A Vettel masterclass

Red Vet

Vettel back on top! Image Copyright © Danish Ravi

MALAYSIA REVIEW

They don’t call him Baby Schumi without reason. The confidence and self belief that he could triumph again with a win-less Scuderia is all very reminiscent of the great German seven-time champion.

Sebastian Vettel is back. And so is Ferrari. They both took the top step at Sepang while the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg for once, had no answer.

Hamilton and Rosberg were heard asking over the radio what the strategy was because they couldn’t understand it!

The SF-15T’s tyre management was far superior to the Mercedes W06. The Mercs had to stick to the more durable but slower primes on a three-stop strategy whereas the Ferrari was kind to the options which meant they could run the faster tyre on Sunday.

Sauber’s Markus Ericsson spun and stalled his car to bring out the Safety Car as early as Lap 3. This led to cars who were three stopping peel into the pit lane. Vettel stayed out and was followed by Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Sainz and Perez behind the Safety Car all on two stops.

Kimi Raikkonen in the other Ferrari saw his lap-down-deficit to the field wiped clean post the Safety Car period. He earlier clashed with the Sauber of Felipe Nasr, the front wing puncturing his left rear tyre.

Clearly both Ferrari’s gained from the Safety Car period while the Mercs had all to do post it. McLaren Honda were again nowhere close to being competitive. Alonso retiring his MP4-30 on lap 21 with an ERS overheating problem. And Button on lap 41 with a turbo failure. In the paddock interviews later Fernando firmly stuck to his decision about moving to McLaren even though the team he just quit had won!

One wonders if the Fernando Alonso-McLaren partnership was ever meant to be?
He seems to be signing up to the right teams at the wrong time.

To watch the Red Bulls suffer an inglorious defeat to their sister B team was entertaining for the fans but clearly not what Christian Horner would’ve envisioned same time last year! The searing track temperatures of almost 60 degrees celsius saw the RB12s emit more carbon brake dust than any other team down into braking at Turn 1. However Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen were involved in a right royal battle through out with Max ending up victorious in this battle-of-the-bulls. He now holds the record for youngest ever point scorer in F1â„¢ at the age of 17 finishing in P7.

A record that belonged to Sebastian Vettel.

The fact that the German has now won Grand Prix in three different teams is testament to the amazing talent that he is. The boiler at Sepang may have just played into Ferrari’s hands thanks to their James Allison-led technical team who’ve penned a machine with no cooling issues and suffers minimal tyre degradation. But in Seb they have a four-time world champion who is hungry for more.

In Lewis Hamilton Mercedes too have a lead driver who is hungry for more. For the fans this can mean only one thing. It’s game on 2015!

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PODIUM

Vettel –  Ferrari 1hr 41m 05.793s
Hamilton –  Mercedes AMG Petronas
Rosberg – Mercedes AMG Petronas

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Hamilton rambles on

Lewis Hamilton

Continuing the strut. Image Copyright © Mercedes AMG

MELBOURNE REVIEW

“Ramble on, and now’s the time, the time is now, to sing my song…” – Led Zeppelin

Lewis Hamilton charged to a lights-to-flag victory at Albert Park unchallenged.

He’s on song to become a triple world champion this year. And if his father Anthony’s prediction is accurate, ‘as early as mid-year’.

At Melbourne, round 1 of the 2015 FIA Formula 1™ Championship could easily have been mistaken for round 21 of 2014. Hamilton and Rosberg in familiar fashion blitzed away from the entire field when the lights went off. The chasing pack ultimately had Sebastian Vettel finish in P3 with his new Ferrari SF15 – albeit a full 30 seconds adrift from the Mercedes pair.

Behind him two Brazilians made it home. Felipe Massa for Williams and Felipe Nasr for Sauber. The impressive rookie star gave the Swiss team their first points since 2013 on his F1 debut.

Only 11 cars saw the checker in the Australian Grand Prix. And only the top 6 were on the same lap as the leading W06s!

Vettel made a sluggish start and new team mate Kimi Raikkonen almost overtook him through Turn 1. But he forced Raikkonen wide. Behind them Nasr and Maldonado clashed with the Venezuelan hitting the barriers and ending Lotus’ hopes of a good start to it’s campaign.

Raikkonen went backwards to P8 while Vettel chased Massa’s Williams for the first half of the race. Massa later attempted to hold on to his podium place but the four-time World Champion eased home ahead.

Daniel Ricciardo finished in P6 having been lapped by the Mercedes right at the end of the race. Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg held on to P7 and team mate Sergio Perez grabbed the last available points ahead of a woeful performance from newly formed partnership McLaren and Honda with Jenson Button.

Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jnr. took P8 on his debut. His team mate Max Verstappen, the youngest starter in F1 history ended his run prematurely when his STR10 started smoking and had to be retired.

More bad luck for Lotus, as Romain Grosjean joined Maldonado in retirement on the opening lap with mechanical problems. Raikkonen after his second stop had a problem with this left rear which was not properly attached. His team Ferrari are under investigation for unsafe release.

While everyone else seemed to experience trouble with at least one of their cars or drivers, Mercedes were in a class of their own. They lead both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships.

Hamilton leads Rosberg with 25 points to 18, with Vettel third on 18 and Massa fourth on 12.

In the constructors’, meanwhile, the Silver Arrows have stolen a scary march over their rivals as they are on 43 points, with Ferrari and Sauber on 15 and 14 respectively.

Is this the year Lewis Hamilton equals his idol Ayrton Senna’s, world titles? And can Ferrari overhaul the technological advantage Mercedes have? One cannot rule out dramatic turnarounds in Formula One. However a lot depends on Nico Rosberg to reign in his world famous team mate and take it down to the wire.

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PODIUM

Hamilton –  Mercedes AMG Petronas 1hr 31m 54.067s
Rosberg – Mercedes AMG Petronas
Vettel –  Ferrari

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