The Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang is notorious for delivering entertaining races and this year’s event was no different.
Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel disobeyed his own team to battle past Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber and snatch his first victory of the season at Sepang and 27th of his career.
Webber drove brilliantly to rise from fifth on the grid to take the lead before turning his engine down and getting overtaken by his team-mate in the closing stages.
Mercedes showed they had made impressive progress since last season with Lewis Hamilton securing his first podium for his new team and Nico Rosberg riding shotgun one place behind in fourth.
Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne survived a pit lane collision with Caterham’s Charles Pic to score his first point of the season.
Jenson Button demonstrated that McLaren had made a step forward and was on course to finish around fifth before an error from his pit crew – but who was your Driver of the Day?
Showed his ruthless side by passing team-mate Webber despite being told to hold position. Made a clean start from pole and survived getting tapped by Fernando Alonso at Turn Two. Was one of the first to make the call to change to slick tyres, but it proved to be a lap or two early and he lost the lead to Webber. Couldn’t leapfrog the Australian during the stops, but began catching him in the final stint. Came close to colliding with Webber as they battled for the lead despite being told to hold position. Eventually muscled his way through with 10 laps to go before easing to his first victory of the season and 27th of his career. He also took the lead in the drivers’ championship.
Pitted at the right time for slick tyres to take the lead after a brilliant start but lost the lead after team-mate Vettel ignored team orders. Found himself in the lead after sensibly waiting longer than most to change from inters to slick tyres. Showed good pace and controlled the race at the front until the final phase of the race. Turned his engine down after the team told both drivers to hold station, but came under attack from Vettel in the closing stages. Fought to defend his position, but lost out to the German and looked dejected with second.
Forced to save fuel in the closing stages, but showed good pace all race to secure his first podium with Mercedes. Benefitted from Alonso’s retirement to run third early on and managed to keep pace with the Red Bulls. Stayed in touch with Vettel and Webber all race, but suffered higher than expected fuel consumption and was forced into fuel saving mode in the closing stages. Was caught by team-mate Rosberg as a result, but retained third after the team told Rosberg to hold station. Secured his best finish of the season to rise to fourth in the drivers’ championship.
Showed good pace all race and managed his tyres and fuel consumption to finish fourth. Lost a place to Button at the start from fifth, but climbed up a place when Alonso retired. Stayed in touch with team-mate Hamilton who in turn kept pace with the leaders. Conserved his tyres so that he had speed in the final stint of the grand prix but was instructed not to pass Hamilton, even though he felt he was faster, and finished fourth for his first points of the season.
Scored his first point of the year having started down in 17th. Made a good start and kept his nose clean at the first sequence of corners. Showed good pace throughout the race and ran as high as eighth. Survived a pit lane collision with Charles Pic after his team released him into the path of the Caterham. Once the team changed his front wing, he returned to the track and managed to salvage a top 10 finish to score the Toro Rosso’s first point of the season.
Led the race for two laps and showed McLaren had made a step forward, but saw a points-finish disappear with an error by his pit crew. Starting seventh, he positioned his car well into the first sequence of corners to run fourth, dropping a place to fifth after the first stops. Ran in that position for much of the race, though took the lead briefly during a flurry of stops, but lost time when he was released without the right front wheel being securely fastened. Rejoined 14th but retired a few laps later.
So who was your Driver of the Day? Leave a comment at the bottom of this story.