Malaysian Grand Prix – Race

There’s already been a rain storm in Sepang so it looks like everyone will be starting on inters (intermediate wet tyres).
Air temperature 24°C; track 27°C; humidity 73%; wind 3.3m/s

Qualifying was initially dry but there was a shower during Q2 and through Q3.

Provisional grid: VET, MAS, ALO, HAM, WEB, ROS, RAI*, BUT, SUT, PER; GRO, HUL, RIC, GUT, DIR, MAL; VER, BOT, BIA, PIC, CHI, VDG.
*RAI has been given a 3 grid spot penalty for impeding ROS, so he’ll be starting in P10

Tyre compounds for the weekend are: prime=hard (orange markings) and option=medium (white)

VET leads everyone away on the formation lap; yes, everyone is starting on inters
You can see a dry line appearing in parts of the track, even at formation speeds
HAM is a little left of his grid spot, but not ahead of the line

01/56: ALO takes a look at VET; backs off
ALO has broken his front wing
WEB tries to reclaim P2 but ALO fights him off

02: ALO doesn’t pit – he’s trying to hold on until he can switch to dry tyres
ALO’s front wing lodges under his Ferrari as he brakes for Turn 1
ALO straight lines off at T1; he’s trying to get the marshals to push him but he’s out

03: VET, WEB, HAM, BUT, ROS, MAS, PER, SUT, HUL, RIC
ROS has a long battle with BUT before finally taking P4
DRS enabled
Replay shows ALO hit the rear of VET in Turn 2

04: HUL past SUT for P8

05/56: VET, WEB, HAM, ROS, BUT, MAS, PER, HUL, SUT, GRO; retirements: ALO
HUL takes P7 from PER

06: VET first to changes to slicks – takes the medium compound (option tyres)
Radio for WEB – “stay out – too wet in sector 1”

07: Problem with changing SUT’s left rear – even worse the Force India team had DIR waiting behind SUT

08: HAM pits – pulls into the McLaren pit box! Old habits are hard to break 🙂
MAS fastest lap 1:55.043
Contact in the pit lane – Toro Rosso release one of their guys right into a Caterham!

09: Looks like WEB is the only one on the prime (hard) tyres – everyone else now on options (medium)
RAI fighting for grip as he attacks RIC
DIR f/lap 1:48.776

10/56: WEB, VET, HAM, ROS, BUT, HUL, MAS, PER, GRO, RAI
Radio for HAM – targetting 11 laps on this tyre … or is that a bluff, because that was announced to the world?

11: GRO takes P8 from PER

12: GRO f/lap 1:44.265
Radio for HAM – “pace very good”

13: ROS f/lap 1:43.775
Radio for BUT – “switching to Plan B”
Race control: unsafe release involving cars 18 (VER) and 20 (PIC) will be investigated after the race

14: MAL off track – broken front wing
DIR f/lap 1:43.753
MAL in the pits for a new nose

15/56: WEB, VET, HAM, ROS, BUT, HUL, MAS, GRO, PER, RAI; retirements: ALO
ROS f/lap 1:43.538
Radio for MAS telling him to look after his tyres

16: Radio from HUL complaining his tyres are starting to go off
RAI past PER to take P9
GUT off track but recovers

17: WEB f/lap 1:43.195
ROS f/lap 1:43.176

18: BIA pits

21: MAS pits, as did GRO
More problems in the Force India pits – DIR sitting on the jacks with issues on the front left

22: HAM pits – right pit box this time
BUT pits too, as does RAI

23: VET pits; rejoins behind his teammate
Yet another front left problem for Force India – SUT stalls it – finally the team restart the car

24: Radio for VET – “3 second gap (from WEB); save your tyres”
HAM f/lap 1:41.610
DIR pits again; turns the engine off and is pushed into the Force India garage

25/56: WEB, VET, HAM, ROS, BUT, MAS, GRO, HUL, RAI, PER; retirements: DIR, ALO
VET is 1.2sec behind WEB, not the 3secs he was told
Radio from HUL – “I cannot go the speed of these guys”
VET closing on WEB

26: VET now 0.6sec behind his teammate
Radio for VET warning him about his tyre wear because he’s in the dirty air

27: Radio for WEB – “target high 41’s” but he’s catching some back markers

28 = half distance: WEB, VET, HAM, ROS, BUT, MAS, GRO, HUL, RAI, PER
Radio from VET – “get him (WEB) out of the way – he’s too slow”
HAM is closing on VET
Radio for VET – “be patient”

29: RAI runs a little wide through the chicane
SUT in the pits – he’s pushed into the garage too – that’s a double retirement for Force India

31: HAM pits
Replay shows HAM getting close to the rear of VET as the Mercedes enters the pit lane

32: WEB pits – primes – VET now leads
ROS pits too

33: VET pits – anti-stall kicks in as he tries to exit the pit box – rejoins behind HAM
HAM f/lap 1:41.001
ROS all over the rear of VET

34: MAS pits
Radio for BUT telling him others have pitted; “these don’t feel that bad”

35/56: BUT, WEB,
WEB dives down the inside of BUT into Turn 1
WEB takes P1
HUL and RAI side by side down the pit lane
Radio for BUT – “pit this lap”

36: BUT pits – tiny hesitation leaving the box – stops in the pit lane
Replay shows front right wasn’t secured!
McLaren mechanics run down the pit lane; push BUT back to the box

37: BUT back on track but way down the order 🙁

38: BUT down in P14
WEB f/lap 1:40.889
Radio from HAM – “struggling to catch WEB”

39: VET easily past HAM for P2
HUL and RAI touch wheels

40/56: WEB, VET, HAM, ROS, MAS, GRO, PER, HUL, RAI, BOT; retirements: SUT, DIR, ALO
Radio for HAM – “another 2 laps; scrubbed options”

41: RAI and HUL still fighting over P8; RAI comes out ahead

42: HAM pits – clean stop – rejoins P4

43: VET pits – new options
ROS pits – scrubbed options

44: Late call for WEB to pit – primes – rejoins inches ahead of VET
VET battling to find a way around WEB
Radio for VET – “careful!”

45/56: WEB, VET, HAM, ROS, MAS, GRO, PER, RAI, HUL, GUT

46: VET f/lap 1:40.466
VET lining up WEB and ROS lining up HAM
contact between the two Red Bulls
VET takes P1
Radio for VET from Christian Horner – “this is silly”

47: Yellow flag – MAL off in the gravel

48: MAS pits – quite a late stop
RAI looking for a way around PER

49: RAI takes P6 from PER
PER uses DRS to try to fight back
MAS uses DRS and goes round the outside of PER

50/56: VET, WEB, HAM, ROS, GRO, MAS, RAI, PER, HUL, GUT

51: Radio from ROS – “I can go so much faster – just let me past”; “Negative” says Ross Brawn
MAS f/lap 1:39.805
Radio from Ross to ROS – “Lewis could go faster too but he’s being controlled”

52: VER now P10 – didn’t see him pass GUT
Apparently GUT pitted

53: Radio for VET warning him about left front tyre wear
RIC pits – retires the Toro Rosso

54: MAS easily past GRO for P5
Radio from ROS – “Need to speed up”; Ross tells him to “please drop back; leave a gap”, “I want to bring these cars home”

55/56: BUT pits and is directed straight into the garage
HUL down the inside of PER to take P8
PER pits too but that’s for tyres – unless he had a puncture, that seems like a stupid move

56 = final lap: Radio for HAM – “maximum fuel saving”

VET takes the chequered flag
P2=WEB, 3=HAM, 4=ROS
50th career podium for HAM
Radio for VET – “there’ll be some explaining” for ignoring team orders
Radio for WEB – “brilliant drive”; no reply from WEB
Radio for ROS – “good effort”; ROS replies “remember this one”

Provisional result: VET, WEB, HAM, ROS, MAS, GRO, RAI, HUL, PER, VER; BOT, GUT, BIA, PIC, VDG, CHI, BUT, RIC.
DNF: MAL, SUT, DIR, ALO.

WEB finally arrives in podium prep room; clearly frustrated at VET
HAM needs to deal with that stupid beard thing!
WEB and HAM don’t look very happy even though they’re on the podium
WEB noticeable not sharing celebrations with VET
No interviews on the podium? Ah, they walked off and had to come back so Martin Brundle can interview them
VET: “tight battle”; “I was too keen too soon”; “felt I had more”; “I wasn’t sure about the strategy”; “if there’s anything to say we should talk internally”
WEB: “team told me race was over so I turned the engine down”; “Seb made his own decisions today and will have protection as usual” (ouch!)
HAM: “feels like Nico should be standing here but he’s a great teammate”; “saving fuel for a long time”; “I did a Jenson” (stopping in the wrong pit box)
VET: “good at this stage of the year to score points”; “great race for the team” (except for you ignoring team orders)

Next race: China, April 12-14.

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