In its final appearance in the Formula 1 World Championship calendar the Sepang Circuit gave as one of the most exciting weekends of the season with important duels at both the head and the base of the ladder, as well as with Sebastian Vettel’s comeback after being forced to start at the back of the grid following problems in qualifying. After nineteen editions Malaysia says goodbye to the Circus, even though I hope to see it again in the near future.
Ferrari’s dark weekend ended with fourth place. It was a result that was decidedly tight for the men from Maranello in light of the times made by Vettel and his perfect race, including the fastest lap. It was really a pity because in two races Ferrari had shown it was a true presence and saw its great competiveness annulled by problems of reliability and mistakes by the drivers. Singapore and Sepang would have been important results in the fight for the title. The comeback on Ricciardo in the last part of the race caused increased tyre wear and thus denied him the final surge. Ferrari paid a very heavy price here in Sepang and now the German driver is called upon to make a difficult, but not impossible, comeback. There is also some bitterness for the problem that affected Kimi Raikonnen.
On the other hand, Lewis Hamilton came out of the weekend in a stronger position despite a victory that slipped away in favour of a Verstappen and a Red Bull that are confirming themselves as the true gauge of the championship. The Dutchman’s overtaking manoeuvre at the expense of the British champion was truly excellent.
This world championship is proving to be one conditioned by errors.
Gian Carlo Minardi