There was steady but light rain for the Q3 session in Kuala Lumpur and nine of the top 10 rushed out to get a lap in on intermediates, while Felipe Massa took a more leisurely approach and stayed back, aiming to get some clear road. Conditions were treacherous with Lewis Hamilton going wide as he got ready to start his first flying lap. The first set of times came in a rush with pack leader Adrian Sutil initially fastest but he was beaten by Sergio Perez, while Kimi Raikkonen banged into second. They were then all beaten by Lewis Hamilton but his time was bested by Nico Rosberg and the two Mercedes were split by Fernando Alonso before Sebastian Vettel went quickest. That all happened in about 10 seconds and a short time later Massa came around and grabbed third. Second time around Webber jumped up to second, while Sutil, Raikkonen and Massa pitted for new rubber. The rain was now stopped and so the last laps looked as though they would be quicker. And so it was as the cars came back again, with Webber taking pole only to be bumped off it by Hamilton. The McLarens moved to sixth for Perez and then fourth for Button, but Raikkonen came through to grab fourth while Sutil took sixth. Rosberg’s last lap was enough to grab third but then Alonso suddenly leapt to the top of the time sheets only to be knocked off seconds later by Vettel. And to finish it off Massa came through and grabbed second from his team-mate.
It was all rather breathless. So the order was Vettel, Massa, Alonso, Hamilton, Webber, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Button, Sutil and Perez.