Malaysian Grand Prix 2013: Vettel grabs his first win of new season
Malaysian Grand Prix 2013: Sebastian Vettel claims his first win of the new season as he leads a Red Bull one-two at Sepang
Sebastian Vettel is back on track for his fourth consecutive world title as he overcame his Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber in a pulsating Malaysian Grand Prix.
The German put his disappointing third-place in Melbourne behind him as he held Webber to second, while Lewis Hamilton finished third to pick up his first Mercedes podium.
Fernando Alonso’s race ended after just one lap as his front wing exploded down the home straight, caused by damage from nudging Vettel while rounding rain-drenched Turn Two.
Meanwhile, the Mercedes of Hamilton and Nico Rosberg thrived in the wet conditions – moving up to third and fourth behind Vettel and Felipe Massa.
On lap five teams began to change from intermediate to dry tyres, and when ex-McLaren driver Hamilton entered the pits, he mistakenly drove into his old team’s pit box.
It cost the Briton a few seconds but he was hunting down Red Bulls Webber – heading the pack after starting fifth – and three-time world champion Vettel.
Hamilton’s compatriot Jensen Button was clinging onto the coattails of both Mercedes in fifth, while the Brackley-based team were losing ground on the world champions.
All five front-runners stayed in position after the second wave of pit-stops midway through the race – but the gap was narrowing with Vettel hot on the heels of his Australian counterpart.
According to Vettel on the radio, Webber was ‘too slow’ – but as if spurred on by his team-mate’s words, the 36-year-old responded to keep the German at bay.
The third pit stops unfolded on lap 35 – Hamilton splitting the Red Bulls – while disaster struck for Button as his team failed to drill on his front-right tyre.
Vettel eventually ousted Hamilton, sparking a tantalising battle with Webber on lap 43 after the Australian pitted and was fed back onto the track mere inches ahead.
The pair toed and froed – nearly colliding on several occasions – but the world champion edged ahead and managed to hang on for his maiden victory of the season.
The next stop on the F1 calendar is the Chinese Grand Prix in three weeks’ time – a race in which Rosberg took the spoils in 2012.
Malaysian Grand Prix 2013: Race result
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 4.298
3. Hamilton Mercedes + 12.1
4. Rosberg Mercedes + 12.640
5. Massa Ferrari + 25.6
6. Grosjean Lotus-Renault + 35.5
7. Räikkönen Lotus-Renault + 48.4
8. Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari + 53.0
9. Perez McLaren-Mercedes + 72.3
10. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 87.1
11. Bottas Williams-Renault + 88.6
12. Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
13. Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth + 1 lap
14. Pic Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
15. van der Garde Caterham-Renault + 1 lap
16. Chilton Marussia-Cosworth + 2 laps
17. Button McLaren-Mercedes +
18. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari +
19. Maldonado Williams-Renault +
20. Sutil Force India-Mercedes +
21. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes +
22. Alonso Ferrari +◀ The Sport Review homepageNext story ►
Read more on...
Nico Rosberg dismisses Italian Grand Prix conspiracy theories2 weeks ago Formula 1
Lewis Hamilton: Seeing Nico Rosberg booed in Monza ‘awkward’2 weeks ago Formula 1
Photos: Lewis Hamilton steps out with Nicole Scherzinger to collect GQ award3 weeks ago Formula 1
Nico Rosberg ‘takes responsibility’ for crash with Lewis Hamilton in Belgium4 weeks ago Formula 1
Ayrton Senna’s front wing end plates sold for £18,0004 weeks ago Formula 1
Belgian Grand Prix 2014: Hamilton ‘very upset’ after crash with Rosberg1 month ago Formula 1
Belgian Grand Prix 2014: Nico Rosberg delighted with ‘awesome’ pole1 month ago Formula 1
Belgian Grand Prix 2014: It’s great to be back, says Lewis Hamilton1 month ago Formula 1
Max Verstappen will cope in F1, says Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost1 month ago Formula 1
Red Bull chief attempts to explain Sebastian Vettel’s struggles1 month ago Formula 1
Hungarian Grand Prix 2014: Lewis Hamilton battles to third-place finish2 months ago Formula 1
Hungarian Grand Prix 2014: Hamilton suffers blow as Rosberg takes pole2 months ago Formula 1
Azerbaijan signs contract to host 2016 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe2 months ago Formula 1
Lewis Hamilton: I did as well as I could at the German Grand Prix2 months ago Formula 1
Lewis Hamilton vows to race through pain after German Grand Prix crash2 months ago Formula 1
Lewis Hamilton: No mind games with Nico Rosberg in F1 title race2 months ago Formula 1
Nico Rosberg signs new ‘multi-year’ Mercedes deal2 months ago Formula 1
Sebastian Vettel: Red Bull must close the gap to Mercedes2 months ago Formula 1
Nico Rosberg tells Lewis Hamilton: I’m 100% German3 months ago Formula 1
Lewis Hamilton entering ‘attack mode’ in Formula 1 title race3 months ago Formula 1