Vettel heads home Red Bull 1-2 in Malaysia
4 April, 2010
Mar.4 (YF1) Red Bull Racing bounced back from the heartaches of the first two races to score a decisive one-two at the Malaysian Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel heading home team mate Mark Webber.
The outcome of the race, for first and second place, was decided at the start going into Sepang’s Turn 1 Vettel edged into the lead ahead of pole sitter Webber and from that moment on the German was in control of proceedings until the end where he weaved across the line to take the chequered flag.
Vettel said, “Well it wasn’t comfortable. I realised straight away I had a good start. It’s good that we can fight each other but you should keep the respect and I am glad that we have done that, I am sure Mark would do the same as I did. After that we had the same pace but I was able to stay in front. It was a very good result for us especially after two races where we didn’t finish where we wanted to be.”
For Red Bull it was a long overdue win, as luck robbed them of possible wins in the first two races of the season, and to do it in such emphatic fashion sends out an ominous warning message to their rivals.
Team principal Christian Horner was understandably satisfied. He said afterwards, “That really is a fantastic result for us. Both drivers pushed themselves but also played fair and, on that first corner in particular, gave each other room. I think Mark Webber snuck in with the fastest lap near the end, there, and that is always dear to Sebastian Vettel’s heart. So Mark got the fastest lap and Sebastian got the race win. We’re happy with that.”
Once in the lead Vettel, as in most of his victories, was simply untouchable and did not put a foot wrong as he powered to Grand Prix career victory number six. His only real challenge may have come from his own team mate.
But Webber who kept in striking distance throughout the race saw his one opportunity to snatch the lead, during the pit stops, disappear as a problem while changing his right front wheel cost him over two seconds and that was game over for the Australian.
Webber reflected, “The first part of the race is critical and in the first sector I had a little wheel spin on the way to Turn One and gave Seb (Sebastian Vettle) a big tow. The spirit and chemistry in our team is awesome and we fought well today, Seb got the better of it, but it could have gone either way. Great result for the team, we executed a beautiful weekend.”
The team will be doubly pleased as arguably their biggest challenge to the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship title, Fernando Alonso, parked his Ferrari with a big engine blow-up with two laps to go.
Mercedes GP driver Nico Rosberg brought his silver arrow, home in third place in what was a pretty much problem free almost anonymous afternoon for the German. He started second on the grid for the first time in his career but like Webber could do nothing about the Vettel’s run into turn one.
Rosberg said of the result, “It’s a fantastic result for us today. The start didn’t go too well, I got too much wheel spin at the start, but I think that was down to me trying a bit too hard. So they got away at the start. The guys have worked very hard all winter so a first podium is a good reward for them, but we really need to push on from this. ”
Robert Kubica continued his run of form to take fourth position, where he was never really challenged.
Force India’s Adrian Sutil kept Kubica honest, although never really challenging for fourth place. The German faced a stern test just after mid-race when he had to keep at bay a fired up Lewis Hamilton. Sutil did what was required and after some sustained pressure the McLaren Mercedes driver had no answer to the fellow Mercedes powered driver. Thereafter Hamilton appeared to settle for sixth, with Sutil bagging fifth place.
On the subject of Hamilton if anyone deserves the drive of the day award (if there were one) it would have been the Briton. Early on he was supreme and again illustrated why he is one of the best racers of this generation of drivers.
After a qualifying blunder which saw him start the race 20th on the grid, Hamilton drove the early laps like a man possessed taking three of four on the drag from the start to Turn 1. By lap 4 he was tenth on the road, pulling some clinical moves in the process.
Only blot on his afternoon was some excessive weaving in his battle Renault’s Vitaly Petrov. This resulted in a warning for the McLaren driver, but other than that full marks for a great show from Hamilton.
Ferrari had a torrid weekend in Malaysia and at the end of it all the best they could get was seventh place for Felipe Massa. The team blundered their qualifying “strategy” which saw both Fernando Alonso and Massa start the race from 19th and 21st.
From the start they struggled through the traffic and got jammed behind Jaime Alguersuari’s Toro Rosso until their pitstops. Massa was first in for new rubber, while the team appeared to expect rain to come along and hence kept Alonso out as long as possible but threw in the towel on lap 37 when the Bahrain GP winner came in for new rubber.
Immediately after their respective stops the two red cars were circulating almost two seconds a lap faster than anyone else. Massa soon reeled in and dispatched Jenson Button’s McLaren and pursued Hamilton to no avail. The Brazilian finishing off the podium for the first time this season.
Alonso came upon Button just as Massa managed to get by. The Spaniard was all over the Briton and finally when he made his move the Ferrari engine cried enough and after a couple of puffs, expired in a big way forcing Alonso to park. Game over. The Ferrari driver was classified in 13th.
Button, who beached his McLaren in qualifying and thus started the race down in 17th, salvaged eighth place.
Alguersuari, in what was the best showing in his short career, was comfortable slugging it out with the top guns and again proved hard to overtake on his way to ninth. He also showed courage in his battle with Williams rookie Nico Hulkenberg who took home the final point and was the highest placed Cosworth runner.
Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso) was just out the points in 11th and in Malaysia was outclassed by his younger and less experienced team mate.
Rubens Barrichello (Williams) took a while to get off the line and never really recovered all afternoon. For the first time being beaten home by his rookie team mate Hulkenberg.
Virgin Racing’s Lucas di Grassi was well pleased with being the best of the drivers in the new teams when he crossed the line in fourteenth (behind Alonso) albeit three laps down on Vettel. He was followed home by Hispania Racing rookie pair of Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna in 15th and 16th respectively.
For Virgin Racing and Hispania Racing this was a big day in their season despite being woefully off the pace of the established teams.
Lotus on the other hand, who had until Malaysia been the best of the newbies, failed to impress on home ground with Jarno Trulli last of the runners in 17th and five laps adrift of the winner.
The first retirement of the Grand Prix came early on when Pedro de la Rosa did not even make it on to the grid. He explained, “We had an engine blow-up – I don’t know why, it was very unexpected. We tested well without a problem but it’s race day that you have to deliver so it’s shame. It’s a race I’ve been looking forward to all year – hot, humid and testing. I had prepared for this race very well.”
Timo Glock’s race was two laps long when his Virgin Racing came out the worse for wear after an altercation with Trulli.
It was an early pack up for the Sauber crew as on lap 8 Kamui Kobayashi parked up at the side of the track with suspected engine failure.
A lap later Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes GP crept to the side of the track ending the German’s run which saw him running up in sixth. The seven times F1 world champion said, “We had an engine blow-up – I don’t know why, it was very unexpected. We tested well without a problem but it’s race day that you have to deliver so it’s shame. It’s a race I’ve been looking forward to all year – hot, humid and testing. I had prepared for this race very well.”
On lap 12 Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi was out with a mechanical problem.
Petrov, who was having one of his better showings at Sepang, parked his Renault on lap 32 with mechanical problems.
Last retirement of the race came on lap 46 when Heikki Kovalainen ‘s race eneded in the Lotus after problems that saw him in the pits on lap 20.
Malaysian Grand Prix Results
|2||6||Mark Webber||RBR-Renault||56||+4.8 secs||1||18|
|3||4||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP||56||+13.5 secs||2||15|
|4||11||Robert Kubica||Renault||56||+18.5 secs||6||12|
|5||14||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||56||+21.0 secs||4||10|
|6||2||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren-Mercedes||56||+23.4 secs||20||8|
|7||7||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||56||+27.0 secs||21||6|
|8||1||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||56||+37.9 secs||17||4|
|9||17||Jaime Alguersuari||STR-Ferrari||56||+70.6 secs||14||2|
|10||10||Nico Hulkenberg||Williams-Cosworth||56||+73.3 secs||5||1|
|11||16||Sebastien Buemi||STR-Ferrari||56||+78.9 secs||13|
|12||9||Rubens Barrichello||Williams-Cosworth||55||+1 Lap||7|
|13||8||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||54||+2 Laps||19|
|14||25||Lucas di Grassi||Virgin-Cosworth||53||+3 Laps||24|
|15||20||Karun Chandhok||HRT-Cosworth||53||+3 Laps||22|
|16||21||Bruno Senna||HRT-Cosworth||52||+4 Laps||23|
|17||18||Jarno Trulli||Lotus-Cosworth||51||+5 Laps||18|
|Ret||19||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus-Cosworth||46||+10 Laps||15|
|Ret||12||Vitaly Petrov||Renault||32||+24 Laps||11|
|Ret||15||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||12||+44 Laps||10|
|Ret||3||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP||9||+47 Laps||8|
|Ret||23||Kamui Kobayashi||BMW Sauber-Ferrari||8||+48 Laps||9|
|Ret||24||Timo Glock||Virgin-Cosworth||2||+54 Laps||16|
|DNS||22||Pedro de la Rosa||BMW Sauber-Ferrari||0||+56 Laps||12|