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Malaysian Grand Prix: F1: Hamilton eases to dominant Sepang victory

Lewis Hamilton led home Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel in a dominant Mercedes win at the Malaysian Grand Prix
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  • Hamilton leads home team-mate by 17.3s
  • Vettel third as Ricciardo retires due to pit stop disaster
  • Alonso takes fourth late on from Hulkenberg, Button and the two Williams


Lewis Hamilton took a dominant victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix as he led home team-mate Nico Rosberg in a Mercedes one-two.

Having taken pole position, Hamilton was never threatened and drove a faultless race to win by 17.3 seconds. Rosberg had to withstand pressure from Sebastian Vettel mid-way through the race, with the Red Bull finishing third but over seven seconds behind the second Mercedes.

Fernando Alonso was fourth after passing Nico Hulkenberg late on, with both benefitting from a disastrous race for Daniel Ricciardo who dropped out of contention due to a pit stop error from Red Bull.

Ricciardo's eventual retirement left Jenson Button sixth, just ahead of the squabbling Williams pair of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas as Massa ignored team orders to allow his team-mate past to attack the McLaren. Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top ten, with Romain Grosjean completing the race for Lotus just 2.2s off the points.

At the start of the race, Hamilton got away strongly off the line and Rosberg slotted in to second place, holding off the two Red Bulls. Contact between Jules Bianchi and Pastor Maldonado saw both spin at Turn 4, while Kimi Raikkonen picked up a puncture on lap two when Magnussen tapped his right rear and dropped to the back of the field.

Magnussen was painfully slow with a damaged front wing, dropping behind Button and then holding up the Williams pair behind him. He eventually pit for a new front wing at the end of lap nine, but was immediately hit with a five second stop/go penalty which he was able to take at his next pit stop.

Bianchi was given a five second stop/go penalty for the Maldonado clash, while the latter had to retire his car at the end of lap seven and Bianchi followed suit on the next lap. Jean-Eric Vergne was next to retire as he pulled in to the Toro Rosso pit on lap 18 having been running well off the pace.

Hamilton was able to pull out a ten-second lead over his team-mate and manage his pace from there, while Rosberg never appeared under serious threat from Vettel but struggled to open up the five-second gap Mercedes requested. After the second round of stops, Vettel was right on the back of the Mercedes but unable to use DRS to attack as Adrian Sutil stopped on the inside of the final corner.

Drops of rain threatened to mix up the race but failed to materialise in to any substantial showers, and Rosberg pulled away from Vettel, while Alonso closed up on the sister Red Bull. Alonso's job was done for him as Ricciardo soon dropped out of contention when he was released from a pit stop with a loose front left wheel and had to be pushed back in to the pit box.

To emphasise the length of the stoppage, Ricciardo rejoined as Alonso lapped him, and it appeared that the front wing had been damaged during the pit stop as it broke on one side and cut a whole in to Ricciardo's front right tyre. Having limped back to the pits, Ricciardo was then hit with a 10 second stop/go penalty to complete a miserable few laps for him.

The top three settled down but there was late action further down in the points. Having briefly led around the first pit stops during a long opening stint, Hulkenberg was looking to two-stop but was unable to hold off Alonso in the closing laps and had to settle for fifth.

Button was a long way adrift in sixth place and had the two Williams for close company, but any threat from behind was negated by Massa ignoring the message “Valtteri is faster than you” – reminiscent of the Ferrari team orders message in Germany four years ago – and the two fought to the line with Massa finishing ahead.

After the race, Vettel told his Red Bull team over the radio that “We are not yet where we want to be, but we will get there”, as he reflected on a race in which the two Mercedes' scored maximum points for the first time since returning to the sport in 2010.



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Strider

March 30, 2014 11:10 AM
Last Edited 272 days ago

Think what you want of Lewis but it was impressive to see him increase his lead throughout the race while saving more fuel than the other front runners. Good job for RB, would not have put money on them finishing on the podium this early considering their testing form. Such a shame for DR though. Finally it's always good to see Hulk perform strongly, hoping he's in a championship contending team soon...



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