2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

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2013 Malaysian Grand Prix
Race 2 of 19 in the 2013 Formula One World Championship
Circuit Sepang 1999 Infobox.svg
Race details[1][2]
Date 24 March 2013
Official name 2013 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix
Location Sepang International Circuit, Sepang, Selangor, Malaysia
Course Permanent racing facility
Course length 5.543 km (3.444 mi)
Distance 56 laps, 310.408 km (192.879 mi)
Weather Light rain clearing to cloudy and dry
Attendance 90,000
Pole position
Driver Red Bull-Renault
Time 1:49.674
Fastest lap
Driver Mexico Sergio Pérez McLaren-Mercedes
Time 1:39.199 on lap 56
Podium
First Red Bull-Renault
Second Red Bull-Renault
Third Mercedes

The 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix (officially the 2013 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held at the Sepang International Circuit in Sepang, Selangor on 24 March 2013. It was second round of the 2013 Formula One World Championship and the 15th Formula One Malaysian race. 90,000 people attended the event. The 56-lap race was won by Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel from pole position. His teammate Mark Webber finished second and Lewis Hamilton was third for Mercedes.

The race began on a damp track from a downpour 40 minutes before it began with Vettel in pole position alongside Felipe Massa of Ferrari; Massa's teammate Fernando Alonso and Hamilton began from third and fourth. Webber started from fifth and moved to second place by the second lap. Webber took the lead after Vettel made his first pit stop for dry slick tyres on lap five and maintained the position through most of the race. Vettel ignored a team order from Red Bull to lower the performance of his engine and remain in second position and overtook Webber for the lead on the 46th lap. Vettel maintained the lead for the rest of the event to claim his first victory of the season, his third in Malaysia and the 27th of his career. Hamilton finished 12 seconds behind and his teammate Nico Rosberg was told by Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn to hold fourth place.

Vettel apologised to the employees of the Red Bull team and Webber for ignoring the order to hold position; he was neither punished or reprimanded by Red Bull due to his lawyers threatening legal action over the team order and recanted the apology three weeks later. Webber was asked to give his version of events to Red Bull founder and co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz. Vettel's victory elevated him to the lead of the World Drivers' Championship after Lotus driver Kimi Räikkönen finished seventh. Webber and Hamilton moved from third to fourth position. Red Bull took the lead of the World Constructors' Championship from Ferrari with seventeen races left in the season.

Background[edit]

The Sepang International Circuit (pictured in 2016), where the race was held.

The 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix was the second of nineteen scheduled single seater rounds of the 2013 Formula One World Championship,[1] and the 15th Formula One Malaysian race.[3] It was held at the 15-turn 5.543 km (3.444 mi) Sepang International Circuit in Sepang, Selangor on 24 March.[4] A race sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), motorsport's governing body, had been held in Malaysia since the 1960s, with the first editions being run in Singapore, then part of the Malaysian Federation, before moving to the Shah Alam Circuit. With the arrival of the Formula One Grand Prix in 1999, the race was moved to the purpose-built Sepang International Circuit, where all editions were held until 2017.[5]

Tyre supplier Pirelli brought four types of tyre to the event: two dry compounds (the white-banded medium "option" compound and the red-banded hard "prime" compound) and two wet-weather compounds (the green-banded intermediate compound and the dark blue-banded full wet tyre).[2] The drag reduction system (DRS) had two activation zones for the race: one was on the straight linking turns 14 and 15 and the second was on the start/finish straight between the final and first corners.[3] After the 2012 edition, a debris fence erected on the wall beside the pit lane was extended to better safeguard track marshals.[4]

After winning the season-opening Australian Grand Prix one week earlier, Lotus driver Kimi Räikkönen led the World Drivers' Championship with 25 points, ahead of Fernando Alonso of the Ferrari team and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel in second and third with 18 and 15 points respectively. Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari car was fourth with 12 points and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton rounded out the top five with ten points.[6] In the World Constructors' Championship, Ferrari led with 30 points; Lotus and Ferrari were second and third with 26 and 23 points, respectively. Mercedes and Force India jointly held fourth place with ten points each.[6]

Vettel said he believed the Australian Grand Prix would prove to be meaningless later in the season due to tyre management trouble. He did not anticipate Ferrari and Lotus being faster than him at Sepang, "Malaysia is a completely different track and from what we have seen today, everything depends on how well people handle the tyres. But we will see completely different conditions and will use different tyres so there are too many differences to here. We have seen over the past few years that what we have seen in Melbourne has hardly ever become a trend for the next couple of races."[7] His teammate Mark Webber explained Red Bull required an improvement in car performance for the race, "As a team we weren't as strong as we thought we'd be. But that's Formula One - it can change very quickly. We've got a very, very hot track this week in Sepang. So let's see how we go for the next few races. It's the first marker in the sand."[8] Hamilton spoke of his belief Mercedes would bring what they learnt about team strategy from Melbourne to Sepang, "If we can have that as a baseline and then get 10 points every race, and get better on top of that, then we stand a good chance of getting some good results this year. I definitely feel the team is flat out. I feel they are on it and we are going in the right direction."[9]

For the second consecutive race, reliability issues affecting the telemetry link between race control and the cars prompted the FIA to disable the system. This caused teams to lose the function of informing drivers of an incident or faster competitors lapping them via warning lights in the vehicles and the FIA could not disable DRS in the event of inclement weather conditions or a safety car.[10] The stewards advised drivers to comply with the regulations governing DRS usage and teams were by the FIA required to inform them when the system was disabled.[11] In the event officials deployed the safety car, competitors were ordered to manually select a button on their steering wheel to slow their cars as soon as they noticed a warning board or an illuminated light. A test occurred after the third practice session to allow drivers to acquaint themselves with the revised procedures.[10]

Nico Hülkenberg was given a new C32 chassis by the Sauber team

Several teams made changes to their cars for the race.[4] Sauber introduced a new C32 chassis for driver Nico Hülkenberg after a fuel system fault prevented him from starting the Australian Grand Prix and his former monocoque was sent to the team's headquarters in Hinwil to undergo an examination.[12] Also, Sauber modified the C32's engine cover to remove hot air from its engine and sidepods and the team added a small vertical fin to improve airflow to the car's rear and diffuser's side channels.[13] Red Bull installed extra cooling outlets on the centre of the RB9 to counter Malaysia's warm temperatures.[4] Ferrari also did the same by opening the exhausts on the F138 to enhance the extraction of warm air from its sidepods.[14] Mercedes changed the turning vanes and pillars under the F1 W04.[15] Lotus retained a specification of front wing, albeit with a new exhaust system on Räikkönen's E21 monocoque and its endplate, main plane and upper flap revised,[16] in addition to a revised diffuser to include a gurney flap.[4]

Practice[edit]

Kimi Räikkönen's running in the first practice session was restricted due to a kinetic energy recovery system battery change

Per the regulations for the 2013 season, three practice sessions were held, two 90-minute sessions on Friday and another 60-minute session on Saturday.[17] The first practice session took place in hot and humid conditions and saw no driver set a competitive lap time until 34 minutes had passed. Several drivers remained in the pit lane to wait for better track conditions to record their quickest times in a ten-minute period of successive laps before driving with a heavy fuel load.[18] Webber's first timed lap of 1 minute and 37.588 seconds was followed by a 1-minute and 37.354 from his teammate Vettel. Webber improved to a 1-minute and 36.395 seconds lap to top the session.[19] Räikkönen, who missed the first 55 minutes as Lotus replaced a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) battery that failed due to a sensor problem,[18][20] was second-fastest.[19] Vettel, Alonso, Nico Rosberg of Mercedes, Adrian Sutil for Force India, Massa, Paul di Resta, Hamilton and Lotus driver Romain Grosjean were fifth to tenth. Sutil damaged his front wing on a kerb and Sauber's Esteban Gutiérrez made a driver error at turn 14.[18]

It continued to be hot and humid for the second practice session;[21] many teams used the dry compound tyres early on due to rain clouds above the circuit. A heavy rain shower fell and prevented an improvement in lap times; some drivers became with the wet track on the intermediate compound tyres in the event inclement weather returned later on.[22][23] Räikkönen set the session's fastest lap of 1 minute and 36.569 seconds, followed by Vettel, Massa and Alonso, Webber, Grosjean, Rosberg, Di Resta, Hamilton and Sutil.[21] Some drivers (including Hülkenberg, Di Resta and McLaren driver Sergio Pérez and the Caterham entries of Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde) went off the track during the session due to the wet track.[22][24] Gutiérrez's in-car fire extinguisher activated after he mounted a kerb at turn 12 and a subsequent exhaust system fracture curtailed his running.[24]

In the final practice session, which was also held in hot and humid conditions, the majority of drivers used the hard compound tyres to see how they would behave during the race before they switched to the medium compound tyres when track grip became more prevalent.[25] Räikkönen set a benchmark in the session's first ten minutes, which Rosberg and then Sutil bettered. Rosberg and his teammate Hamilton fought over the fastest lap time until Vettel used the medium compound tyres to pace the field with a 1-minute and 36.435 seconds with three minutes to go. Hamilton was 0.133 seconds slower in second position. Sutil, Webber, Räikkönen, Di Resta, Jenson Button for the McLaren team, Massa, Rosberg and Alonso completed the top ten quickest drivers.[26] Towards the conclusion of the session, Hamilton's right front tyre sustained a torn tread,[27] after he locked the wheel and flat-spotted it to the canvas.[28] Part of the tyre detached on the backstraight and damaged Hamilton's front wing.[28]

Qualifying[edit]

Sebastian Vettel took his second pole position of the season and the 38th of his career

Saturday afternoon's qualifying session was divided into three parts. The first part ran for 18 minutes, eliminating cars that finished the session 17th or below. The 107% rule was in effect, requiring drivers to reach a time within 107% of the quickest lap to qualify. The second session lasted 15 minutes, eliminating cars that finished 11th to 16th. The final session determined pole position to tenth. Cars who progressed to the final session were not allowed to change tyres for the race's start, using the tyres with which they set their quickest lap times.[17] A sudden downpour five minutes to the end of the second session,[29] created a wet track from turns five and six and prompted every driver to use intermediate compound tyres partway through the final session.[30] Vettel used a single set of medium compound tyres in the first and second sessions to prevent tyre overuse.[30] He used a set of intermediate compound tyres in the final minutes of the third session to take his second pole position of the season and the 38th of his career with a 1-minute and 49.674 seconds lap. He was joined on the grid's front row by Massa who was nine-tenths of a second slower and started second for the first time since the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix.[29] Massa was faster than his teammate Alonso in third for the fourth consecutive round.[31] Hamilton used an older set of intermediate tyres in Mercedes' strategy to remain on the circuit and qualified fourth. Webber took fifth; he used one set of intermediate tyres and a pit-wall miscommunication at the final session's conclusion that allowed Hamilton to pass him prevented a lap time improvement.[30]

Felipe Massa began from the front row of the grid for the first time since the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Rosberg was fastest in the first session;[30] on a used set of intermediate tyres, he fell to sixth in the final session.[32] Räikkönen qualified provisional seventh on a new set of intermediate tyres.[30] A lack of pace put Button eighth and an oversteer in the corners left Sutil (who led the first session) ninth. Pérez was tenth.[32] Grosjean was the fastest driver not to qualify in the top ten after he drove onto the track too late; he was almost 1.5 seconds slower than Rosberg in the second session.[30] Hülkenberg in 12th used a set of worn medium compound tyres and a loss of weather data prevented a tyre change from Sauber. Daniel Ricciardo for the Toro Rosso team had the balance of his car adjusted and took 13th. Gutiérrez was 14th-fastest after he could not extract extra pace from his C32 and the medium compound tyres.[32] Di Resta was required to abort a timed lap due to the rain prompting Force India to call him to the pit lane for a tyre change.[31] He took 15th because he rejoined the track when the rain started to fall and made two driver errors.[29] Williams driver Pastor Maldonado in 16th position set no lap because he aborted it when the rain fell. Jean-Éric Vergne's Toro Rosso, 17th, failed to advance beyond the first session after a slower vehicle obstructed him in the final third of a lap. Valtteri Bottas recorded the 18th-fastest time for Williams due to not extracting more grip from the medium compound tyre. The Marussia cars of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton were 19th and 21st; they were separated by Charles Pic who had an understeer on his first effort that a pressure adjustment for his second lap did not remove. Giedo van der Garde was slowed by an oversteer on a set of medium compound tyres, which made him the final qualifier in 22nd.[31]

Post-qualifying[edit]

After the session ended, Räikkönen was issued a three-place grid penalty by the race stewards after they deemed him to have blocked Rosberg between turns 12 and 15 in the third session. This elevated Button to seventh, Sutil eighth and Pérez ninth.[33]

Qualifying classification[edit]

The fastest lap in each of the three sessions is denoted in bold and the winner of pole position is indicated by a double-dagger.

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Q1 Q2 Q3 Grid
1 1 Germany Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:37.899 1:37.245 1:49.674 1double-dagger
2 4 Brazil Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:37.712 1:36.874 1:50.587 2
3 3 Spain Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:37.314 1:36.877 1:50.727 3
4 10 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.513 1:36.517 1:51.699 4
5 2 Australia Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:37.619 1:36.449 1:52.244 5
6 9 Germany Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:37.239 1:36.190 1:52.519 6
7 7 Finland Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:36.959 1:36.640 1:52.970 101
8 5 United Kingdom Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:37.487 1:37.117 1:53.175 7
9 15 Germany Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:36.809 1:36.834 1:53.439 8
10 6 Mexico Sergio Pérez McLaren-Mercedes 1:37.702 1:37.342 1:54.136 9
11 8 France Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:37.363 1:37.636 11
12 11 Germany Nico Hülkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:37.931 1:38.125 12
13 19 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:37.722 1:38.822 13
14 12 Mexico Esteban Gutiérrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:37.707 1:39.221 14
15 14 United Kingdom Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:37.493 1:44.509 15
16 16 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:37.867 no time 16
17 18 France Jean-Éric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:38.157 17
18 17 Finland Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:38.207 18
19 22 France Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:38.434 19
20 20 France Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:39.314 20
21 23 United Kingdom Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:39.672 21
22 21 Netherlands Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:39.932 22
107% time: 1:43.585
Source:[34]

Notes:

Race[edit]

Valtteri Bottas began the race with a revised front wing specification after damaging one while on a reconnaissance lap that saw him aquaplane into a gravel trap.

The race took place in the afternoon from Malaysian Standard Time (UTC+08:00) on 24 March.[1] Thunderstorms were forecast for the day of the race,[3] and at the start weather conditions were wet due to a half an hour torrential downpour falling 40 minutes beforehand.[35] The air temperature was between 24 to 25 °C (75 to 77 °F) and the track temperature ranged from 27 to 33 °C (81 to 91 °F).[36] 90,000 people were in attendance.[37] The standing water caused light spray and impaired visibility, and all cars used intermediate tyres.[38] Turn three was flooded, which caused several drivers to aquaplane into a gravel trap. Bottas damaged the front wing on his car; the Williams team assessed and changed it on the starting grid.[39][40] Williams also changed Maldonado's engine on the morning of the race due to piston damage in qualifying. Maldonado incurred no grid penalty because he switched to another of his eight allocated engines for the season.[41]

When the five red lights extinguished to start the race,[39] Vettel made a brisk getaway to maintain his pole position advantage into the first corner.[42] Behind him, the Ferrari cars of Massa and Alonso veered towards each other with Hamilton to their left and Webber on their right. Alonso entered the second turn in second position and was surprised at Vettel's perceived early braking. He made contact against the rear of Vettel's car, which caused him to run wide and damage his front wing. In the meantime, Webber overtook both of the Mercedes vehicles to move into third place and battled Alonso for second for the first lap.[30] The left-front section of Alonso's front wing scraped along the tarmac surface,[43] and Ferrari kept him on the circuit in anticipation it would not detach,[44] and he would be the first to switch to slick tyres later on.[30] Further down the field, Massa was blocked by other cars and fell from second to sixth.[38] Hülkenberg made a fast getaway to advance from 12th to ninth as Pérez progressed from tenth to eighth.[39]

Fernando Alonso's retirement after his front wing became lodged beneath his Ferrari and prevented him from steering it.

At the start of lap two, Webber drew alongside Alonso;[40] the latter's front wing then detached and folded under his Ferrari at the end of the start/finish straight,[30] and Alonso after losing steering ability careened into a gravel trap at turn one. Alonso requested track stewards to extricate his car from the gravel, which they did not do and became the race's first retirement.[40] DRS was enabled on the third lap.[42] Rosberg battled Button for fourth position and he passed the latter on the third lap.[38] On the following lap, Räikkönen attempted to pass Ricciardo for tenth place at turn one,[39] only to run wide and drop to 12th position soon after.[42] Pérez was passed on the inside by Hülkenberg for seventh place at turn one and made an unsuccessful attempt to retake the position on the outside at turn two on the fifth lap.[39] As lap times lowered,[45] Vettel made a pit stop from the lead at the conclusion of that lap to switch to the medium compound tyres.[40] He struggled to locate grip on a wet section of tarmac and lost positions to Pérez, Sutil and Grosjean in the first third of the lap,[40] until he drove onto a drier section of track and overtook Grosjean and Sutil blocked his attempt at a pass at turn 13. On lap seven, Pérez was overtaken by Vettel for seventh.[39]

In the meantime, Webber led laps five to seven,[30] because Red Bull advised him turn three was too wet for dry tyres and he set a series of fast lap times.[40][45] His race engineer Simon Rennie,[46] told him to enter the pit lane on the seventh lap.[30] Hamilton made a pit stop on lap eight.[40] He mistakenly drove into the McLaren pit stall and the team waved him through to prepare for Button and Pérez's arrival. On the same lap, Toro Rosso released Vergne into the path of Pic and the two made contact. Both drivers had their front wings replaced.[39] The stewards deemed Vergne to have been released unsafely into Pic's path and fined the Toro Rosso team $10,000; Vergne did not incur a post-race time penalty.[47] Rosberg led the eighth lap until he made his first stop. After the pit stops, Webber led from his teammate Vettel and Hamilton. On lap nine, Grosjean passed Ricciardo to take over ninth position. His teammate Räikkönen attempted to do likewise through turn nine and was unsuccessful. He tried again and overtook Ricciardo with DRS into the final turn hairpin. Two laps later, Grosjean employed DRS to pass Pérez for eighth position and di Resta overtook his teammate Sutil.[39] On the 12th lap, Räikkönen tried to pass Pérez for ninth on the approach to turn one and was unsuccessful.[38]

Maldonado in 12th position ran onto a damp white line denoting the boundaries of the track at turn 11 on lap 13. He drove across the gravel trap and removed half of the front wing on his Williams car. Maldonado recovered to the pit lane without external aid for a replacement front wing and rejoined the race in 21st place.[39][40] By lap 15, Webber led by 2.2 seconds over his teammate Vettel, who in turn, was the same distance ahead of Hamilton (the fastest driver on the circuit) in third.[38] Räikkönen made a second attempt to overtake Pérez with DRS for ninth position into the first corner on lap 16 and got ahead of him. Sutil took 13th place from Gutiérrez after the latter made an error at turn eight. On lap 19, Di Resta employed DRS to pass Ricciardo into turn one for eleventh position.[39] Webber began the second round of pit stops when he entered the pit lane to switch to the medium compound tyre at the conclusion of the same lap. He rejoined the track in fifth, behind Button.[38] Vettel was elevated to the lead and was instructed by his race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin to increase his speed to have a chance of retaining the position. He and Rosberg made their second pit stops at the end of lap 22. Vettel and Rosberg returned to the circuit in third and fourth places as Webber returned to the lead.[40]

The two Force India cars of Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil were retired shortly before half distance due to a reoccurring captive wheel nut system failure.

In the meantime, a reoccurring captive wheel nut system fault possibly caused by a high ambient temperature on the front-left wheel prevented Sutil from returning to the circuit for 84 seconds. The Force India team later retired Sutil and his teammate Di Resta because they were unable to rectify the problem before the end of the Grand Prix and they did not wish to cause any major damage to both vehicles.[38][48] By the end of lap 25, Vettel (on the hard compound tyre) was less than a second behind his teammate Webber and was able to use DRS to attempt a pass for the lead. The gap to Vettel and Webber was lowered to four-tenths of a second at the start of the next lap as the Mercedes of Hamilton gained on the pair. Rocquelin told Vettel over the radio on the same lap to conserve his tyres in the high-speed corners of the track because he drew too close to Weber and was affected by the aerodynamic turbulence created by the airflow over his teammate's car.[39][40] Webber also slowed to preserve the life of his tyres to enable him to reach the third sequence of pit stops and Vettel told the Red Bull team over the radio to get his teammate to relinquish the lead to him because he believed he was the faster driver at the time.[46] On the 29th lap, Webber increased his pace to go three-tenths of a second faster than Vettel,[30] and continued to pull away.[39]

The third pit stop phase began on the 30th lap. Hamliton entered the pit lane to switch to the hard compound tyres and rejoined the track in fifth place. Webber and Rosberg made their stops on the next lap for the hard compound tyres and emerged in third and fifth. Vettel led the 32nd lap. He made his stop and returned in fourth position, behind Hamilton and Webber. Button led from laps 33 and 34.[38] Webber unsuccessfully challenged Button for first place on the approach to the final corner.[39] He then deployed DRS and braked later than Button going into the first corner to reclaim the lead on lap 35.[38][40] On the 36th lap, Button had a problematic pit stop.[42] A fault in the McLaren micro-switch pit stop lights system erroneously illuminated a green light for 120 milliseconds and Button was released from his pit stall before the mechanic who installed his right-front wheel had completed the task.[30] Mechanics recovered Button's car to the pit stall to allow the mechanic to complete the job.[40] Button lost two minutes in the pit lane and he emerged one lap behind in 14th position.[38] At the front of the field, Hamilton was asked to conserve fuel after Mercedes was unable to adapt to the speed of the faster Red Bull cars and Vettel used DRS on the run to turn one to pass the former for second place on lap 39.[40][49]

Vettel began to draw clear from Hamilton. On lap 41, Hülkenberg locked his tyres heavily in the final corner and Räikkönen overtook him on the inside line for eighth place at turns one and two. Hamilton began the final sequence of pit stops at the end of the lap, and was followed in due course by the Red Bull duo of Vettel and Webber and Hamilton's teammate Rosberg.[39][40] Webber rejoined the race on an old set of hard compound tyres,[46] and he repelled an attack from his teammate Vettel through turns one to four to retain the lead.[40] It was at this point Red Bull invoked team orders on Vettel and Webber with the code "Multi-Map 21". This mandated both drivers to alter the setting of their engine power modes to lower their performance and remain in first and second positions without challenging each other due to the team's fears that a battle would degrade their tyres.[2][30][46] At the end of the lap, Hamilton was passed for third place by his teammate Rosberg, who used DRS into the final turn hairpin. Hamilton retook the position heading towards the first turn.[30]

Sebastian Vettel ignored team orders from Red Bull and passed his teammate Mark Webber for the lead on lap 46. He went on to win the race.

On the 46th lap,[42] Vettel, in an act of revenge for being forced towards the pit wall at the start of the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix by Webber that ultimately caused him to be hit by Williams driver Bruno Senna,[50] turned onto the inside line at the end of the start/finish straight and deployed DRS and KERS. Webber put him towards the pit lane barrier with their wheels almost coming into contact at around 180 mph (290 km/h). Webber used the outside line to retain the lead ahead of Vettel at the second corner. In doing so, Webber placed himself away from the projected racing line and Vettel accelerated faster out of the exit of turn three.[30] Vettel turned to the outside line cresting a hill into turn four and he overtook Webber to take over the lead coming out of the corner through better traction.[30][40] Christian Horner, the team principal of Red Bull, reprimanded Vettel over the radio, "This is silly, Seb. Come on."[40] At the start of lap 47, Webber attempted a pass on the outside of Vettel going into turn one, which Vettel responded to place Webber on the edge of the tarmac surface to prevent his teammate from driving onto the outside line at the following corner.[30] That same lap, Maldonado pulled off to the side of the track to retire from the Grand Prix with a KERS failure.[38][49]

Massa made a pit stop on the 47th lap to switch to the medium compound tyres when he noticed he was unable to close up to Grosjean's Lotus and affect a pass. He emerged in eighth position.[30][38] Räikkönen overtook Pérez on the inside at the final corner hairpin to move into sixth place on lap 49. Massa then moved past Pérez into the first turn for seventh position notwithstanding the latter using DRS to challenge Räikkönen. Not long after Massa got ahead of Räikkönen for sixth.[39] Rosberg implored the Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn to allow him to pass his teammate Hamilton on lap 50; Brawn prevented him from doing because he wanted to ensure both cars completed the event. He sought to control Hamilton's pace and give him a better position in the World Drivers' Championship.[30][51] Two laps later, Ricciardo drove to his pit stall and retired with a faulty exhaust system.[38][49] Then, Massa retook fifth position from Grosjean on the straight going into the final turn hairpin.[38][40]

Sergio Pérez finished ninth and set the fastest lap of the race on the final lap.

On the 55th lap, Button was retired in the garage with a vibration caused by a lock on his left-front suspension.[49][52] That lap, after Pérez was passed by Hülkenberg on the inside for eighth place into the fourth corner, he made a pit stop for the hard compound tyres.[38] He remained ninth because he held a healthy advantage over Vergne in tenth. For the final lap, Brawn told Hamilton over the radio to conserve fuel to ensure he finished the race as Rosberg continued to hold position.[39] Unhindered in the final nine laps, Vettel took his first victory of the season, his third in Malaysia after he won the 2010 and 2011 races and the 27th of his career,[51] which tied him with the three-time world champion Jackie Stewart.[2] Webber followed 4.298 seconds later in second and Hamilton took his first podium finish with Mercedes in third.[39] Off the podium, Rosberg and Massa were fourth and fifth. Grosjean and Räikkönen's Lotus entries were sixth and seventh. Hülkenberg took eighth for Sauber's first points finish of the season.[40] Pérez secured ninth and set the race's fastest lap on the final lap, a 1-minute and 39.199 seconds. Vergne completed the top ten. The final classified finishers were Bottas, Gutiérrez, Bianchi, Pic, Van Der Garde, Chilton, Button and Ricciardo.[2]

Post-race[edit]

Lewis Hamilton took his first podium finish with the Mercedes team

Webber was told by Red Bull's technical director Adrian Newey Vettel was instructed to hold position.[46] He was incensed over Vettel's action he considered boycotting the podium ceremony until he was convinced otherwise.[53] In the cool down room, Vettel was eager to speak to Webber, who did not wish to communicate to him.[46] He sat down on a chair and said to Vettel, "Multi 21, Seb. Multi 21."[40] At the podium interviews, conducted by pundit and former driver Martin Brundle, Vettel said it had been "very close wheel-to-wheel racing" with Webber and believed both drivers did not have more space to negotiate with.[54] Webber commented his teammate Vettel made an independent decision to pass him and Red Bull would protect him.[54] Hamilton stated his belief his teammate Rosberg should have beaten him to third, "Generally he had better pace than me throughout the race. He’s a great team-mate and did a fantastic job today."[54] In the post-race press conference, Vettel called himself "the black sheep" for prioritising himself over the Red Bull team.[54] Webber said in the final fifteen laps, his mindset, "was thinking that many things, yes. Many many things" from previous races and the current event.[54] Hamilton said he would speak to Mercedes and ask whether he would apologise to his teammate Rosberg,[54]

Vettel ignoring team orders was a key moment in his rivalry with Webber, which had started when he collided with Webber at the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix and was forced to retire.[55] Horner talked to Vettel and Webber on the night after the race to project his own misgivings about the situation.[53] Vettel flew from Kuala Lumpur to visit the Red Bull team's factory in Milton Keynes, England on 26 March to apologise in person to his colleagues after doing so to Webber in the press-conference. According to Horner, Vettel was eager to make compensate for the wrongdoing and shook hands with Webber, "he can't turn back the clock, but he's accepted what he did was wrong."[56][57] He was not formally reprimanded or punished by Red Bull due to his lawyers threatening legal action over the instruction and he told Webber at the Chinese Grand Prix three weeks later he was annoyed by his teammate's comments on the podium.[46] Vettel later recanted his apology and said he was not sorry for taking the victory, ""Obviously I realised at that moment there was quite a conflict. On the one hand I am the kind of guy who respects team decisions and on the other hand, probably Mark is not the one who deserved it (to win) at the time. The bottom line is I was racing, I was faster, I passed him, I won."[58]

Mark Webber was asked by Red Bull founder and co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz to give a verbal and written account about Vettel's actions

While in Australia, Webber received a telephone call from Dietrich Mateschitz, the Red Bull owner and co-founder. Mateschitz asked Webber to provide a verbal and written account of the events because he was irate about the damage done to his company's reputation.[46] While there were press reports and comments from the Formula One community over his future at Red Bull and whether his car would be driven its reserve driver Sébastien Buemi,[59] Webber dismissed the suggestions and stated he would continue to drive on behalf of the team for the foreseeable future, "I am keen to race this year, and put together a strong campaign. Year by year, I come to the summer and I will speak to Dietrich [Mateschitz] and we will go from there. I have never made decisions in my career at this point of the season and I don't see why I should make any decisions now about the future."[60]

Jenson Button retired with three laps of the race to go with a vibration caused by a lack on his McLaren's left-front suspension.

Alonso said he felt he could have challenged for the victory had he not retired on the second lap, "Today we had a good car and I don't think we were too far from Red Bull pace in the race. They didn't have all the aces this weekend. No one was especially quick, so I think we could really have fought for the win."[61] Button commented he could have battled the Mercedes cars for third position, "We had one less pitstop to do, but I don't know what would have happened, but I think at worst it would have been fifth. We could have pushed the Mercedes and they were fighting between themselves so it could have been interesting."[62] While Rosberg implored Ross Brawn to reconsider his decision to maintain position, he said he respected Mercedes' opinion, "It’s an important day for us, that’s for sure. We’ve had such a tough time in the past years. To be third and fourth, fighting the Red Bulls is such a milestone,"[63] Mercedes' motorsport boss, Toto Wolff, commented on Rosberg's demeanour, "As a racing driver, deep inside him [Rosberg] is not happy about it. But he understands why that call was made. We are all grown ups and they are grown up. They are professional sportsmen and they understand that sometimes there can be a certain controversy in a certain situation."[64]

The race result moved Vettel into the lead of the World Drivers' Championship with 40 points. Räikkönen lost the lead of the Drivers' Championship as he fell to second, nine points behind Vettel. Webber was elevated three positions to third position with 26 points and Hamilton (25 points) moved to fourth place. With 22 points, Massa dropped from fourth to fifth position.[6] In the World Constructors' Championship, Red Bull took the lead with 60 points. Lotus maintained second place with 40 points. Ferrari fell from the lead of the Constructors' Championship to third. Mercedes and Force India maintained fourth and fifth positions with seventeen races remaining in the season.[6]

Race classification[edit]

Drivers who scored championship points are denoted in bold and by a double-dagger.

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1 Germany Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 56 1:38:56.681 1 25double-dagger
2 2 Australia Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 56 +4.298 5 18double-dagger
3 10 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 56 +12.181 4 15double-dagger
4 9 Germany Nico Rosberg Mercedes 56 +12.640 6 12double-dagger
5 4 Brazil Felipe Massa Ferrari 56 +25.648 2 10double-dagger
6 8 France Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 56 +35.564 11 8double-dagger
7 7 Finland Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 56 +48.479 10 6double-dagger
8 11 Germany Nico Hülkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 56 +53.044 12 4double-dagger
9 6 Mexico Sergio Pérez McLaren-Mercedes 56 +1:12.357 9 2double-dagger
10 18 France Jean-Éric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 56 +1:27.124 17 1double-dagger
11 17 Finland Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 56 +1:28.610 18
12 12 Mexico Esteban Gutiérrez Sauber-Ferrari 55 +1 Lap 14
13 22 France Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 55 +1 Lap 19
14 20 France Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 55 +1 Lap 20
15 21 Netherlands Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 55 +1 Lap 22
16 23 United Kingdom Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 54 +2 Laps 21
17 5 United Kingdom Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 53 Wheel 7
18 19 Australia Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 51 Exhaust 13
Ret 16 Venezuela Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 45 KERS failure 16
Ret 15 Germany Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 27 Wheel nut 8
Ret 14 United Kingdom Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 22 Wheel nut 15
Ret 3 Spain Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1 Collision damage 3
Source:[30]

Championship standings after the race[edit]

  • Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.

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External links[edit]


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