Thursday, 4 April 2013

Malaysian GP

On Saturday 23rd March it was the second qualifying session of the 2013 Formula One season. The sessions started off wet however the track dried out as the day went on. Paul di Resta was one of the drivers who lost control of his car fortunately not hitting the hard steel walls - he qualified in 15th position.
Last weeks winner Kimi Raikkonen, once again qualified 7th however was later penalised 3 grid places after blocking Nico Rosberg.
Surprisingly Felipe Massa had a successful final qualifying session making it to the front row of the grid; the first time he has done this in over two years! However it was last years champion, Sebastian Vettel who dominated the final qualifying session even after having a few slips in Q1 and Q2, he starts in pole position.

The race was on Sunday 24th March and like last year, the track was soaked with rain once again making huge problems for both the cars and drivers.
The drivers got off to a clean start despite lots of spray coming up from the cars from the track making the cars slip and shake a lot.
The million pound F1 cars were shaking round the track like they were made out of wood! 
The only bit of contact was on Fernando Alonso who got a damaged front wing. Everyone expected him to pit at the end of lap 1 to get the nose reattached however since it wasn't effecting the balance of the car Ferrari decided to keep him out on track until they were ready to change his tires as well. This backfired as the nose of the car snapped off on the first corner of the second lap, going under his car and disabling his steering. Luckily no other drivers were effected however Fernando needed to retire from the race.

Fernando Alonso loosing control of his car on lap 2
On lap 6 most cars pitted, including race leader Sebastian Vettel which gave his team mate Mark Webber a huge opportunity. Webber not only set the fastest time for lap 6, he did it again for lap 7 as well! Unusually, Red Bull were telling him through the radio that it is still to wet for him to change his tires although they just got Sebastian Vettel to pit.

Lewis Hamilton having a nostalgic moment
Mercedes driver - no not McLaren driver - Mercedes driver, Lewis Hamilton, went in for a pit stop on lap 8 however went into the McLaren garage instead of the garage of his current team, Mercedes. He noticed almost instantly and then drove 2 garages down to the place he is supposed to be.
Behind him, Toro Rosso released one of it's drivers too soon so it went straight into the front wing of a Caterham.

On lap 13, Webber was leading the race followed closely by Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg and Button. On lap 20, Webber took his first pit - he was taking a risky strategy and it was unclear if it would pay off or not at this point. He came out in 4th place.

On lap 22 Hamilton took his second pit stop and he actually went to the right garage!!!

The battle for 7th was on on lap 22. Sutil, Massa, Grosjean and Hulkenberg were in the ring trying to take over each other. Massa soon joined this scramble for position as they caught up with him in 6th position.

Although Webber was leading the race on lap 27, he had Vettel and Hamilton less than 1 second behind him. Bad luck for spectators - there wasn't much of a race between these 3 racing superstars, instead Webber pitted on lap 31 and came out in third place. Vettel pitted two laps later leaving Button to lead the race.

Unfortunately, by lap 30 both of the Force India cars had retired. Apparently it was because internal parts of the car had overheated. This is surprising since last week both Force India cars finished with points.

On lap 36, Jenson Button pitted however only came out of the stop with 3 wheels. The engineer with the front right wheel gun knew straight away that the pin wasn't in right. Button needed to be pushed back into his garage.
Button was a serious contender for this race until that moment.

12 laps before the end of the race, race leader, Mark Webber pitted and came out just before Vettel. Things got intense as Vettel tried to get in front of his team-mate. Less than half a second between them for most of lap 45.
Behind them, both Mercedes cars were squabbling for 3rd position. Once again, less than half a second between them. Hamilton managed to maintain his position only milliseconds over Rosberg.
Finally, on lap 46, Vettel took over Webber. The two races were side by side as Webber tried to retake his position. It didn't last long though because Vettel soon pulled away. By the end of that lap, Vettel had managed to get almost a second in front of Webber.

No smiles from the Red Bull team on the podium
On lap 51 team orders were given to the Mercedes driver, Nico Rosberg, when he was told that he wasn't allowed to take over his team mate Lewis Hamilton. Ross Brawn probably gave this order so they don't risk crashing out only 5 laps before the end of the race.

Sebastian Vettel amazingly won the race followed by his team mate Webber, then Hamilton and Rosberg.
This was a controversial win through because it was found out only seconds after the race that Vettel was told not to take over Webber (team orders).
It is drivers that win races however teams that win championships and that is why I think that Vettel should have stayed behind Webber.