After an entertaining start to a new era of Formula One in Australia, the focus moved swiftly to Malaysia for the second race of the season. The Sepang International Circuit has a history of extreme weather changes- from blinding heat to atrocious rainfall. However this weather which can be just unpredictable at times makes the race weekend another exciting one to look forward too.
So could Nico Rosberg and the Mercedes team carry on from where they left off at Australia? Well here are my highlights of the 2014 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix.
Hamilton grabs successive Pole Position in the wet
Too say it was wet during Qualifying is an understatement. The heavens truly opened on Saturday as the drivers battled for Pole. And once again, Lewis Hamilton finished top of the time sheets, even though it was just 0.055seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel- who had a decent weekend in an improving Red Bull car. Nico Rosberg, who won two weeks ago, qualified third. It was qualifying to forget for two drivers. Bottas suffered a three place grid penalty to start 18th after being accused of holding up another driver and Jenson Button, usually very accurate with his tyre choice, seemed to choose wrongly- meaning he could only secure 10th position on the grid.
Riccardio struggles again
Daniel Riccardio has found his start at Red Bull a frustrating one. After disqualification in Melbourne- the Australian seemed to have car problems this time around. The first incident occurred during a pit stop. Riccardio pitted as you do and then drove off promptly- however, what he hadn’t noticed was his front left tyre hadn’t been put on properly. This caused the driver to have to pull up in the pits and wait to be dragged back to the Red Bull garage to get the problem fixed. He may have wanted to reverse up the pits but that would have resulted in instant disqualification for unsafe driving and after Australia that was the last thing on his mind. This condemned Daniel to what was at the time a good race where he was comfortable in 4th– to a disastrous race near the back end of the pack. The young driver’s race got even worse a few laps later when his front wing seemed to collapse and cause him to ultimately retire.
Kimi left frustrated
Kimi Raikkonen is another driver finding times tough at the moment. His return to Ferrari hasn’t got off to the best of starts and in Malaysia; things weren’t going to get better. His race suffered after an incident with young Kevin Magnussen, where the Dane clipped Raikkonen’s rear tyre which resulted in a puncher. The Fin then never really got going- and only finished a disappointing 12th.
“Bottas is faster than you. Don’t hold him up.”
This was the team order from Williams to Felipe Massa, a man who has in the past had to let drivers go past him. Well it seemed Felipe has had enough of that, and refused to let Bottas through. As team mates, this may dent their relationship, but at the end of the day- Williams finished 7th and 8th. The team should come first, and silliness about who overtakes who can lead to serious incidents- do you remember Vettel and Webber for Red Bull in Turkey? Both drivers have an argument in this situation. Massa could claim Bottas was too far back to overtake and make a move for Button in sixth, whereas Bottas will feel he couldn’t do anything with Felipe in the way.
Perfect Weekend for Mercedes
It was Lewis Hamilton’s and Mercedes day in the end as they won the race with a 1st/2nd place finish (there first since 1955) which guaranteed them maximum points available for their bid for the constructors championship. Lewis Hamilton was comfortable all race with no real worries as he led for the majority of the race. Nico Rosberg came second to make his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship to 18 points ahead of Lewis Hamilton who with that win rises to second in the standings.
Drivers Championship Standings (Top 5)
- Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 48 Points
- Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 25 Points
- Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 24 Points
- Jenson Button, McLaren, 23 Points
- Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, 20 Points
Constructors’ Championship Standings (Top 5)
- Mercedes, 68 Points
- McLaren, 43 Points
- Ferrari, 30 Points
- Williams, 20 Points
- Force India, 19 Points
So I leave you with this- Do you think Massa did the right thing in not letting Bottas through? Either comment below Yes or No or tweet me at @leeham1996 with either #MassaYES or #MassaNO.