In a new season of uncertainty, F1 racing team MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS proved to be the team to beat in this 2014 F1 year calendar by bagging a Mercedes 1-2 finish with both drivers managing a podium finish.
By taking a one-two finish, it proved to be a record-breaking race for the team as it broke a 59 year hoodoo for Mercedes which started from the 1955 Italian Grand Prix.
With a disastrous start to the F1 calendar, it proved to be a minor blip as Lewis Hamilton powered on to a strong race weekend by bagging pole during qualifying and eventually claiming his 23rd career win.
When the lights at the starting grid went off, Hamilton starting from pole position made his way comfortably to take the lead but Vettel who started in second place was left surprised by the hard-charging Nico Rosberg.
The Red Bull Racing driver attempted to make Nico Rosberg’s race harder by shutting the door and forcing Rosberg towards the track limits but the Mercedes driver managed to sneak past and steal second place from the last year’s champion.
Daniel Ricciardo profited from the start where from fifth position he muscled past Fernando Alonso to claim fourth and further by finding a way by Vettel who is tussling with Rosberg and made a mistake in turn three.
Right behind, Alonso was down to fifth and was harried by Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, a battle that would be reversed later in the race.
After a coming together with McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen, Alonso’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen limped back to the pits for a replacement but Magnussen stayed out and hold on to eighth-place behind team-mate Jenson Button.
After the shock mistake, Vettel meanwhile was soon making headway by comfortably passing Ricciardo for third place.
As with the Australian GP, the whole race was an eventful affair with the pit-lane strategies of Red Bull Racing team gaining the highlight as Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull Racing again was penalized for an unsafe release due to some mix-up with his pit-crew due to an improper attachment of his front left wheel.
This made him fall way back in the grid to 16th place and in lap 50 was then force to retire. To add to his woes he was then given a 10-place grid penalty at next weekend’s Bahrain GP.
Besides that, the eccentric nature of the Malaysian weather put paid to many teams pit strategies as the forecasted rain at the end of the race did not came.
Teams initially put in medium tires in anticipation of the wetter climes but then had to pit to change to a more softer tires for the home stretch.
The race for seventh place was heating up for the whole race as Williams team-mates Massa and Bottas slug it out as Massa was the slower of the two cars but in the end Massa prevailed with his six points.
Throughout the whole race, both the Mercedes drivers were in cruise control highlighting their machines superiority and talent at their disposal as both drivers garnered unassailable leads even setting fastest laps done by Hamilton all the while separating themselves from the pact.
In the end, both Mercedes drivers cleared the chequered flag with some comfortable leads with Hamilton leading his team-mate Nico Rosberg with a 17 second lead and Rosberg who had a 10-second lead over third-placed Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing . with a 17 second lead over his team-mate in second place no less.
Further emphasizing the team’s dominance and the mantle of ‘the team to beat’ second placed Nico Rosberg managed a further 10-second gap over last year’s champion Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull Racing car in 3rd place.
Alonso duly claimed fourth, ahead of Hulkenberg, with Jenson Button sixth for McLaren. With Massa finishing ahead of Bottas, the final two points-scoring places were claimed by Magnussen and Kvyat.
2014 Malaysian Grand Prix – Race result
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 56 1:40:25.974 25
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 56 +17.3 secs 18
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 56 +24.5 secs 15
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 56 +35.9 secs 12
5 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 56 +47.1 secs 10
6 Jenson Button McLaren 56 +83.6 secs 8
7 Felipe Massa Williams 56 +85.0 secs 6
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams 56 +85.5 secs 4
9 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 55 +1 Lap 2
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 55 +1 Lap 1
11 Romain Grosjean Lotus 55 +1 Lap
12 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 55 +1 Lap
13 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 55 +1 Lap
14 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 54 +2 Lap
15 Max Chilton Marussia 54 +2 Lap
Ret Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 49 +7 Lap
Ret Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 35 +21 Laps
Ret Adrian Sutil Sauber 32 +24 Laps
Ret Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso18 +38 Laps
Ret Jules Bianchi Marussia 8 +48 Laps
Ret Pastor Maldonado Lotus 7 +49 Laps
DNS Sergio Perez Force India 0 +56 Laps
Words: Azri | Photos: Haznajims