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Sebastian Vettel wins contentious Malaysian GP

Mar 24, 2013, 5:59 AM EDT

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Sebastian Vettel has won the Malaysian Grand Prix following a thrilling battle with teammate Mark Webber, which may have damaged the inter-team relations as the German driver did not heed the advice of his team to slow down. However, the 1-2 finish for Red Bull gives them the lead in both championships after Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso retired on lap two of the race.

Mercedes ran strongly to finish in third and fourth, with Lewis Hamilton coming under pressure from Nico Rosberg towards the end of the race, whilst all was not lost for Ferrari as Felipe Massa came home in P5.

The race started in wet conditions, with all of the drivers opting for intermediate tires, but soon after Alonso’s retirement the track dried out, allowing the teams to pit and take on dry tires. Having pitted a few laps earlier than Webber, Vettel gave up the advantage to his teammate, with the Mercedes duo of Rosberg and Hamilton also vying for the lead after the first round of stops. McLaren took advantage of the drying track and Jenson Button moved up into P5 behind the Red Bull and Mercedes drivers.

Despite coming under pressure from Vettel and Hamilton, Webber managed to hold on to the lead until the final round of stops, when he came out only just ahead of his teammate. Vettel tried a move into turn four, but he failed to make the pass stick. However, soon after, he charged past his teammate as the RB9s got too close for comfort. Team principal Christian Horner even told Vettel that the move was “silly,” requiring a lengthy explanation after the race.

However, Vettel put the criticism behind him to claim his 27th Grand Prix victory, four seconds ahead of an evidently frustrated Mark Webber. Lotus was caught out by the weather, and Kimi Raikkonen ventured off the track on more than one occasion, but he recovered to finish P7 just behind his teammate. Nico Hulkenberg scored his first points of the season in 8th, as did Sergio Perez and Jean-Eric Vergne who completed the points. A botched pit stop for Jenson Button cost him all chances of points, and he retired with two laps remaining.

The race saw a four-way fight for the win, showing that Mercedes are capable of exceeding their own expectations this season. Although Red Bull will be pleased with the result, the bitter rivalry between Vettel and Webber could be set to boil over just two races in to the 2013 season.

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Malaysian Grand Prix – Race Classification

1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault Winner 25 points

2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault +4.2 secs 18 points

3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +12.1 secs 15 points

4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes +12.6 secs 12 points

5 Felipe Massa Ferrari +25.6 secs 10 points

6 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault +35.5 secs 8 points

7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault +48.4 secs 6 points

8 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari +53.0 secs 4 points

9 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes +72.3 secs 2 points

10 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari +87.1 secs 1 point

11 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault +88.6 secs

12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari +1 Lap

13 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth +1 Lap

14 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault +1 Lap

15 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault +1 Lap

16 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth +2 Laps

17 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes +3 Laps

18 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari +5 Laps

Ret Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault

Ret Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes

Ret Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes

Ret Fernando Alonso Ferrari

  1. bscot968 - Mar 24, 2013 at 7:47 AM

    Drivers are spending more time and effort in watching their tires, fuel, engines, all to the detriment of competition. I understand that to the average fan not in the know it may appear to be more exciting but this is not F1, this is more similar to a open wheel endurance racing. They must try to find a happy medium because this sucks. The situation with all of the tire debris is causing a problem all its own. I do hope that this is addressed quickly because as is it is just a farse of what F1 should be.

    • Raggs - Mar 24, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      Exactly. Formula One is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsports, but has slowly lowered itself to the same standards of Indy, or even worse NASCAR. No refueling, tires that fall apart by design, engines that have to last 4 races, for what? To keep cost down so you can have 6-8 more cars on the track that have absolutely no chance of winning and lap 3 seconds slower than the top cars? It doesn’t make sense.

      I want to watch the best, give absolutely everything, to be the best. If that means the car disintegrates at the finish line…all the better. The basis should be, here’s the track, this is the amount of laps you must complete…do it however you can the fastest. THAT is F1. If that means you lap slower with a full tank of gas and never make a pit stop…congrats. If that means you drive like a madman and pit 10 times adding fuel every stop and changing tires..so be it. Mandating tire usage, fuel load, engine reliability, rpm’s, engine mapping, KERS…is absolutely killing the sport. I wish that Ferrari and Mercedes would have stuck together and left F1 a couple of years ago. The sport would be MUCH better than what we watch today.

      • greenarcher2013 - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:13 PM

        totally in agreement with you.

      • greenarcher2013 - Mar 25, 2013 at 2:15 PM

        F1 hasn’t been about the racing for years. Save money? holy crap, The budget in F1 is more than nascar and indy combined and they want to save a few million. they’re about to lose me and I’ve been watching F1 my whole life.

  2. michaelmygas - Mar 24, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Next time when NBC Sports Channel is televising IRL and F1 encore back to back it would be nice if you don’t post the winning results of the F1 encore race on the bottom of the screen during the live IRL race. Some of us don’t have the luxury to see the F1 race live when it shows at 1AM on the west coast.
    Posting the results too early spoils the whole reason for the encore presentation. All I watched was the start until Alonso ran off the track and then I switched to the NASCAR race. I’ll bet your sponsors are not happy for people to leave the channel early or maybe not even tune in since you already showed the results!

    • djkrebsy - Mar 26, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      I agree totally with michaelmygas. If this is the kind of F1 coverage we can expect from NBC, we are in for a frustrating season!

  3. techmeister1 - Mar 24, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    Vettel did not win the Malaysian GP he hijacked it.

    • dkaye1198sdkaye1198s - Mar 25, 2013 at 5:19 PM

      The fastest car should always win, if Webber was fastest then he would have won, Vettel was fastest so he won. I thought team orders were not allowed anyway?

      • dkaye1198sdkaye1198s - Mar 25, 2013 at 5:25 PM

        Just remembered Todt ixnayed that rule in 2011 but the fastest man still won!!

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