Vettel first in Red Bull one-two at Sepang

Vettel charges past Webber at turn one in Sepang
Vettel charges past Webber at turn one in Sepang

Sebastian Vettel led a Red Bull one-two in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The German driver passed team mate Mark Webber on the first lap and kept the lead for almost every lap of the race.

Felipe Massa took over the lead of the drivers’ championship after climbing from 21st to seventh, finishing behind Lewis Hamilton who had also battled through the field from 20th to sixth.

Nico Rosberg finished third after a quiet race in his Mercedes, with Robert Kubica in fourth place behind him.

Adrian Sutil brought his Force India home in fifth, defending his position from Hamilton who closed in on him at the end of the race.

Hamilton raced his way up to sixth place thanks to a great start where he gained seven places passing, among others, team mate Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari.

He continued his climb through the field, passing both Toro Rossos, Kamui Kobayashi and Vitaly Petrov. Meanwhile Button was battling the Ferraris, stuck behind 14th-placed Massa then losing 15th to Alonso. He later re-passed Alonso, but shortly afterwards McLaren brought him into the pits.

He ran a long stint on hard tyres which eventually allowed him to jump ahead of the Ferraris. But Massa, who ended the race on soft tyres, managed to pass the McLaren driver a few laps before the chequered flag.

So did Alonso – but only briefly. He had been struggling with a gearbox problem for much of the race and when he finally got past Button at turn one he ran wide and suddenly a blast of smoke from the Ferrari signalled the end of his race.

Alonso’s demise promoted two drivers who scored their first ever points – Jaime Alguersuari, taking ninth for Toro Rosso, and Nico H?ā??lkenberg, who might have expected more from his Williams after starting fifth.

Sebastien Buemi and Rubens Barrichello took 11th and 12th and Alonso collected 13th. Behind him was Lucas di Grassi, taking Virgin to their first race finish, the HRT pair and Jarno Trulli’s ailing Lotus.

Among the drivers who failed to finish was Michael Schumacher, who’s Mercedes stopped with a car problem early in the race.

Neither Sauber saw the chequered flag – poor Pedro de la Rosa didn’t even see the start of the race after his engine blew on his installation lap.

But perhaps the biggest surprise of the race was the failure of the widely-predicted rain to arrive.

Vettel’s win puts him level with Alonso for secong in the championship, two points behind Massa, who is yet to win a race.

2010 Malaysian Grand Prix

135 comments on “Vettel first in Red Bull one-two at Sepang”

  1. Brilliant race and especially start for Vettel. Also kudos to Kubica and Sutil. Kubica is in the same boat as in 2008. He just collected points regularly and almost won the championship, and again he is near the front. I hope he will stay there till the end of the season and hope Renault won’t stop development of their car. And Barrichello’s start is dejavu of last season when he missed start 3 times(correct me if I’m wrong). Schumacher just lost his luck, but he will perform better in the second part of the season, I’m sure about that.

  2. Just watched the race again, and I saw Heikki Kovalainen being wheeled back into the garage in lap 20. How did he manage to continue his race later and finish 10 laps behind Vettel? Never knew that drivers are allowed to race again after temporarily retiring. Anyone has a clue?

    1. Kovalainen didn’t retire – his car was simply pulled into the garage to make it easier for the team to work on. He then rejoined the race, albeit too far behind to be classified.

  3. Alonso gets the laurels today for wrangling that car through the race, just as fast as Massa at most stages. Amazing—and incredibly ironic the car let him down after he carries it on his back for the whole race minus one lap.

    Button does a slightly Kovalainen-esque drive. Starts ahead of Hamilton, gets passed, then sort of fades backward, thanks to handling troubles, or something. Bottom line is Hamilton passed him, then dusted off a succession of cars leaving him in the dust, while on the harder tire. Normal service has resumed at McLaren.

    Do Ferrari have an engine situation? Maybe it’s a hot weather thing, as in Bahrian, but this is ominous. We know they use a lot of fuel for similar power, i.e., they are less efficient, and that extra fuel apparently is going toward barbecueing stuff in the back end.

  4. I have some doubts, if someone might enlighten me. How exactly is the ruling concerning the end of a race? The lapped cars get the chequered flag after the winner and end their race no matter how behind they were right? I ask because of Alonso: he ended 13th although he couldnĀ“t race anymore. The lapped cars theoretically couldĀ“ve done the rest of the race therefore overtaking Alonso. So, I just want to know howĀ“s the ruling, not that IĀ“m implying somethingĀ“s wrong. Thanks.

  5. I’m just trying to play out the race if a true “reverse grid” had been in place – seems it was close enough to that to make for some really exciting racing for the entire race, not a dull minute went by, I thought…

  6. A great race– but am I the only person who thinks Alonso shouldn’t have attempted the pass on Button? If he had nursed his engine those last two laps instead of pushing, he may have had a couple of points instead of a DNF. Thoughts on this?

    1. I think you are right, in that it was how aggressive he had to be with the gearbox to even have a chance to attack Button. It was truly painful to watch and hear him trying to get efficient gear changes when on Button’s tail. And the shrapnel that flew out the exhaust at the end of the start finish straight was quite amazing to behold!!

      If he had just followed Button home then he most likely would have finished the race IMO too.

      But it was only 2 points. In that situation I am sure Alonso was quite happy to have a go. Why not?

      Yeah.. I know a season can be decided over 1 point. I’ve lost a championship in karting that way. But I’d still have a go, even with the benefit of hindsight.

  7. Neither of the Ferraris could get past Algersauri throughout the race (only happened when he pitted). Hope it says something to those who were critical of Schumacher being stuck behind this Algersauri in Melbourne (where it is even harder to overtake)!

  8. Hamilton did extremely well I thought, the 2 Ferraris as well.
    Very disappointed by Button: as he said himself, his start was quite poor. He lost position to both Ferraris and Ham in the first laps, pathetic. I somehow like Jenson but he has to raise his game quite a bit if he wants to get rid of all the “not worthy” tags.
    Well done Patrov and Alguersuari !
    I like Vettel too, but his finger-sticking-up celebration annoys me for some reason…

  9. OK, now who was suprised by this. after qual I said this, Vettel would be in front after the start and win if he had no mech issues and boy I got that right. I have to say that Red Bull has really put a great car together over the years and I hope they keep going.

  10. A wonderful race not as good as Australia. Felt very bad about Alonso, the pain of those noise of the gearbox was very bad. So far each of the big teams have won a race, hoping that Mercedes wins a race in China.

  11. I’m pleased for Vettel and Webber of Red Bull, but I’m really chuffed for Adrian Newey. He must feel a little relieved and perhaps even vindicated to some degree…

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