Relive P3 & Qualifying in 'Live Coverage' tab

Live Reporting

By Gary Rose

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Post update

    ham

    Lewis Hamilton is in pole position to extend his lead in the championship but second for Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari's increasingly impressive performances have certainly added a bit of spice for tomorrow's race. Throw in the unpredictable weather, and could Mercedes be in for an uncomfortable time?

    Only one way to find out, join us for live coverage from 06:00 BST, and don't oversleep because remember, the clocks go forward one hour (UK-based readers!) Until then, goodbye.

  2. Post update

    Formula 1

    Missed qualifying? You will be able to watch a re-run on BBC One and online from 14:00 GMT.

  3. Post update

    Lauren: Vettel splits the Mercedes to start from the front row. Fingers crossed for a brilliant GP - shame I can't watch it live!

    Lewis McFarlane: It pains me to say it but Rosberg simply isn't good enough to challenge Hamilton at the moment.

  4. Post update

    Formula 1

    Sebastian Vettel has put Ferrari in unfamiliar territory. They'll start on the front row for the first time since Felipe Massa put them there back in 2013, also at the Malaysian GP, a race Vettel won.

  5. Post update

    jos verstappen

    Incidentally, Jos Verstappen, pictured above, finished third in that 1994 Belgian GP, when he qualified sixth. What an achievement it would be if his son Max gets on the podium tomorrow.

    The 17-year-old is also firmly on course to become the youngest-ever points scorer in Formula 1, not that he has to worry about achieving that any time soon. He still has TWO YEARS to eclipse current record holder Daniil Kvyat (19 years 324 days).

  6. Post update

    ham and ros

    Two races in and the tensions in the Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg relationship are showing?

    The two had, shall we say, a 'moment' in qualifying when Rosberg appeared not to give much room to Hamilton to pass when he was on a big lap. Hamilton backed off once he got ahead of Rosberg, and asked about that moment the Briton claimed to "not remember" it.

  7. Post update

    Formula 1 journalist Sarah Holt: What's the prep plan for teenager Max Verstappen starting sixth for Toro Rosso? He's going to watch videos of race starts with Dad Jos!

  8. Like father, like son

    Max Verstappen

    Another impressive stat regarding Max Verstappen. In just his second race, he has equalled his dad's best-ever grid position when Jos started from sixth at the 1994 Belgian GP for Benetton. That'll be one proud dad tonight.

    jos verstappen
  9. Pace ace Ferrari

    Pole position for Lewis Hamilton was the 40th of his career and he'll be buoyed by the fact that he has converted his last seven poles into race wins. Ferrari, though, will fancy themselves to give Hamilton a run for his money. Their long-run pace on Friday was impressive, and Sebastian Vettel is in prime position to utilise that in tomorrow's race and have a real go at victory.

    hamilton
  10. Post update

    Manor
  11. Performance of the day?

    Ricardo Rodriguez

    By qualifying sixth, 17-year-old Max Verstappen secured the highest qualifying position by a teenage driver since Ricardo Rodriguez started on the front row for Ferrari at the 1961 Italian GP.

    Max Verstappen
  12. Post update

    Nico Rosberg

    Nico Rosberg, who will start from third: "Third is not good for tomorrow but that is the way it is. It was interesting conditions out there, I have seldom had so much grip in wet conditions. Third is on the clean side of the grid, so that should help me get past Sebastian Vettel at the start."

  13. 'The rain can mix things up'

    Sebastian Vettel

    Sebastian Vettel, who will start from second: "You never know [how tomorrow could go]. Just look outside, when it starts to rain here it can mix up things. It was an interesting qualifying session, the car felt good in both conditions and the car looked good on long runs in practice. We will see what we can do tomorrow."

  14. 'Fantastic job by the team'

    Lewis Hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton, who will start on pole: "I think the first lap was good, it's always difficult in conditions like that and not one of us have driven in the wet this weekend. You don't want to take too much risk. The next one was up and then we lost some but generally it was a fantastic job by the team."

  15. Post update

    That top three is a carbon copy of last year, with Sebastian Vettel - then of Red Bull - splitting the two Mercedes in qualifying.

    On that occasion, Lewis Hamilton secured pole and converted that into victory.

  16. Post update

    Mercedes
  17. THE GRID

    11) Raikkonen 12) Maldonado 13) Hulkenberg 14) Perez 15) Sainz 16) Nasr 17) Button 18) Alonso

  18. THE GRID

    1 Hamilton 2) Vettel 3) Rosberg 4) Ricciardo 5) Kvyat 6) Verstappen 7) Massa 8) Grosjean 9) Bottas 10) Ericsson

  19. Post update

    Nico Rosberg cannot improve with his final lap and he will line up third on the grid but how about this from Max Verstappen, the 17-year-old secures sixth in only his second grand prix!

    And he still cannot drive in his home country unless accompanied by a driving license holder...

  20. Chequered flag

    LEWIS HAMILTON SECURES POLE POSITION FOR THE MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX.

  21. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton fails to beat his personal best in P2 as he passes Felipe Massa, meanwhile Sebastian Vettel is up to second...

  22. Post update

    The chequered flag is out and everyone is on their final lap. Lewis Hamilton fastest at the moment...

  23. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Sepang

    "Ooh. That's naughty. Rosberg delays Hamilton on his flier, Hamilton backs off after a purple first sector."

  24. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton is fastest of all in the first sector but backs off after being given little room when trying to pass his team-mate Nico Rosberg at Turn 7.

  25. Team radio

    Daniel Ricciardo: "Inters are the way to go I reckon."

  26. Post update

    Nico Rosberg nudges down Sebastian Vettel with a 1:51.066 while Daniel Ricciardo is sixth fastest, ahead of Daniil Kvyat and Marcus Ericsson. No time yet for Romain Grosjean, Valtteri Bottas (pictured) and Felipe Massa with three minutes to go.

    bottas
  27. Post update

    The inters look to be quicker and Valtteri Bottas opts out of his lap to make the switch to them. Lewis Hamilton, on the inters, is fastest with 1:49.834 ahead of Sebastian Vettel but impressive work from rookie Max Verstappen, third with 1:52.896 with his first experience of a grand prix weekend in the wet.

  28. Post update

    Out lap done for Valtteri Bottas and he embarks on a timed lap on the full wets.

  29. Final qualifying starts

    The green light is on at the end of the pit lane and out head the 10 cars for these final 12 minutes. Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton are on intermediate tyres.

  30. Post update

    David Coulthard

    BBC F1 co-commentator

    "If you go straight at it on the Inter tyres there is always a risk you can make a mistake."

  31. Get involved #bbcf1

    Williams

    Brian Pigott: You may as well say when it rains F1 completely stops. This never happened in the '90s this ruins F1 - shame.

  32. Post update

    The session will definitely resume at 10:15 GMT and both Williams head down to the end of the pit lane on full wets.

  33. Post update

    This delay means a lot of hanging about for the drivers. Some prefer to remain in their cars...

    Lotus

    ...others opt to stretch their legs and go for a wander. Four minutes to go, all being well.

    Williams
  34. Post update

    BBC weatherman Ian Fergusson: 1803 local: Rain showing clear signs of fading away now, so a more positive outlook. Track temp now 38.8C.

  35. Post update

    Kimi Raikkonen, who qualified 11th: "We got it wrong. We should have been out earlier but that is how it is. The lap time is there or thereabouts so we expected to be strong in qualifying. We finally find some speed and this happens, that's part of the game but it is disappointing."

  36. Post update

    A reminder that Will Stevens failed to get out in qualifying, while his Manor team-mate Roberto Merhi failed to get within 107% of the best time in Q1, meaning it will be down to the stewards to determine if they can race on Sunday. Another race where the full field does not start on the cards?

  37. Get involved #bbcf1

    Mr Rae: I don't share Alonso or Button's faith that the car will come good! It's not good enough, it really isn't!

    Adam Swinden: Despite what he says, Alonso has got to be regretting his move to McLaren with a qualifying performance like that.

  38. Post update

    James Allen

    BBC Radio 5 live commentator

    "The light levels will begin to drop - and they don't want it to be too dangerous."

  39. Post update

    Race controls confirms that the earliest qualifying will get resume is at 10:15 GMT. That's 18:00 in Malaysia, meaning the light will increasingly become a factor.

  40. Post update

    Formula 1

    The safety car is deployed to check the track conditions. It is kicking up a lot of spray, but it still very warm and not much rain at the moment means it should start drying pretty quickly.

  41. Post update

    Mercedes' non-executive chairman Niki Lauda: "Lewis was stuck in traffic. He thought he could get by quicker, he didn't but we got through and now everything is back to zero. There's no problem. He was stuck in traffic. He can recover everything.

    "In the wet, everything is different. You have to think about tomorrow, will it be a wet race or a dry race? So it is a difficult decision to make - what do you work for?"

  42. Post update

    Mercedes

    Headphones on as Lewis Hamilton gets himself in the zone. Any thoughts on what his motivational music of choice would be?

  43. IN

    1) Rosberg 2) Vettel 3) Bottas 4) Ricciardo 5) Grosjean 6) Massa 7) Verstappen 8) Hamilton 9) Kvyat 10) Ericsson

  44. OUT

    11) Raikkonen 12) Maldonado 13) Hulkenberg 14) Perez 15) Sainz

  45. Post update

    Rain at the Malaysian grand prix

    Ignore the spots of rain on the camera, it now appears to have finally stopped. Here's a reminder of who went out in Q2 and who will contest in the top-10 shootout...

  46. Post update

    The rain continues to fall on the Sepang circuit, but could the weather be good news for Mercedes' competitors? It is, of course, a great leveller and it will now all be about who can best deal with the conditions.

    That said, Lewis Hamilton took pole in the wet in 2014...

  47. Post update

    McLaren driver Fernando Alonso, who has qualified 18th: "We know we are struggling with the pace but we are much closer now and I don't think I will be [giving interviews] after Q1 for long."

  48. Post update

    McLaren driver Jenson Button, who qualified 17th: "It is a lot closer than in Australia and I think our race pace is better than our qualifying pace. We should be happy with the step taken, but there is still a long way to go."

  49. Post update

    Confirmation has come in that the start of Q3 has been delayed by 15 minutes, as we wait let's hear from Jenson Button...

  50. Get involved #bbcf1

    Martin duck: A good lightening storm to create drama and Kimi is the loser from it.

    Silje: Dude @therealdcf1 you're from Scotland, rain is in your blood. How you manage to get surprised by it is v impressive.

  51. Post update

    The rain has slowed down a bit but it looks like the start of Q3 could be delayed to let the track dry out a bit.

  52. Post update

    Lotus

    Lotus F1 Team: Suspicion @RGrosjean might feel something of a washing-out sensation in #Q3

  53. Post update

    Fans running for cover as the rain falls at the Malaysian Grand Prix

    It is proper Malaysia weather as a Red Bull staff member sweeps rain water out of the garage.

    With no-one going to go back out in Q2, fans make a dart for the cover of the trees.

  54. Top 10 - as it stands

    1) Rosberg 2) Vettel 3) Bottas 4) Ricciardo 5) Grosjean 6) Massa 7) Verstappen 8) Hamilton 9) Kvyat 10) Ericsson

  55. Post update

    As it stands, we will be losing the below five drivers once the timer reaches zero. Six minutes to go as everyone seeks refuge from the weather in their respective garages.

    11) Raikkonen 12) Maldonado 13) Hulkenberg 14) Perez 15) Sainz

  56. Team radio

    Lewis Hamilton: "You got us out too far behind everyone, man."

  57. Post update

    The rain is hammering down as the drivers make their way back into the pits. Lewis Hamilton is safe, but it was very close and he is not happy.

  58. Post update

    Hang on? Kimi Raikkonen, who has looked like being Mercedes' biggest challenger throughout practice, posts a 1:42.173 and it is only good enough for 11th! He is set to be eliminated.

    "Unfortunately Kimi we are P11 and with the rain it will be impossible to improve on that position," Raikkonen is told over team radio.

  59. Post update

    Drops of rain at Turns 7 and 8 according to Felipe Massa's race engineer. Nico Rosberg goes fastest as the potentially crucial timed laps arrive. Sebastian Vettel is second fastest but a bad lap from Lewis Hamilton after he got stuck in traffic sees him eighth. Tense!

    hamilton
  60. Post update

    Allan McNish

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst in Sepang on BBC One

    "There's elbows out on this warming up lap - they know the rain is coming. The Lotuses are going at it like it's the last lap of a grand prix."

  61. Post update

    James Allen

    BBC Radio 5 live commentator

    "A giant bolt of lightening to my left - the storm is getting closer."

  62. Post update

    It is like a race out there now as everyone looks to bank a time before the rain arrives.

  63. Post update

    Mercedes
  64. Second qualifying starts

    Q2 is under way and there is a queue to get out on track as that lightning draws closer...

  65. OUT

    16) Nasr 17) Button 18) Alonso 19) Merhi 20) Stevens

  66. IN

    1) Hamilton 2) Rosberg 3) Vettel 4) Sainz 6) Grosjean 7) Ericsson 8) Maldonado 9) Raikkonen 10) Ricciardo

    11) Massa 12) Kvyat 13) Verstappen 14) Hulkenberg 15) Perez

  67. Second qualifying ends

    Lewis Hamilton finishes fastest in the first part of qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix, but both McLarens are eliminated.

  68. Post update

    The chequered flag will be out in a matter of seconds, can Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button sneak into Q2?

  69. Post update

    Daniil Kvyat leaps up to eighth with a 1:40.546, so both McLarens, both Manors and Sergio Perez are in danger at the moment.

  70. Post update

    Lightning at the Malaysian grand prix

    That lightning we mentioned earlier is getting closer. There's regular flashes in the distance and even the video feed gets interrupted as result.

    Lightning plays havoc with TV
  71. Post update

    Daniil Kvyat also needs to find an improvement. He heads in to have mediums bolted on, as does his Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo and back out they come.

  72. Post update

    Jenson Button locks up at Turn 14 and the McLarens are currently in a spot of bother. Button is 18th while Fernando Alonso is 17th.

    A worry also for Manor, with Will Stevens yet to head out.

  73. Post update

    The Ferraris complete their first runs as Sebastian Vettel slots in third fastest with 1:39.814, while Kimi Raikkonen is fifth fastest.

    Roberto Mehri locks up at Turn Four, running off the track as a result before rejoining.

  74. Post update

    Fifteen of the drivers out on the circuit have put times on the board with eight minutes of the session gone. Lewis Hamilton leads the way with a 1:39.269, a shade quicker than Nico Rosberg.

  75. Post update

    Former team-mates Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo are out on the harder compound. As I type that, a flash of lightning on the horizon...

  76. Post update

    James Allen

    BBC Radio 5 live commentator

    "It would be the tenth time in a row if Mercedes qualify one-two - which would be a new record."

  77. Post update

    Most look to be out on medium tyres as Nico Hulkenberg is warned over the radio of some showers to the east of the circuit.

  78. Coverage

    bbc

    Don't forget our extra camera streams are up and running for qualifying, as well as the race. Including driver tracker, pit-lane feed and on-board.

  79. Post update

    Max Verstappen is the first to break the silence as he takes his Toro Rosso on to the empty circuit. He isn't alone for long as Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button head on out.

  80. First qualifying starts

    The light is green to signal the start of the first part of qualifying. No rush to get out there, though.

  81. Post update

    Force India

    Force India: Ominous clouds over Sepang - it's not really a matter of "if" but of "when" the rain will fall...

  82. Post update

    Formula 1

    The drivers are getting strapped into the cars and we are two minutes away from the first part of qualifying getting under way.

  83. Malaysia memories - 2010

    Red Bull

    It was a wet qualifying session in 2010 as Mark Webber of Red Bull secured pole position. His team-mate Sebastian Vettel, having started third on the grid, won the race.

  84. Post update

    Tom Clarkson

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter

    "The temperature is dropping like a stone and the wind direction has changed."

  85. Post update

    How's that 90% chance of thunderstorms in Sepang looking? There's certainly some darker clouds in the sky...

  86. Ten minutes to go

    David Coulthard is making a dash to the commentary box now which can mean only one thing - qualifying is on the horizon, 10 minute warning people.

  87. Experience counts?

    Jenson Button
  88. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Sepang

    "McLaren have made dramatic progress in the two weeks since the first race of the season in Australia. There, they were five seconds off the pace and 1.5secs off getting out of the first part of qualifying. Here, at least one of them appears to have a decent chance of making it into Q2.

    "Fernando Alonso has had a distinct edge on Jenson Button over one lap this weekend and in final practice he was 0.321secs ahead of the Englishman and 15th - one place higher than the Q1 cut-off. It's going to be close, though. Alonso split the Force Indias and was only 0.108secs ahead of Sergio Perez. Can he or Button do it?"

  89. Post update

    McLaren

    A bigger travesty than McLaren's poor performances so far in 2015 surely has to be Jenson Button's moustache. Shave it off man!

    He is speaking on BBC One right now and it will be interesting to see how he and Fernando Alonso get on in qualifying today.

  90. Post update

    David Coulthard

    BBC F1 co-commentator in Sepang

    "Mercedes have a programme that is pre-determined. There is a certain amount of analysis they will want to get through - race set-up and fuel runs etc - and he have lost some of that information. He has not had the benefit of building up the knowledge which might not only have an impact on qualifying but the race long runs too. He may be starting on a backfoot and it will be interesting to see what the shoot-out brings us."

  91. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton was fasted in Friday practice but arguably did not have as much time in the Mercedes as he would have liked. He completed just four laps in the morning session before heading out 40 minutes into the second session.

    Will limited track time have an impact on his performance in qualifying today?

  92. Post update

    Eddie Jordan

    BBC F1 chief analyst on BBC One

    bbc

    "There is a spring in the step in this Ferrari, the car looks great and we need a car that will fight against the Mercedes. We are all wishing and hoping it can be these boys."

  93. Post update

    Allan McNish

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst in Sepang on BBC One

    "If Ferrari are able to convert the clear speed they had this morning into qualifying then they can use the long run pace and then I think they don't have to look back at the Williams they can look ahead to the Mercedes. Ferrari, for me, have looked strong."

  94. Get involved #bbcf1

    Daisy Adde: Hamilton, Rosberg and Alonso top 3.

    Lewis Thompson: 1. HAM 2. ROS 3. VET

    VXR: P1 Rosberg P2 Hamilton hmmm P3 Raikkonen

  95. Post update

    Mercedes

    Mercedes: TV stars outside, buzz saw symphony inside... qualifying approaches!

  96. Post update

    Williamsd

    Some interesting stats courtesy of Williams about the human challenge of racing in Malaysia. Good job so much rain falls in the country given how much of the stuff teams go through!

  97. Malaysia memories - 2002

    Michael Schumacher

    Michael Schumacher secured pole at the Malaysian Grand Prix in each of the first four grands prix at Sepang. Pictured here in 2002, he lost out on victory at the race to his younger brother, Ralf.

  98. Manor to make it?

    There will be some nervous faces in the Manor garage as they prepare for their first qualifying session of 2015. They need their drivers, Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi, to get inside 107% of the fastest time. They were not able to do that in third practice and if they fail in qualifying, it will be up to the stewards to decide if they can participate in Sunday's race.

  99. Post update

    Sauber

    An interesting tweet fromSauber of their F1 car cut in half.

  100. Get involved #bbcf1

    Qualifying predictions

    Bibhash Dash: Would love to see Kimi steal pole. Deserves a good race. Perhaps unlikely but Kimi, Hamilton and Ricciardo. Too much to ask?

  101. Post update

    Here's a reminder of how today is going to work. Qualifying begins at 09:00 GMT will be split into three sections. The first will last 18 minutes and see the slowest five drivers knocked out. A further five will be eliminated after a second session lasting 15 minutes. That leaves 10 to fight it out for pole in a 12-minute session.

  102. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Sepang

    "Williams are expecting - and expected - to battle with Ferrari all season for second place behind Mercedes but they did not have a good day on Friday. Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were 0.3secs and 0.4secs respectively off Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen on one-lap pace but were double that on race pace. Williams were losing 0.4secs in Turns 13 and 14 alone and hope they can get it back with some changes they have made overnight."

  103. Did you know?

    Mercedes
  104. Post update

    Sauber

    What have the teams been up to in the 70 minutes or so since practice finished? Getting some much-needed laundry done.

    The air temperature is 34C at the moment and after an hour of pounding the track in the sweaty confines of a Formula 1 car cockpit, those clothes need an airing...

  105. Formula 1 in the papers

    Marca

    Marca

    Spanish daily Marca's front cover leads on Fernando Alonso, with bold lettering proclaiming 'the truth of Alonso'.

    The article, under the sub heading 'driver confirms steering fault theory', reads: "The driver was very clear about something he had felt from the offset, but which inexplicably, nobody wanted to believe.

    "The cause of the accident was in no way the most surprising news; instead it was all the ridiculous comments made about it. The conflicting reports released immediately after the accident are proof of this, with McLaren shining very little light on the matter - if anything, the complete opposite."

  106. Post update

    BBC weatherman Ian Fergusson: Dry flow (40% rel. hum) for now, but shower risk nxt 2hrs if wind turns W/S/SW & brings moist sea breeze.

  107. A fair bit to go...

    Fast fact

    Williams

    Mercedes have been on pole for the last 12 races. The record for successive poles is 24 (Williams 1992/93).

  108. Get involved

    So could pole position for Mercedes be under threat today? Or am I just talking nonsense? They've surely got more in the bag than they have been showing.

    What do you think? Fire over your qualifying top three predictions to #bbcf1, text on 81111 (UK only) or have you say on the BBC Sport Facebook and Google+ pages.

  109. Saturday summary

    Just woken up? Here is a quick summary of what's happened so far today:

    • Nico Rosberg fastest in third practice, Lewis Hamilton second
    • Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen best of the rest, 0.555s off Rosberg
    • Lots of drivers complain about lack of grip in FP3
    • A '90% chance of thunderstorms' for the start of qualifying
  110. BBC coverage

    Formula 1

    The Chain has just blasted out on BBC One to signal the start of the qualifying show, tune in now.

    That shot of lightning in my opening entry is not real time, by the way. For dramatic purposes only. It is boiling hot and sunny at the moment, although there is apparently a strong chance of thunderstorms for qualifying, when it gets under way at 09:00 GMT.

  111. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton

    Welcome to our coverage of qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

    After a routine win for Lewis Hamilton at the season opening race in Australia, Mercedes look to have picked up from where they had left after dominating practice in Sepang.

    But a win for either Hamilton or Nico Rosberg might not be so straightforward.

    Ferrari have looked fast, Hamilton has had some reliability issues, while a track that is struggling for grip and the ever present threat of rain means we could be in for an interesting session of qualifying...

  112. Could there be a storm brewing?

    Formula 1

    You would have to go back to the end of July last year for the last time Mercedes failed to lock out the front row.

    However, could there be a storm brewing in Malaysia? And not just in the sky...

  113. Post update

    Right then, time to rest the old typing fingers for 45 minutes but keep your television screens on BBC Two as the fantastically voiced Sir Patrick Stewart tells the story of Sir Stirling Moss's glittering career.

    We'll be revving up our coverage at 08:00, coinciding with qualifying build up on BBC One and 5 live sports extra.

    Bye for now.

  114. Post update

    The race is stopped as heavy rain falls during the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang on April 5, 2009. Jenson Button was the eventual winner.

    Scenes like this on the horizon? Probably not as bad, but this is Malaysia, anything can happen.

  115. Get involved #bbcf1

    Alan Cohen: Ferrari might win a race but only if Mercedes have a DNF. Can't see any other team challenging them otherwise though.

    Tony Marks: Why are Honda so far off the pace, given they had about 12 months before the start of the first race to prepare.

    Sam & guidedog Tango: Steady enough practice 3. #bbcf1 hoping for even more competitive times in quali.

  116. Post update

    Mercedes, Mercedes, Ferrari, Ferrari. A familiar feel to the top of the timesheet at the end of third practice.

    There are things, though, that could have a big say in qualifying and the race. Plenty of drivers struggled with their cars today, locking up and complaining of a lack of grip, while Lee McKenzie reckons there is a 90% chance of thunderstorms for the start of qualifying, which gets under way in just under two hours.

  117. Third practice results

    1) Rosberg 2) Hamilton 3) Raikkonen 4) Vettel 5) Massa 6) Bottas 7) Ricciardo 8) Sainz 9) Verstappen 10) Ericsson

    11) Grosjean 12) Maldonado 13) Kvyat 14) Hulkenberg 15) Alonso 16) Perez 17) Nasr 18) Button 19) Merhi 20) Stevens

  118. BreakingPost update

    Formula 1

    NICO ROSBERG FINISHES FASTEST IN THIRD PRACTICE FOR THE MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX.

  119. Chequered flag

    Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, P1 and P2 respectively, are back in the Mercedes garage just before the chequered flag is waved.

  120. Post update

    Daniel Ricciardo puts the medium tyre through its paces, racking up 11 laps on the compound before heading into the pits.

    Fernando Alonso is wasting no time in getting reacquainted with the McLaren, he goes P12 with a 1:41.991. Solid.

    One minute to go.

  121. Post update

    Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen both have spells in P2 before Lewis Hamilton joins his Mercedes team-mate in dipping below 1:40, a 1:39.873 making him second fastest at the moment.

  122. Post update

    Busy times now on the circuit with everyone except for Will Stevens and Max Verstappen out. Valtteri Bottas goes P2 on the medium tyre with 1:40.406

  123. Post update

    Nico Rosberg is out for his run on the medium tyre, he is purple through sectors two and three...and he improves the pacesetting time with a 1:39.690.

  124. Post update

    McLaren

    A blast of cold air as Jenson Button sits in his McLaren waiting to head back out.

  125. Post update

    The clock has just flicked over into single figures as we head into the final 10 minutes. Expect action to hot up now as drivers strap on medium tyres for qualifying simulations.

  126. Malaysia memories - 1999

    Malaysia

    Ferrari's Michael Schumacher in action during the third free practice session for the 1999 Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang. Schumacher went on to finish second in the race, behind team-mate Eddie Irvine.

  127. Post update

    Mercedes
  128. Post update

    Daniel Ricciardo at third practice at the Malaysian grand prix

    Daniel Ricciardo, on the medium tyre, is the only car on the circuit at the moment.

  129. Post update

    Mercedes
  130. Get involved #bbcf1

    DRFC#Marshy_Jake: Track looks good plenty of straights for Lewis to pick up speed for pole.

    Mighty Joe: Alonso gets the best out of a bad car, will he show Button up this weekend?

    J.D.HUGHES: Still missing the real scream of an F1 engine, rather than the moan of an elderly lawnmower, but F1 is always a glorious sight.

  131. Post update

    Plenty in the pits at the moment as we head into the final 20 minutes of the session. Nico Rosberg leads the way, ahead of Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton.

  132. Post update

    Turn 9 is proving a tricky corner for plenty of drivers. Robert Merhi spun there earlier and now Lewis Hamilton locks up. "Braking all over the place," he says over the radio.

  133. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton is out on the circuit and, despite having to navigate a fair bit of traffic, he is off the mark with a 1:41.017 to go P4.

  134. Malaysia memories - 2004

    Malaysia

    World champion Michael Schumacher leads Renault's Fernando Alonso during practice for the 2004 Malaysian Grand Prix. Schumacher would go on to win the race, with Alonso finishing seventh having started from 20th on the grid.

  135. Post update

    McLaren

    Fernando Alonso's first run of the session sees him set a time of 1:42.595, 11th fastest.

    Ferrari continue their impressive show of pace from Friday as a 1:40.532 for Sebastian Vettel puts him within two tenths of Nico Rosberg.

  136. Post update

    Nico Rosberg, on the hard tyre, puts Mercedes into P1 with a 1:40.391 while Daniel Ricciardo improves with a 1:40.590, but it is not enough to knock Rosberg off the top. Ricciardo is on the medium tyres, too.

  137. Coverage

    Don't forget our extra camera streams are up and running during practice, as well as for qualifying and the race. Including driver tracker, pit-lane feed and on-board - which could have been a good place to watch Roberto Merhi fly off.

    Roberto Merhi in the gravel pit
  138. Spin!

    Roberto Merhi had a wobble at Turn 1 but kept it together. The same cannot be said at Turn 9, though, as the Manor driver spins and is in the gravel. He is able to get himself back on the circuit.

  139. Post update

    Mercedes: "After a practice start, lots of chatter on tyre and brake temps as Nico Rosberg prepares to start his timed lap.

    "Meanwhile, the other fella - aka Lewis Hamilton - is hopping back in...preparations for his prime tyre run under way."

  140. Post update

    Sergio Perez in the grass

    Another driver takes a trip off the circuit, this time Sergio Perez locks up and is on the grass at Turn 9.

  141. Post update

    Still no timed laps from either of the Mercedes or the Ferraris. Kimi Raikkonen is out there, but suffers a puncture and is told to box. Nico Rosberg is strapped in and looks set to head out.

  142. Malaysia memories - 2007

    Lewis Hamilton

    There was a new face in the paddock in 2007 as Lewis Hamilton took part in his first Formula 1 season. Here he is in practice for the 2007 Malaysian Grand Prix.

    Hamilton finished fastest in third practice, qualified fourth and went on to finish second, behind then team-mate Fernando Alonso.

  143. Record breakers

    Mercedes
  144. Post update

    Felipe Nasr in the gravel pit

    Felipe Nasr goes for a trip through the gravel at Turn 11 but he is able to get his Sauber back on track. Twelve drivers have posted times with 20 minutes of the session gone.

    If Lewis Hamilton is worried about the Ferraris he is not showing it. He is keeping out of the heat in the Mercedes garage at the moment and in no rush to head out.

  145. Post update

    Red Bull's sister team, Toro Rosso, are third and fourth fastest at the moment with Carlos Sainz posting a 1:42.078 and his team-mate Max Verstappen a 1:42.361.

  146. Post update

    Australian F1 fans at the Malaysian Grand Prix

    There's certainly plenty of fans showing their support for Daniel Ricciardo in Malaysia. He still holds the second fastest time in this session.

  147. Renault to pull out?

    Renault

    Some news related to Red Bull from Friday and Renault say they are considering pulling out of F1 following criticism of its engines.

    Renault engines powered Red Bull to four successive world championships, before Mercedes won in 2014. However, the manufacturer has come in for criticism since Mercedes dominated the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on 15 March, with Red Bull finishing a lap down on winner and world champion Lewis Hamilton.

    "We are looking at a lot of options, including getting out of Formula 1 if it's bad for Renault's reputation," says the team's chief, Cyril Abiteboul.

    The French firm, which supplies engines to Red Bull and Toro Rosso, is also contemplating buying a team and becoming a constructor again.

  148. Post update

    Red Bull

    Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat limbered up for this weekend's race by playing squash with world number one Nicol David, and it may have done the trick after a decent showing on Friday.

    The RB11 displayed improved driveability compared to Melbourne and Kvyat's best lap of 1:42.055 saw him finish the fourth fastest driver of the day while Ricciardo was P10.

    They were still not without their troubles, though, as Kvyat struggled with upshift problems in the afternoon session, while Ricciardo had an engine problem. Ricciardo is already on to his second engine after a problem in practice back in Australia.

  149. Post update

    Will Stevens set his lap time on the medium tyres, with everyone else out on hards.

    The Red Bulls are out and Daniel Ricciardo is briefly the new pacesetter after a 1:42.045, until his team-mate Daniil Kvyat pops up with a 1:41.980.

  150. Post update

    Will Stevens puts the first time on the board with a 1:49.397.

    Considering the past few hectic months Manor have had to get on the grid, they will be pleased with how things went on their first appearance of 2015 yesterday.

    Stevens managed to get inside 107% of Nico Rosberg's best lap, with his best 105.93% off, while his team-mate Roberto Merhi was just outside at 107.45%. Given the team are likely to find more time today, promising stuff ahead of qualifying.

  151. Post update

    Allan McNish

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst in Sepang

    "Wakey wakey, FP3 session is under way. @bbcf1"

  152. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Sepang

    "Formula 1 is poised for its first rule change of the new season, with the return of the allowance of engines per driver to five. That limit was reduced by one for this season as one part of the turbo hybrid engine rules that was intended to keep costs down. But it has had a dire effect on practice sessions, with teams doing noticeably less running.

    "They have now apparently unanimously agreed to use five, although the rule still needs to go through the official processes before becoming reality."

  153. Post update

    Tom Clarkson

    BBC F1 pit-lane reporter in Sepang

    "Interestingly, Jenson Button has had an engine change overnight but he wasn't complaining about any problems in practice yesterday. They found a problem with the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) overnight. They wouldn't say exactly what the problem was but they have lost one engine for the year."

  154. Post update

    The track is getting busier as both Lotus's and Jenson Button's McLaren head on out.

  155. Go! Go! Go!

    Ping goes the green light and one hour of practice is under way. Will Stevens blasts straight out on to the circuit in the Manor.

  156. Post update

    Lotus

    Lotus: Not long till FP3, your chariots await sirs...Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.

  157. Live now

    Followers in the UK, stick on your televisions or pop on the radio, Formula 1 coverage is now live on BBC Two and on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra.

  158. Why does it always rain on me?

    Fast fact

    Formula 1

    In the driest Formula 1 year since 1987, the 2013 Malaysian GP was the only race to be affected by rain.

  159. Taming the tyres

    Tyres
    Image caption: A tyre technician uses a tool to measure track temperature

    That searing Sepang heat means tyre management will be crucial this weekend. Drivers struggled for grip on the faster medium tyres on Friday afternoon as temperatures touched 60C.

    "We had record track temperatures out there - it was more than 60 degrees on the asphalt," says Nico Rosberg. "You can imagine, we're sitting on the ground and I can actually feel the asphalt through the chassis. The 60 degrees comes straight into the cockpit and it's extremely hot in the car."

  160. Post update

    Fernando Alonso strolls into the McLaren garage, a huge smile spread across his face, sunglasses on. Its bright and boiling in Sepang, with air temperature currently 33C and track temperature around 60C.

  161. What's the weather like?

    Formula 1

    BBC weatherman Ian Fergusson: "Despite current growth of clouds locally, a fair chance of FP3 staying dry, with risk of showers higher by qualifying."

  162. Post update

    Allan McNish

    BBC Radio 5 live analyst in Sepang

    "Lewis Hamilton came off the back of the win in Australia, had some problems in the morning but rebounded when he had the opportunity. I also think Nico Rosberg has a bit more in the bag because he did not have a clean run in his qualifying simulation but he will have to be good to beat Lewis this weekend."

  163. Post update

    McLaren

    McLaren: A busy Saturday morning in Sepang! Pitstop practice already under way.

  164. Get involved #bbcf1

    What do you think? Can Ferrari give Mercedes a few nervy moments this weekend? How and where can they get the edge over them?

    How do you see today's qualifying going? Let us know via #bbcf1, text us on 81111 (UK only) and join the discussion on the BBC Sport Facebook and Google+ pages.

  165. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Sepang

    "Lewis Hamilton has looked on a separate level from the rest, in the admittedly short sample of the four days of track action so far this season. He followed his stunning pole and dominant win in Australia with a fantastic performance on Friday, here in steamy Malaysia.

    "Hamilton spent far more time in the garage than on track after a series of technical problems, but he still managed to bang in the fastest time of the day by nearly 0.4secs and set the pace on race-simulation times as well. It's almost as if becoming a two-time champion has moved him up a gear this year."

  166. Post update

    Lewis Hamilton

    So are Ferrari really a threat? Really? Lewis Hamilton led the way in the race simulations on Friday, averaging 1:44.942 per lap on the medium tyres but Kimi Raikkonen was not far behind with 1:45.080, ahead of Nico Rosberg's average of 1:45.313.

    Hamilton is certainly wary, saying: "The Ferraris look great, they really do. It is surprising to see how good their times are and we'll see how close they are this weekend."

  167. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Sepang

    "Everyone knows the Malaysian Grand Prix is hot, but just saying the word simply does not do the experience justice. And neither does stating the ambient temperature - always hovering around 31-33C. Situated just north of the equator, and pretty much at sea level, the heat, accompanied by high humidity, is all-pervading. It envelopes you, permeates you, overwhelms you. And for the drivers, it takes on a different dimension again.

    "Strapped inside a carbon-fibre cockpit wearing four-layer fireproof overalls, underwear, balaclava and helmet, subject to extreme physical demands in an environment that quickly takes on the track temperature - which was 60C or so on Friday and promises to be the same again today - and controlling what is effectively a ground-hugging missile. It defies belief."

  168. Post update

    Mercedes

    It was dry throughout practice on Friday and there are blue skies above the Sepang circuit today. A couple of brollies in the crowd there, but I suspect that is for refuge from the heat.

  169. What's coming up and how to follow

    Don't forget the Malaysian Grand Prix is live on BBC television, radio and online through this weekend. That means full coverage of the 60 minute final practice session, which gets under way at 06:00 GMT.

    You can watch on BBC Two and/or listen on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra from 05:55 with both options available online.

    Qualifying takes place at 09:00 and we'll have a full hour of build-up, on BBC One and 5 live sports extra from 08:00. Once again, both are available online, where you can also choose from Onboard, Driver Tracker, Pit Lane and Timings streams.

    Is there a better way to kick off your Saturday?

  170. Out in front

    Ferrari

    Ferrari have secured the most pole positions in Malaysia with seven. The first came in 1999 with their last in 2008. Renault and Red Bull are level on three each.

  171. Post update

    Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Sepang

    "Could Mercedes face a threat this weekend after all? Friday offered that promise, certainly, although it may well turn out to be illusory.

    "Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen split the Mercedes drivers on headline lap times, and his race simulation run was immensely impressive - just shy of Lewis Hamilton for pace and 0.3secs on average faster than Nico Rosberg.

    "However, Ferrari tend to run less fuel than Mercedes on Fridays, so their pace tends to flatter them, and technical director James Allison was cautious. Allison did admit, however, that Ferrari's tyre degradation looked 'quite good' and that the pace was the same. It had been a 'good day,' he said. Sebastian Vettel was also cautious: 'I think it will be close between us and Williams, and in terms of pace Mercedes are still very strong.'"

  172. Post update

    Hello! Welcome to our coverage of qualifying day for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

    It was of no surprise to see Mercedes out in front in Friday practice, with Nico Rosberg fastest in the first session, before Lewis Hamilton overcame a number of issues to come out on top in FP2.

    However, Ferrari have certainly given them food for thought heading into today, with an impressive show of pace on Friday...

  173. Getting closer?

    Nico Rosberg

    "Hopefully we will have some other competitors pushing us as hard as we push each other, as this would be great for the sport."

    Be careful what you wish for, Nico. It might just come true.

    Kimi Raikkonen