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2014 Malaysian F1 GP: Lewis Hamilton Leads Mercedes 1-2 At Sepang Photo:
 
 
Peter Anderson | Mar, 31 2014 | 3 Comments

2014 MALAYSIAN F1 GRAND PRIX

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton had an unstoppable weekend at the helm of the Mercedes W05, taking pole and the race win.

It was Hamilton's first win at Sepang and Mercedes' first 1-2 in almost sixty years.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo started the race beautifully but it all fell apart after a mistake from his pit crew. His teammate had a better day, finishing third.

The expected rain never materialised in the race, but it wouldn't have stopped the Silver Arrows.

 

PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING

The Friday sessions re-established the order from Melbourne, with the Mercedes running at the front and McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull threatening.

The best of the rest was always going to be Mercedes-powered, with Williams and Force India bringing up the rear.

Daniel Ricciardo ended up qualifying fifth in a tricky, delayed session. Malaysia's traditional late afternoon storm washed the circuit, causing a fifty minute postponement.

Hamilton secured his second pole on the trot, with Vettel recovering to second after complaingin of being baulked by Rosberg in third.

Bottas copped two points on his licence and a three place grid drop for impeding Ricciardo while Daniil Kvyat got away with his clash with Fernando Alonso.

Alonso and Kvyat came together at turn four, breaking the F14T's front left suspension, the Ferrari team not only getting it repaired but taking him to fourth.

 

RACE

The race started with a threat of rain expected to break around half way through. Before the race, the grid held a minute's silence for the victims of MH370, with some drivers carrying tributes on their helmets.

Given qualifying was wet, drivers could start on whichever compound they pleased. Force India's Perez failed to make the grid and sat out the race.

Rosberg got a great start again, as did Ricciardo, who muscled past Vettel for third. Hamilton led away, but had Rosberg to play tail-gunner.

Magnussen took on a fast-starting Raikkonen, but the Finn prevailed for a lap before Magnussen dive-bombed the Ferrari.

Unfortunately, Raikkonen sustained a puncture against Magnussen's wing, bringing him back to the pits for a set of option tyres.

Bianchi and Maldonado tangled, but spun out of harm's way. Bianchi was awarded the first five second penalty of the year for causing that.

Bottas made a huge start, jumping to twelfth place from his penalty spot of 18th and ran with teammate Massa.

Magnussen didn't last long in seventh as Button jumped him at the start of lap three, immediately pulling out a gap.

The young Dane then had the rampaging pair of Williams to deal with, Massa and Bottas impatient to pass. Magnussen gamely held them off for a number of laps.

The Williams drivers were squabbling, with Massa complaining about Bottas, who shot back with, "I have more pace."

Vettel powered by Ricciardo at the start of lap four, with the aid of DRS and pulled out a gap.

Hamilton opened up his lead at the rate of a second a lap, Rosberg struggling with rear tyre wear.

Magnussen pitted for a new front wing and a fresh set of tyres, despite holding off the Williams pair. Just as he left the pits, he was hit with the second five second pit stop penalty for the Raikkonen incident.

Alonso pitted on lap 12 and despite a lightning stop, dropped him behind Grosean. It was two corners before he sailed by.

Ricciardo came in on lap 13, with Vettel still running in third. He got out behind Bottas and narrowly missed getting out in front of Alonso. It didn't matter, he went around the outside of Alonso in a repeat of his move on Vettel.

Vettel came in at the end of lap thirteen and was on his way in just over three seconds. He came out just a few feet ahead of Ricciardo and a few behind a feisty Bottas.

Vettel used his fresh tyres and shouldered the Williams aside, with Ricciardo slipping through as well.

Bottas fell to sixth moments later as Alonso fired by and he duly pitted for new rubber.

Rosberg was called in at the end of lap fourteen, with Hamilton following suit a lap later. Rosberg was stationary for just 2.5 seconds and came out ahead of Vettel.

Hamilton's stop allowed Hulkenberg through into the lead as the Force India driver was yet to stop. He harried the Force India and finally prevailed halfway through the lap.

Hulkenberg pitted and dropped back to sixth as Christian Horner confirmed to Sky that the fuel sensor in Ricciardo's car was "dead." This led the team to switch to a backup strategy devised with the FIA, to ensure the team was within the rules.

Rosberg got a radio message asking him to increase the gap back to Vettel, the team targetting moving to a fuel saving setting.

Hamilton was directed to switch to fuel saving at the same time as his teammate, but he was almost ten seconds down the road.

Rosberg was then encouraged to increase the gap to Vettel to five seconds.

Magnussen pitted on lap 25 and we were treated to the curious sight of his mechanics frozen, ready for action as he served his five second penalty. Button came in next lap and rejoined in ninth.

Alonso pitted on lap 28, fitting hard compounds. Ricciardo pitted at the end of lap 29 and went to the hard tyre too. He rejoined ahead of Alonso, but this time without the battle.

Kobayashi and Grosjean had an entertaining battle as Grosjean first passed at the final hairpin before the Caterham driver drag-raced the Lotus down the main straight.

Kobayahsi re-took his position with DRS and held Grosjean behind for the lap, his car squirming all over the place.

Grosjean finally muscled past on lap 32, also using DRS. On the same lap, Sebastian Vettel pitted. Rosberg got the call to pit in response while Hamilton was told they would try and stretch his pit window, but then told he would pit at the end of lap 33.

Rosberg's stop put him back in Vettel's clutches, the gap cut to just over a second. Vettel clobbered that to under a second with a fastest lap.

Adrian Sutil's Sauber stopped just as he went through the final corner, stopping the car on the inside of the track, but off the racing line. Hulkenberg pitted as this happened, falling to sixth.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen radioed in on lap 35 to say there was rain at the back of the circuit, but it never got any worse.

Fernando Alonso started his march for fourth on lap 37, knocking half a second out of Ricciardo. The Ferrari driver had been keeping a low profile for the first half of the race but was ready to charge.

Vettel's Red Bull had been struggling with energy harvesting and seemed now to be developing a gearbox problem, the German's engineer, Rocky, asking him to use second in certain corners.

Ricciardo pitted on lap 40 and that is where his race pretty much ended. His pit crew failed to secure his left front tyre, but he was nevertheless released from the stop.

A lap later, he came back to the pits with a broken front wing which had come loose on a kerb. He got a new wing, fresh hard tyres and last place.

And a ten second stop-go penalty. And a ten-place grid penalty for Bahrain.

He retired on lap 52.

"The start was really good and I made up a couple of positions and I was starting to, let's say, mix it up at the front, which is nice. It's fun being up there and fighting for the top few spots, but then we had a problem at the last pit stop and then we had a puncture," Ricciardo said.

"It went from looking good to looking pretty bad in a short amount of time. I'm really disappointed, but at the same time there's a little bit in me which is happy because I think I've come out the first two races how I wanted to, in a way."

Alonso now had Hulkenberg to chase down for fourth, an activity he took on with great enthusiasm, prevailing just a few laps from the finish.

Vettel stopped on lap 50 for the unfancied hard tyre. He made it out in front of Hulkenberg and Mercedes responded by calling Rosberg in for the hard compound. Hamilton followed a lap later and rejoined in the lead.

Felipe Massa probably had to check the colour of his overalls when he heard his radio tell him, "Bottas is faster, do not hold him up."

The pair were not far from Jenson Button and the team figured the Finn could at least take the fight to the Brit. Massa did not comply.

Mercedes took their first one-two since 1955 and Hamilton's first of the season after a disappointing Australian GP.

Formula 1 returns next week for the Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir.

 

2014 Malaysian F1 GP Results

  1. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 1m40m25.974s
  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

DNF

  • 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

 
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