Vettel Wins in Malaysia, Hamilton Steals the Show

April 4, 2010

Sebastian Vettel finally won his first Grand Prix of the season in Malaysia today, but it was Lewis Hamilton who stole the show, charging from 20th on the grid to finish 6th.

The predicted rain failed to fall and Vettel’s usual reliability problems were kept at bay, as he led teammate Mark Webber home for a Red Bull one-two.

Vettel made a charge from third on the grid, passing both Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, and Webber into turn one. Webber challenged Vettel into turn two, but Vettel kept it together and stormed into the lead.

Meanwhile, the two McLarens and two Ferraris, who started at the back of the grid after being caught out in the rain in qualifying, made their way through the field, with Hamilton making a charge from 20th to an early 12th on the first lap, and then passing a car per lap over the next four laps of the race.

While the Red Bulls headed off into the distance, leading Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica, Hamilton was left making the moves. Making eight places off the start, he went on to pass Sebastien Buemi at the start of lap two, Jaime Alguersuari on lap three, and Kamui Kobayashi on lap four.

After Hamilton made his move on Buemi on lap two, it was Felipe Massa’s turn, but the Ferrari driver lost ground, and Jenson Button was able to pile on the pressure. However, Massa was able to keep the McLaren at bay, and eventually it was  Button who lost out to Fernando Alonso.

At the end of lap five, Hamilton had Vitaly Petrov lined up, and after the Renault ran wide into turn 15, Hamilton was able to make his move, but it wasn’t for long, as Petrov reclaimed ninth from Hamilton into turn one. Hamilton made the move stick soon after, but received a warning for weaving while trying to defend his position to Petrov. Hamilton was soon on the back of Vitantonio Liuzzi and Nico Hulkenberg, but didn’t need to worry as Liuzzi slowed, retiring from the race, and Hulkenberg eventually pitted.

Button made an early pitstop on lap ten, changing his soft tyres for the harder compound, while Michael Schumacher found himself taking an early retirement with a possible wheel nut problem.

By lap 13 Vettel was leading the way, with Webber second, Rosberg third, Kubica fourth, Adrian Sutil fifth, Nico Hulkenberg sixth, and Hamilton up to seventh. Hulkenberg and Petrov pitted not long after for a fresh set of hard tyres, allowing Hamilton through to sixth. The McLaren driver then started hunting down Sutil, and eventually found himself third after Rosberg, Kubica and Sutil all pitted.

On lap 23 it was Vettel’s turn to stop for a fresh set of tyres, gifting the lead to Webber, and narrowly making it out in front of Hamilton. Webber was next to pit, but a problem with the front right wheel nut cost him a couple of seconds, allowing Hamilton into second.

Meanwhile, Button, on his new, harder set of tyres, was taking around a second per lap out of both the Ferraris and Hamilton ahead of him. Button was guaranteed to leapfrog the Ferraris when they pitted, but it was touch and go with teammate Hamilton, and following Lewis’ stop for soft tyres on lap 30, the two were side by side into the first corner. Hamilton kept it together, keeping Button behind him, and back in seventh position he began his quest to hunt down Sutil once more.

Button soon found himself defending seventh against Massa, and after a late stop, Alonso was able to catch the pair. Massa eventually made a pass stick, but Alonso was less lucky, and after running wide into turn one trying to pass Button, the Ferrari finally gave in to its downshifting problem, with Alonso retiring from the race in a puff of smoke with two laps to go.

Rain had been predicted an hour into the race, but it wasn’t to be as the race made the full distance without a single drop. Vettel kept calm to bring home the win for Red Bull, his first of the season after reliability problems plagued him in the first two rounds. Webber followed just 4.8 seconds behind in second. Rosberg took his first podium for Mercedes in third, the highest result of the season for the team. Kubica followed his impressive second in Australia with fourth today, with Sutil just behind in fifth. Hamilton stole the show, making up 14 places from 20th to sixth, with Massa also making up 14 places from 21st to seventh. Button managed to hold onto eighth, and it was Jaime Alguersuari and Nico Hulkenberg rounding out the last of the points-scorers in ninth and tenth.

Following Fernando Alonso’s retirement from the race, Felipe Massa edges ahead in the drivers’ world championship, with 39 points to Alonso and Vettel’s 37. Button and Rosberg edge closer to the lead with 35 points each, with Hamilton and Kubica just behind on 31 and 30 points respectively, with just nine points between the top seven. Despite his second-placed finish, Webber trails on 24. In the constructors’ standings, Ferrari lead with 76 points, with McLaren closing the gap to 66, and Red Bull close behind on 61.

The next race takes place in two weeks time, with qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix on 17th April, and the race live on BBC1 at 8am on Sunday 18th.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: