Published on April 11th, 2011 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Red Bull’s driver Sebastian Vettel takes an easy win in the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix
Red Bull Formula One (F1) driver Sebastian Vettel has easily won the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix. For Vettel it is his second victory of the 2011 F1 season, 12th of his career, and third-in-a-row since he won the 2010 season finale at Abu Dhabi. It is also Vettel’s fifth victory in the last six Grand Prix dating back to the Japanese Grand Prix last season. Vettel also won the 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix. For Red Bull, it is their second victory of the season, and 17th in the team’s short history. Vettel has started the season, and has made a strong start to the season as he looks for his second straight Formula One world championship. Vettel said of his victory, “Fantastico! It was a pleasure… I’m loving it, I’m loving it!” “It was a good thing during the first stint to have the Renault behind me,” said Vettel. “It was tight with Lewis, and never easy until he had a problem and with Button behind I could ease the car home. We have to keep pushing because it was much closer here than in Australia.” Christian Horner said of his winning driver, “He was the coolest guy here today. He gave us all the options to make the race work. He’s so young – just 23 – and he’s just getting better.” Over in the McLaren garage, 2009 Formula One World Champion Jenson Button had a quiet race as he drove brilliantly to a second place finish. Button said of his race,”It was a confusing race in a way, It was pretty tricky. On the last stint, the car came alive, and I’m happy to come away with a second.” Button was the only driver of the weekend to go 19 laps on the soft tyre over the weekend. Nick Heidfeld gave Lotus Renault a great run as he finished on the podium for the 13th time in his career – the most podiums in Formula One history without a victory. Heidfeld talked about his race after scoring his first podium since Malaysia in 2009 saying, “It was nice to be fighting up front. During the first pitstop we lost one-two positions, then Alonso broke his front wing, Hamilton had trouble, and it was great to come third!”
Sebastian summed things up during the warm-down lap: “It’s hot outside, but our heads are cool.” Which went for the whole team: pitwall, mechanics, engineers and team-mate. Cool heads meant we leave Malaysia with another decent points haul and two trophies in our luggage.
While the world champion calmly drove a second lights-to-flag victory, behind him all sorts of carnage, breakdowns and bust-ups were occuring: Petrov launched his Renault so high off a kerb its landing broke his steering, five teams had at least one retirement and there was Lewis v Alonso the re-re-re-match which saw the Spaniard lose a front wing when attempting a pass on the Brit, costing Hamilton dear. Actually it cost both of them dear, as the pair were given penalties post-race which meant Lewis dropped a place to eighth.
But one of the biggest fighters of the afternoon was our own Australian. A Kers situation off the line, combined with a very tight pack going into the first corner meant Webber was pushed back into ninth by the end of the first lap. But some blinding strategy – coupled with some very determined driving – meant Mark made up the places to finish fourth.
He said: “It wasn’t a good start out of the box and we had a failure with the Kers – so I was out of position on the first lap. Anyway, I fought back with a good strategy and got some good points at least, but I was disappointed not to get the podium. It was close but not close enough.”
His team principal, while praising Vettel’s victory, also echoed Webber sentiments. Christian said: “A fantastic result for Sebastian. It was a great performance and he controlled the race in a very mature manner. The only shame was the start of Mark’s race, he had a poor initial getaway and unfortunately a Kers issue denied him its use, meaning he got swamped down to Turn One. But it was a great recovery drive with a different strategy, he really made it work and ultimately he was very unlucky to miss out on the final podium position.”
Sebastian himself said that after a good start, which was crucial around this circuit, things weren’t all plain sailing: “The entire race was quite different to what we saw two weeks ago – it was a lot closer and there were more pit stops due to the tyres. It wasn’t an easy race. I’m very pleased with today’s result. It’s been close here, so we need to keep cool and keep pushing, but the guys know this is the way forward, so I’m not worried.”
If you’re looking for a team effort, there were a total of seven completed pitstops from our boys this afternoon. And no-one dropped the ball once. No mean feat in the Malaysian heat.
As we pack for the relatively short flight to Shanghai, it’s still looking good at the top of the tables, although as everyone keeps reminding themselves, there’s a long way to go in 2011