Dominant victory for Hamilton in Sepang

Hamilton Rosberg Sepang 2014 winners

Lewis Hamilton kicked off his new Formula 1 season in style by dominating the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver made up for his disappointing early retirement from the season-opener in Australia by beating his team-mate Nico Rosberg to victory by 17 seconds at Sepang.

Albert Park winner Rosberg maintained his position as championship leader by finishing second.

He jumped reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel off the line and successfully repelled both Red Bulls after a massive tank-slapper coming through Turn 3 on the first lap.

He reported struggling with his rear tyres in the early stages and could not keep pace with Hamilton, who stretched out an early and decisive lead before racing on to record the 23rd Grand Prix win of his career.

Rosberg finished a comfortable 7.2 seconds clear of third-placed Vettel, who put his first championship points on the board after his own early retirement in Australia.

The Red Bulls were side-by-side through the opening sequence of turns, as Vettel’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo went round the outside at Turn 2.

Rosberg’s massive twitch coming though the long sweeping right-hander at Turn 3 allowed the reigning world champion to come back at his team-mate briefly, but Ricciardo held firm, only to be passed on lap four when Vettel slid up the inside at Turn 1 unchallenged.

Ricciardo had to get his elbows out again after the first round of pitstops, successfully brushing off the efforts from Fernando Alonso to pass as he rejoined. The Red Bull winning the battle over the Ferrari after more side-by-side action through Turns 1, 2 and 3.

But this proved a moot point ultimately, as Ricciardo suffered a botched late pit-stop that required mechanics to push his car back to the Red Bull pit to refit the front-left wheel correctly.

Daniel rejoined the race, but then suffered a front wing failure on the start-finish straight, having broken it by running wide out of Turn 14 coming onto the back straight. He retired with a few laps to the flag.

And to rub more salt to his injuries, the race stewards have applied a ten-place grid penalty to Ricciardo in the next race at Bahrain, for unsafe release in the pit-stop. Terrible back luck for the Red Bull driver.

Ricciardo’s misfortune promoted a personal duel between Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg, in which the Spaniard again prevailed to take fourth position.

Hulkenberg’s Force India used an unconventional two-stop strategy to get ahead of the Ferrari, but ultimately Alonso used the advantage of fresher Pirelli to get ahead in the final moments of the race.

Jenson Button completed a stealthy climb from tenth on the grid to complete the top six, ahead of the duelling Williams of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. The Brazilian finished in front of the Finn after ignoring orders from his team to let him through.

Button’s McLaren team-mate Kevin Magnussen recovered from an early five-second stop-go penalty for puncturing the right-rear tyre on Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari to finish ninth, while Formula 1’s youngest ever points scorer Daniil Kvyat scored again by rounding out the top ten for Toro Rosso.

Raikkonen recovered to a pointless P12, behind Romain Grosjean’s much-improved Lotus.

So a brilliant result for Mercedes. The first one-two for the manufacturer since the Italian Grand Prix back in 1955. Nico Rosberg still leads the drivers’ championship with the Brackley-based team now in first position in the constructors’ standings.

Malaysian Grand Prix race results, 56 laps:

1. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes               1h40m25.974s
2. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                +17.313s
3. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault        +24.534s
4. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                 +35.992s
5. Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes    +47.199s
6. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes        +1m23.691s
7. Felipe Massa          Williams-Mercedes       +1m25.076s
8. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Mercedes       +1m25.537s
9. Kevin Magnussen       McLaren-Mercedes        +1 lap
10. Daniil Kvyat          Toro Rosso-Renault     +1 lap
11. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          +1 lap
12. Kimi Raikkonen        Ferrari                +1 lap
13. Kamui Kobayashi       Caterham-Renault       +1 lap
14. Marcus Ericsson       Caterham-Renault       +2 laps
15. Max Chilton           Marussia-Ferrari       +2 laps


Daniel Ricciardo      Red Bull-Renault        49 laps
Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari          35 laps
Adrian Sutil          Sauber-Ferrari          32 laps
Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Renault      18 laps
Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Ferrari        8 laps
Pastor Maldonado      Lotus-Renault           7 laps
Sergio Perez          Force India-Mercedes    0 laps (Non-start)

Drivers’ championship:

1. Nico Rosberg       43
2. Lewis Hamilton     25
3. Fernando Alonso    24
4. Jenson Button      23
5. Kevin Magnussen    20
6. Nico Hulkenberg    18
7. Sebastian Vettel   15
8. Valtteri Bottas    14
9. Kimi Raikkonen     6
10. Felipe Massa       6
11. Jean-Eric Vergne   4
12. Daniil Kvyat       3
13. Sergio Perez       1

Constructors’ championship:

1. Mercedes                 68
2. McLaren-Mercedes         43
3. Ferrari                  30
4. Williams-Mercedes        20
5. Force India-Mercedes     19
6. Red Bull-Renault         15
7. Toro Rosso-Renault       7
8. Sauber-Ferrari           0
9. Lotus-Renault            0
10. Caterham-Renault         0
11. Marussia-Ferrari         0

Next race: Bahrain Grand Prix, Bahrain International Circuit. April 4-6.

9 thoughts to “Dominant victory for Hamilton in Sepang”

  1. McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen was feeling self-critical after his clash with Kimi Raikkonen. has the news story.

    Kevin Magnussen admitted he was very disappointed with himself after his first-lap incident during the Malaysian Grand Prix.

    The McLaren driver, who had finished on the podium in his first Formula 1 race in Australia, made contact with the right rear tyre of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari during the opening lap.

    As a result of the incident, Raikkonen got a puncture and Magnussen was forced to pit to replace his front wing.

    The rookie was also given a five-second stop-and-go penalty for the crash, and has been given two penalty points on his licence.

    Magnussen went on to finish in ninth position.

    “I’m sorry for the team that I messed it up in the first corner,” said Magnussen. “I think we could have got some good points today so I’m really disappointed with myself that I did that mistake.

    “That stuff happens. You just have to learn from it, I guess. The car was really good and I’m sorry for the team that I did a mistake.”

    The Dane, in only his second Formula 1 race, said his lack of experience was no excuse for his mistake.

    “No excuses. I’m not happy. When you make mistakes is not nice. I take the blame for the bad position that we got.

    “Formula 1 races are long and I shouldn’t have made a mistake like that in the first corner.

    “We could have had a lot more points today. Not much to say. I’m sorry for the team.”

  2. Daniel Ricciardo has been given a 10-place grid penalty for the Bahrain Grand Prix as a punishment for an ‘unsafe pit release’ by Red Bull in Malaysia.

    Although he also received a 10-second stop/go penalty during the race, under the 2014 Formula 1 rules a grid demotion at the subsequent race is also applied.

    The Australian was running fourth when he exited his pit before the left front wheel was properly attached at his final stop.

    Ricciardo parked in the pitlane as soon as he spotted the problem and was then brought back by his mechanics.

    He rejoined a lap down, but subsequently had a front wing breakage and a puncture, and was retired before the finish.

    The Malaysian GP stewards ruled that Red Bull had breached article 23.12c of Formula 1’s rules by “releasing a car in an unsafe condition during the race.”

    Ricciardo said he had known there was a problem as soon as he pulled away.

    “I guess everyone thought the tyres were on,” he said. “As soon as I left I could feel something wasn’t right and the left front was loose.”

    His Red Bull team has also been summoned to explain why a mechanic was not wearing head protection during a pitstop.


  3. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso labels his race as a nightmare after a disappointing result at Sepang. has the news story.

    Fernando Alonso described the first part of his Malaysian Grand Prix as a “nightmare” after a disappointing second race of the 2014 Formula 1 season for Ferrari.

    Alonso narrowly beat Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India to fourth at the Sepang circuit to climb to third in the driver’s championship, but said he had been unhappy with the performance of his Ferrari throughout the 58-lap race, won by Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.

    “I felt slow all the race to be honest,” said the double world champion, who made one more pitstop than Hulkenberg but re-passed the Force India in the closing stages as its tyres faded.

    “I felt not competitive enough. I was not fast enough in the first stint to compete with the guys in front, and when we switched for another medium [tyre] I was not comfortable with the balance and with the brakes and it was a little bit of a nightmare out there.

    “The difference in performance between the stints was just a little bit less fuel every stint and we were a little bit more comfortable with the car, but all through the race we were not happy.”

    Alonso said he had hoped Ferrari might challenge Red Bull in Malaysia, after showing strong pace in dry free practice on Friday and qualifying on the second row of the grid, but he ultimately couldn’t keep pace with the RB10 and finished over 11s behind four-time world champion Vettel.

    “Yesterday after qually I thought we could challenge Red Bull, maybe not Mercedes, but run a little bit closer to Red Bull at least,” he added.

    “We didn’t unfortunately. Today to run behind Mercedes and Red Bull I was not quick enough. We know we miss a little bit of performance at the moment compared to the top guys, so we need to improve.

    “But on the other side I had zero problems on Friday and Saturday, apart from my incident with the Toro Rosso, and Sunday zero again. In Australia we had some electric motor problems in the first stint, but here everything ran very good.

    “Looking at the performance we have in these two races, to have one less point than Hamilton and nine points more than Vettel is something that is the less negative thing of these two races.”

  4. For the second year running at the Malaysian Grand Prix, team orders came into play and this time it affected Williams. Bottas was left feeling frustrated after Massa defies the team order. has the story.

    Team orders triggered another Malaysian Grand Prix controversy on Sunday, with Brazilian Felipe Massa defiant after refusing to obey an instruction to let Williams team mate Valtteri Bottas overtake.

    Massa, no stranger to unwelcome radio messages at his previous team Ferrari, finished the second race of the Formula One season in seventh place and just ahead of his frustrated Finnish team mate.

    McLaren’s Jenson Button was sixth, managing to hold off the Williams pair despite struggling for straight line pace.

    Williams Chief Operations Engineer Rod Nelson said the team felt Bottas had fresher tyres than Button and would have been able to challenge the Briton better than Massa, whose rising engine temperature was causing concern.

    The Brazilian didn’t see it that way and said he had been surprised to hear the message “Valtteri is faster than you, do not hold him up” over the team radio.

    “What I did was correct and I try and do the best for the team. I’m sure the result will not change if I let him by. What I did in my opinion was correct and I’m doing everything I can to help the team,” he told reporters.

    “The team respect me 100 percent and they showed they respect me after the race so I have no problem at all. What happened today was not what I expect but what I did was correct,” added the Brazilian.

    “The problem was I was much quicker than McLaren the whole race but going out the last corner they had very good traction… Valtteri had the same problem, overtaking McLaren was not easy.”

    Nelson said the plan had been for Bottas to attack Button but if he wasn’t able to overtake, then Massa would have been allowed to reclaim seventh from the Finn.

    Choosing his words carefully, Nelson said there would be a discussion with both drivers later to discuss the matter and that it was “a strategic decision” rather than team orders.

    “He didn’t do what we would have preferred him to do,” he said of Massa.

    “We look to maximise our constructor points whenever we go racing, Felipe was running high temperatures on his engine and we were a little bit concerned about it and Valtteri had much fresher tyres, certainly than Jenson did.

    “We thought it would be good to give Valtteri a go against Jenson and then if he hadn’t achieved that in two or three laps we would have swapped our drivers over again.”

    Nelson said Williams did not have team orders.

    “Its not like other teams where they have a number one driver and a number two driver, we have two number one drivers. And its a race situation,” he explained.

    “We will go through with the drivers tonight and discuss what we expect.”

    Bottas was in sombre mood after addressing reporters after Massa, initially trying to steer questions off the subject, which took the shine off Williams moving into fourth on 20 points in the constructors standings.

    The Finn said he had followed a subsequent instruction by not overtaking Massa in the final two laps before contradicting the Brazilian’s version of discussion in pre-season.

    “We have spoken beforehand about these situations but I think we need to go more into the details,” the Finn said, adding he believed he could have overtaken Button.

    “We are going to talk through it and what do we need to do next time in similar situations so everything is clear. What are the rules… and (hopefully it) allows us to get more points.”

    The wording of the message would have been particularly painful for Massa, who was famously told “Fernando is faster than you” while leading the 2010 German Grand Prix.

    On that occasion, he moved over to let team mate Fernando Alonso win in what he later described as the toughest moment of his career with Ferrari.

    Last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix had two similar controversies, with Red Bull’s world champion Sebastian Vettel ignoring a coded ‘multi 21′ instruction and passing team mate Mark Webber for victory.

    Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, who finished second behind team mate Lewis Hamilton in Sunday’s race, obeyed an order last year to hold station behind the Briton.

  5. Williams driver Felipe Massa says he was right to ignore team orders. has the details.

    Felipe Massa insists that he was right to ignore a team order to let Valtteri past into seventh place in the closing stages of the Malaysian Grand Prix.

    The Brazilian was chasing McLaren driver Jenson Button, but Bottas was behind on tyres that were two laps fresher.

    Massa, who was told “Valtteri is faster than you”, opted to stay ahead on the basis that he did not believe there was any clear advantage to Williams in him doing so.

    “I heard everything but it was not clear,” said Massa when asked by AUTOSPORT why he didn’t let Bottas past as instructed.

    “What I did was correct. I am trying to do my best for the team and that’s the most important thing.

    “I’m sure the result would not have changed even if I had let him by, so it’s the same.

    “The team respects me 100 per cent and they showed they respect me after the race, so I have no problem at all.

    “What’s happened today was maybe not what I expected, but what I did was correct.”

    Massa said he had made his position clear to the team after the race and that he did not expect the situation to arise in the future except in the right situation, which he does not believe was the case in Malaysia.

    “I expect these things to happen [only] at the right time” he said.

    “I have clarified my situation. I have no problem and I feel really, really relaxed inside the team.”

    Bottas was unwilling to talk in depth about the situation on the basis that the team still had to do an in-depth analysis of what happened.

    “We have still not had a proper chat, we are going to later and analyse this situation,” he said.

    “We are going to talk through it with the team and analyse what happened and what do we need to do next time in similar situations just so everything is clear with what the rules are and what we do better next time.

    “Maybe it will allow us to get more points in the future.”

    Bottas confirmed that he did ask if he could pass Massa during the first stint of the race, but was told not to do so but that he was told he was going to be let past by the Brazilian in the final stint.

    “Yes, that’s correct,” he said when asked if we was told Felipe was instructed to let him through late on.

    “Then, in the last two laps I wasn’t allowed to overtake anymore.”

  6. Williams would have ordered Valtteri Bottas to let Felipe Massa back past him at the end of the Malaysian Grand Prix had the Finn failed to pass Jenson Button.

    Massa, who was running seventh behind Button, was ordered to let his team-mate pass to allow Bottas to challenge for sixth place late on, but refused to do so.

    Williams chief test and support engineer Rod Nelson explained that the situation would have been reversed had Bottas not been able to do what Massa had already proved unable to and passed the McLaren.

    “He [Massa] did not do what we would have preferred him to do,” said Nelson.

    “Felipe was running fairly high temperatures on his engine and we were a little bit concerned about it, and Valtteri had much fresher tyres than Jenson did.

    “We thought that it would be good to give Valtteri a go at getting past Jenson.

    “Then, if he hadn’t achieved that within two or three laps, we would have swapped our drivers over again and everyone would have been happy.

    “It’s not a big deal, every team does it.

    “It’s not team orders, it’s a strategic decision based on the relative performance of both cars.

    “The facts are that we felt Valtteri stood quite a good chance of getting past Button because his tyres were younger and we felt that Felipe was compromised.

    “If you look at the TV [coverage] you can see him pulling out to the right-hand side to try to cool the right side of the car, which was something that Valtteri didn’t have to do.”

    Nelson also stressed that while situations like this draw attention on the outside, there is no set hierarchy within the team.

    Earlier in the race, Massa had benefited from team instructions when Bottas was told to stay behind him in the first stint despite the Finn believing he was faster.

    “There is always something you do that causes a fuss, but it’s straightforward and the way that we work.

    “There’s nothing else going on in the background, we don’t want to put one driver down and one driver up, we don’t have team orders in that respect.

    “At Williams, we don’t run like that. It’s not like other teams where they have a number one and a number two, we have two number one drivers.

    “We will go through everything with the drivers tonight, discuss the situation and what we expect.”


  7. This was a disappointing race for Kimi Raikkonen and the Ferrari driver admitted that the clash with Kevin Magnussen destroyed his chance in the Malaysian Grand Prix. has the news story.

    Kimi Raikkonen says the contact from Kevin Magnussen on lap two of the Malaysian Grand Prix “destroyed” the second race of his 2014 Formula 1 season.

    Magnussen’s McLaren tagged the rear of Raikkonen’s Ferrari heading into Turn 1, puncturing the right-rear tyre on the F14 T and earning Magnussen a five-second stop/go penalty and two penalty points on his licence for causing a collision.

    Raikkonen fell to the back of the field following the puncture, and spent his race recovering to a pointless 12th. The Finn reckoned he could have been up with fourth-placed team-mate Fernando Alonso were it not for the incident.

    “I haven’t seen what happened, I just heard that his front wing hit me and damaged my rear wheel,” said Raikkonen.

    “I didn’t feel anything, but obviously it destroyed our race and wasn’t very good for us.

    “I had some damage after that, so we lost some downforce because the tyre damaged the floor.

    “With the damage it’s hard to say how good we would have been, but how we started was good and for sure we could have been up there with Fernando, but it all went down when I got hit.”

    The non-score means Raikkonen has scored only six points in two races, compared to Alonso’s 24, but the Finn said he was not overly concerned by the lack of results so far.

    “Obviously it’s not the ideal start but today we didn’t do much wrong ourselves and ended up paying a big price for someone else’s mistake,” he added.

    “It’s an unfortunate thing, but it’s part of racing. We just have to try to do everything [in the] better next race.”

  8. Mercedes worried only about becoming complacent on Sunday as they celebrated two wins in two races and a first one-two finish since 1955 in their title sponsor’s home Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix.

    Lewis Hamilton claimed a pole-to-flag victory in Malaysia, and made sure of the fastest lap as well, ahead of team mate Nico Rosberg – the winner of the season-opener in Australia two weeks ago.

    That put Mercedes on top of the constructors standings with 68 points, 25 clear of the McLaren team who use the same engine.

    While there were no doubts about the car’s pace, there had been issues about reliability after Hamilton was forced to retire after three laps in Melbourne.

    In the event, both engines stood up to the demands of steamy Sepang where track temperatures hit 50 Celsius.

    “This is an incredible day for our team,” Rosberg said after extending his lead in the drivers championship to 18 points with Hamilton his closest challenger. “For the first time in the modern Silver Arrows era, we have achieved a one-two finish which is an incredible result.”

    Mercedes returned as a works team only in 2010 after leaving in 1955.

    Mercedes executive director Paddy Lowe said it had been particularly pleasing to achieve the one-two in Malaysia, home of oil and gas company Petronas.

    “We are especially proud to have delivered our first one-two finish at their home race,” he said. “The entire team has spent several years working on this silver arrow and today we delivered the final piece of the jigsaw.”

    Mercedes have been swiftest to adapt to the switch to the new V6 turbo engines and the raft of new changes brought into the sport for the new season and Hamilton paid service to the work of his engineers.

    “They have done a fantastic job and I have to say a huge thank you to everyone here and back at our factories who have been pushing non-stop to get the car where it is,” he said.

    “Its great to see Mercedes leading the championship but we know we have to make these early races pay.”

    The win was Hamilton’s second for Mercedes following his switch from McLaren, where he won the world championship in 2008, and 23rd of his career.

    Mercedes F1 Executive Director Toto Wolf said it was crucial the team pushed on in order to aid Hamilton and Rosberg’s bid for more with reigning champions Red Bull appearing to edge closer in Malaysia.

    “We cannot afford to be complacent,” he said.

    “We still have room for improvement in our package and the race showed once again that the competition are right behind us.

    “We will savour the moment this evening but we all know that if you stand still in this business, you go backwards.”

    Source: Reuters

  9. Red Bull Formula 1 team boss Christian Horner has labelled Daniel Ricciardo’s 10-place grid penalty for the Bahrain Grand Prix as a ‘harsh’ punishment for a small mistake.

    Ricciardo’s hopes of a points-scoring result in Malaysia evaporated on lap 40 when he was released from the pit with a loose left front wheel.

    Although he stopped in the pits to be recovered so the wheel could be refitted properly, drivers are automatically handed both a drive-through penalty and a 10-place grid penalty for such an offence.

    Horner accepted that there was little his team could do about the matter now – but reckoned that the grid penalty was a bit too extreme.

    “The rules are pretty clear,” he said. “For an unsafe release, it is a stop-go penalty of 10 seconds and a 10-place grid penalty for the next race, so the punishment is harsh for the crime. It is the rules, so that is what it will be.”

    Horner said there were no grounds for complaint about the pit error itself, considering how good his crew have been in the past.

    “The wheel wasn’t located correctly,” he said. “It went on OK, it was done up, but the gunman felt that something wasn’t quite right.

    “He was going to check and put an extra couple of turns into it, but the latch on the gun had switched back across so he effectively undid it.

    “It is one of those things. Our pit crew have the fastest pitstops in the pitlane and today a mistake was made, but that is how it goes sometimes.”


    Ricciardo’s race was further compromised by a front wing failure shortly after the pitstop drama.

    The team is unsure if the wing had been weakened in the pit incident, or was damaged solely by hitting the kerb at Turn 14 where it eventually failed.

    “It is under further investigation,” he said. “We don’t fully understand yet in whether recovering the car and jacking the car up we have done some damage, or whether it has been damaged on track.

    “We have a bit of work to do to understand what happened there. We told Seb on the track to be careful in Turn 14, because we thought it might have been some damage from the kerb there, but we have no conclusive evidence.”


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