Grand Prix of Malaysia – Race

It’s hot and humid in Sepang, of course. The race is being run earlier in the day, in the hope of avoiding the usual afternoon downpour. See my notes from Qualifying for other news.

Malaysia marks HAM’s 150th F1 start.

Tyre choices: prime=hard (orange); option=medium (white)

Provisional grid: HAM, VET, ROS, RIC, KVY, VES, MAS, GRO, BOT, ERI; RAI, MAL, HUL, PER, SAI; NAS, BUT, ALO, MER*, STE*
*MER is outside the 107% and STE didn’t set a time, so both will need the stewards approval to race.

GRO has been given a 2 grid spot penalty for a pit lane infringement in Qualifying [FIA]
STE is not starting the race because of a fuel system issue in his Marussia [FIA]

Track temp 61°C; 40% chance of rain during the race

HAM leads the 19 cars away on the formation lap
Only BUT and ALO starting on primes
BBC report HAM asked if there was a problem with ROS’s car; told it’s the same situation (as HAM) but we don’t know what that might be
MER a bit slow taking his grid spot

01/56: Not a great start from VET; squeezes ROS
ERI up to P8 after Turn 2
Radio from MAL – puncture

02: HAM, VET, ROS, RIC, MAS, KVY, HUL, ERI, VES, GRO, SAI, RAI, NAS, BOT, ALO, PER, BUT, MER, MAL
RAI has a puncture but he’s just started lap 2 so he’s got to limp around the whole circuit to get back to the pits
Replay shows NAS tag RAI in the final turn of lap 1; NAS broke his front wing on RAI’s wheel

03: HAM fastest lap 1:46.505
NAS pits for a new nose
GRO past VES for P9
RAI finally makes it back to the pits

04: ERI tries to go round the outside of HUL in Turn 1
ERI runs wide; spins; beached!
Radio for VES – told to let teammate SAI past
Safety Car deployed while ERI is recovered

05[SC]: HAM pits, followed by ROS, and many more – looks like most of the field
VET stayed out so he’s P1; so did HUL, GRO, SAI, PER, MER
Radio from HAM – asked “are we are OK?” – “need to look at the replay”

06[SC]: VET, HUL, GRO, SAI, PER, HAM, RIC, MAS, ROS, MER, KVY, VES, BOT, ALO, BUT, NAS, RAI, MAL; retirements: ERI
Replay of long stop for BOT – waiting for rear left wheel

06[SC]: Lights off on the SC – in at the end of this lap

07: Green flags for restart
ROS attacking MAS but MAS keeps P8
HAM easily past PER for P5
RIC follows through past PER
Radio from MAS – “engine not giving me any power”
MAS inside PER but ROS doesn’t follow

08: Radio for ROS – give it everything when you need to
VET pulling away from HUL, building a gap for his first pit stop
PER keeps falling back; now ALO on PER’s tail

09: HAM closing on SAI

10/56: VET, HUL, GRO, SAI, HAM, RIC, MAS, ROS, VES, BOT; KVY, PER, ALO, RAI, BUT, NAS, MER, MAL
ROS inside MAS
HAM squeezes past SAI
HAM lines up GRO and takes P3

11: HAM uses DRS to pas HUL for P2
HAM’s next target is VET who is almost 10sec ahead
ROS still stuck behind RIC

12: SAI runs wide; RIC alongside; RIC tries to go around SAI but now he runs wide and ROS passes RIC

13: ROS inside SAI for P5

15/56: VET, HAM, ROS, HUL, GRO, MAS, BOT, RIC, VES, KVY
RAI pits; rejoins P17
HAM not making much of a dent in VET’s lead

16: HUL and GRO pit – first stops
BBC report MAL will get a 10-sec penalty at his next pit stop for exceeding the virtual safety car time

17: VET gap over HAM 8.8sec
BUT takes P10 from PER but PER fights back
RAI past MAL for P13
Radio for PER – tyre degradation good; PER says “just too slow”

18: VET pits from P1; good stop; rejoins P3
KVY and RIC side by side; KVY leads his teammate

20/56: HAM, ROS, VET, MAS, BOT, VES, KVY, ALO, RAI, BUT; SAI, GRO, NAS, HUL, RIC, PER, MER, MAL
VET f/lap 1:44.452
NAS runs wide; MAL takes P12

21: RAI past ALO
BUT takes SAI for P10 but SAI fights back
Radio for ALO – car problem; box this lap

22: VET inside ROS into the final turn; takes P2
KVY pits; front wing adjustment
BUT pits too; slightly slower stop
ALO pits; pushed into garage

23: Radio from HAM – rears are dropping off
VES attacking RIC; pushes RIC a little wide; takes P10

24: VET closing rapidly on HAM
VES inside HUL; takes P9
VET attacking HAM; inside as they approach final turn; HAM dives down the pit lane

25/56: HAM pits; his 2-stop strategy must be a 3-stopper now
HUL has both Red Bulls on his tail

26: Radio for RIC – front brake damage getting worse; don’t hold up KVY
RIC lets KVY past
Williams coming out of pit lane, so HUL moves off line
KVY attacks HUL but HUL has nowhere to go – hits KVY
KVY spins but recovers

27: VET now 22.7sec ahead of HAM due to HAM’s 2nd pit stop

28/56 = half distance: VET, HAM, RAI, ROS, SAI, MAS, VES, BOT, HUL, RIC; PER, KVY, GRO, NAS, BUT, MAL, MER; retirements: ALO, ERI
ROS past RAI
RIC past HUL for P9

29: KVY takes P11 from PER

30/56: VET, HAM, ROS, RAI, MAS, SAI, VES, BOT, RIC, HUL
VES inside teammate SAI
GRO looking inside PER but can’t find a gap

31: GRO alongside PER; PER runs him wide and taps GRO – of course! PER is a mobile chicane!
GRO spins courtesy of PER hitting him

32: HAM closing the gap slowly; 17sec behind VET
Race control: incident involving cars 8 (GRO) and 11 (PER) under investigation – causing a collision

33: SAI pits
BBC report HUL has been given a 10-sec penalty, presumably for the incident with KVY

34: Race control: 10 second time penalty for car 11 (PER) – causing a collision
Race control: 10 second time penalty for car 27 (HUL) – causing a collision
If HUL deserves 10 seconds for the incident with KVY, then PER ought to get a lot more!
VES and BOT scrap over P6; VES comes out ahead but BOT fights back
BOT reclaims P6

35/56: VET, HAM, ROS, RAI, MAS, BOT, VES, RIC, KVY, PER; BUT, GRO, SAI, HUL, NAS, MAL, MER
RAI pits from P4; clean stop; rejoins P7
RIC pits from P8; rejoins P13
GRO pits too

36: PER and BUT pit; PER has to serve his 10sec penalty

37: VET pits from P1; rejoins just ahead of ROS

38: Radio from HAM – tyres going off again

39: HAM pits; VET reclaims P1; HAM rejoins P3 on hard tyres
MAS pits; a little slow stop
Radio from HAM – “this is the wrong tyre man!” Told only alternative was well used

40/56: VET, ROS, HAM, BOT, RAI, VES, MAS, KVY, SAI
VET f/lap 1:34.732

41: VES gets it wrong coming into the pit lane, cuts across gravel
Radio from BUT – lost power

42: ROS pits; options; rejoins P3
BUT limping back to the pits
Radio for HAM – “Forecast to catch VET with 5 laps remaining”; HAM says “Don’t talk to me through the corners – I nearly just went off!”
Really? Doesn’t look like HAM is catching VET fast enough

43: Radio from HUL – doesn’t think tyres will last to the end
GRO inside NAS in final turn; takes P12
BUT in the McLaren garage, out of the car

44: ROS f/lap 1:42.062
VET closing on the HUL/GRO battle

45/56: VET, HAM, ROS, RAI, MAS, BOT, SAI, VES, RIC, KVY; GRO, HUL, MAL, PER, NAS, MER; retirements: BUT, ALO, ERI

46: HAM 11.5sec behind VET; he’s closing at ~1sec/lap so he might catch VET on the last couple of laps
HUL pits; serves his 10sec penalty

47: HAM not closing on VET fast enough
ROS 10.1sec behind HAM

48: VES on his teammate SAI’s tail

49: VES looking for a way past; SAI opens the door and VES takes P7
MAL pits; pushed into garage

50/56: VET, HAM, ROS, RAI, MAS, BOT, VES, SAI, RIC, KVY; GRO, NAS, PER, HUL, MER

51: HAM still over 10sec behind VET
VET closing on the Red Bulls to lap them

53 = 4 laps left: VET-HAM gap unchanged, still about 10sec
RIC lets KVY take P9, and both let VET lap them

54: BOT closing up on teammate MAS

55/56: VET, HAM, ROS, RAI, MAS, BOT, VES, SAI, KVY, RIC; GRO, NAS, PER, HUL, MER; retirements: MAL, BUT, ALO, ERI
Will BOT take a look at passing MAS or will Williams tell them to hold position?

56 = final lap: BOT tries to go around MAS; small touch
BOT makes another move; takes P5

VET takes the chequered flag; his 40th career win
Looks like the Italians need a German to take charge and give them a victory

Provisional result: VET, HAM, ROS, RAI, BOT, MAS, VES, SAI, KVY, RIC; GRO, NAS, PER, HUL, MER; retirements: MAL, BUT, ALO, ERI

MER brings the Marussia home, which is a major achievement for them
VET clearly happy to win in a Ferrari
The drivers sound tired; they’re sweating through their fireproof overalls – they lose 2-3kg of bodyweight during the race!
Has someone forgotten where the STOP button is for the Italian anthem?
I’m surprised that VET mentioned Michael Schumacher a couple of times (e.g. beating one of his records) but no “get well” wishes or anything [BBC] [FIA]

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