Sebastian Vettel: “To be honest – and I shouldn’t say – but I was shitting myself the last couple of laps because the thoughts were coming into my head. I was looking at the top of the chassis and thinking, ‘This is a red car and you are about to win’
An inspired Sebastian Vettel has taken Ferrari to its first F1 victory in 35 races after strategically out-foxing Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to win an enthralling Malaysian Grand Prix.
A decision to remain on track during an early safety car period would prove a shrewd one as Vettel focused on his own two-stop strategy, while Mercedes’ attempt to get the jump by pitting early and getting the less favourable tyres out of the way fell foul as it couldn’t recover the difference in its three stops during the final stages.
Coming in only Vettel’s second outing as a Ferrari driver, his performance marks the Scuderia’s first win since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix and the first non-Mercedes winner since the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix.
A faultless race from start-to-finish, though it was Hamilton that got the better start from pole position, Vettel successfully rebuffed the attentions of Rosberg behind him to hold position in second, while Daniel Ricciardo, the fast-starting Felipe Massa and Danill Kvyat rounded out the early top six.
Further back, scuffles would break out with Pastor Maldonado – who crashed out on lap one in Australia – suffering a puncture at the first turn, a fate that would also befall Kimi Raikkonen at the start of lap two when his left-rear was clipped by Felipe Nasr into the last bend, forcing all three to pit.
With Marcus Ericsson spinning out on lap four, the arrival of the safety car would ultimately change the landscape of the race as Hamilton and Rosberg both dived for the pit lane, the latter being forced to queue behind his better placed team-mate and the pair emerging on the harder prime tyre in an effort to get the jump early on.
Crucially, however, Vettel would decide to stay on track and persevere with the option tyres in an effort to escape with the benefit of a clear track. A strategy Read the rest of this entry »