March 25, 2013

2013 F1 Malaysian Grand Prix Review

Unhappy Red Bull drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel after Malaysian Grand Prix on Mar. 24, 2013.
Photo © Andy Wong / AP Photo via The Guardian

The 2013 Formula One racing season continued on Sunday - March 24, 2013, with the running of the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix. The somewhat weird and erratic race, held at Sepang International Circuit, was the second stop on this year's schedule.

The race in Sepang started off wet, after a Spring shower, then followed by periods of very bright sunshine. The behavior and performances of some of the top drivers and their team bosses were as spotty as the driving surface.

Former Formula One champion Fernando Alonso (Spain), of Scuderia Ferrari, began at third position. His race start wasn't as normal for him as that starting position, though. His car's front wing got clipped hard straight away, and he stupidly tried to get in a lap before heading to the pit to get it replaced. This unusually daft move would cost him dearly, as the wing suddenly folded under the front wheels, taking him off the course and out of the race.

Later on, after heading into the pit area, Lewis Hamilton (England) pulled into the wrong crew space. Hamilton began driving for team Mercedes (as in car factory manufacturer Mercedes-Benz) this year, but mistakenly parked his car in the slot of his old (2007 - 2012) team, McLaren-Mercedes.

Elsewhere, team orders were (at least temporarily) ignored. Team orders are instructions to drivers from team bosses, which manipulate which driver of the particular team gets the lead. One of the drivers is told to either let his teammate pass, or to just stay behind him. Team orders are against the rules, but still happen quite often. Both Red Bull-Renault and team Mercedes, which includes the first four drivers across the finish line, were obviously (radio transmissions heard) guilty of this "strategy" during this race.

Finishing in podium positions, were: Sebastian Vettel (Germany), taking first place for Red Bull-Renault; Mark Webber (Australia), also driving for Red Bull-Renault, came in in second; Third place went to Lewis Hamilton (England), now of team Mercedes.

Links to recap, press conference and analysis posts, are below. Also included, are NBC Sports highlights and analysis videos.

Race - Vettel secures controversial victory in Malaysia
Posted at on March 24, 2013

Sebastian Vettel led team mate Mark Webber home to what should have been a celebratory Red Bull 1-2 in Sepang on Sunday, but the success was sullied by a post-race argument between the two drivers. All through the race the radio messages between Vettel and Red Bull’s team management told as much of the story as the on-track action...

FIA post-race press conference - Malaysia
Posted at on March 24, 2013

...Sebastian Vettel: ...Mark was always a little bit ahead - I was stuck in traffic. In the middle of the race I wasn’t quite sure about the strategy but towards the end it seems to work very well because we were able to save that extra set and it came off with a little bit more speed...

Malaysia analysis - what price Vettel's victory?
Posted at on March 25, 2013

Sebastian Vettel led home a commanding Red Bull 1-2 in Sunday’s 2013 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix, but rarely have television viewers witnessed such tension between a driver, his team mate and team management en route to the podium. Vettel’s controversial pass on Mark Webber, despite having been told to hold station, netted him 25 points and the championship lead. As to its impact on relationships within the team - and on the German’s reputation - only time will tell...

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