It was a one-two finish for Mercedes AMG drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the 2014 Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix yesterday, the first for the German automaker since Juan Manuel Fangio and Piero Taruffi raced at the 1955 Italian Grand Prix. Hamilton took a lights-to-flag victory, finishing more than 17 seconds ahead of his teammate.
Showing a partial return to form was reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing. The German finished 24.5 seconds behind Hamilton in third, and came close to challenging Rosberg midway through the race but gave up after the Mercedes driver increased the gap.
Vettel’s teammate Daniel Ricciardo had another disastrous race, sadly. After staying close to the top of the pack for much of the race, the Australian’s afternoon came undone during the third tire change. Ricciardo came in for the new rubber on lap 40 but a problem meant he was released into the pit lane with his left front wheel not properly attached.
He stopped and the crew wheeled him back to correct the issue. However, when he rejoined the race his front wing suddenly failed and the broken pieces began to score a deep groove in his front right tire. He pitted again for repairs and then was handed a 10-second stop/go penalty by the steward for an unsafe release. He eventually retired from the race on lap 50. That wasn't the end of his woes, however. Following the race, he was also given a 10-place grid penalty for next weekend's Bahrain GP for the unsafe release.
Ricciardo’s bad luck meant Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was now free to move into fourth, though there was some superb driving from Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg who Alonso needed to challenge. The Ferrari driver finally crossed the finish line in fourth place, with the Force India man taking fifth.
It was a tough afternoon for Ferrari’s other driver Kimi Räikkönen, who after a good start spiralled to the back of the pack after having to pit with a puncture caused when he came into contact with McLaren’s Keven Magnussen. The Danish rookie was given a five-second stop and go penalty for the altercation and eventually finished the race in ninth. In the closing stages, Räikkönen had a crowd-pleasing battle with former teammate Romain Grosjean of Lotus, trying to take eleventh off the Frenchman but to no avail. He eventually finished twelfth with Grosjean finishing one spot ahead of him.
Williams appears to be continuing its return to form. Its drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas finished in seventh and eighth spots respectively. Both drivers had a strong start, but couldn’t get past McLaren’s Jenson Button who took sixth spot in the end.
After this weekend’s result, Rosberg leads the Drivers’ Championship with 43 points, with Hamilton in second with 25 points and Alonso in third with 24 points. Mercedes now passes McLaren in the Constructors’ Championship to lead with 68 points while McLaren sits on 43 points and Ferrari on 30.
Below are top ten results of the 2014 Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix:
1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG
2) Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG
3) Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing
4) Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
5) Nico Hulkenberg, Force India
6) Jenson Button, McLaren
7) Felipe Massa, Williams
8) Valtteri Bottas, Williams
9) Kevin Magnussen, McLaren
10) Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso