Sebastian Vettel managed to take Scuderia Ferrari to their 1st win since Spain 2013 today in what was largely a fair and square race.
Vettel, able to make 1 less pit stop than the very agitated Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton which enabled him to win the race by over 8 seconds. The 4 time world champion appeared to be very emotional when he took his landmark 40th top step on the Malaysian podium and the Italian national anthem played.
Mercedes came in to take 2nd (Hamilton) and 3rd (Rosberg), with Hamilton leading until a safety car came out in the early stages of the race due to Marcus Ericsson beaching his Sauber at turn one. Hamilton sounded very irritated and confused on team radio at one point telling his Race Engineer Pete “Bono” Bonnington not to talk to him when he’s going round corners. Both of the Mercedes cars were on different tyre management strategies, towards the end of the race with Lewis on a set of used hards and Nico Rosberg on a set of used medium compound tyres. The fact Mercedes altered their strategy so late on in the race and their policy on fair strategies between both drivers shows they were clutching at straws to try and beat Ferrari.
McLaren seemed to have found some improvement with their Honda engine as at one point through the race they were catching up to the mid pack, with Jenson Button even taking to the radio to ask the team what was going on! However this new found form wasn't to last as Alonso was called in by them team and Jenson's pace dropped dramatically due to a turbo failure, and he joined his teammate in the garage.
Kimi Räikkönen had to pit on lap 2 for a rear tyre puncture, however his car largely remained undamaged and finished in 4th position largely due to the early safety car.
Williams came in to finish 5th and 6th with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa respectively, however the big surprise was Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz for Torro Rosso finishing 7th and 8th ahead of the senior Red Bull pairing Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo in 9th and 10th. Helmut Marko and maybe even Dietrich Mateschitz will surely have something to say about this as Red Bull continue to slip down the grid.
Lotus still remain pointless in the constructors standings as Pastor Maldonado had to retire early from the race. Romain Grosjean had a very lucky escape as he came together with Sergio Perez, causing the French man to spin 360 degrees at 170mph and narrowly miss other drivers in the process.
Manor were able to field Roberto Merhi and come home to take 15th place, two laps down on 14th place Force India Nico Hulkenberg. Will Stevens didn't even make the start due to a fuel issue the team were unable to repair.
Official Race Classification
1 SEBASTIAN VETTEL, FERRARI, 1:41:05.793
2 LEWIS HAMILTON, MERCEDES, +8.569s
3 NICO ROSBERG, MERCEDES, +12.31s
4 KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN, FERRARI, +53.822s
5 VALTTERI BOTTAS, WILLIAMS, +70.409s
6 FELIPE MASSA, WILLIAMS, +73.586s
7 MAX VERSTAPPEN, TORO ROSSO, +97.762s
8 CARLOS SAINZ, TORO ROSSO, +1 lap
9 DANIIL KVYAT, RED BULL, +1 lap
10 DANIEL RICCIARDO, RED BULL, +1 lap
11 ROMAIN GROSJEAN, LOTUS, +1 lap
12 FELIPE NASR, SAUBER, +1 lap
13 SERGIO PEREZ, FORCE INDIA, +1 lap
14 NICO HULKENBERG, FORCE INDIA, +1 lap
15 ROBERTO MERHI, MANOR MARUSSIA, +3 laps
RT PASTOR MALDONADO, LOTUS, DNF
RT JENSON BUTTON, MCLAREN, DNF
RT FERNANDO ALONSO, MCLAREN, DNF
RT MARCUS ERICSSON, SAUBER, DNF
DNS WILL STEVENS, MANOR MARUSSIA, DNS
Are Red Bulls claims of Mercedes being too dominant still valid? Should Manor be racing if they're so far off the pace? Are McLaren showing significant improvements by catching the middle pack? Can Ferrari win the title with Vettel now and have we got a momentous battle ahead of us this season between Mercedes and Ferrari and Hamilton Vs. Vettel?
Do leave your comments below as I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions especially from Lewis and Seb fans!