Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Vettel leads dominant Red Bull one-two

Red Bull finally delivered the kind of crushing performance it had threatened to all season as Sebastian Vettel led Mark Webber home in a one-two demonstration run at Sepang

Nico Rosberg gave the new Mercedes works team its first podium in third, although his team-mate Michael Schumacher was an early retirement, while the McLarens and Ferraris all recovered into the top ten following their qualifying miscues, although Fernando Alonso suffered a last gasp engine failure.

The potential for downpours and chaos had dominated conversation in the build-up, but ironically the race was dry throughout. Vettel got a great start from third, instantly passing Rosberg and slipping down the inside of Webber into the first corner to take the lead.

The two Red Bulls then pulled away from the Mercedes in formation, remaining a second or so apart until their pitstops on laps 23 and 24, where any chance of Webber threatening Vettel was removed when an airgun problem on his right front wheel meant his tyre change took a crucial 1.4s longer. That briefly put Webber behind the yet-to-stop Lewis Hamilton, and gave Vettel a clean break. He duly cruised clear to clinch his and Red Bull's first win of 2010.

Rosberg was a safe third throughout, but the second Mercedes of Schumacher dropped out on lap eight when its left rear wheel came loose.

Robert Kubica continued Renault's strong form with fourth, never quite close enough to scare Rosberg, and safe from attack from behind as fifth-placed Adrian Sutil (Force India) had his hands full resisting Hamilton by the end.

Hamilton made the most assertive progress of the displaced frontrunners, getting into the top ten within seven laps, despite being warned for excessive weaving during a spectacular battle with Renault rookie Vitaly Petrov, and ultimately rising as high as second as he left his pitstop until lap 30.

He emerged right alongside team-mate Jenson Button, who had pitted as early as lap 10, but it was Hamilton's strategy that proved best, as the younger Briton fended off his team-mate and then quickly pulled away - leaving Button at the mercy of the charging Ferraris. Felipe Massa had run until lap 28 before pitting, while Fernando Alonso, who had struggled with a downshift problem all race and been low-key in the early stages, stayed on hards until lap 36, and then set a string of fastest laps as he charged into contention.

Massa eventually got past Button and then closed on Sutil and Hamilton, while Alonso remained stuck behind Button until he dived past with two laps to go - only for his Ferrari's engine to immediately fail as he completed the move. Alonso's retirement means Massa edges into the championship lead.

Jaime Alguersuari earned his first Formula 1 points with the finest drive of his career to date, as he determinedly battled past Nico Hulkenberg and Petrov to ultimately take ninth.

Williams could not capitalise on its brilliant qualifying result, with Rubens Barrichello tumbling to last at the start thanks to an overheating clutch, and Hulkenberg losing a few positions on lap one then dropping further back as his early tyre stop strategy failed to pay off. He at least picked up 10th thanks to Alonso's late failure.

The battle between the new teams turned physical in Malaysia. Virgin's Timo Glock retired on lap three when a bid to overtake Jarno Trulli saw him spin into the Lotus, while Heikki Kovalainen's attempted pass on Virgin driver Lucas di Grassi seven laps later caused more contact - the Lotus slicing a rear tyre on the Virgin's front wing as it slid past sideways.

It was di Grassi who ultimately emerged on top, giving Virgin its first race finish as he nursed its inadequate fuel level to the flag and finished ahead of the two Hispanias. Trulli made the flag despite backing right off with hydraulic problems at the end - with similar issues forcing Kovalainen to lose several laps in the pits.

Also hitting mechanical trouble were Petrov, Force India's Tonio Liuzzi, and both Saubers - Pedro de la Rosa striking engine problems on his way from the garage to the grid.


The Malaysian Grand Prix
Sepang F1 Circuit, Malaysia;
56 laps; 310.408km;
Weather: Sunny.

Pos  Driver       Team                  Gap
 1.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault
 2.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      + 4.8s
 3.  Rosberg      Mercedes              + 13.5s
 4.  Kubica       Renault               + 18.5s
 5.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  + 21.0s
 6.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      + 23.4s
 7.  Massa        Ferrari               + 27.0s
 8.  Button       McLaren-Mercedes      + 37.9s
 9.  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    + 1m10.6s
10.  Hulkenberg   Williams              + 1m13.3s
11.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    + 1m18.9s
12.  Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth     + 1 lap
13.  Alonso       Ferrari               + 2 laps
14.  Di Grassi    Virgin-Cosworth       + 3 laps
15.  Chandhok     Hispania-Cosworth     + 3 laps
16.  Senna        Hispania-Cosworth     + 4 laps
17.  Trulli       Lotus-Cosworth        + 5 laps

Not classified/retirements:

     Kovalainen   Lotus-Cosworth        46 laps
     Petrov       Renault               32 laps
     Liuzzi       Force India-Mercedes  12 laps
     Schumacher   Mercedes              9 laps
     Kobayashi    Sauber-Ferrari        8 laps
     Glock        Virgin-Cosworth       2 laps
     De la Rosa   Sauber-Ferrari        0 laps

Fastest lap: Webber 1m37.054s 

World Championship standings, round 3:

Drivers:                   Constructors:
 1.  Massa         39       1.  Ferrari                    76
 2.  Vettel        37       2.  McLaren-Mercedes           66
 3.  Alonso        37       3.  Red Bull-Renault           61
 4.  Button        35       4.  Mercedes                   44
 5.  Rosberg       35       5.  Renault                    30
 6.  Hamilton      31       6.  Force India-Mercedes       18
 7.  Kubica        30       7.  Williams-Cosworth           6
 8.  Webber        24       8.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari          2
 9.  Sutil         10
10.  Schumacher     9
11.  Liuzzi         8
12.  Barrichello    5
13.  Alguersuari    2
14.  Hulkenberg     1

Be part of Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article McLaren duo confident of race charge
Next article Vettel thrilled to end unlucky run

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe