Vettel leads Red Bull 1-2 in Malaysia

Mark Webber, Adrian Newey and Sebastian Vettel on the podium in Malaysia

Mark Webber, Adrian Newey and Sebastian Vettel on the podium in Malaysia

Sebastian Vettel finally took his first win of the year, with a Red Bull 1-2 in Malaysia.

Having passed Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg on the first corner, the German clung onto the lead for the rest of the race, and never showed any signs of slowing down. His team-mate Mark Webber finished second, 4.8 seconds behind. He may have challenged for the lead, but a wheel gun problem slowed him down by 2 seconds at his pit stop, which scuppered his chances.

Sebastian Vettel gets past Mark Webber at the start

Sebastian Vettel gets past Mark Webber at the start

At the start, Vettel took the lead from Webber, who led Rosberg and Kubica. Meanwhile, at the back, the Ferraris and McLarens began their conquest to fight back to the top. Lewis Hamilton led the charge, by making a daring move down the inside of Turn 1 to steal several positions. On the first lap he gained 7 positions in total.

There were many retirements at the start. Pedro de la Rosa failed to even start, after his engine blew up on the installation lap. Rubens Barrichello nearly stalled on the grid (just like the many times last year), and fell to the back. Timo Glock and Kamui Kobayashi didn’t get much further than a few laps. Michael Schumacher was believed to have a wheel nut problem, and retired on Lap 9. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Vitaly Petrov and Heikki Kovalainen all had mechanical problems during the race.

He wasn’t stopping there. Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso also fell prey to the Briton, as he set fastest laps at times. He then got past both Toro Rossos, Kamui Kobayashi and Vitaly Petrov. Further back, both Massa and Alonso were being held up by Button, who was struggling after the start. He pitted after 10 laps, and switched to the harder tyre for the rest of the race. This released the Ferrari duo for 20 laps, and they set about making up for lost time. But, by the time they had pitted again, Button had overtaken them again by showing consistent pace on the hard tyres.

Hamilton got his foot down, and was soon ahead of Vitaly Petrov. However, when Petrov tried to overtake him again on the main straight, Lewis engaged in dangerous weaving on the circuit to keep him behind. He later claimed it was only to stop him slipstreaming him, although he still got a reprimand by the stewards. Nevertheless, he charged up the field, until he got stuck behind Adrian Sutil, who was faster on the straights, so Lewis had little chance of getting by. He switched from hard to soft tyres on Lap 30, but this failed to help matters.

Jaime Alguersuari was having a great race, and he got past many cars which should have been better than him. His team-mate Sebastien Buemi did well, making a few overtakes as well, but failed to keep up with Alguersuari.

Nico Hulkenberg may have started 5th, but he wasn’t able to hold onto his place. He lost several places during the start and was unable to get them back, and eventually finished 10th.

Near the end, the Ferraris began to close on Button again. After many attempts, Massa got through without serious incident, but that couldn’t be said about Alonso. He was struggling with a downshift problem for the entire race, but had still coped well. When he tried a move at Turn 1, he outbraked himself, letting Button back through. A puff of smoke as the Ferrari left the corner implied the worst. Fernando soon stopped with an engine failure, only 2 laps from home. He had been running 9th at the time. This meant that Jaime Alguersuari got an extra point, and Nico Hulkenberg got 1, which was their first ever points in F1.

Buemi and Barrichello were 11th and 12th, followed by Alonso, who was classified 13th, 2 laps down. In 14th, Lucas di Grassi got Virgin’s first ever race finish. Behind him, Karun Chandhok beat Bruno Senna, both finishing 15th and 16th respectively. Jarno Trulli’s Lotus was ailing near the end, and was extremely slow, but he stayed on track to finish last, and 5 laps down.

Vettel crosses the line to take first place

Vettel crosses the line to take first place

It was a domination for Red Bull, and about time too. Their cars finally stayed together for an entire race, and the reward was their first win of the season. Vettel is now in joint second with Alonso in the championship, while Felipe Massa takes the lead. You can view the full championship standings here.

The main surprise of the day was that the rain stayed away. I’m not sure whether I should be embarressed or not, having gone on about plenty of rain for the race a few days ago. Anyways,  it was a good race, with plenty of racing action, and no weather intervention was required.

Full result:

Driver Team Difference # of laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 56
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 4.849 56
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 13.504 56
4 Robert Kubica Renault 18.589 56
5 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 21.059 56
6 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 23.471 56
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 27.068 56
8 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 37.918 56
9 Jamie Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 70.602 56
10 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 73.399 56
11 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 78.938 56
12 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1 Lap 55
13 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2 Laps 54
14 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 3 Laps 53
15 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 3 Laps 53
16 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 4 Laps 52
17 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 5 Laps 51
18 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 10 Laps 46
19 Vitaly Petrov Renault 24 Laps 32
20 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 44 Laps 12
21 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 47 Laps 9
22 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 48 Laps 8
23 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 55 Laps 1
24 Pedro da la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari All the laps 0

One response to “Vettel leads Red Bull 1-2 in Malaysia

  1. pickle92 April 5, 2010 at 21:53

    Great race.
    Vettel and Red Bull finally got what they deserved this season.
    I think the only reason why Hamilton didn’t get penalised is because Petrov followed him. If Petrov had stayed in a straight line he may have been able to dummy Hamilton and win the corner.
    With just 9 points separating the top 7, roll on China!

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