Sunday, 29 March 2015

Vettel secures first win for Ferrari in Sepang on a sensational day for Formula One

(Scuderia Ferrari SpA via Twitter)

Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took his first victory for the Italian team finishing the race just ahead of the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team’s Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. The victory was Ferrari’s first victory in two years and shows that the team have certainly improved in all areas.

Kimi Raikkonen finished the race in fourth place to secure his first points of the season. The Finn drove an absolutely fantastic race to recovery from a puncture on the opening lap and ended up at the back of the field however he fought his way back through the field and was in a podium place at one point but eventually came home in fourth place.

The Williams Martini Racing’s Team’s Valtteri Bottas finished the race in fifth place following a fantastic overtaking move on team mate Felipe Massa who finished the race in sixth place.

Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen became the youngest ever Formula One point’s scorer as the Dutchman finished the race in seventh place. Carlos Sainz in the sister Toro Rosso did a great job as the Spaniard finished the race in eighth place.

It was a very disappointing race for Infiniti Red Bull Racing as Daniil Kvyat ended up in a spin going into T2 after making contact with the Sahara Force India of Nico Hulkenberg. Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top ten for the Milton Keynes based outfit. Speaking following the race, Kvyat stated:

'We took the maximum out of the situation today. We are lacking some pace and need to catch up, I am confident that the team can do it; it’s a challenge and we have to face it with a strong mind. Fighting for P9 and P10 is not what we want, we struggled today and we need to work out why.'

Daniel Ricciardo was left disappointed with his afternoon and speaking following the race the Australian stated:

'A really frustrating race. I was ready for a fight going into the race and hoping for something special – but it wasn’t to be! I had a bit of contact on the first lap, which hurt us and then we had a few issues throughout the race, which we had to manage. It took a long time to pass cars as we didn’t have the pace and we had some problems with the brakes, which didn’t make our afternoon easy. It was a good job by Seb, a great drive from him.'

Infiniti Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner concluded by saying:

'A really difficult afternoon. Some contact at the first turn damaged Daniel’s front wing, which seemed to deteriorate through the race. Then after the safety car we started to see brake temperatures climb and needed to nurse the cars quite significantly through the second half of the race. I don’t think the drivers could have done anymore today. There’s plenty to understand following this weekend and plenty to address before China in two weeks. Sebastian drove an incredible race, so congratulations to him and Ferrari. Hopefully we will give them a harder time soon.'

The Lotus F1 Team’s Romain Grosjean finished the race in eleventh place and was left disappointed to miss out on a points scoring finish.

The Sauber F1 Team’s Felipe Nasr finished the race in 12th place for the Swiss based outfit.
It was a disappointing race for the Sahara Force India Formula One Team as Sergio ‘Checco’ Perez and Nico Hulkenberg finished the race in 13th and 14th place respectively. Speaking following the race, Sergio 'Checco' Perez commented saying:

'We knew ahead of the race it would be a big fight to get close to the points and it turned out to be just the case. I struggled with degradation in my first stint, on mediums, and that cost me a lot of time after the Safety Car. We had slightly better pace with the hard compound, but in the end it was not enough to get back in contention. The penalty didn't help us either; I felt I had nowhere to go and couldn't avoid contact with Romain. I thought it was a racing incident but it ended up costing us a lot. It's a disappointing result but at least we were able to learn a lot from this race and this will help us going forward.'

Following the race Hulkenberg was handed two penalty points on his Super Licence following the incident with Infiniti Red Bull Racing's Daniil Kvyat. Speaking following the race, Hulkenberg stated:

'It was a tough afternoon and I was always kept very busy with lots going on around me. I was really struggling with the general balance and the car was sliding around, especially as the tyres became older. We chose not to pit during the early safety car, which gave me good track position, but it was not an easy decision. We were trying to make the two-stop strategy work, but it just wasn’t possible with the degradation and so we switched to three stops. Perhaps it would have been better to commit to the three-stop earlier, but I’m not sure it would have changed the result that much. The penalty for the contact with Daniil [Kvyat] also dropped me out of the fight for points. I went a bit wide in turn one and chose to go back on the inside going into turn two. I was quite well alongside him, but he probably didn’t think I would try to come back at him.'

Speaking following the race, Sahara Force India Formula One Team's Robert Fernley stated:

'It was a challenging afternoon for the team, although we were unlucky not to come away with at least a point. Both Checo and Nico gave everything in these conditions and featured in a lot of battles for the majority of the race. We seemed to have the measure of some of the stronger cars, but the penalties effectively cut us out of the fight for the top ten positions. We knew going into the race that we were lacking ultimate pace today and with a fully dry race there was not much that would disrupt the strategy or offer any opportunity to exploit. Now we need to regroup, continue our work back at base and come back stronger in the near future. Everyone is putting in a real effort to get us back where we belong quickly and it will be hugely rewarding when we are once more fighting closer to the front.'

On their return to Formula One, the Manor F1 Team did a fantastic job as Roberto Merhi completed the team’s first race distance of the 2015 Formula One season. It was a great achievement when you consider where the team were just three weeks ago. It was disappointing for Will Stevens however as the Englishman was unable to start the race due to a fuel pressure problem yesterday.

It was a disappointing afternoon for the McLaren Honda Formula One Team because despite an extremely strong performance from the Woking based outfit both Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso were forced to retire from the race. Button suffered a power failure while Alonso had a car issue.

The Lotus F1 Team’s Pastor Maldonado was forced to retire from the race.

Following a great start to the season, the Sauber F1 Team’s Marcus Ericsson was forced to retire from the race.

Driver’s championship standings

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team 43 points
2 Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari 40
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team 33
4 Felipe Massa Williams Martini Racing Team 30
5 Kimi Raikkonen Scuderia Ferrari 12
6 Felipe Nasr Sauber F1 Team 10
7 Valtteri Bottas Williams Martini Racing Team 10
8 Daniel Ricciardo Infiniti Red Bull Racing Team 9
9 Nico Hulkenberg Sahara Force India Formula One Team 6
10 Max Verstappen Scuderia Toro Rosso 6
11 Carlos Sainz Scuderia Toro Rosso 6
12 Marcus Ericsson Sauber F1 Team 4
13 Daniil Kvyat Infiniti Red Bull Racing 2
14 Sergio Perez Sahara Force India Formula One Team 1

Constructor’s championship standings

1 Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team 76 Points
2 Scuderia Ferrari 52
3 Williams Martini Racing Team 30
4 Sauber F1 Team 14
5 Scuderia Toro Rosso 12
6 Infiniti Red Bull Racing 11

7 Sahara Force India Formula One Team 7

© Ben Johnston 2015

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