Archive | March, 2013

Vettel wins in Sepang amidst team orders controversy

24 Mar

It was a story of team orders, rain that happened too early and of the many pit stops, one of which never happened. Light showers 30 minutes before the lights made sector 1 wet enough for everyone to start on intermediates. So much water was there that many cars took a trip to gravel trap and couple damaging front wing and diffuser plates on way to the grid. Sectors 2 and 3 were relatively dry.

F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia-2013

At the light, Alonso and Webber had a good start before Alonso hit the back of Vettel’s Red Bull and with serious damage to his front wing, for some strange reason decided to continue for another lap. The wing gave way on the start finish straight and Alonso’s race was done. A very un-Alonso like decision that and Massa also had a tough race to sum up a tough day for Ferrari. Only consolation was Massa’s late surge after the fourth pit to finish 5th.
As the track began to dry and times were around the 1:52 mark, cars started pouring in the pit lane and that was the start of the drama. Lewis somehow still thinks a lot about McLaren, so much that he stopped his car at his previous team’s box, only to see the pit crew wave at him. Force Indias decide to pit both the cars together but some strange wheel nut issue led to 4 horrifying pit stops leading to retirement of both Sutil and di Resta. A real shame for a team that looked capable of a double points finish. In another incident, a Torro Rosso and Caterham had contact while entering the pit box. Button also had a poor pit stop later in the race that put him from a chance of top 5 finish to outside the top 10.
4 stops for all drivers meant that in laps and out laps were of critical importance and Hamilton often mixed with the Red Bulls in front but fuel consumption prevented Lewis from challenging him for much longer. Webber led for a long time before Vettel slowly reeled him in. It was wheel to wheel between the 2 Red Bulls for about half a lap, the fight forcing Horner to tell Vettel that his move was “just silly”. Soon, Rosberg was all over Hamilton and demanded being released by Hamilton, only to be plainly refused by Ross Brawn’s “Negative”. Sounded like team orders at first but it wasn’t to be allowed as Hamilton was driving conservatively on team’s instructions only. It resulted in a not so happy looking podium and apologetic Vettel and Hamilton.
So, an eventful race, not the way we expected and yet again a team finishes 1-2. Red Bull are on the charge, they know that all these points are vital. No clear order set yet but we know that Mercedes is stronger than expected and Ferrari, Lotus and McLaren will have to fight hard.

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