F1 News, Views and Reviews

Malaysian GP 2010: Red Bull Romp Home 1-2 As Rivals Struggle In Malaysian Heat

Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber led home a dominant 1-2 finish in today’s Malaysian Grand Prix as their major rivals from Ferrari and McLaren suffered, and many fell by the wayside with reliability problems.

Nico Rosberg was 3rd, proving Mercedes Benz with a much needed podium finish.

Race Review

The rain that was expected did not come today in Malaysia, instead it was a very hot and dry race.  With the big guns starting at the back overtaking was expected, but as we dived into the first corner it was Sebastian Vettel off the front who took advantage of Mark Webber’s poor driving early on and took a beautiful gap to get 1st place off the Australian, a position the young German would hold until the end of the GP.

Michael Schumacher took advantage at the start too, his wide line allowing him to get up into 6th place, while others at the back had to avoid the stranded Rubens Barrichello who stalled on the line.

The McLaren’s and Felipe Massa made good early overtakes, but Fernando Alonso got a bit stuck on the outside of turn 1, and his lack of drive and overtaking meant that spectators were concerned for a problem with the Ferrari, and indeed there was one as Alonso’s gearbox was broken on the downshifts.  He continued to race however.

Timo Glock lost the car early on, spinning and hitting the Lotus of Jarno Trulli, knocking the German out of the race.  Later on Heikki Kovalainen made a very poor overtake on Lucas di Grassi damaging both of their cars and later forcing the Finn to retire at Lotus’ home GP.

Lewis Hamilton cut through the field with a series of quality overtakes, while the other big 3 were still stuck at the back.  His tactics in weaving across the road to block Vitaly Petrov, the young Russian, were unfair and only earnt him a warning when in truth it should have earnt him a drive through penalty.  That was the only blemish on his good record today.

Jenson Button’s early pitstop proved there was pace on the option tyre, which led many to be surprised that Ferrari left Massa and Alonso out for so long knocking around doing very slow laps on the hard tyre.  When the pair finally pitted, they were brilliantly quick and made up positions.

Kamui Kobayashi looked to have good pace this weekend but once again the reliability of the sauber was poor and he had to retire, his team mate Pedro de La Rosa retired before he even got to the grid with engine failure.  Tonio Liuzzi and Vitaly Petrov both retired from good races with seeming engine troubles at one of the hottest Grand Prix of the year.

Michael Schumacher had a good race until his retirement, a loose wheelnut which flew off early on causing the former 7 time world champion to make evasive action to bring the Mercedes under control.  He will be bitterly disappointed as his pace is nearly there.

Late on in the race while challenging Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari finally gave up, sparks flew out of the back into turn 1, before plumes of smoke and bits of Ferrari engine were deposited around turn 2 and the straight into turn 3, the Spaniard’s disappointing day ended on a grass verge.  His team mate managed to salvage points and is now in the lead of the constructors championship.

Jaime Alguersuari completed some fantastic overtaking moves, and scored his first ever career points, team mate Sebastien Buemi got 11th.

HRT managed to get both cars to the finish with Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna completing a solid, if slow race to 15th and 16th.

Classified Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 S. Vettel Red Bull Renault 1.33.48.412
2 M. Webber Red Bull Renault +4.8
3 N. Rosberg Mercedes Benz +13.5
4 R. Kubica Renault +18.5
5 A. Sutil Force India Mercedes +21.0
6 L. Hamilton McLaren Mercedes +23.4
7 F. Massa Ferrari +27.0
8 J. Button McLaren Mercedes +37.9
9 J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari +1.10.6
10 N. Hulkenberg Williams Cosworth +1.13.0
11 S. Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari +1.18.9
12 R. Barrichello Williams Cosworth +1 lap
13 F. Alonso* Ferrari +2 laps
14 L. Di Grassi Virgin Cosworth +3 laps
15 K. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth +3 laps
16 B. Senna HRT-Cosworth +4 laps
17 J. Trulli Lotus Cosworth +5 laps

* Fernando Alonso did not complete the race due to engine failure but is still classified as he was far enough ahead of the other drivers below him.

Retirements

Driver Team Lap Reason
H. Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth 46 Damage due to puncture
V. Petrov Renault 32 Mechanical
V. Liuzzi Force India Mercedes 12 Engine
M. Schumacher Mercedes Benz 9 Wheel nut failure
K. Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari 8 Engine
T. Glock Virgin Cosworth 2 Accident
P. de La Rosa Sauber Ferrari 0 Engine*

* Pedro de La Rosa’s engine faliure occured on the pre-parade lap.

Post Race Interviews

Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull Renault (1st):”What a day.  Yesterday was extremely difficult. We had a magnificent car, and the key once again was to pace yourself, but Bridgestone did a good job bringing two compounds here that worked fairly well.  At the end of the day a very good result for us and for myself after two races where I didn’t finish where I wanted to be. It was crucial for the team not to panic and to stay relaxed. It is a long season but this is the best result we could get and on top of that Mark getting second place is a big plus for the team and a lot of points.”

Mark Webber – Red Bull Renault (2nd):“We know these days with the strategy and the way the race unfolds the first part of race is crucial. I got a little bit of wheel-spin and on the run to first corner Seb had a big tow.  I didn’t really know where Nico was either, I didn’t know whether to go middle or left, so I braked late, I had a bit of a better exit and the fight continued up to Turn 4.  We had a chat with Christian Horner at start and he said ‘Behave yourselves’ and we did. The spirit and chemistry in our team is awesome.”

Nico Rosberg – Mercedes Benz (3rd): “It is a fantastic result for us today.  I am quite pleased but unfortunately the start didn’t go too well, it was quite a lot down to me, I got too much wheelspin and lost out.   Once onto prime tyres I was comfortable. I was a bit worried about [Lewis] Hamilton initially and I was expecting him to be fast but he didn’t get past people behind me.  I have to thank the team for the work put in over the winter. We definitely need to push on as we are not where we need to be.”

Adrian Sutil – Force India Mercedes (5th):  “The race was exciting and fifth place in the end was a great achievement.  I was hoping for a good race as we were so close in the first two races but then had a little bit of back luck that stopped us scoring. It was a good overall performance from the team.  It was always very close with Lewis just behind in the closing stages but I knew that if I didn’t make any mistakes I wouldn’t have any problems, so it was just trying to concentrate. I had to push, of course, but it was under control.”

Jenson Button – McLaren Mercedes (8th):  “I got a terrible start and I think I made a mistake going to the option tyre because I had no rear grip at all. In the high speed it was terrible.  So I just couldn’t overtake. I lost a lot of time at the start.   I never realised fighting for eighth was going to be so difficult, but it’s good to get some points. I went for the outside at the first corner and it wasn’t the place to be. I lost a lot of places there.”

Jaime Alguersuari – Toro Rosso Ferrari (9th):  “I am very happy to have scored points today and I have to say I never expected to do it so early in the season.  A big thanks to everyone in the team who have worked so hard to achieve this result.  Step by step, I have improved my performance, but this weekend was very tough because I didn’t know the track. I enjoyed this race, especially the fights I had with some of the others: I think I learned a bit about the art of fighting with Michael (Schumacher) last weekend in Melbourne.  Towards the end, I was a bit worried about how the tyres would last, as I was on the soft ones, but I had no degradation. It is very satisfying and I feel a lot more confident now going into the upcoming races.”

Rubens Barrichello – Williams Cosworth (12th):  “I don’t know what happened at the start, I’ll go through that with the team.  From there I went to the back of the field. We tried a different strategy to get us back up, but our car was just not competitive.  We lost a nice opportunity today.”

Fernando Alonso – Ferrari (Ret):  “From the start things went wrong.  On the formation lap my gearbox broke and I had no clutch during the race, so I had to brake in a weird way.  I had to first gear down and then push the throttle hard so it would engage the gear for that corner.  So it was probably the hardest race of my whole life in terms of driving, because I had to improvise for every corner. But even so we were going to get a few points, which in the end was not possible because of the engine.  But if the gearbox and then the engine are going to break, it’s better than in happens when you are ninth than when you are leading and you lose 25 points.”

Eric Boullier – Team Principal of Renault:  “We just raised our point of view [about the Hamilton weaving and blocking].   Very frankly, it is very clear in the regulations that you can have one change of direction, so when you do three in a row something is wrong.  He got a warning for dangerous driving, but I am not sure it is enough. It is definitely clearly written in the regulations that you can not do any more than one direction change, and it is something you should not be doing.”


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One response

  1. nice blog to read

    andre

    May 6, 2010 at 6:10 am

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