Sebastian Vettel finally had a trouble free day today and took victory in Malaysia after making an impressive start, over taking team mate Mark Webber and Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg at the first corner, who he then went on to share the podium with after a race that surprisingly remained dry, free from the famous Malaysian monsoon conditions.
Behind this leading trio, the Sepang circuit delivered with plenty of over taking opportunities for the quick cars and drivers out of position after yesterday’s qualifying. Hamilton provided us with yet another stunning performance, seemingly getting past everyone on the track, leaving Button, Massa and Alonso behind as he made it to 2nd before the pit stops. Button made an early stop which paid off initially, but he suffered from worn tyres towards the end of the race.
The Ferraris went well, even if they were a little handicapped from over heating engines and gearbox troubles. Fernando made an impressive move on Button in the closing laps, only to run wide and then have his engine blow leaving him 13th.
Elsewhere in the front runners, Nico Rosberg enjoyed his trouble free, almost comfy run to 3rd position, while his team mate Schumacher had a good start, only to then retire with a lose wheel nut.
But today wasn’t all about the front runners – the Toro Rosso lads, Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi had a very racey afternoon, as did the Russian rookie Petrov. Yet again, it was Petrov’s team mate Kubica who proved to be best of the rest with a superb performance in his Renault giving him 4th place, just shy of another podium.
Sutil kept his car out of the barriers and running well for a well deserved 5th, just ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Jenson Button.
Beyond the ‘big four’ there’s Renault and Force India, while Williams seem to be lacking in speed and today finished behind the Toro Rossos. Barrichello had an over heating clutch off the start and Nico Hulkenberg drove well, but questions will be asked back at the Oxfordshire home of the legendary British team, because they aren’t living up to the pre-season promise.
As for the new teams, the champers will be flowing at Virgin HQ after they made it to the end of a grand prix with Lucas Di Grassi crossing the line in 14th. The other Virgin and Lotus cars had a few battles and even the Hispania duo of Senna and Chandhok made it to the finish.
In all, today could be the beginning of a season of dominance for Red Bull, but we’re pleased that in terms of true pace, the Ferrari and McLaren cars aren’t too far behind and there’s plenty of quick car and driver combinations further down the field.
With 3 races now complete, it’s time to have a quick glance at the championship, and oh my is it close – the top 5 drivers are covered by only 4 points – it’s anyone’s for the taking. A superb grand prix, no rain needed to ensure Formula 1 isn’t boring…
Tune in later for more grand prix Badger banter and analysis from today’s laps of the Sepang circuit. In the meantime you can see the world championship standings after today’s race.
What did you make of the race – a corker? And how about the championship – is Vettel still your favourite for the title?