Sebastian Vettel wins the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix summary

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013Sebastian Vettel led a one-two for Red Bull in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

But there were clear signs of disharmony in the team after Vettel muscled his way past team mate Mark Webber in the final stint.

“You’ll have some explaining to do,” said race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin to him as his returned to the pits. Webber directed an angry glare at his team mate and said “multi 21, Seb?” as they waited to go onto the podium. He’d raised a middle finger at his team mate following the pass.

Webber took the lead of the race after Vettel made an early pit stop to switch from intermediate tyres. In the middle part of the race Vettel urged the team to move Webber out of the way as they came under threat from the two Mercedes.

But the threat from the silver cars receded as Lewis Hamilton was repeatedly told to save fuel. Team orders shaped that battle too, with Ross Brawn repeatedly ordering Nico Rosberg not to overtake his team mate. Unlike Vettel, Rosberg complied.

Felipe Massa was the only Ferrari in the points after Fernando Alonso went out on the second lap. He damaged his front wing trying to overtake Vettel, chose not to pit to have it changed, and paid the price when it failed on the pit straight.

The two Lotus drivers finished sixth and seventh, Romain Grosjean ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, the latter having two off-track moments at turn 12 during the race.

Sergio Perez finished ninth behind Nico Hulkenberg after a late pit stop. Team mate Jenson Button was running in the upper reaches of the points until his race was spoiled by an error in the pits. Jean-Eric Vergne claimed the final point.

A full report will be published here later.

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132 comments on Sebastian Vettel wins the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

  1. AceofSpades (@aceofspades) said on 24th March 2013, 10:27

    I can’t actually fault Ross Brawn for his actions today, much as I disagree with them. He was essentially caught between a rock and a hard place. No matter what he did, both of his drivers would have felt cheated of something.

    For Hamilton, it’s not his fault he was underfuelled and had to coast to the end. The team told him to push during the middle of the race, and he did exactly what they told him to do. If they’d asked him to let Rosberg go, he’d feel disadvantaged due to no fault of his own.
    On Rosberg’s side, however, he had the pace. He didn’t need to conserve anything. So he obviously felt cheated by not being able to pass his much slower team mate.

    The question for Brawn in the end boils down to this: which of his drivers can take a hit to his ego with the least amount of fallout?

    • Alex (@smallvizier) said on 24th March 2013, 10:38

      You seem to be suggesting that Brawn didn’t think Hamilton was mature enough to cope with being overtaken. If that was the case, I don’t think he’d have hired him.

      I suspect it was hard-headed points maximisation. They don’t think that Rosberg will be hunting for the Drivers’ Championship, and so – just like at Ferrari – they are happy to sacrifice his points.

      • AceofSpades (@aceofspades) said on 24th March 2013, 10:48

        But here you see to imply that Mercedes believes Rosberg isn’t good enough for the championship.

        • Alex (@smallvizier) said on 24th March 2013, 11:01

          I believe Mercedes think Hamilton is a better bet than Rosberg, and therefore they want to focus all their efforts on him.

          Why do you think Brawn made the decision?

          • AceofSpades (@aceofspades) said on 24th March 2013, 11:40

            I believe that Hamilton would have taken it less well than Rosberg, but then so saying, he did surprise me by being very apologetic about it on the podium. I guess at the end of the day, all we have is pure speculation, and not much to base it on…

      • dirgegirl (@dirgegirl) said on 24th March 2013, 10:53

        Or there is something contractual that they can fall back on with regard to Hamilton’s status in the team.

        I think the “it’s not his fault he was under-fuelled” is not likely to be the team’s excuse for keeping Marigold behind him.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 24th March 2013, 12:57

        Maybe we should just get a bit calmed down here and look at what we know. The team had certainly short-fuelled Hamilton, as he had been told to save fuel already quite early on. They were finding themselves right on the back of the Red Bulls until the guys started dicing for position, then started dropping back, while at the same time they were having to save fuel and tyres.

        Also consider, that this was a bit of a new situation for the team (we have seen a fierce battle between Rosberg and Schumi 2 years back, I think it was in spa? and that did not end all too good, even though both did finish, one of them lost a position to someone else) and here they are, going for the best points haul since this team was under the Mercedes banner. Knowing Ross, he was always going to tell his drivers to hold station. I am pretty sure it was not as much about Hamilton being in front (it might have been a factor though) but about making sure both finish and get those 27 points on the board.

        Personally I do not agree that is right, and I hope to not see them doing it again (as Hamilton was not too happy with it, and Rosberg certainly wasn’t). On the other hand Rosberg did do what he could to have the order overturned and we might have even been robbed of seeing him take the fight to the Red Bulls.

    • clappy (@danielc) said on 24th March 2013, 10:43

      Dude great post , im a massive Ham fan , although I truly feel for Rosberg you can understand why the did it.

  2. how will Marko defend this one for Vettel? The problem is that you can’t really ‘punish’ your number one driver for that, can you? The FIA won’t be taking any actions, and it only makes the Webber-Vettel relationship go from frosty to Antarctica.

  3. S.J.M (@sjm) said on 24th March 2013, 10:31

    As much as i feel bad for Mark (and I really do) and dislike Vettel. I cant help but think, somewhere in him, Webber must have known that at some point something like this was going to happen (again).

    He must have known, when signing each contract extension, that the team favours Vettel and would defend him and he must know Seb well enough to know his character. Every F1Fanatic knows Vettel can be a petulant little child, who can throw his toys out of the pram when things are not going his way. We also know how RBR are willing to give Vettel a wing from Webbers very own car, Mark knew that happened too! So why, oh why is this such a shock to Mark Webber? Yes, RBR have consistently produced one of the best cars on the grid over the past 4 years, and yes he has a chance of a title there. But he must have weighed all this up before signing on the dotted line? Was it worth it? having someone like Seb, with all the immunities that the team gives him as a team mate from the team? I’m not sure it is. But I’m not Mark Webber.

    This whole situation is different to the German GP with Ferrari, Team orders was illegal at the time, but not now and that changes everything about it. Vettel is now in the shoes filled once by the likes of Didier Pironi, RBR is going to be a divided team and you can be damn sure that 2 races in, Webber wont be making the mistake of listening to any orders his team gives him with Vettel is up his gearbox. Vettel in comparison might have just compromised his WDC hunt as he could be flying solo for the next 17 races. If you was Webber, would you support him?

  4. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 24th March 2013, 10:47

    As much i was disappointed with the result and my favorite driver was off in the first lap, as i’m happy that the war in the Red Bull garage is back, i mean if Seb hold his position and let Mark win then Mark must return the favor to Seb and it will probably be the support at the end of the season in the fight for WDC, but Seb didn’t hold his position and has ignored team orders so we can say that “he dug his own grave” , if he is going to fight for WDC, he has to make it a la 2011 otherwise Mark will be a serious headache for him.

  5. QuantumForce42 (@quantumforce42) said on 24th March 2013, 10:55

    Rosberg deserved the podium after helping Merc develop the car for the last 3 years along with Schumacher. Feel bad for him. To lose out to the new guy because of orders.

    Vettel is paid to go faster compared to everyone else. That is what he did. Nothing wrong with it.

    My respect for both drivers just went up.

  6. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 24th March 2013, 11:17

    I am simply disgusted with vettels behavior out on the track today. Demanding like an emperor to have his team-mate removed out of the way in a disrespectful manor. Mark clearly had the measure on him today and he should have respected that. The team asked their drivers to turn down their engines to save them since they only have 8 of them for an entire season. Sebastian arrogantly ignored them and went on like a raging bull to get his way. Perhaps he was disappointed they didn’t let him past earlier in the race? Still no excuse can justify his actions today. Webber defended brilliantly and before any of you make comparisons between the Schumacher-Barichello incident in 2010, think again Webber was going in a straight line and when seb was on his tail he made his one move to cover the inside expecting seb to dive to the left. Vettel made a dangerous move into a very small gap. I know there isn’t a penalty for crossing the white line form the race track but I think there definitely should be one. Imagine if someone just came out of the pits and suddenly one of those bull crosses right into side of a car. Imagine the carnage that would follow! I am also happy to see the team openly criticized him on the team radio and also neweys response to him in the waiting room. He even had the courage when Mark came in that he tried to speak to him. Mark clearly wasn’t in the mood seb! Webbers response was loud an clear: “Multi 21, seb?”

    I can only come to one conclusion on Sebastian Vettel today: Unworthy behavior form a triple formula one world champion!

    This is the longest rant I have ever written on F1 fanatic, just shows you how angry I am at the moment. Perhaps when I have cooled down a bit later on I might see some more perspective!

    Rant over…..

  7. medicine_man (@vettel81) said on 24th March 2013, 11:25

    I think reading your comments is much more fun than watching the race itself. Legends are always controversial and dividing. Watch the best movies and see that heroes choose not to follow orders for the (so believed and sometimes their own) greater good. History repeats itself and great characters will always be popular in one war or another. I wish Rosberg had made the move on Hamilton just as anyone expected.

  8. What…A….Race! Drama, close wheel-to-wheel stuff, silly mistakes by drivers and teams and in the and a podium that should have been a little bit different Imo.
    – The Webber/Vettel-show continues and it is reaching a boiling point that will cost the team dearly later in the season (mark my words!). I thought it was bad-ass of Vettel to ignore the team, but if it was a fight between a turned down engine and a car on harder, more worn rubber VS a crazy German and fresher medium rubber, then I revise my judgement about Vettel from unlikeable to super-unlikeable. Why Unlikeable? maybe it’s because of the whining over the radio if he is stuck behind another car or maybe because of the psychopathic (lacked empathy) message earlier in this race “Mark is too slow. Get him out of the way. That sounded almost like he wanted the team to take there rocket launcher an blow Webber away… really disgusted by that message..
    – Rosberg/Hamilton: if you let Hamilton use all of his fuel early in a race than you have to face it that he will run out of fuel later in the race (aha!). So if you get caught by your own team mate, it’s only normal you have to face the fact that Rosberg should have had the GO to race and not having to keep his foot just 90% on the throttle ==> he couldn’t have passed Hamilton in the end?? I’m sure he would have done it if Ross had said they could race…
    – Jenson: sad, just sad! I always shiver when a McLaren has to pit.. And today my fear became real ones again!
    – Alonso: 2 mistakes in one lap? that’s a rare thing to see ;-)

  9. I thought it was a good race to watch with so many battles going on. But can someone explain me what happened o the Lotuses ??? The were pretty quick at one stage(think middle stint) and then their pace dropped off. I cant think how Raikkonen in all practice session looked good and then lose that performance drastically in race!

  10. ^Mo^ said on 24th March 2013, 11:43

    It’s funny to see many people slating Vettel for his move. If the situation was different, and Webber would’ve ignored team orders, he would’ve been applauded for it. Or even if he would stay in position, Red Bull would be slated for using team orders. It’s all got to do with likability in my opinion. Webber is the underdog in the team (and probably the more likable character), and people like an underdog. Webber winning would be a popular win, except the WDC is not a popularity contest, and nice guys hardly ever finish first.

    As a fan I don’t give a flying *beep* about team orders and want to see proper racing. A battle between two different cars is great, but between team mates just gives that extra bit of excitement. I’m sure the team doesn’t like it, and I’m sure Webber is livid. But I was kind of happy to see that Vettel went for it, and I was kind of disappointed Rosberg didn’t.

  11. ME4ME (@me4me) said on 24th March 2013, 12:16

    Funny, I see no reason for the team to blame Vettel for anything he did besides his risky move close to the pitwall. Afterall, in the middle of the race, at a stage where Vettel was faster then Webber, the team told him “calm down, it’s a long race”. In my mind, that means “take it easy, there will be a change to pass him later in the race”. For Redbull to than say you can’t pass cause there are only a few laps left is plain stupid. If you tell your driver such a thing over the radio, let him race. And let Webber know he’s going to be under pressure. I think neither drivers did anything wrong. The team did.

    • mifd said on 24th March 2013, 13:26

      I would expect any driver who wants to take the lead in the middle of a race to work for it, not demand the driver in front move over. Especially when webber responded immediately by quickening the pace and setting fast lap. Strategy orders from teams about conserving tyres, fuel and engines are understandable and necessary considering the regulations but I think if vettel chose to ignore the team’s orders to bring both cars home in one piece and conserve the engines for future races then webber should have been allowed to turn his engine setting back to max as well to make it an even fight.

  12. wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 24th March 2013, 13:15

    Let’s look at the other things. Massa’s late charge was remarkable…the way he homed in on Grosjean at 5 seconds a lap was mesmerising. Raikkonen had an off-weekend. The Finn was 2012-esque in his wheel-to-wheel tentativeness..he took too long to pass Perez and Hulkenberg. The German had a pretty good weekend, finishing 8th. Button could have finished in the top-5, but McLaren pit curse struck again and the team wisely decided to retire the car. Valtteri Bottas had a solid afternoon, finishing just outside the points. Jules Bianchi put on another stellar show after a poor start, and was once again, the king of the backmarkers.
    Oh, and how can I forget Hamilton jumping into the McLaren pit box? Old habits die hard…

  13. Mané (@sl300forf1) said on 24th March 2013, 16:40

    I don’t blame Vettel for victory. But couple of things, first as employee you should obey your employer and he did not do that. Neither did Webber in Silverstone 2011. Then the spirit of motor racing is try to pass and the leader should set the pace and Webber failed. I cannot believe excuses like the engine was at 80 % performance and so on. If Senna, Prost, Schumacher and other greats were there, they would have dobe exactly the same Vettel did. Vettel, Rosberg and Alosnso must stop the boyish comments “I am faster, do sth”, ” It is ridiculous” etc. Helmut Marko made a j*** of himself (he certainly is) by finger pointing at Mercedes about no.1 or no.2 status. And finally, Webber want to be WDC? he should find another team. This team is now Vettels.

  14. Hairs (@hairs) said on 24th March 2013, 17:52

    I think the Sky crew got this one dead on. Hamilton clearly has some hold over the pecking order in his contract. Brawn has no incentive to keep Rosberg behind, he gains no advantage from it. Hamilton knew he was in fuel saving mode and could have let Rosberg past without any sort of conflict.

    Instead, Rosberg was screwed over for PR benefit of having Hamilton on the podium for Mercedes.

    As for Vettel, he was quite happy with the idea of team orders when he thought they would benefit him , i.e. moving Webber over so he could get past. When they didn’t suit him, he ignored them.

    Both Lewis and Vettel behaved awfully today. It was nothing to do with “being a racer” or “having some balls”, or anything like that. It was about stealing an unfair advantage when it’s available, and behaving like a spoiled child when it isn’t.

    “Racing is Racing”. Yes it is. Which is why Racers don’t need to manipulate team orders to win.

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