Malaysian GP 2013 - Major talking points
After Kimi Raikkonen surprised all of us at Australia, Sebastian Vettel, the defending Champion made sure that there are no surprises this time around by registering the 27th race win of his career. That, however, was not achieved without controversies and incidents.
So, here is a look at the major talking points of the 2013 Malaysian GP:
Force India started off strong in Australia with both their drivers scoring points. This time though, a fault with the wheel nuts ended both their drivers’ race.
The team still doesn’t know what went wrong. Adrian Sutil came into the pits first and there was some delay with his wheel nuts. Then Di Resta had the same issue. To prevent any further damage to the car, the team management decided to pull out both its cars from the race.
It is not often that you see Fernando Alonso crashing out on lap two. But today was one such day. On turn two after the start, Alonso nudged his front wing and after a lap, his wing folded under the car and he slid off the track. Why Ferrari didn’t ask Alonso to come to the pits to change his wing is still a mystery.
In the other Ferrari, Felipe Massa had a very good outing in Malaysia. Ever since his life threatening injury in Hungary, 2009, Massa has not won a single race. Last season, he became the first Ferrari driver to go through an entire season without a podium finish. But this time, he qualified ahead of Alonso in second place and managed to complete the race at a respectable 5th place.
As McLaren were waiting to receive Jenson Button to the pits, Hamilton made a wrong stop and parked his car at his former team’s pit area. Lucky for him, the Mercedes pit area was further along the pit lane. If not, he would have had to turn around all the way to reach his team’s pit area. This mistake didn’t seem to have done any damage to Hamilton’s race given that he still finished third behind the two Red Bulls who were much faster.
McLaren however found the whole thing interesting and even posted this on their Twitter account:
Feel free to pop in and say “hi” any time, @lewishamilton!
— McLaren (@TheFifthDriver) March 24, 2013
As we were nearing the end of the race, Rosberg, riding at No. 4 had much greater pace than his teammate Hamilton who was riding at No. 3. Rosberg wanted to overtake Hamilton and was heard saying so in the team radio. But Ross Brawn, the chief denied his request.
Hamilton finished third and during an interview after the race, he said “If I’m honest, I really feel that Nico should be standing here, he generally had better pace than me throughout the race but he’s a great teammate and he did a fantastic job today.”
Rosberg returned the courtesy by saying, “It’s nice to hear if he said that. That’s the way it is really, fair play from me today! As a team effort, I respected the team’s opinion.”
Formula 1 is a weird sport. You would think that it is a team sport, but at the end of the day every driver is racing for himself. The tension between the two Red Bull drivers, Vettel and Webber is well known and it took another ugly turn today.
After the final pit stops were over, Mark Webber was leading the pack with Vettel just behind him. To preserve the engines and tyres, the Red Bull management told both its drivers to hold it back. Webber thought that the race was his and reduced his pace. Vettel however ignored the orders and underwent a very risky overtaking manoeuvre which could have cost both the Red Bulls their race, to snatch the lead from Webber.
Chris Horner, the Red Bull Chief realized what Vettel was doing and radioed him “Come on Seb, this is silly” but he didn’t mind that.
In the press conference, which featured both the Red Bulls, things were really awkward. Webber said that he was upset with what happened. Vettel replied “When I came back, I saw the team’s reaction and I had a short word with Mark, it hit me quite hard that, language, I f***ed up.”
Webber however was not exactly satisfied with his teammate’s answer.