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Who was your driver of the day in Malaysia?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Mar 2014   |  2:04 pm GMT  |  367 comments

A dominant win for Lewis Hamilton, 25 seconds ahead of the next non-Mercedes car, as the Silver Arrows pressed home their competitive advantage in Sepang.

There were some strong performances up and down the field, once again, but who stood out for you? Who was your Driver of the Day?


Lewis Hamilton

Took pole on Saturday in wet conditions and controlled the race from the start. Pulled out a second a lap on the opposition in the opening stint to get a 10 second margin and then protected that to the end. His first Malaysia GP win and the first 1-2 for Mercedes of the modern era.


Nico Rosberg

Started third on the grid, but jumped Vettel with another stellar start. Had to cope with tyre wear issues at the rear in the early stages and was forced to push hard to keep Vettel behind him to the finish. Extended his world championship lead to 18 points. He can afford to follow Hamilton home in Bahrain and Spain and still lead the drivers’ standings.


Sebastian Vettel

Second on the grid in the difficult conditions of Saturday, he lost a place at the start, but pressured Rosberg and was a threat to the German for most of the race. His first podium of the year, but he trails Rosberg by 28 points at this early stage.


Fernando Alonso

Despite not really featuring at the very front, Alonso is still third in the drivers’ standings, with 24 points after a stronger weekend for Ferrari netted another 4th place. The Spaniard was mighty in qualifying after the collision with Kvyat he managed to get 4th on the grid and in his race long battle with Hulkenberg he used strategy and guile to come out on top.


Nico Hulkenberg
Another stunning performance from the young German punching above his weight in the Force India. Once again he battled with Fernando Alonso for fifth place, which once again become fourth due to problems for Dan Ricciardo. He lost out again, but he’s racing a Force India against a Ferrari and with every race his reputation is enhanced with every outing.

Other contenders
Jenson Button again made up places after qualifying 10th, finishing 6th for McLaren; rookie Daniil Kvyat scored points for the second race in succession for Toro Rosso; Felipe Massa and Valterri Bottas battled for Williams and there will be some frostiness after the Brazilian refused a team order to yield the position.


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1

Somebody that most probably believes that he is a F1 FOLLOWER at the beginning of this page said “Lulu because of his (Lulu’s) superior driving skills”.

I cannot imagine a through F1 follower believing that there exists anything like that difference in lap time or that big a driving superiority between the Mercedes drivers.

2

Hamilton

3

Massa. For obvious reasons.

4

None of the drivers stole my attention at all for the race.

5

Has anybody noticed that the same person who designed the Mercedes car in the last couple of years was fired from Ferrari. I believe that Ferrari should review itself very depply.

6

I was going to say something on that, but on a different person.

Last year, didn’t Ferrari say they rehired Rory Bryne to design the 2014 car? When the Ferrari La Ferrari rolled out, Bryne said that’s only a kid’s play in comparison to the 2014 F1 car.

Now Bryne has designed very brilliant F1 cars in the early 2000s, winning championships for consecutive years.

Everything changed after Raikkonen won the WDC for Ferrari. I’d say it’s down to the management of the whole team rather than the fault of any individual that designed / engineered the Ferrari F1 cars.

7

Sergio Perez because he has the food sense to sit out the race in the shade of the garage. Whilst everyone knew Lewis would win.

Fantastic Drive by Lewis but as much as it pains me to say– It was Vettel that was DOD. Dan passed him but he had the gonnads to pass him back. Not only that he took it Rosberg in that faster Merc & almost came up trumps.

8

Lewis clearly.

He proved a lot, including the fact he is not the unitelligent flat to the floor merchant he often gets labelled with.

Hamilton showed in a top car he can deliver exactly the same level of performance as Vettel has been doing at Red Bull. I’d love to see those two head to head.

I feel for Alonso. He has wasted the best years of his career being let down by Ferrari. He’ll never win another title now in my opinion.

9

I’m not really sure about the driver of the day, but the teams as a group were impressive with every constructor having managed at least one race distance now.

How they can make so much improvement with such limited opportunities to run the cars amazes me.

10

Driver of the weekend?

Bernd Maylander, as he was the only one driving something that sounded like a racecar and not a blender or a vacuum cleaner

11

Agreed +1 lol!

12

LOL +1

13

Sure Hulkenburg Finishing 4th is a great result for him but I still don’t quite understand the level of hysteria about how good he is.

He basically maintained position due to Raikkonen and Ricciardo being taken out of the picture ahead of him. Had their races not been destroyed through no fault of their own then he would have certainly finished 7th (his starting position)

By all accounts the Force India is a good car. It was fast in winter testing, it has been solid throughout practice and qualifying in Aus and Malaysia

14

obviously meant finishing 5th

16

Hulkenburg

Hulks on fire this year!Mixing it up with the big boyz!

it was another dead beat race!!

I would have still chosen him over Magnussen hands down any day if it were my team!

This weekend Magnussens barely been faster then Button which doesn’t say much at all!

17

Hamilton leading the poll, I notice. I seem to remember that when Vettel led from lights to flag in the dominant car never featured well in these polls because it was “just the car” and “genius Adrian Newey”. If that were true, and the driver’s contribution is really that meaningless, then Hamilton’s drive must surely be regarded in the same way. And the advantage the Mercedes had yesterday was greater than anything the previous Red Bull had when Vettel was winning his championships.

18

I suspect a lot has to do with how other things contributes. Including the team, the way the race was managed, the way the drivers are managed between the team and the drivers themselves.

RBR don’t do themselves any favours in those regards (Vettel v Webber; the team’s pat on Vettel’s backs, fingers, etc).

On the contrary, Hamilton has always been labelled as all out aggressive racer with no brains, and today he silenced his critics through his driving, evident from the fuel gauge graphic, his win, grand chelem, and beaten his team mate fair and square without favours or team orders. In that Vettel hasn’t achieved yet.

If and when one day Vettel does that, I’m sure everybody would start to react differently and warmly.

19

Well, this really is more of a popularity poll than anything else. I’m sure most of Vettel’s fans were voting for him even when he won easily.

This being an English language site, it’s not surprising there are more Lewis fans than Seb fans. I suspect, if there was a German equivalent to this site, things would be just the opposite.

20

looks like many posters have a different opinion to it.

22

Hulkenberg for his performance in a midfield car at best. This is the difference a good driver makes. We saw it last year at Sauber and now at Force India.

Ferrari made their choice. Throughout 2013 and now 2014 in a different car Hulkenberg has regularly been able to challenge Alonso for position in a midfield car. Imagine what Hulkenberg would be doing in a Ferrari.

Also, I was at the race yesterday. As disappointing as the cars were on TV in Melbourne, I can’t begin to describe how underwhelming that were in person over the weekend. From the same vantage points as were I watched in 2013, the cars were visibly slower , and the sound is simply a non-factor now. It’s quiet and not even a nice sounding engine. The old sound would make my hair stand on end. It didn’t feel like I was at an F1 race.

23

Hamilton? What skill does it take to drive by far the fastest car to victory from pole? My vote goes to Hulkenberg.

24

James, Could you please have an article explaining the start systems of different cars this season ? I thought Vettel’s redbull had a decent start off the line, but Rosberg came out of nowhere and was very close at the first corner

25

Kvyat. He is next Putin.

26

Hulkenburg.

Anybody concerned Kimi was having trouble with Caterham and Marussia? Sure the puncture meant race over, but I still expected him to go quickly through the back markers… ? Damage?

27

Tyre damaged the undertray

28

Lewis has the best car but he was untouchable regardless.

Off-topic:

I am seriously worried that our beloved sport is going off the rails:

1. cars sound like diesel SUVs

2. cars look like cruising, not racing: no revs, no bottoming-out sparks; very low revs through many corners;

when TV transmission comes back after commercial break I sometimes think that safety car must be on

3. excess torque (or lack of grip), forcing drivers to tip-toe out of corners;

4. 10-grid penalty for Dan after 5sec stop-go is just stupid: it wasn’t his mistake; why not stop-go and/or a big fine (proportional to team points standing, so that it hurts each team in equal measure)

5. economy drive means drivers can only push hard in small bursts: we can forget 10 or 20 lap crazy chases and challenges

6. the racing is now so sterilised and devoid of testosterone-fuelled action that excess tyre wear doesn’t matter any more

29

2013 – Vettel – 1:38:56.681

2014 – Lewis – 1:40:25.974

Difference – Less than 2 mins

But it feels much longer than the extra 2 mins as the lack of sound made the race much slower psychologically.

30

+1 Have been a fan for 20 years and only missed 1 race. F1 was never green…… it was racing at its best.

31

I am afraid I have to agree.

Hyper futuristic engines may be great but this is F1 racing. I don’t care if they could do a racedistance on 10 liters of fuel. I want to see racing not management.

32

Vettel for dragging that turd of a Renault up to the 3rd place…. And nobody even think about criticising that, Hamilton and Alonso got DoTD for far less accomplishment in the past few years with cars that were no good. Predictably Hamilton drives off the end of the race in a car that is leagues ahead of the rest and suddenly it’s all driver skill, yeah ok

33

Hulk, Ricciardo, Kobayashi, Alonso

34

For me, it is Lewis. Finally happy and relieved to see the machinery holding up and see a super star doing what he’s best doing.

35

First of all, thank you for this excellent site Mr. Allen, your insight and balanced reporting, the regular technical articles and the quality of the comments, make reading it a great experience.

My vote was for Hulkenberg, he was the one really standing out from today’s race, Hamilton’s drive was very good but the difference between Mercedes and the rest of the field is too great, leaving space for wins without amazing drives, at least for now.

Rosberg was second with a similar car as Hamilton’s , a long way back, but that could be related to a “conservational” drive, ordered by the team; Vettel wasn’t much faster than his team mate, Alonso showed grit and good speed but he needs to be higher up to be noticed, the expectations on him are so high.

Besides Hulkenberg a second “driver of the day” was Massa, from a moral stand point, as he finally started fighting for his dignity as a racer.

Off topic: great photo for Alonso, seems to capture Ferrari’s way: always decided, passionate but also opressive, constrictive sometimes.

36

How do you pick a driver the of the day from that god awful boring race. No one did anything all afternoon, but I guess Hulkenberg by default for beating the Mclarens.

This new formula is definitely not living up to the testing hype

37

Vettel obviously, he held it all together to the end for the first time. But the abiding issue for Red Bull continues; they seem unable to put two fully sorted cars on the grid.

Looks like they couldn’t fit a burette on the steering wheel to they have a buzzer in the helmet instead (to monitor instantaneous fuel flow).

BTW I wonder of the frequencies emitted by the new era car engines are creating harmonics that interfere with the ultrasonic fuel flow meters? Maybe the guys should make sure that they are isolated sonically and from vibration.

38

Wow. For a moment I thought you wrote “Looks like they couldn’t fit a brunette on the steering wheel”. Gave me a laugh.

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