Hamilton claims dominant Malaysian GP victory
Lewis Hamilton produced a flawless lights-to-flag drive to claim victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Brit led all but one lap at Sepang as he led home team-mate Nico Rosberg for a Mercedes one-two finish, the manufacturer’s first since 1955.
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel came home in third while Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo suffered a late retirement after running the majority of the race in fourth position.
Hamilton leapt away at the start as he comfortably led the field into the first turn.
Rosberg blocked both Red Bull’s to slot into second while Ricciardo jumped Vettel into third. Fernando Alonso followed the Red Bulls in fifth.
It wasn’t long before the first controversial incident occurred as seconds later the Marussia of Jules Bianchi speared into the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado at turn 4.
The Frenchman was handed a five second stop and go penalty while Maldonado was forced to retire.
While Hamilton began to open up a lead at the front, there was plenty of action behind. McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen clipped the rear of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen as he moved into seventh.
The move damaged the Dane’s front wing while Raikkonen limped back to the pits with a puncture.
As a result, the pair dropped down the order while Magnussen required two visits to the pits. The first was for a new wing and the other for a five second stop and go penalty awarded for his part in the incident.
Alonso was the first of the front runners to pit but his strategy failed to gain any positions, as both Red Bull’s slotted in front after their stops.
Hamilton retained the lead after his stop with Rosberg in second and Vettel in third.
The fuel flow sensor saga reared its head as the race moved towards the halfway with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner revealing Ricciardo’s sensor had failed again. The team were instructed to follow a reading stipulated by the FIA.
At the front, Hamilton continued to extend his advantage as Rosberg struggled to maintain the Brit’s pace. Ricciardo kept Vettel in his sights in fourth, while Alonso dropped away from the Red Bull duo in fifth.
After the second round of pitstops Hamilton continued to lead but all eyes turned to the battle for second with Vettel all over the rear wing of Rosberg.
However, Ricciardo’s hard work in holding on to fourth position came undone in his third pit stop. His car was released from the pits with his front left tyre not fastened sufficiently. After being pushed back to his box he was released to only suffer a front wing failure a lap later.
To make matters worse the Western Australian was given a drive through penalty for a unsafe pit release. Shortly after, he entered the pits to retire.
Rain threatened to disrupt the final stages of the race but it failed to appear.
In the end, Hamilton took the chequered flag for his first victory in Malaysia with Rosberg in second and Vettel completing the podium in third.
Alonso passed Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg for fourth in the final laps as Jenson Button finished in sixth for McLaren.
Felipe Massa held off Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas for seventh. Rookies Magnussen and Danill Kvyat rounded out the top 10 for McLaren and Toro Rosso respectively.
Elsewhere, Romain Grosjean gave Lotus their first finish of the season in 11th spot.
Rosberg continues to lead the championship standings as the F1 circus heads to Bahrain next weekend.
Malaysian Grand Prix Results
|3||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||+24.534s|
|5||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||+47.199s|
|9||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren-Mercedes||+1 lap|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso-Renault||+1 lap|
|11||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||+1 lap|
|12||Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||+1 lap|
|13||Kamui Kobayashi||Caterham-Renault||+1 lap|
|14||Marcus Ericsson||Caterham-Renault||+2 laps|
|15||Max Chilton||Marussia-Ferrari||+2 laps|
|RET||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull-Renault||49 laps|
|RET||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||35 laps|
|RET||Adrian Sutil||Sauber-Ferrari||32 laps|
|RET||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso-Renault||18 laps|
|RET||Jules Bianchi||Marussia-Ferrari||8 laps|
|RET||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus-Renault||7 laps|
|RET||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||0 laps|
See below for Speedcafe.com’s expert guide to the Malaysian Grand Prix
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