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Malaysian Grand Prix: driver review

We take a look at how the Malaysian Grand Prix went for each driver.
Monday, March 31, 2014

 

March 31, 2014 (F1 Plus / Rosie Baillie) - Once again we headed into the unknown for the Malaysian Grand Prix, unsure about how the cars would handle the heat or whether there would be a downpour during the race.

Lets take a look at how each drivers race went.

 

1. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 25 points

The Briton converted his second pole of the season into a dominant win around the Sepang International Circuit.

As soon as the lights went out he began opening up a gap to his rivals and didn’t give them any opportunity to catch him.

On the podium Hamilton dedicated his win to the victims and families of the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.

 

2. Nico Rosberg - Mercedes - 18 points

Both Mercedes dominated the weekend but Rosberg was unable to put pressure on his teammate and crossed the line second place.

 

3. Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing - 15 points

After retiring from the Australian Grand Prix, Vettel took to the final step of the podium with a third place finish.

At one point it looked as if he could challenge Rosberg, but his fellow countryman opened up the gap to him making it impossible for Vettel to take second.

 

4. Fernando Alonso - Ferrari - 12 points

Towards the end of the race we were treated to an interesting battle between the Spaniard and Nico Hulkenberg.

On fresher tyres, Alonso reeled him in and passed him to take fourth place.

 

5. Nico Hulkenberg - Force India - 10 points

The German driver had a strong race and looked set for a fourth place finish but a gripping battle towards the end of the race with Alonso saw him move down to fourth.

 

6. Jenson Button - McLaren - 8 points

Heading into the weekend Button commented that the MP4-29 may struggle with heat and high speed corners.

Considering the car wasn’t at it’s best, a sixth place finish is respectable and means he picked up a handful of points for the team.

 

7. Felipe Massa - Williams - 6 points

After retiring from the season-opener at the first corner, Massa was finally able to show his speed in Malaysia.

He came under pressure from the team towards the end of the race when they issued orders to let teammate Valtteri Bottas through.

Massa stuck to his guns and defended well against Bottas. He later explained that he felt that if Bottas couldn’t pass him, he couldn’t have passed Button either.

 

8. Valtteri Bottas - Williams - 4 points

The Finn had a strong start, making his way up to 12th place after starting down in 18th.

We saw an exciting and nail-biting battle between Bottas and teammate Massa in the dying laps of the race, but the Finn was unable to catch him and bought the car home eighth.

 

9. Kevin Magnussen - McLaren - 2 points

A collision with Kimi Raikkonen at the start of the race resulted in a five second stop and go penalty for the Dane. 

 

He struggled to recover from the penalty and was unable to reproduce his Australian Grand Prix performance, though he still picked up important points for the team. 

 

10. Daniil Kvyat - Toro Rosso - 1 point

It’s easy to forget that this was only Kvyat’s second Formula One race.

The Russian rookie drove a strong race and took part in a couple of interesting battles throughout the race.

 

11. Romain Grosjean - Lotus

The Enstone based team have had a difficult season so far. To finish just outside the points is a huge improvement for them considering neither of their cars completed the Australian Grand Prix.

Towards the end of the race Grosjean found himself fighting with former teammate Kimi Raikkonen and defended well against him, to finish 11th.

 

12. Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari

An early incident between Raikkonen and Magnussen left the Ferrari driver stuck at the back of the grid for half of the race.

Raikkonen managed to move through the field towards the end of the race and found himself fighting to try and pass Grosjean towards the end of the race.

The Finn was unable to get past and was forced to settle for 12th place.

 

13. Kamui Kobayashi - Caterham

A strong race for the Japanese driver, who shows that he lost none of his talent during his year out from the sport.

Kobayashi was in 11th place at one point and enjoyed a tight battle with Grosjean.

His performance gives fans hope that perhaps this is the year Caterham will pick up their first point. 

 

14. Marcus Ericsson - Caterham

The Malaysian Grand Prix was the Swede’s first full race for Caterham after a retirement in Melbourne.

He put on a decent show and showed Raikkonen he wasn't a pushover by defending hard against him.

 

15. Max Chilton - Marussia 

The British driver had a fairly quiet race. Things got more exciting towards the end of the race when he began closing in on Ericsson who was beginning to lose power, but wasn't quite able to catch him. 

Chilton has now completed 21 races in a row. 

 

DNF - Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull Racing

Things were going well for Ricciardo, until a pit stop on lap 41 where he was released before his front left tyre was secured.

Ricciardo was pushed back down the pitlane and the wheel was correctly attached.

Unfortunately his bad luck didn’t end there. Moments later he was back in the pits after his front wing came loose and punctured his front right tyre.

He was then handed a 10 second stop and go penalty for an unsafe release. After the race the stewards handed him a 10 second grid drop for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

A difficult day for Ricciardo but like the honey badger on his helmet, he’ll no doubt be fighting again in Bahrain.

 

DNF - Esteban Gutierrez - Sauber

The young Mexican had a tough race and found himself outside of the points for most of the race.

His race was over on lap 37 when he found he could no longer select first gear following his pitstop.

 

DNF - Adrian Sutil - Sauber

Like his teammate Sutil didn’t have the easiest day at the office in Sepang.

On lap 34 his car lost power and switched off bringing him to a halt on the exit of the final corner.

 

DNF - Jean-Eric Vergne - Toro Rosso

The Frenchman was suffering power problems early on in the race and struggled to escape the backmarkers.

On lap 18 he was forced to call it a day and retired with power loss.

 

DNF - Jules Bianchi - Marussia

Not a good start to the race for the Frenchman who was involved in an incident with Vergne and then made contact with Pastor Maldonado on the opening lap.

Bianchi was handed a five second stop and go penalty but retired with damage before he had the chance to serve it.

 

DNF - Pastor Maldonado - Lotus

Yet more reliability problems for the Venezuelan who retired on lap 7 with power loss.

 

DNS - Sergio Perez - Force India

The Mexican’s race was literally over before it had even started when his car started going into neutral as he tried to shift down as he made his way to the grid.

 

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4 Valtteri Bottas 186
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6 Fernando Alonso 159
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6 Sahara Force India 152

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