From pole position to the checkered flag; Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel proves that to master the Sepang International Circuit, one would have to prepare for any surprises that may arise like the ever-changing weather. Although it poured earlier on, the taps dried out just before the race, allowing Vettel to secure the win for the 2013 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix.
With Vettel taking the win at Sepang, he has now equaled Sir Jackie Steward’s victory count of 27 wins. But the win is not without any controversy as although Red Bull takes home a 1-2 win, sparks were flying between Vettel and teammate Mark Webber. Having stuck behind Webber, Vettel was bound to stay in that position in order to meet the team’s strategy of conserving the tires and fuel. But the German was not going to let that happen as in the 46th lap, he disobeyed the team orders and overtook Webber before stretching the lead and taking the checkered flag.
Coming in at third was Mercedes’ new star Lewis Hamilton, but he personally did not feel that he truly deserve the first podium finish with his new team. Teammate Nico Rosberg was repeatedly instructed by the team boss to not pass Hamilton as they both had to turn their engines to maximum fuel-saving mode. While Rosberg abided the instruction, Hamilton let loose of his competitive instincts and challenged the Red Bull machines until the end of the race.
Ferrari did not have a good run in Sepang as Fernando Alonso’s machine broke its front wing, locking up the front tires and sending it into the gravel pit after the main straight. The front wing was damaged at the starting lap after running into the back of Vettel in the second corner, and the situation just went awry after the risky decision of not making a pit stop pulled him out of the race.
Felipe Massa who had started second in the grid finished the race in fifth position, having passed by both Mercedes drivers and facing serious pressure from the trailing Lotus-Renault duo Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen. Finishing in eighth was Nico Hulkenberg from Sauber, followed by McLaren’s Sergio Perez who finished ahead of Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne.
Sebastian Vettel now tops the Drivers’ Championship standings with 40 points, Kimi Raikkonen in second with 31, and Mark Webber in third with 26 points. The impressive Red Bull 1-2 win had also put them at first place in the Constructors’ Championship standings with 66 points, which are followed by Lotus-Renault and Ferrari, both with 40 points. The next round of the 2013 Formula 1 season, the UBS Chinese Grand Prix will be taking place at the Shanghai International Circuit on April 14.