Hamilton leads historic one-two for Mercedes

2014 Malaysian Grand Prix review

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2014In Australia Lewis Hamilton watched from the sidelines as his team mate cruised to victory, opening up an instant 25-point lead in the championship.

With Mercedes enjoying a one second per lap performance advantage over their competitors the fight for the drivers’ championship is likely to be between Hamilton and team mate Nico Rosberg. Whatever drivers might say about not worrying too much about the points at this stage, Hamilton would not have been happy with a repeat of what happened in Melbourne.

Fifty-six laps of Sepang later it was job done for Hamilton. Rosberg’s championship lead had been checked and another crushing performance by Mercedes left their rivals contemplating the daunting task of how they’re ever going to catch them.

Mercedes assert their advantage

Hamilton enjoyed a buffer between him and Rosberg on the grid in the shape of Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull. But within a few seconds of the start Rosberg had asserted Mercedes’ superiority, laying claim to second place.

Vettel made him work for it, pinching the Mercedes against the pit lane as they sprinted to turn one. “I thought he was going to put me right into the wall,” said Rosberg in the press conference afterwards, “but he stopped just before.”

“I had a similar experience last year,” replied Vettel, no doubt referring to his controversial exchanged with Mark Webber during that race.

“My heartbeat skipped a beat a little bit but I kept right on it,” Rosberg continued. Vettel came back at him at turn one but Rosberg was wise to the move, forcing the RB10 wide in the long, looping right-hander.

This opened up an opportunity for Daniel Ricciardo, who had beaten Fernando Alonso to turn one and now displaced his team mate from third on the outside of turn two.

In turn three Mercedes power briefly got a bit too much for Rosberg, who got all crossed up and momentarily looked as though he might be heading for the scenery. That left him having to defend from Ricciardo once again, and when Vettel tried to capitalise on the situation he succeeded only in running out of road at turn four.

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Controversial collisions

There was more drama further back at the same corner. Jean-Eric Vergne found his Toro Rosso conspicuously lacking in power at the start, and having started in the midfield was already down among the Marussias.

As Jules Bianchi swept past the pair made contact, puncturing the Marussia’s left-rear tyre. Unable to stop in time for the corner he ploughed into the innocent Pastor Maldonado.

Both were able to continue but the stewards came down hard on Bianchi, wielding two of the 2014 rule book’s innovations. He was handed a five-second time penalties and his licence endorsed with two penalty points.

As it was the contact with Maldonado that Bianchi had been penalised for, this seems harsh. He pointed out afterwards that the puncture he had incurred meant he could not avoid hitting the Lotus. And Vergne acknowledged he’d played a role in events as well:

“I found myself in a sandwich between a Caterham and Bianchi and maybe I was a bit too ambitious to think I could try and pass the two cars,” said Vergne. “It was just not possible and this resulted in the collision, which damaged my front wing.”

Bianchi wasn’t the only driver to get a taste of the new 2014 style of justice. As lap two began Kevin Magnussen tagged the back of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari, inflicting a right-rear puncture.

He received the same penalty as Bianchi and afterwards admitted to making a mistake. But it was no consolation to Raikkonen, who had to limp around almost an entire lap of the Sepang International Circuit before pitting for a replacement wheel, incurring more damage to his car as he did.

“After the accident the car’s handling was not the same,” he said, “the tyre had caused damage to the floor, which led to a loss of downforce.”

“Don’t attack Massa”

Hamilton wasted no time in opening up a gap over Rosberg: within three laps he was over four seconds ahead. Rosberg was unable to leave Ricciardo behind as easily as he had in Melbourne, but now one Red Bull was about to be replaced by the other.

As lap four began Vettel got on his DRS button and drew alongside Ricciardo too quickly for his team mate to run him up against the wall as Webber had 12 months earlier. It bore the hallmarks of a move that had been orchestrated by the pit wall, especially as Vettel was only a couple of tenths faster than Ricciardo over the remainder of the first stint.

Not far behind them another pair of team mates were also going wheel-to-wheel. An unhappy Felipe Massa complained on his radio about Valtteri Bottas, who was trying to pass him, leading Williams to warn Bottas “don’t attack Massa, don’t be aggressive to Massa”.

The pair were trying to take advantage of Magnussen’s lack of pace due to his broken front wing. But Massa was unable to put a pass on the McLaren and by lap eight they had fallen six seconds behind the next car, belonging to Button.

McLaren decided Magnussen’s wing was costing him too much time and brought him in for a pit stop. That released the Williams pair to close the gap to Jenson Button, who was running seventh.

Alonso’s tactical switch

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Sepang International Circuit, 2014The flurry of pit stops begun by Magnussen’s meant that by lap 12 a gap had opened up which Ferrari could use to bring Alonso in and get him out in clear air. As in Australia he was in close company with Hulkenberg, but while Alonso committed early to a three-stop strategy Force India steered Hulkenberg towards a two-stop plan.

In response to Alonso’s pit stop Red Bull brought Ricciardo in before Vettel – despite them being separated by less than two seconds – to maximise their chances of keeping both cars ahead of the Ferrari. It succeeded thanks to some muscular driving on the part of Ricciardo, re-passing Alonso on the outside of turn two when he emerged from the pits on lap 13.

Vettel, Rosberg and Hamilton pitted in that order over the subsequent laps, retaining the same running order. As Hulkenberg stayed out he briefly held the lead, but Hamilton easily out-accelerated him into turn 11 before the Force India driver got the credit for leading a lap.

Alonso was the first of the leading group of drivers to make his second pit stop as well, and deviated from his rivals by switching from medium tyres to hards. That gave him the chance to go on the attack later on using the medium tyres – providing, of course, it did not rain.

As it turned out the weather was on Alonso’s side. A few minor showers kept the teams guessing, and gave them an incentive to leave their drivers out a little longer at the end of their third stints.

Rosberg could do little about his team mate. “He was a bit too quick today,” Rosberg admitted afterwards. “It was a bit difficult out there because the track was really poor, it seemed, sliding so much, and just struggling with the rear tyres especially.”

But by the end of the first stint Rosberg had stretched his margin over Vettel to around five seconds . In the second stint Vettel closed to within two seconds, but Mercedes seem not to have been genuinely worried about the threat from the Red Bull.

Hamilton and Rosberg were both told to turn their engines down to prevent unnecessary strain on them well before half-distance. “I had some pace in hand so I could beat him in the end,” Rosberg revealed.

Red Bull appeared to eat into their 100kg fuel allocation more quickly than their rivals – at least, according to the fuel consumption data broadcast during the race. During the final stint Vettel was told at least twice to save fuel, and during this time Rosberg restored his lead.

Blow for Sauber – and Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Sepang International Circuit, 2014Even in the punishing heat of Malaysia the widely-predicted spate of unreliability failed to materialise – at least, outside of the Sauber garage. Adrian Sutil came to a sudden stop at the exit of the final corner on lap 33.

“I lost power and then suddenly the car switched off,” he said afterwards. “I don’t know what happened.”

Three laps later the second Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez was pushed back into the garage. This wasn’t a reaction to Sutil’s failure: Gutierrez had come in for a routine pit stop but found himself unable to engage first day afterwards. Nor was there consolation for Sauber in the performance of their cars before their retirements, both having been lapped before their mid-race exits.

But if Sauber were disappointed, the luckless Ricciardo was crushed. He’d kept pace with Vettel after their exchange of positions but his third and final pit stop ruined his race.

The crew man changing the front-left wheel hadn’t signalled his task was complete when the car was sent from the pits and Ricciardo had to come to a stop and be pushed back. He lost a lap and his race unravelled shortly afterwards.

A seemingly innocuous trip across the exit kerb at turn 14 broke his front wing, sending him back into the pits again. The stewards also handed him a ten second time penalty and a ten-place grid penalty for the next race. The team eventually retired his car.

War at Williams

Felipe Massa, Williams, Sepang International Circuit, 2014Ricciardo’s demise promoted Alonso to fourth, once he had passed Hulkenberg. Button was over half a minute behind, but behind him the skirmish between the Williams drivers had escalated to full-blown warfare, though it was conducted mainly on the radio instead of on the track.

Having early been told to stay behind Massa, Bottas was given the all-clear to pass his team mate in the closing stages while Massa was ordered to make way for his team mate.

Among the many instructions to Massa telling him to move aside, one of them – “Felipe you’re slower than Valtteri, let him past” – bore more than a passing resemblance to the infamous “Fernando is faster than you” of three-and-a-half years ago. But unlike then, Massa was in no mood to obey. He stood his ground, and by the final lap Williams had relented, and told Bottas to stay where he was.

Magnussen was a distant ninth ahead of Daniil Kvyat, the rookie scoring for the second day in a row having made a neat pass on Gutierrez earlier in the day. He in turn held back two hobbled cars belonging to Romain Grosjean (his diffuser broke eight laps from the end but he registered Lotus’s first finish) and Raikkonen.

Kamui Kobayashi took a useful 13th for Caterham while Marucs Ericsson posted his first finish, resisting a late attack from Max Chilton’s Marussia.

“They are bloody quick”

Hamilton’s cruise to victory looked ominous to Mercedes’ rivals. Halfway through the race he asked, as Rosberg had in Australia, whether he could be doing any more to guard against any reliability problems. There wasn’t, but even so he won comfortably and lapped over a second quicker than anything else that wasn’t a W05.

Still Vettel was quick to point out Red Bull have already gained a lot of ground. “It’s the first race distance I’ve done this year, since Brazil, it’s the first race distance I’ve done so that’s a big step.”

But Mercedes, he admitted, “looked nearly seamless already in winter testing, they are bloody quick, the package they have is very, very strong.”

Few can be in any doubt of that after their first one-two finish since the days of Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss. But which of their current drivers might follow in Fangio’s footsteps and take the title? With one win apiece, it’s game on between Hamilton and Rosberg.

Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei

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92 comments on Hamilton leads historic one-two for Mercedes

  1. Sam (@) said on 30th March 2014, 18:55

    We just traded one dominant team for another. It’s not doing the sport any good.

    ‘We would like a gap of 5s to Vettel, Nico.’
    ‘Ok.’

    Like ordering take-out. That easy is how it went.

    • Albert said on 30th March 2014, 19:09

      Maybe the next couple of races, but looking at the rate in which RB is developing their car, we may have a terrific three way competitiom between Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel, with Ricciardo not far behind.

      Of course, that’s me being optimistic that Hamilton and Rosberg will be more evenly matched in future races, that RBR keeps improving at this rate and that Ricciardo keeps the excelent performance (and gets rid of whatever bad luck charm he has).

      • knoxploration said on 30th March 2014, 19:11

        What you saw was not how RBR are developing their car; the car was already at close to full potential for this point in the season. Their weakness is the engine, for which next-to-no development can happen due to the lack of testing opportunity and the fact engines are now homologated, meaning manufacturers have to beg each individual change through.

        What you saw was just how much Mercedes were sandbagging. I don’t doubt they could’ve managed another second a lap, if they turned the engine up all the way and actually *tried*.

      • Sam (@) said on 30th March 2014, 19:28

        Albert. Go to the F1 site and look up Vettel his top speed. 288kph…. He will never catch Hamilton or Rosberg.

        Next to that the Mercedes energy recovery system is so good they save more fuel than the Renault engine.

        • Albert said on 30th March 2014, 19:37

          The season is long :-)

          • I like your confidence, Albert. What I saw was a classic “manhood” measuring contest, Mercedes only pulled out enough to win. Dr Marko is probably correct when he says RB has the best chassis, but I don’t think the season is going to be long enough for Renault to get their act together.

          • Albert said on 30th March 2014, 21:19

            @prime

            Haha, I wouldn’t call it confidence, more like optimism and wishful thinking.

            I mean, the RB car went from “undriveable” to second best in 4 weeks, so it’s not *that* impossible for them to catch up, especially seeing how fast they have improved in the past two years.

            Second half of the season is usually when RBR make a massive jump forward, so I’m expecting to see that again.

        • bpacman (@bpacman) said on 30th March 2014, 21:44

          @ardenflo I wouldn’t be so sure that Mercedes will retain such a big advantage for the whole season. We’re only two races into first season after the most major rule changes in F1 history and, by most estimates, the rate of development this year will be so great that many teams will make gains of 2-4 seconds per lap.

          I agree that, at the moment, Mercedes seem to have an incredible amount of pace in hand over the rest of the field – but you can bet that Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren, with their vast budgets, will close that gap. Don’t write off this season just yet!

          • Sam (@) said on 30th March 2014, 22:11

            @bpacman I’d say you were right if they were driving the same engine. But the Renault engine is frozen. Not one part on the car will make the car go faster in a straight line. Except for tracks like Monaco that are ALL about downforce I don’t see RB stepping up to Mercedes anytime before 2015. RB has without a doubt the best downforce package but whatever they gain in the corners is lost twice on the straights.

          • Sam (@) said on 30th March 2014, 22:13

            @bpacman above that the energy recovering system of the Mercedes is a whole lot better. They save fuel better and get more out of their ERS. These things cannot be developped into the season as they are frozen as far as I know. Mercedes has this one in the bag. Time will tell whether another team even has the possibility to fight for P1/2.

          • bpacman (@bpacman) said on 31st March 2014, 11:32

            @ardenflo It does appear that the Renault engine is inferior to the Mercedes in virtually every aspect – but I still think that, given the huge changes in aerodynamic regulations this season, there is still the prospect for Red Bull to make up that disadvantage through their outstanding expertise in that field. In particular, I think Australia (which has virtually no high-speed corners) and Malaysia (which has two of the longest straights on the calendar) were tracks that emphasised the deficiencies in the Red Bull/Renault package – perhaps at tracks were high-speed cornering is the most important factor (e.g. Silverstone or Suzuka), Red Bull will be a lot closer to Mercedes.

            Even if Red Bull or other Renault-powered teams are unable to challenge for the title, it may be that the challenge comes from one of the Mercedes customer teams (in particular, McLaren) or Ferrari.

            I admit that at the moment that looks to be pretty unlikely – but, as I say, it’s early days yet and, given the huge rate of development we can expect from all of the teams, I’m hopeful that we will see more than just Mercedes challenging for race wins this year.

          • Sam (@) said on 31st March 2014, 15:53

            @bpacman If Red Bull cannot attack Mercedes in Barcelona for the win, the season is over. Red Bull already has plenty more downforce and they couldn’t even gain a full second in all those twisty corners whilst Mercedes gained over a second on the straights.

        • JCost (@jcost) said on 31st March 2014, 0:56

          Some people say better software will make wonders to Renault PU.

          The way Rosberg jumped Vettel off the blocks was painful. Seb was like a sitting duck.

        • spoutnik (@spoutnik) said on 31st March 2014, 12:18

          @ardenflo

          Next to that the Mercedes energy recovery system is so good they save more fuel than the Renault engine.

          That was the most annoying data during the race: 40 seconds gap, less fuel used, and they have the luxury to say ‘Hey, we gonna cut some engine power, we have so much of it anyway’

    • knoxploration said on 30th March 2014, 19:09

      Indeed. “Historic”, my butt — there was nothing remotely historic about this race. I came close to falling asleep through what was one of the most boring, preordained races in recent memory. And sadly, the entire season is almost certain to continue in the same vein. I’ll be amazed if any team except Mercedes wins a race, other than by weather, safety car or (if we have a minor miracle) a double-DNF for Merc.

      The only real question is how early in the season Merc will apply team orders and decide the championship for us. Other teams are already doing so, and given Merc’s laughably cautious approach (telling Hamilton to slow down on the very last lap despite a vast lead built up *while his engine was turned down* and he was doing no more than casually saunter around the track), I doubt it will be long at all before Hamilton is given free rein to take the championship.

    • vuntoosree said on 30th March 2014, 23:58

      I’d be happy to at least see an inter team battle if we’re stuck with a mercedes monopoly. What made red bulls dominance so tedious was the fact that they clearly supported one of their drivers over the other so we were stuck with seeing the same driver win every race …

      • knoxploration said on 31st March 2014, 1:25

        Lord, I wish people would stop beating that horse. If there was one team that didn’t favor their drivers over each other, and who routinely *did* let them race — even though ding so was often to the detriment of the team — it was Red Bull.k

        • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 31st March 2014, 8:58

          I really don’t want to beat any horses, but I’d say McLaren are a lot closer to often having let their drivers fight, sometimes with quite bad results for the team; RBR only want it to happen if they know who is going to win it in advance (or think they do).

    • GB (@bgp001ruled) said on 31st March 2014, 3:52

      it might be, but ham and ros are much more equally matched than vettel and webber!!!
      and red bull is making giant steps! and ric it looks is gonna be much more stronger then webber. so in a couple of races i think there are going to be four drivers fighting for the win…

    • @ardenflo That’s what has always happened since some small changes to the rules had these secondary effects.
      For instances the no re-fuelling rule gives the leaders leverage, not only in fuel consumption but also in fuel load as they can make the tactic of fuelling light last off and then manage the lead and tyres which is the second rule that has a big secondary effect of perpetuating the advantage of the quick cars that wast less tyres to qualify. The sensitive tyres aimed for racing have the secondary effect of hindering racing by getting too hot as a consequence of following a car and the same tyres degrade faster when roughed up. The DRS rule also has a nasty secondary effect when more than 2 cars are following in the same pack the car in the middle is hindered by the DRS from someone behind that someone behind however is effectively stuck between 2 DRS cars, which perpetuates the train whilst the leader has clear air. In the end since 09 a bunch of rules were brought into the sport to avoid Brawn and add the final piece to F1 but what they produced was effectively worse wheel to wheel racing and perhaps more drama, obviously the FIA needs to get some backing before making some rule changes but reality is top teams will only agree with rules that give them something back and as I’ve mentioned above they have.

  2. JCost (@jcost) said on 30th March 2014, 18:56

    Congrats to Lewis Hamilton. Before this race I had the impression that Nico had better hand than him in dry conditions and I thought two wet qualifying sessions were masking Lewis deficit because he is very good at finding grip when wet but after today, I think Nico will have a hard time to beat his team mate in “normal conditions” or not because Lewis looked quite handy today. Being in front helps but one has to point that Hamilton managed his tyres and fuel superbly today and looked untouchable, now he will push for 4 straight wins to become championship leader and it looks very likely now.

  3. Albert said on 30th March 2014, 19:04

    I was surprised by the performance difference between Hamilton and Rosberg, it felt like Rosberg was always a step behind. Is Hamilton that much better, or it was a circuit-specific thing? I rate Rosberg quite highly, so I must say Hamilton’s performance was remarkable, congrats to him.

    Impressive also the jump forward that RBR have done in the past four weeks, they’re really second to none in terms of in-season development. While the advantage of Mercedes is still significant, it may last way less than expected.

    • zippyone (@zippyone) said on 30th March 2014, 20:55

      Albert, I think Rosberg was suffering with oversteer, but yes I was very surprised with the 17 second gap.

      • Damonw said on 31st March 2014, 14:07

        That’s just a myth, yesterday I watched the replay onboard with Hamilton and Rosberg and apart from that snap oversteer on the 1st lap from Rosberg he infact looked smoother than Hamilton during the race. ;)

    • George (@george) said on 30th March 2014, 23:28

      I was surprised too, Rosberg is normally pretty good at this track, I was expecting him to cite some sort of issue after the race.

    • W (@yesyesyesandyesagain) said on 31st March 2014, 4:21

      Hamilton and Vettel are the fastest drivers in Formula 1. Alonso’s lack of qualifying pace drops him behind those two in my opinion. Rosberg is at best fourth best. No surprise Hamilton stomped him, expect it to continue.

    • Aled Davies (@aledinho) said on 31st March 2014, 9:14

      It was a great drive from Hamilton. Used less fuel than anyone else in the top 10 and never seemed to struggle with the tires either. Heard a few people saying that Rosberg was at a disadvantage suffering with Tyre deg but if it was the other way around, people would be blaming Hamilton for ruining his tires!

  4. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 30th March 2014, 19:12

    To be honest, I am just enjoying seeing something other than a Red Bull dominate a race.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 30th March 2014, 19:24

      @full-throttle-f1 I don’t understand that… it wasn’t funny to watch Vettel get everything by miles, and I don’t see why a different person (or team) doing it is so nice.

      • DaveF1 (@davef1) said on 30th March 2014, 20:36

        @fer-no65

        I agree 100%. It doesn’t matter if it’s Vettel, Hamilton or Chilton winning by miles, it’s still equally as boring.

        • karter22 (@karter22) said on 31st March 2014, 6:26

          @davef1

          I agree 100%. It doesn’t matter if it’s Vettel, Hamilton or Chilton winning by miles, it’s still equally as boring.

          OMG!! We actually agree on something!!! I too hate the exchange of one dominant team over another! Boring as hell!!

      • Diego (@ironcito) said on 30th March 2014, 22:16

        When was the last time that there was a serious fight for the lead beyond the first lap or two? Maybe sometime during the first half of last year?

      • Gordon (@gfreeman) said on 30th March 2014, 23:36

        No matter what, fans will complain about something. I don’t get why people are sick of Mercedes when we’ve only just had the second race of the season.

        It could go either way, what if F1 was a complete lottery and one weekend Marcus wins, then Perez, then Button, and so on. Right now it’s nice to have someone new winning, but having Vettel and Ricciardo near enough to the Mercs to get some good fights is what I’m looking forward to (as well as any one else who gets somewhat close to them).

        • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 31st March 2014, 1:51

          @gfreeman I’m not complaining, I’m just pointing out that… if you complained about a team being dominant last season, I don’t see why your opinions should change this year…

          • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 31st March 2014, 9:05

            Haven’t actually watched this race @fer-no65, @gfreeman, but I’d say that for now I can handle one team, but a different team, being quite dominant; especially as their two drivers already both won once, so it might still be a good fight between them – that didn’t happen with RBR sinds 2011 really, for whatever reason (Vettel being so much better/Webber having bad luck or lack of team support, lacking talent, I don’t know).

            And at least we know RBR are likely to give it a fight in developing further. I don’t fully believe their ‘our car is great if only the engine would be’ stuff, they should have put the thing together better then, and they can still gain in doing that, probably.

          • Gordon (@gfreeman) said on 31st March 2014, 12:59

            @fer-no65 That’s fair enough, I guess maybe people would get a bit fed up the last four years (myself not being one of them, yes, my interest dipped somewhat but what Vettel has achieved deserves respect even if I’m not a fan of his). @bosyber sums it up rather well, seeing the battle between team mates will be exciting to see this season.

      • vuntoosree said on 31st March 2014, 1:20

        @fer-no65 maybe because at least at Mercedes we will see a Ham vs Ros whereas at Red Bull we will only ever see Vettel vs…Vettel

    • Jason (@jason12) said on 30th March 2014, 19:38

      It’s such a breath of fresh air.
      Four years is just way too long.
      RBR looks like closing the gap very soon though, hope they don’t end up being dominant again (at least not this season).

      • Rockie (@rockie) said on 30th March 2014, 22:19

        @jason12 but its ok for Merc to be dominant, what a hypocrite?

        • Postreader said on 30th March 2014, 23:18

          He explicitly mentioned “four years is too long”, and “at least not this season”. His issue is obviously with continued dominance, not dominance per se. Try to read a bit slower and grasp better what people are trying to say, please…

        • Me and a lot of other people were fine when Red Bull started dominating like in 2010. It was only after 4 years and them thinking they’re bigger than the sport, people disliked them.

          • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 31st March 2014, 9:09

            Well, as to that @theo-hrp, they already started being annoying in 2009 when Vettel remarked for the 5th time others having ‘magic button’ while he was comfortably quicker even then; wholeheartedly agreed when Kimi quipped back that he wouldn’t mind trading.

            But yes, I don’t mind Vettel fighting for the win, but I also don’t care if he isn’t on the podium a few times while ROS,HAM fight for wins regularly, and others can mix in at several races.

      • DaveW (@dmw) said on 31st March 2014, 2:34

        What is making people think that RBR is “closing the gap”? Mercedes just pounded them again by about 25s. This time, Hamilton was basically coasting. He used less fuel than anyone in the top 6. Tire degradation was not an issue. Even Rosberg, struggling with tire wear or whatever, was using little fuel and stiff arming Vettel the entire way. RBR gets a gold star for recovering from a lousy off season, but they are now just leading the peloton and miles back. RBR closed the gap from not being able to run to running. Everyone knew they would be competitive when the engine was running. Newey was not going to built a truck. But few thought that Mercedes would be just crushing them. I predict that Renault engines will get some kind of “reliability” upgrade allowance after a few more Mercedes walk-overs.

        • Diego (@ironcito) said on 31st March 2014, 5:28

          You asked a question and then answered yourself ;) Red Bull went from not being able to complete a lap to being second-best in about a month. Vettel was not that far off Rosberg in Malaysia, he came within DRS range at one point. Yes, Mercedes are still comfortably ahead, but Red Bull got a lot closer, especially given that the Renault engine is 80 HP behind. Wait a couple of races and who knows?

          • DaveW (@dmw) said on 31st March 2014, 15:35

            No. Getting ahead of other teams is not closing the gap to Mercedes. The gap at issue is between RBR and Mercedes, not RBR and Ferrari or Williams. They could be consolidating a strangle-hold on 2nd-bests status and still be falling behind Mercedes. No one knows if RBR will catch Mercedes, eventually, but there is nothing about this race or the last to suggest that they are on the way to catching up Mercedes. If you compare the two races as a trend, in terms of performance and reliability, it’s going the wrong direction for RBR.

    • The Blade Runner (@thebladerunner) said on 31st March 2014, 8:48

      I’ve been trying to remain positive (new season; lots of races to go; significant car development over the course of the season etc.) but yesterday morning’s race was just plain boring. I can barely remember feeling anything remotely resembling excitement whilst I watched. Yes there has been a switch between the front two teams but otherwise everything feels very “samey”. Hulkenberg fighting for a podium in a weaker car? Check. Alonso’s Ferrari off the pace? Check. A winner so far ahead that we barely saw them during the race? Check.

      Equal to my disappointment that Mercedes appear to be so far ahead is the realisation that Williams’ second coming looks to be overstated (yes, there is improvement compared to recent years but, hey, that’s not difficult is it?!) and the McLaren looks further off the pace than a wet Melbourne suggested.

  5. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 30th March 2014, 19:17

    I’m really hoping Rosberg surprises me and gets the upper hand over Lewis. That’d sit well for me.

    I’m yet to watch a F1 race this year (pretty things got in the way), but I wish Red Bull chatches up. It’d be very sad (IMO at least) for Vettel to see his raign over without being able to fully defend it.

    • Alehud42 (@alehud42) said on 30th March 2014, 19:50

      Not exactly unprecedented for a defending champion to not being able to, as you say, ‘fully defend it’: Hamilton in ’09, Schumacher in ’05, Villeneuve and Damon Hill come to mind.

    • George (@george) said on 30th March 2014, 23:31

      I agree @fer-no65 , hoping Renault can get their engine on-par so we get a championship scrap at the end of the season. I’m worried Mercedes are going to pull out too much of a gap though.

  6. Keamo said on 30th March 2014, 19:24

    So happy for Lewis and Mercedes.. Aww he looked so happy after the win. Well done Lewis. Much deserved win.
    It’s so refreshing seeing another team in front.

  7. Richard said on 30th March 2014, 19:43

    How did Lewis go so much faster than Niko and use 4-5% less fuel? Was his FIA Fuel flow meter ‘slow’ by about 8%? It does sound plausible given what we have heard so far about these units and Merc did buy up all the remaining stock of them so have a load to choose from?

    Is this what we need to now worry about now??
    I fear for the future of F1 after todays race, I really do.

    • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 30th March 2014, 20:20

      He used less fuel, but perhaps he didn’t put in 100%, making his car a bit lighter at the start. At least Williams admitted to putting less than 100kg in the car, and we could see that only a few laps from the end they still hadn’t used 90% of the fuel.

      • Richard said on 30th March 2014, 21:55

        So there is no rule telling them to carry 100KG of fuel?
        If that was the case, I don’t get how he still seemed to have more % left at the end of the race, wouldn’t that mean he carried more fuel that others?

        • George (@george) said on 30th March 2014, 23:35

          No, because I’m guessing the percentage would be from the 100kg limit (the FIA don’t know how much fuel is in the car), so if he only had 95kg to begin with then he would run out with 95% fuel used.

      • Gordon (@gfreeman) said on 30th March 2014, 23:38

        Also, Hamilton had much more ‘clean’ air from the beginning of the race which helps fuel efficiency.

    • Kodongo (@kodongo) said on 30th March 2014, 21:05

      It’s also worth observing that Lewis had a maximum speed which was 7km/h lower than Nico’s which means LH may have been running with a touch more downforce which could contribute to making the car slide less and be more efficient.

  8. Jason (@jason12) said on 30th March 2014, 19:43

    Newey continues to make the best car earo-wise on the grind…..

    Where are the other areo-dynamicists??

  9. Alehud42 (@alehud42) said on 30th March 2014, 19:51

    Interesting stat: first 1-2 by a team other than RBR since Germany 2010.

  10. Deej92 (@deej92) said on 30th March 2014, 22:03

    I’m over the moon for Lewis. It’s been a long time since he had been on the podium, let alone the top step!

    It must be said that the gap between him and Rosberg was surprisingly large. I think that shows how well Hamilton drove because we all know Rosberg is no slouch. Hamilton’s really put down a marker for his team-mate after two poles and a win, despite Rosberg’s Australia win.

    Just to add, Red Bull looked pretty fast today as well. It really is astounding after their pre-season. Okay, they aren’t on Mercedes level at the moment, far from it, but to rule them out at this stage would be a mistake. Everyone knows what the team and Vettel (and Ricciardo, I suppose) are capable of after the last four years.

  11. Micheal Lamb said on 30th March 2014, 22:16

    yeah, it is amazing the potential in the RB if their aero is this good. Imagine if they had the power as well?

  12. Theoddkiwi (@theoddkiwi) said on 30th March 2014, 23:46

    Hamilton remains the only driver in history to have a pole and a win in every year the driver has competed.

  13. Sir OBE said on 31st March 2014, 0:04

    I’m pretty sure they had a few in 2009. Let’s not pretend that it’s a different team. It’s a different owner, but the team is same.

  14. medman (@medman) said on 31st March 2014, 2:42

    If Lewis can finally get some luck and not have cars retiring on him when he’s in the lead, which seems to happen to him with regularity at both McLaren and Mercedes, he will walk the title this year as he’s a better qualifier and racer than Nico. Red Bull has to hope that by the end of the season they are more competitive and able to take advantage of the ridiculous double points scenario. Ferrari? They look in much the same shape as last season, unfortunately for them.

    • Guccio (@concalvez00) said on 31st March 2014, 10:58

      +1, nothing more to add. Remember the media and some folks here about Hamilton’s ability to addapt and how Hamilton was/is not a thinking driver and bla bla bla.

  15. iAltair (@ialtair) said on 31st March 2014, 2:55

    Toto Wolff is pretty spot on.

    “We haven’t seen Vettel in a car which completes a race. With that, he himself is a further 3 to 4 tenths of a second”

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