Malaysian GP: THE POINT
The Malaysian GP was full of mistakes, which can become the leitmotiv of the season. When teams have to pit three-four times per car and the battle is within few tenths, it is clear that problems are just around the corner. What is more, if we consider the excitement for the strategy, the difficult weather conditions and the attempt to pit faster and faster (2 seconds), we have a more complete picture of the situation.
Among the teams who bored the brunt in Malaysia, we have to mention Force India; the Indian squad had air pistol and hub issues. Jenson Button had a right-front wheel issue as well as Hamilton, who thought about visiting his previous mechanics. We don’t have to forget about Fernando Alonso and the Ferrari team. Just after few laps we lost a great driver who hadn’t been making any mistake for many GP. He made an evaluation mistake, but the technicians’ decision to leave him out without replacing the damaged wing, is somehow very strange. A risky strategy could have been good, but it was important to finish in the score zone.
In a 19-race- championship, positions are very important, as we saw in the past season. The Italian team lost the championship missing only 3 points. Strategy or the will to get results, are sometimes taken to the maximum level, even in situations which are so different if compared to what it was expected. In this case too many risks were taken. The Spaniard was only on the second lap, so they had to try to limit the damage and risked leaving him out, trying to finish in the score zone, as this championship is getting more and more competitive.
It will be hard to recover from zero point, giving the fact the fight is not only between two drivers but between 5, to whom outsiders such as Williams, Force India and Sauber have to be added. Last year Fernando lost the championship and finished second in Spain and Abu Dhabi behind Maldonado and Raikkonen, two drivers who weren’t considered to be running for the world title at the beginning of the season.
Red Bull was once again the car to be defeated, even if they’ll have to solve a big internal issue. It won’t be easy for Horner and Newey to manage the two drivers. The strategy can cause trouble for the drivers. Even Mercedes drivers were given some recommendations. This is something that doesn’t ring true inside a championship full of overtaking, sharp braking and inner fight. Sometimes the battle is taken to the limit.
Once again tyres handled the race; this is due to a variable weather which changed on-track situations. Teams are still learning how to make the best use of tyres, so in Malaysia things changed if compared to Australia, where Lotus got the best over McLaren. Despite the fact everyone considered the Walking Team almost “dead”, Button was fighting for a podium finish.
Thanks to his long experience and a good performance on hard tyres, he’s making a difference over his younger teammate Perez, who is at his first experience in a top team and has to deal with a car which is still not so performing.
Felipe Massa had a good start of season. The Brazilian driver delivered good qualifying performances over the past two weekends; his race performances were not bad, as well. His Ferrari had issues on medium tyres. In the wet the car didn’t keep pace with rivals and it had many problems when the track was still cool. Finishing fifth was the best result he could get, giving the fact Red Bull and Mercedes were much more competitive.
Now we’ll have a three-week-break before the Chinese GP. In China teams will showcase several upgrades and they will use the Pirelli soft for the first time. At that time we’ll have a complete overview of the Pirelli compounds.
Sepang – Gara
1. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 56 giri
2. Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault – +4″2
3. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – +12″1
4. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – +12″6
5. Felipe Massa – Ferrari – +25″6
6. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Renault – + 35″5
7. Kimi Raikkonen – Lotus-Renault – +48″4
8. Nico Hulkenberg – Sauber-Ferrari – +53″0
9. Sergio Perez – McLaren-Mercedes – +1’12″3
10. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – +1’27″1
11. Valtteri Bottas – Williams-Renault – +1’28″6
12. Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber-Ferrari – +1 giro
13. Jules Bianchi – Marussia-Cosworth – +1 giro
14. Charles Pic – Caterham-Renault – +1 giro
15. Giedo van der Garde – Caterham-Renault – +1 giro
16. Max Chilton – Marussia-Cosworth – +2 giri
17. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – +3 giri
18. Daniel Ricciardo – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – +5 giri
La classifica del Mondiale Piloti:
1. Vettel 40; 2. Raikkonen 31; 3. Webber 26; 4. Hamilton 25; 5. Massa 22; 6. Alonso 18; 7. Rosberg 12; 8. Grosjean 9; 10. Sutil 6
La classifica del Mondiale Costruttori:
1. Red-Bull Renault 66; 2. Lotus-Renault e Ferrari 40; 4. Mercedes 37; 5. Force India-Mercedes 10; 6. Sauber-Ferrari e McLaren-Mercedes 4; 8. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.