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Hamilton Cruises to Malaysian Grand Prix Victory

Hamilton Cruises to Malaysian Grand Prix Victory

by March 30, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas

SEPANG, Malaysia — Lewis Hamilton turned in a dominating performance at the Sepang International Circuit on Sunday, leading flag-to-flag to win the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The win is Hamilton’s 23rd career grand prix victory and his very first win in Formula 1 in Malaysia. Mercedes have gone two-for-two to open up their 2014 campaign, seizing the Constructors’ Championship lead. Rounding out the podium were Australian Grand Prix winner and current points leader, Nico Rosberg, and four-time World Driver Champion, Sebastian Vettel.

“It’s been pretty special, I have never had the best of luck here. I have always had the pace but things have gone wrong,” Hamilton said. “But today – what a great feeling, the guys did a great job, I am so proud of this team, what a great job they have done collectively. I am sure they’re always there are things we can improve, I have learnt so much from today to take into the next race.”

Hamilton’s victory is sweet retribution for an engine failure in Australia that left him leaving the first race of the season with no points on the board. After earning 25 points with his victory in Malaysia, the 2008 World Driver Champion finds himself second in the Drivers’ Standings. The win is particularly special for team sponsor Petronas as the company is based out of Kuala Lumpur, a short 32-mile journey from the Sepang International Circuit.

Vettel’s third-place result can be viewed as nothing but a tremendous success for not just Infiniti Red Bull Racing, but for Renault F1 as well. Despite it being an up-and-down day for the manufacturer with fellow Red Bull Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso’s Jean-Éric Vergne, and Lotus’s Pastor Maldonado retiring; a podium after a disastrous season opener should have the Viry-Châtillon factory feeling ecstatic.

“All in all, it’s good to get another podium after Daniel has been on the podium in Australia,” Vettel said. “There’s still a long way, these guys are bloody quick, congratulations to them, they did a good job – trying to catch up!”

Fernando Alonso out-dueled a valiant Nico Hülkenberg to bring his Ferrari F14 T home in the fourth position. Teammate Kimi Räikkönen encountered trouble early in the race when he came into contact with the McLaren of Kevin Magnussen. Räikkönen would pit with a right-rear tire puncture and ultimately settle for a 12th-place finish. Despite the Spaniard’s strong result, Alonso believes that Scuderia Ferrari’s engineers can still extract more from their vehicle.

“It was never an easy race, as I would expect,” said Alonso. “It was tough, and maybe we didn’t have the pace to follow the Mercedes or Red Bull. We had a different strategy and it was fun, but definitely we need to work a little bit on the performance. We want to battle with Red Bull and Mercedes. But on the other had we had zero technical problems all weekend – we just need better performance.”

Romain Grosjean provided a surprise as he was able to wheel his Lotus to an 11th-place result. Despite not scoring any points with his performance, the fact that Lotus could put one of their cars in position to score points after all of their troubles suggests that the team may be turning the corner to strong results. Although teammate Maldonado retired his car with seven laps completed, it should be noted that the retirement was not for power issues but rather for complications after a first-lap collision with Marussia’s Jules Bianchi.

There was drama aplenty throughout Sunday’s race, with one of the most notable incidents taking place in the late stages of the race between the Williams-Martini Racing teammates, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. Race engineers radioed to Massa to let Bottas pass as the Finn was quicker than his veteran teammate. Having vowed earlier in the year to never play second fiddle to a teammate again after being relegated to the position many times at Ferrari to ex-teammate Alonso, Massa failed to concede the position to Bottas. Massa would lead the team home with a seventh-place result with Bottas coming home in eighth, half a second behind his teammate.

Massa defended himself from criticisms aimed at him after the race.

“I have nothing to say, I was just fighting to the end, that’s the way I wanted to do it and I will fight for my career and for what is right,” he said. “I did nothing wrong because I was chasing Jenson Button and there was a chance of catching him.”

Bottas did not seem to agree with his teammate’s line of thinking.

“I was approaching quicker than him. We should speak with the team look at the data and see if I could have caught Jenson and I thought I could have,” Bottas stated. “We need to learn from today for the future, we always have to keep learning.”

The Formula One grid now heads off to Bahrain for next week’s Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.

Top-10 Finishers of the Malaysian Grand Prix

  1. GBR Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
  2. GER Nico Rosberg – Mercedes
  3. GER Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault
  4. ESP Fernando Alonso – Ferrari
  5. GER Nico Hülkenberg – Force India-Mercedes
  6. GBR Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes
  7. BRA Felipe Massa – Williams-Mercedes
  8. FIN Valtteri Bottas – Williams-Mercedes
  9. DEN Kevin Magnussen – McLaren-Mercedes
  10. RUS Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso-Renault

Drivers’ Championship Standings after Round 2 of 19

  1. GER Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 43 | Leader
  2. GBR Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – 25 | -18
  3. ESP Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 24 | -19
  4. GBR Jenson Button – McLaren – 23 | -20
  5. DEN Kevin Magnussen – McLaren – 20 | -23
  6. GER Nico Hülkenberg – Force India – 18 | -25
  7. GER Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull – 15 | -28
  8. FIN Valtteri Bottas – Williams – 14 | -29
  9. FIN Kimi Räikkönen – Ferrari – 6 | -37
  10. BRA Felipe Massa – Williams – 6 | -37
  11. FRA Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso – 4 | -39
  12. RUS Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso – 3 | -40
  13. MEX Sergio Perez – Force India – 1 | -42

Constructors’ Championship Standings after Round 2 of 19

  1. GER – Mercedes – 68 | Leader
  2. GBR – McLaren-Mercedes – 43 | -25
  3. ITA – Ferrari – 30 | -38
  4. GBR – Williams-Mercedes – 20 | -48
  5. IND – Force India-Mercedes – 19 | -49
  6. GER – Red Bull-Renault – 15 | -53
  7. ITA – Toro Rosso-Renault – 7 | -61
Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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