Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

sunnuntai 1. lokakuuta 2017

Malaysia GP: Kimi out, Sebastian from P19 to P4!

All Kimi had hoped for the Malaysia GP was, that he would make more than 100 meters in the race this time. To Kimi´s crushing disappointment his hopes weren´t answered! Kimi´s problems started already on the installation lap, as the Iceman reported on the team radio about loss of power. The Ferrari mechanics pushed the car into the garage and made everything they could to get Kimi in the race from the pits. But there was nothing the team could do; Kimi was out of the race before it had actually started! What a catastrophic turn after Sebastian´s difficulties already in the qualifying! Once again Hamilton had one contender out of his way...

The start was electrifying. Hamilton held on to his lead, with Verstappen right at his tail. Bottas took a superb start and made it past Red Bull´s Ricciardo, moving third. McLaren´s Vandoorne took a magnificent start from P7, jumping up to P5. At the end of the opening lap Sebastian had already made his way up to P13! There was clearly a lion unleashed! Sebastian had started to the race on the more durable soft rubber, which was possibly giving him an advantage at the end of the race.

Red Bull´s race pace was absolutely convincing. It was only a matter of time for Verstappen to challenge Hamilton for the lead. Max made his move on lap 4 and attacked Hamilton, snatching the lead from the Briton. Hamilton clearly decided to play it safe and didn´t defend his position too aggressively; he needed the points to strengthen his lead in the championship standings. After snatching the lead, Max started to pull away from the Mercedes ace consistently. Ricciardo was putting serious pressure on Bottas, who couldn´t anything but surrender to the "Smiling Avenger" on lap 9. By this time Sebastian had already made his way through the field up to P10 after overtaking Alonso in his McLaren.

On lap 21 Sebastian made a classy overtaking move on Perez´s pink Force India, jumping fifth already. The next target was Bottas in P4. Ferrari´s pace was much more competitive than Mercedes´ and Sebastian was closing the gap to the Finn extremely rapidly. Hamilton was the first top driver to pit on lap 27 -for a fresh set of soft tyres. In spite of the pit stop, the Briton re-joined the track ahead of Bottas and Sebastian. Verstappen pitted from the lead on the following lap -for a similar tyre choice. Surprisingly, also Sebastian pitted, in spite of starting the race on the more durable rubber. Sebastian switched to the super soft compound, which made him extremely fast on his second stint. Sebastian benefitted from the undercut, as Bottas pitted a lap later, snatching the fourth place from the Finn.

After the pit stops the situation in the lead had stabilised. Verstappen was leading the race, with Hamilton second, Ricciardo third and Sebastian fourth. Sebastian was absolutely flying on his fresh set of super soft tyres. He kept banging fastest lap times, being 1.5s faster than Ricciardo. It was only a matter of time, until the "fighting lion" would catch the escaping Australian. With ten laps to go, Sebastian had closed the gap to his ex teammate. The German was already within DRS distance from the Red Bull driver. However, setting lap record lap after lap had destroyed Sebastian´s tyres, and overtaking was everything but easy. Sebastian managed to make one attack going into Turn 1, but after that the overheating of the front tyres forced him to withdraw from the fight.

Max took his second career win, which was well deserved after all the difficulties during this season. I was very happy for Max, who got the best possible present for his 20th birthday. His driving was very enjoyable to watch. Hamilton made it the runner-up, extending his lead into 34 points in the championship standings. Ricciardo held on to his third place and completed the podium. Sebastian just barely missed the podium, but what a drive from the gutsy German! With that kind of fighting spirit and attitude he will definitely be fighting for the world championship! That was the driving, that makes me admire Sebastian so much! Bottas had to settle for P5 after a lame performance. Perez finished 6th for Force India, Vandoorne finished excellent 7th for McLaren, the Williams duo of Stroll and Massa finished 8th and 9th, and Ocon scored the last point for the pink team.

But what a bizarre episode took place after crossing the finish line! Sebastian decided to go in the outside of Stroll, to pick up the rubber on his tyres. Suddenly the Canadian decided to do the same, which made Stroll hit Sebastian´s SF70-H! In spite of the low speed there was massive damage on Sebastian´s Ferrari; poor Gina turned into a three-wheel wreck! Sauber´s Wehrlein stopped on the track and gave Sebastian a lift to the pits, although it isn´t allowed by the rules. After the race Sebastian commented the incident with a sense humour, but I just hope the damage won´t mean a gear box change or something else, which would cause a grid penalty for Japan!

Sebastian seriously proved his fighting spirit today. He showed that anything is possible, as long as you believe in it. I can´t wait for the Japanese GP, which is just around the corner! Bring it on!

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