Red Bull’s Vettel wins 2010 Malaysian F1 GP
Red Bull desperately needed a victory to get back into the world championship chase, and Sebastian Vettel delivered it in fine style in a dry Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday. And to make things even better, Mark Webber brought the sister car home second.
Vettel snatched the lead at the start from his Australian team mate, and apart from a time when McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton ran second for a while before his tyre stop, they were never seriously challenged.
Polesitter Webber stayed close to Vettel until the stops, but lost two and a half seconds in his tyre stop because of a wheel-gun problem, and finally finished 4.8 seconds behind.
Nico Rosberg was Mercedes GP’s sole finisher in third, after Michael Schumacher retired early on, and he headed home Robert Kubica who scored yet again for Renault. The Pole pushed the German hard, but was never able to challenge seriously.
The race up front wasn’t a repeat of Melbourne’s excitement, but the McLaren and Ferrari drivers provided plenty of thrills as they recovered from their lowly grid positions. Hamilton was 12th by the end of the first lap after starting 20th, but having run second, after staying out on hard rubber until the 30th lap, he was unable to pull an overtaking move on Adrian Sutil once he had switched to soft Bridgestones.
The German kept his head and drove a superb race for Force India to take fifth. Hamilton pushed him very hard, but had to be content with another sixth place ahead of Felipe Massa who was Ferrari’s sole finisher after a feisty battle from the back of the grid.
McLaren’s Jenson Button took eighth, after making an early stop to switch from his soft tyres and having to make the hard replacements last a long time. He was overtaken briefly on the 55th lap by a challenging Fernando Alonso, but as the Ferrari slid wide in Turn One after braking too late Button again passed, and then immediately the Spaniard’s engine broke down, dropping him back to a 13th-place finish.
Jaime Alguersuari again drove an excellent race for Toro Rosso and was rewarded with two points for ninth, with Nico Hulkenberg taking the final one for Williams thanks to Alonso’s misfortune.
Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi was 11th from Rubens Barrichello, whose Williams bogged down so badly at the start that Alonso had to make a phenomenal avoidance.
Despite a wing-damaging brush with Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus, Lucas di Grassi brought his Virgin home 14th and best of the newcomers after a strong drive, while Karun Chandhok also beat the Lotuses on their home ground to bring his HRT home 15th ahead of team mate Bruno Senna. Jarno Trulli was 17th as Lotus’s better finisher, with Kovalainen taking 18th after a long pit stop for mechanical attention.
Vitaly Petrov ran well initially, earning Hamilton a stewards’ warning after the Briton weaved too much keeping him at bay down the pit straight, but retired his Renault with mechanical trouble. Vitantonio Liuzzi also ran well, ahead of the Russian, before his Force India retired. He was classified 20th ahead of Schumacher and Kamui Kobayashi, who also suffered engine trouble in his BMW Sauber.
Virgin’s Timo Glock also failed to finish after a spin which put him into Trulli, spinning the Lotus. And Pedro de la Rosa did not take the start after his BMW Sauber stopped out on the circuit on the grid formation lap.
The result dramatically closes the championship points battle. Massa now leads with 39 from Alonso and Vettel on 37, Button on 35, Hamilton on 31 and Kubica on 30. €n the constructors’ stakes Ferrari still lead with 76, but McLaren now have 66, Red Bull 61, Mercedes 44 and Renault 30.
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