Lewis Hamilton has won the Malaysia Grand Prix, leading home a Mercedes 1-2 in the process. After starting on pole, Hamilton eked out a two second lead by the end of the first lap, staying ahead of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg. There were six retirements from the race and Sergio Perez did not start after a power unit failure on his way to the grid. The race remained dry although there was a late threat of rain which never really materialised.
The Mercedes domination sent another ominous message to the chasing teams, with Vettel finishing in third place seven seconds down the road. It was a highly disappointing afternoon for Vettel’s team-mate Daniel Ricciardo – who was disqualified for fuel-flow irregularities after the Australian Grand Prix – after a front wing failure, an unsafe release and subsequent stop/go penalty. Due to the unsafe release, which was a consequence of the front left tyre not being securely fastened as he pulled away from his pit-box, he will also serve a ten-place grid drop in Bahrain. Fernando Alonso finished a solid fourth place for Ferrari but was another driver whose team-mate suffered a disappointing afternoon. Kimi Raikkonen’s race was ruined after Kevin Magnussen tagged his rear tyre and caused a puncture. Raikkonen limped round to the pits and spent the rest of the afternoon fighting from the back of the field. He eventually finished in 12th. Magnussen was given a five second stop/go penalty for the collision and he also received two penalty points. He apologised to the team following the race, admitting he had made a mistake and cost himself points even though he did pick up two for finishing ninth. Jenson Button finished in sixth place, holding off the Williams duo towards the end.
It was a case of deja vu for Felipe Massa who was told that his team-mate was faster than him in the closing stages and asked to let him through. Massa stood his ground and eventually finished ahead of Valtteri Bottas, getting some good points for Williams. Nico Hulkenberg finished ahead of the Button, Massa, Bottas train but not able to hold off Alonso. Kvyat scored points again, two weeks after becoming the youngest F1 driver to score points, doing so on his debut. Before the race Pastor Maldonado revealed that Lotus’ target was getting two cars to the finish line. He retired after seven laps but Romain Grosjean did make it to the end, albeit a lap down and outside the points although only just – as he finished 11th. Following a disappointing short appearance in the Australian Grand Prix, Kamui Kobayashi enjoyed a stint in the top ten and eventually finished in 13th ahead of his team-mate Marcus Ericsson. Max Chilton secured another race finish although in last position.
Jules Bianchi retired from the race after a coming together with Maldonado after picking up a puncture. He was given two penalty points for causing a collision and a five second stop/go penalty during the race. Adrian Sutil came to a halt on the left hand side of the pit straight – off the racing line – and was swiftly followed by team-mate Esteban Gutierrez who retired in the pit-lane. The Bahrain Grand Prix will take place next weekend, where teams will be hoping to reign in the dominant Mercedes duo.