S ebastian Vettel was cool on the hot race Sunday in Malaysia Saved his head and grabbed his first win of the season. For the Heppenheimer it was the 40th F1 triumph of his career. All that's missing is one win over the legendary Ayrton Senna. For Ferrari it was the first victory since the Barcelona GP in 2013.
'I'm speechless. The team is phenomenal, they welcomed me very well from the first moment. We did an incredible job today. The pace was great, the strategy too. We defeated Mercedes fairly and without outside help on the track. '
Vettel without mistakes to first Ferrari victory
Over the complete race distance of 56 laps, the four-time world champion made no mistakes, impressed with fast times and spared the Pirelli rubbers. So he made it over the distance with just two pit stops. In contrast to his two pursuers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, who had to turn three times to change tires.
At the finish, the Ferrari driver was 8.5 and 12.3 seconds ahead of the Silver Arrows. Vettel's first place broke the eight-race winning streak for Mercedes. The Silver Arrows have not suffered a defeat since the 2014 Belgian GP. 'Congratulations to Sebastian. Ferrari was just too fast for us today,' said Hamilton.
The spectators couldn't complain on Sunday. The drivers spoiled the fans in the stands and in front of the TV with thrilling duels, many changes of position and a few clashes. The race started turbulent. Pastor Maldonado had to pit on the first lap after a collision with a puncture. As in Australia, Kimi Raikkonen also had enemy contact within the first few meters. In the last corner of the first lap, Felipe Nasr drove his front wing impetuously against the left rear tire. Then the Pirelli tire ran out of air. And the Ferrari driver had to sneak a lap around the track.
At the beginning of the second lap, Marcus Ericsson slipped into the gravel in the Sauber when he failed to attack Nico Hülkenberg. The end for the Swedes. Because the Sauber was unhappy and had to be rescued, the race management sent the safety car out.
Mercedes with strategy error
In the top group, almost everyone turned to change tires. Including pole man Hamilton andthe third placed Rosberg. A strategic mistake by the Mercedes crew, as it turns out later. Because Vettel stayed outside, which earned him the lead. The race started again on the sixth lap. The order: Vettel, Hülkenberg, Grosjean, Sainz, Perez, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Massa, Rosberg and Kvyat.
Mercedes' tactical mistake gave Vettel the golden opportunity to win. By the time Hamilton had worked his way back to second place (lap 10), the four-time world champion was already 9.9 seconds ahead. Rosberg, who had fallen behind after queuing up behind Hamilton in the pits, did not come to third place until lap 13. His deficit on Vettel was already considerable at this point.
After his first stop in On lap 17, Vettel fell short behind the two Mercedes. But on the medium tires he grabbed both Rosberg and Hamilton within a few laps and took the lead. The Briton turned off at 25 immediately after the Vettel maneuver. On lap 38, he came to his crew a third time after taking the lead for one lap. Because Vettel previously picked up the hard rubbers at his second stop. In the following 18 laps, the Ferrari driver didn't let anything go and managed his lead.
The good result of the Scuderia completed Raikkonen. After the bad luck in the beginning, the only safety car phase helped the Finn back into the race. With a courageous drive, the 2007 world champion catapulted himself into fourth position.
McLaren-Honda suffers double failure
The two Williams drivers landed behind them. In a remarkable duel, Valtteri Bottas fought his teammate Felipe Massa two laps before the end. The Toro Rosso also delivered a strong performance. Max Verstappen was seventh, Carlos Sainz one place behind. The top 10 were completed by Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo, who both had to struggle with high tire wear.
Nico Hülkenberg, who received a ten-second penalty for a collision with Kvyat, took 14th place in the Force India . Teammate Sergio Perez was 13th. The Mexican was given the same penalty by the stewards after he had a clash with Romain Grosjean.
Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button had to park their McLaren Honda early due to problems. Nevertheless, the racing team showed rising form. Roberto Merhi packed the entire distance in the Manor. At the finish he was 3 laps behind the winner.