What a race – Malaysia can be summed up in two words…. well, a word and a number to be precise, ‘Multi 21’. The politics of the Red Bull antics have been covered elsewhere but the fallout from Vettel’s actions on Sunday could be long-standing. My aim is to look at the race from a Fantasy F1 viewpoint and the subject of team orders is an interesting one. With both Red Bull and Mercedes adopting team orders (with varying levels of success) it is worth bearing in mind that people who had Vettel for the win and Hamilton for third will be ecstatic, whilst those with a Webber victory and Rosberg for a podium will be distraught. Love it or hate it, team orders are here to stay and when making podium predictions, definitely something to keep in mind…
The Red Bull one-two made for a great haul of fantasy points, and the other teams will no doubt be wary of another dominant season by the team from Milton Keynes. All eyes were on Lotus after Raikkonen’s win in Australia, but their challenge in Malaysia was subdued by comparison. Both drivers made up places in the race, giving those all important improvement points. Mercedes shone in Malaysia, third and fourth being the teams best two-car points haul result since returning to the sport as a manufacturer.
Alonso’s early exit left us pondering ‘what might have been’ for the Spaniard but Ferrari continued to look strong and Massa’s fifth place was solid if not spectacular. After failing to start in Australia, Nico Hulkenberg impressed in the Sauber, finishing eighth and pipping ex-Sauber driver Perez in the process. McLaren still have a lot of work to do, but Button showed good form until a pit-stop blunder. They are still not offering good value for money as a fantasy team, but one can never write them off.
Valtteri Bottas scored a decent haul of points for making up places during the race, as did Jean-Eric Vergne. Both Caterham and Marussia benefited from others retirements, including a terrible weekend for Force India. The ‘cheap’ drivers made good returns by finishing higher than they started – Jules Bianchi being the stand-out driver again in the battle of the small teams.
There are no true patterns emerging yet, but plenty to think about before China – good luck everyone.