Malaysian Grand Prix

182 posts in this topic

And what's with the "MULTI 21" thing? Don't they know team orders are legal now? Why all the pseudo secrecy?

Those are the kind of signs that won't help them. And before somebody tell me about Ferrari and McLaren and THEIR secrecy let me tell you that the problem I am talking about is about image, and in that sense Ferrari is and always will be the bad guy but they are used to that role. RBR is as bad but with a hollier-than-thou attitude. That's what gets on most people's nerves.

If Ferrari is a paedophile, RBR is a paedophile priest.

Multi21 - it's an engine map setting for saving fuel. Honestly, don't you know anything about F1??? :whistling:

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Multi21 - it's an engine map setting for saving fuel. Honestly, don't you know anything about F1??? whistling.gif


Of course I do! What do you think I am? I know who won and everything. It was Vettel!!

In the library

With the candlestick.


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I don't know if you read the previous posts of both George and myself, but just to clarify, the 'arrogant disobedient team mate' reference was both George and myself using the general media branding of Seb, it's not our opinion of him.

My point was that Webber would have been equally disobedient if he had turned up the revs. Not for me either but for the media, fans and more importantly for Red Bull too.

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002-MAL-Race-Results-300x204.gif Malaysian GP Results

If we learned anything from the Malaysian Grand Prix last Sunday, it's that it's never too early for high-stakes drama. One might even say that the podium interviews were just as exciting as the race itself.

After all, it's not often we see a podium ceremony so full of tension to the point where body language alone would tell an unawares observer that they were watching three men who just had the worst drives of their lives.

Look no further than Mark Webber, who finished in 2nd place, which would seem normally fantastic. Yet he was barely able to contain his anger as Sebastian Vettel stood in the middle of the podium -- granted, sheepishly -- and accepted the 27th winner's trophy of his career. But this race will not be remembered as the one where Vettel tied Jackie Stewart for the all-time career wins; no, this race will be remembered for Vettel's complete defiance of team orders to remain in P2 behind his teammate. Vettel opted instead to engage Webber in a risky duel, though he was able to overtake the lead on lap 44, eventually winning his first race of the season.

No matter how you cut it, it's hard to imagine this problem between Mark and Seb going away. While it will be a difficult season to bear out under the current status quo, it's fair to wonder if Webber will remain with the team beyond this season.

Curiously though, this was not the only case of team orders for the front runners, as Mercedes faced the same dilemma with both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. As the race went on, Nico repeatedly pleaded with team principal Ross Brawn to allow him to pass a slower Lewis Hamilton, only to be denied. Nico was of course disappointed, but the key difference between Mercedes and Red Bull is that Hamilton acknowledged Nico was correct.

The discrepancy between Ross Brawn and Christian Horner could not have been any starker. While Brawn demonstrated complete authority, Horner demonstrated silence, which could not have helped Webber's view. Now the leading constructor will have to spend the next three weeks trying to patch up things between Mark and Seb, as well as earn back the trust of Mark. This could get uglier before it improves.

The other big story of the race was the sheer volume of problems many teams had in the pit lanes. Toro Rosso, Caterham, Force India & McLaren were all victims of failures, poor judgment and circumstance. Force India had wheel problems, and Toro Rosso was fined for an early release that caused a collision with Charles Pic in the Caterham. Jenson Button's drive was compromised by pit blunders, more on that in a moment.

Biggest Winners

002-MAL-DR-Race-300x140.gif Malaysian GP Driver Productivity

Felipe Massa - Another strong drive from the recently-maligned Brazilian, salvaging 6th after Alonso was out after one lap. He also out-qualified Alonso for the second race in a row, so it's quite clear Felipe appears to be back in form to his pre-Hungary 2009 days. While true Felipe did fail to secure a podium despite his P2 grid start, the spotty weather and pace of the Red Bulls doesn't make this surprising. He also made a strong push late in the race to assure his finish, which also speaks well for the tire wear for the F138. Ferrari is hoping this continues, as they appear to be the only team in the early running to give Red Bull any hassle.

Jean-Eric Vergne - Despite starting 17th, Vergne was able to score a point finishing 10th. The jockeying of drivers and teams around that bubble spot is going to be ongoing for the 2013 campaign, but Vergne appears as a more consistent driver than Daniel Ricciardo. If Toro Rosso can sort out its mistakes, their car could be in the running for points any given race.

Romain Grojean - Another finish without incident for the 2nd year Lotus driver, a good sign that he has developed patience over the winter. Grojean was able to finish 6th after starting 11th, one spot ahead of Kimi. Lotus must be happy to see him finishing races and are learning to trust him more.

Valtteri Bottas & Esteban Gutierrez - Both rookies were impressive again, though neither were able to secure a point. Bottas climbed a remarkable seven spots to finish 11th, and has been particularly eye-catching. This is helped by the contrast between him and his teammate Pastor Maldonado. The Williams car is an early mystery, but Pastor needs to improve quickly or he could be facing replacement sooner than later. Meanwhile Gutierrez finished 12th and for the second race in a row, was able to finish higher than he started. Both of these guys are racing with cool heads and avoiding rookie mistakes. Honorable mention to Marussia driver Jules Bianchi, who managed 13th thanks to retirements from some of the faster cars.

Biggest Losers

Fernando Alonso - Missing out on points is bad enough, but Malaysia was unique because Alonso made uncharacteristic errors. His tap with Vettel coming around Turn 3 was very slight, but as we know it was enough to damage the front wing. But the decision to not pit at the end of Lap 1 ended up being all too costly when his wing broke coming down the start/finish straight and thus ended his day after one lap. Ferrari assumed responsibility for the decision, but I can't rule out the possibility of the team taking bullet for Alonso's judgment. Given Massa's pace, it's safe to wonder if Alonso could have secured a podium without the incident. His swift exit was just as swift in a kick to the groin for Ferrari fans.

Force India - A bigtime winner in the season opener, Vijay Mallya's crew saw their second race disintegrate into ashes thanks to an insurmountable wheel nut problem. Watching Sutil stranded for minutes in the pit lane was absolutely brutal. Paul di Resta retired on his last pit stop. The three week gap between races couldn't have come at a better time, as the team will need that gap to fix the problem.

Jenson Button - He was on his way to a potentially impressive result, but was let down by his team failing to secure his right-front wheel and he was forced to be wheeled back for an almost 2 minute delay. He would later retire from severe vibration. His teammate Sergio Perez was not able to finish than his grid start of P9, but it was evident McLaren had made decent strides in the short week.

Christian Horner - Despite Red Bull's success, few would envy the position of Horner after this one. Not only must he sort out the issues between Seb and Mark, but also the team's relationship with Mark. Furthermore, his backbone is being tested by Vettel's arrogant disregard of team orders. Christian will need to decide who runs the team - he or Vettel.

Biggest Surprise

Because the season is so young, it's hard to be surprised by any pace or performance discrepancies between Australia and Malaysia. However, the broad spectrum of pitstop problems and mistakes were glaring, almost to the point where it seemed historical. Teams will really need to dial in their hardware and protocols, as pit blunders are the difference between a good result and a forgettable one.

Not So Surprising...

The pace of the Red Bull and additionally, the cutthroat nature of Vettel. We always knew Seb does not handle losing well but he exposed himself here as a poor sport. It would be a long time before he could convince anyone he is a team player.

What to Look for in Round 3

  • China could be an interesting benchmark for Mercedes. Nico Rosberg won his first (and thus far only) career race at China last year. His 2011 teammate Michael Schumacher had also been running well until a pit error ruined his result. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton has won in China twice. This could be setting up for a strong finish for Brawn's team.
  • The behavior of Webber and Vettel on track, starting with practice, qualifying sessions and of course the race. All eyes will be on Red Bull, its drivers and how it handles the strain of its drivers.
  • Will Bottas continue to outshine Maldonado so thoroughly?

2013 F1 Driver Power Rankings after Round 02F1-2013-PowerRankings-002.gif

2013 F1 Driver Power Rankings

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The Kati vs. John story sounds betters than Webber vs. Vettel! I'll go get some popcorn now...snack.gif

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Posted in the 'F1 Today' thread as well.....

So, RBR finally find some balls. Well, I say 'some' as it it very much a face-saving exercise as opposed to a punishment. Ricciardo gets Seb's tub for China and vice versa. A bizarre solution that will add spice to the event perhaps?

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