A Vettel masterclass

Red Vet

Vettel back on top! Image Copyright © Danish Ravi


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!



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

Read this article at Sify.com


Trading times

Front wing

Aero efficiency at Sepang. Image Copyright © 2014 Ajit Devadason

Their relationship comes across as genuine comradeship, the laughter and the asides in public, the friendly jabs on social media, the brand-conscious teammates looking out for each other, for the team.

But one look at the time sheets of the Malaysian Grand Prix makes you wonder. It’s almost like a heavy-weight title bout. Both fighters not giving in. Both trading massive blows. Friday FP1 and Lewis topped the times. Nico came back in FP2 confirming Mercedes’ current form.

The bout continued into Saturday with the German signalling his intentions. To knock out. FP3 was his. Then in a delayed-due-to-rain Q1, he shows what he’s got. But in Q2 Hamilton shows he means business by going fastest. Then to add even more drama in Q3, nature plays its part. Heavier rain. But by then Lewis had beaten Nico to it.

Rosberg now found himself battling for P2 with the defending world champion. The Red Bull driver using rain as a leveller managed to shock the top steps of the podium.

What must be running through each of the top three qualifier’s minds is disguised by the brand commitments and etiquette of present day Formula 1 in the TV interviews.

All eyes on the start. There can only be one winner at Sepang. Come rain or sunshine.


P1 Hamilton – Mercedes AMG 1m 59.431s
P2 Vettel – RBR Renault 1m 59.486s
P3 Rosberg – Mercedes AMG 2m 00.050s