Adrian Sutil set the pace in the Q1 session in Malaysia with a lap that was a tenth clear of Kimi Raikkonen. The two were three-tenths clear of Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes, Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari and Romain Grosjean in the second Lotus. Jenson Button gave McLaren a bit of encouragement by setting the sixth fastest time ahead of Paul di Resta (Force India), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Mark Webber (Red Bull) and Sergio Perez (McLaren).
Esteban Gutierrez was next ahead of Felipe Massa, Dan Ricciardo (Toro Rosso), Pastor Maldonado (Williams) and Sebastian Vettel, who was taking things easy in his Red Bull. Nico Hulkenberg was the last man to go through into Q2, leaving a frustrated Jean-Eric Vergne, Valtteri Bottas and the two Marussias and the two Caterhams at the back.