Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

sunnuntai 29. maaliskuuta 2015

Malaysia GP: Flying Sebastian took his maiden win for Ferrari!

Conditions were hot and dry when the lights went out at Sepang although there was about 50 % chance of rain during the race. The top three maintained their positions: Hamilton kept his lead and Sebastian his P2 although the German didn´t have the best possible start. Rosberg in P3 was right behind Sebastian. Looking through "the Finnish glasses" things didn´t look too promising: Bottas lost 4 positions at the start dropping from P8 down to P12. Kimi also suffered from a poor start and dropped from P11 back to P14. Kimi had an eventful opening lap but the Finn´s setbacks continued on the second lap: Sauber´s Nasr crashed into Kimi´s rear left tyre, which caused the Finn a puncture! Kimi had just driven past the pit entry, which meant that he had to drive an entire lap with that broken tyre... It looked like Kimi´s race was ruined!

But something unexpected happened on lap 4: Sauber´s Marcus Ericsson spun and got stuck into gravel, which caused the safety car to come out. That turned out to be a fortunate episode in terms of Kimi´s chances in the race. However, by the time that the re-start took place Kimi still hadn´t completely caught the field but the Iceman was now back fighting for a points finish! When the safety car was out both Mercedes drivers pitted but Sebastian stayed out. Unbelievable but true: Sebastian at the wheel of his Ferrari was now leading the race!

Kimi kept setting excellent lap times and made his way through the field overtaking one by one. Ferrari made a tactical decision and called Kimi to the pits for the second time on lap 14 as the Finn would have otherwise been slowed down by traffic. On a fresh set of option tyres the Iceman continued his "maximum attack". On lap 17 Sebastian pitted from the lead and due to the pit stop the German dropped back to P3. At this time Kimi was still in P12. Ferrari, however, showed mesmerising race pace and in no time Sebastian had already closed the gap to Rosberg and stormed past the German Mercedes driver! Wow, that was truly an impressive moment! Sebastian was able to overtake the Mercedes driver because HE WAS FASTER, not because some technical issue would have hit Rosberg´s car! That was utterly amazing because no team have been able to challenge Mercedes by DRIVING for over a year! Only a few laps later Sebastian was right at Hamilton´s tail and flying Sebastian snatched the lead from the Briton! Wow, what a race this was evolving! Hamilton pitted right after he got overtaken by Sebastian.

After Hamilton´s third and last pit stop he was 10 seconds behind Sebastian. This situation clearly didn´t please Hamilton, who started to show signs of frustration. He complained on the team radio about a wrong tyre choice and shouted to his engineer not to speak to him in the corners. There was also a clear gap between the Mercedes team-mates: Nico had no chance to close the gap to his team-mate and fight for the second place. Kimi was also driving a stunning race: after all the difficulties at the start of the race the Iceman had made his way up to P4 when the Williams duo had pitted for the final time!

There were some colourful turns on the closing laps. With just three laps to go Sebastian lapped both Red Bulls, which must have felt extremely good after the problem-filled last year at Red Bull! There seemed to be a thrilling battle for P5 between the Williams team-mates. Bottas seemed absolutely determined to snatch the 5th position from his team-mate Massa and they even hit each other at one point. But Bottas took the upper hand and claimed P5 after an impressive overtaking move!

I was absolutely overwhelmed by Sebastian´s victory, an utterly amazing and unbelievable effort from Seb! Mercedes were beaten, Hamilton and Rosberg had to settle for P2 and P3. Ferrari´s tyre degradation was lower than their rivals´ and Sebastian made the race with a 2-stop strategy. So at this stage Ferrari seem to have an advantage over their rivals in terms of tyre management. Kimi finished 4th, which was the maximum he could achieve after such a catastrophic start to the race. Bottas was 5th, Massa 6th, Verstappen stunningly 7th, Sainz 8th, Kvyat 9th and Ricciardo 10th. What caught my eye was the fact that both Toro Rossos drove to the chequered flag ahead of the Red Bull duo! It shows that Red Bull´s lack of performance isn´t all about the Renault engine like they´ve loudly moaned!

It was so touching to watch Sebastian celebrating on the podium. Sebastian was very emotional about his very first victory for the red team. When Eddie Jordan interviewed him he said he was speechless. That´s pretty much how I feel when I try to find words for this blog post... It´s impossible to describe how dumbfounded I feel after this grand prix. It still feels somehow unreal that Sebastian really won the race! And I absolutely love this feeling what Sebastian´s victory brings me. I had almost forgotten how it feels as there were no victories for Sebastian last year.

The championship standings look good: Hamilton (43 points) has only a 3-point lead to Sebastian (40 points) in the drivers´ standings. Rosberg is 3rd with 33 points and due to today´s 4th place Kimi jumped 5th with those 12 points. I´m absolutely impressed with Ferrari´s performance and it´s only a matter of time when Kimi, too will be up there fighting for victories! Roll on China! :)

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