Vettel takes 2 wins out of 2 in Malaysia

Sebastian Vettel continued his impressive start to the 2011 season by taking victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Jenson Button was 2nd, ahead of Nick Heidfeld.

Vettel held his lead at the opening corner, while Webber had an absolutely shocking start and fell to 10th. Nick Heidfeld amazingly dived up to 2nd around the outside, ahead of the two McLarens.

Webber bogs down while the Renaults have a fantastic start

Webber bogs down while the Renaults have a fantastic start

Lewis was not quicker than Nick, and so Sebastian began to carve out a lead. Rubens Barrichello suffered a rear left puncture on the pit straight, and lost out massively, struggling around for an entire lap before pitting.

After a few laps, the first signs of rain appeared around the circuit. It was nowhere near the amount required for intermediates though, so most drivers tended to conserve their slicks.

Further back, Webber couldn’t find a way past Kobayashi in 9th. Twice he managed to get ahead, but on both occasions the combination of DRS and KERS kept Kamui in 9th.

Mark, eventually sick of getting stuck behind the Sauber, pitted for a new set of soft tyres on Lap 11. Lewis, still behind Heidfeld, was instructed to conserve his tyres, rather than pass the Renault. He pitted on Lap 13, which put him into clear air, allowing him to pick up pace.

Almost immidiately afterwards, the first spots of rain appeared on the cameras. Still unsure as to how te weather would go, Vettel and Button opted to stay with another set of softs. Nick also stopped, but ended up behind Button.

Hamilton and Buemi were both stuck behind Schumacher. On the back straight, all three cars ran side by side, and Lewis won out, while Schumacher pitted at the end of the lap.

Most drivers finished their first set of stops by Lap 20. Both Hamilton and Alonso in 2nd and 3rd now began to catch Vettel in front, by several tenths a lap. Fernando rounded off fastest lap after fastest lap, while Lewis got within 4.9 seconds on Lap 24.

Button and Webber jumped to their second stops unusually early, suggesting they were running 4-stop strategies. Hamilton meanwhile took a different view on the situation, taking on the harder tyre. Vettel responded on the next lap, choosing to stay with the softer compound.

Lewis, initially held up behind Petrov after his second stop, passed the Renault to release the McLaren into clean air. Sebastian, meanwhile, emerged behind Massa and Heidfeld, costing him valuable time. Soon after, team radio conversations revealed that both Red Bulls were suffering from KERS problems, which put him at huge risk from Hamilton behind.

The Red Bull survived its KERS issue, and began to pull out a larger lead on the McLaren. Alonso behind soon began to catch Lewis, as the harder tyre failed to produce much grip as opposed to the soft. Hamilton made the call to jump back onto the soft compound for the rest of the race, leaving Vettel still to stop for the hards.

A heavy crash-landing ends Petrov's chances of points

A heavy crash-landing ends Petrov's chances of points

Button pitted, and emerged ahead of his teammate. Further back, Paul di Resta put a move on Nico Rosberg, who was having a very quiet race, for 11th. Quick laps from Jenson prompted stops from Vettel and Alonso, who emerged in 1st and 5th respectively.

Vitaly Petrov was running in the points, until a bizarre crash ended his race. He ran wide onto the grass, and a bump in the ground level sent his car flying. A back-breaking landing shattered his steering column, and forced the Russian onto the sidelines.

Hamilton and Alonso soon began to tussle for 3rd place, with the Ferrari suffering from a lack of the DRS system. Fernando made a move before Turn 3, but moved out from behind the McLaren too late, and clipped his front wing, taking off most of the upper left section. He was forced to stop for the 4th time for a front wing change, and emerged 7th. Webber dived around the outside of Massa at turn 1, and moved up to 5th.

Vettel cruises to the chequered flag in Malaysia

Vettel cruises to the chequered flag in Malaysia

After his battle with Alonso, Hamilton began to lose serious amounts of pace, allowing Nick Heidfeld to catch up by nearly 2 seconds per lap. Fast pace combined with the DRS allowed Heidfeld to grab the final podium spot off the McLaren. Lewis soon ran wide at Turn 7, which allowed Webber into 4th.

A problem with his car was highlighted when the McLaren was forced to pit for the 4th time, and he emerged behind Petrov in 8th.

Sebastian Vettel was untroubled by Button behind, and cruised to his second win of 2011. Heidfeld held off a last-gasp charge by Mark Webber, while Massa led Alonso to the flag. Hamilton’s tyre troubled dropped him to 7th, ahead of Kobayashi, Schumacher and Paul di Resta, who takes his second points finish in his second race in F1.

It was a fantastic race, action-packed from start to finish, with a few surprises as well. With this, Sebastian will be heading into China next weekend well in the lead of the championship.


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