Sebastian Vettel Wins a Dry Malaysian Grand Prix Ahead Of Mark Webber

Patrick AllenAnalyst IApril 4, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - APRIL 04:  Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing celebrates with team mates in parc ferme after winning the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix at the Sepang Circuit on April 4, 2010 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

I honestly don’t know what to say about this GP. I think it was always going to be a hard one, following Australia last weekend.

As an Alonso fan, I am as red as his car! As a Jenson fan, well, I’m pleased he finished where he did, and as a fan of F1...I can’t help but feel a little bored. I know, I know, Lewis was fantastic in the early stages (and thank god he was), and sure, Alguersuari drove his ass off to get two very well earned points. There were more than a few overtaking manoeuvres, but why did I come away bored!?

De la Rossa’s race was over before it began He first struggled to get on the track for the run to the grid, and he then stopped all together around lap four.

The start I think summed up the race. At the front Vettel comfortably slotted past Webber who seemed to be in a bit of a daze and the top runners snaked off in pretty similar orders. The excitement came from those out of place big boys further down the grid.

Those worth mentioning include Kubica (up to P4 and impressing more every race) and Schumacher (up to P7 after a lovely start). Massa, Button, and Alonso also did well to gain a couple of places. However, by far the star of the show was Hamilton. Taking advantage of some lovely clean track, but also holding it together perfectly, the Brit whizzed up the inside of many drivers to take P12. Further back, poor old Barrichello stalled and was in dead last.

At the front, Vettel, Webber, and Rosberg pulled away. Further back, Hamilton wrestled with Buemi before a nice overtake. Now free of the Torro Rosso, McLaren’s No. 2 sped off into the distance. However, Button and the Ferraris were having a far more difficult time.

Massa was leading the little threesome, but was not at top form. A few little errors put following Button off and Alonso was able to slot past the silver car.

By lap four Hamilton was up in P10, having taken Alguersuari and Kobayashi. Meanwhile, his teammate and the Ferraris simply couldn’t pass Buemi.

The positions at lap five were as follows:

Vettel, Webber, Rosberg, Kubica, Sutil, Schumacher, Hulkenberg, Liuzi, Petrov, Hamilton, Kobayashi, Alguersurai, Buemi, Massa, Alonso, button, Barrichello, di Grassi, Chandhok, Trulli, snd Senna

An interesting fight was boiling over between positions seven to 10 by about lap eight. Whilst the fight between P7 Hulkenberg and P8 Luizi was close, the fight between Petrov and Hamilton was closer!

At the last corner, Hamilton overtook Petrov and then began to weave several times down the pit straight. This was a potentially dangerous action and the Brit was warned by the stewards.

One lap later Button comfortably passed Alonso, leading many observers to scratch their heads. Why was Alonso driving so passively? The same lap Kobayashi joined his team mate on the DNF sheet.

Lap 10 was an interesting one. Jenson pitted very early for hard tyres (would the risk pay off?) and Schumacher pulled off the track with rear left suspension failure.

Button rejoined in P14 and by lap 12, was lapping pretty well with new tyres. Further up the road, Hamilton breezed past Luizi's sick car (the Force India Driver retired three laps later).

After pit stops, Hamilton was up to P6 and Button P10. Ferrari’s prayers were answered when Buemi pulled off into the pits on lap 15, but they now had to contend with Alguersurai!

By lap 18, and after a few stops the positions were as follows:

Vettel, Webber, Rosberg, Kubica, Sutil, Hamilton, Alguersuari, Massa, Alonso, Button, Hulkenberg, Petrov, Buemi, Barrichello, di Grassi, Trulli, Chandhok, Senna, and Kovalainen

It was around this time that we learnt why Alonso had been driving so strangely. The Championship leader had been struggling with a down shift issue and was in fact driving excellently, managing the problem very well.

Over the next few laps we saw stops from Alguersuari, Kubica, Sutil, Rosberg, and Vettel. Not a lot changed though. I think it is worth mentioning two things here. First, the fact that Mercedes now hold the record for the fastest pit stop. Secondly, and more excitingly, we got a lovely move made by Alguersuari on Petrov on lap 22. The young Torro Rosso driver was really showing today that last weekend was not a glorious blip!

Webber took to the pits one lap later. The Australian had been hoping to overtake his teammate on pit stops, but Vettel was simply too fast and Webber had some trouble with his front right wheel nut.

I think the race was pretty much over by lap 26. The positions looked relatively comfortable and although Hamilton, Alonso, and Massa were still yet to stop, it didn’t look as if much would change when they did.

First of those lot to pit was Massa. A comfortable stop rejoined the Ferrari in front of the Torro Rossos in P9. Hamilton pitted on lap 31 and came out very close to Button but just in front. The McLarens now held positions seven and eight. I think Button would have been pretty pleased to have Hamilton just one place ahead when you consider their very different starts.

On lap 34, Petrov drove off the track with a sick car, and a few laps later Alonso darted into the pits. The Spaniard rejoined in P9 behind Massa and a struggling Button (whose tyres were starting to go off).

The positions at this stage were as follows:

Vettel, Webber, Rosberg, Kubica, Sutil, Hamilton, Button, Massa, Alonso, Alguersuari, Hulkenberg, Barrichello, Buemi, di Grassi, Trulli, Chandhok, and Senna. Two laps down was Kovalainen who had rejoined after his hydraulic issues.

The excitement in the dying stages of the race came from the fight between Button, Massa, and Alonso. The McLaren was really hurting and on turn one of lap 44, Massa put a lovely little move up the inside of Button to take P7. Button’s early stop was coming back to haunt him, but at least Alonso’s car was sick.

The Spaniard fought Button right up to the last lap, but I couldn’t believe it when white smoke began to gush out of the back of the Ferrari. Button could relax, Alonso will no doubt be ruing those points dropped.

And that was it, really. Very little coverage of the front, early excitement in the mid field, rain that never came, and a rather dull finish. My drivers of the day can only be two men really; Hamilton and Alguersurai. Great drives also worth a mention include Alonso with a sick car, Massa and Button for getting up into the points, Kubica for his consistency, and the HRT boys for bringing both cars home.

I think without the rain yesterday, this one could have been pretty dull. A lot of Hamilton’s exciting moves were made over slower cars; (that is not to take anything away from Hamilton, as he did what Ferrari and Button were not able to). I just don’t know if he could have done so much behind those Red Bulls.

If Red Bull have sorted their reliability issues, 2010 will be one of the dullest seasons for a long time. I know that sounds really negative, but that car is simply awesome. It has been on pole three times in a row and no one could touch it today. Obviously it is only race three and I really want to see a race in which the Ferraris, Red Bulls, and McLarens line up close enough to fight each other. As I said at the beginning, this race had a tough job delivering after Australia, but I can’t help but feel a little let down by it.

Driver's Title Top Three

Massa: 39

Alonso: 37


Constructor's Standings

Ferrari: 76

McLaren: 66

Red Bull: 61

Final Standings

1 Sebastian Vettel, RBR-Renault

2 Mark Webber, RBR-Renault

3 Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP

4 Robert Kubica, Renault

5 Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes

6 Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes

7 Felipe Massa, Ferrari

8 Jenson Button, McLaren-Mercedes

9 Jaime Alguersuari, STR-Ferrari

10 Nico Hulkenberg, Williams-Cosworth

11 Sebastien Buemi, STR-Ferrari

12 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth

13 Fernando Alonso, Ferrari

14 Lucas di Grassi, Virgin-Cosworth

15 Karun Chandhok, HRT-Cosworth

16 Bruno Senna, HRT-Cosworth

17 Jarno Trulli, Lotus-Cosworth

Ret Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus-Cosworth

Ret Vitaly Petrov, Renault

Ret Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes

Ret Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP

Ret Kamui Kobayashi, BMW Sauber-Ferrari

Ret Timo Glock, Virgin-Cosworth

DNS Pedro de la Rosa, BMW Sauber-Ferrari


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.