2015 Malaysian Grand Prix Review
Sebastian Vettel was the big winner of the Malaysian Grand Prix. The German won his first race with Scuderia Ferrari and he stopped Ferrari’s drought. The four times World Champion was faster than Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Kimi Raikkonen’s fourth place proves that Vettel’s victory was not a firework. On Saturday’s session the Finn qualified 11th and despite the contact between him and the rookie Felipe Nasr at the beginning of the race, he managed to finish in the fourth place.
The key point for Ferrari’s first victory since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix, was the strategy that the team followed when the safety car made its appearance on Lap 5.
The Italians chose to let Vettel on the medium tyre, whilst Mercedes decided to call both their drivers in the pits.
Vettel pitted for the first time at the end of Lap 17 and remained on the medium tyre, the German passed both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg which were on the hard tyre. This was the point which Vettel showed that Ferrari will fight for the victory.
Mercedes decided to apply a different strategy between Lewis and Nico. During the second stop Rosberg continued on hard compound, while his team mate switched to medium. The difference between Mercedes’ and Ferrari’s strategy was that the Italians did two pit-stops, whilst Mercedes made three stops.
The Silver Arrows continued to believe that they could win the race, until the final pit-stop. Hamilton pitted on Lap 38 and switched to hard again. When the British re-joined, Vettel was 14 seconds ahead that gap remained until the end of the race. The final distance between the two drivers were 8.5 seconds.
Max Verstappen became the youngest driver- 17 year old- in Formula 1 who scored points. He finished seventh, while his team mate Carlos Sainz Jr. finished eighth. Both Toro Rosso’s drivers were faster than Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo.
Williams’ drivers, Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, finished in the points. Bottas passed his team mate during the final lap and finished fifth, one place ahead of Massa who finished sixth.
McLaren’s performance was encouraged, but it didn’t last very long. Fernando Alonso had to retire while he was in the ninth place, because his hybrid system overheated. Jenson Button had a problem with his turbo and retired as well.
First victory for Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel could not hold his tears, his dream to race with the same team that his idol- Michael Schumacher- used to race, became true. Hamilton was not happy with his team’s tyre choice. Rookies continued to perform at high standards.
Even without rain, Malaysian Grand Prix had a lot of surprises, a lot of suspense and it was far more exciting than the Australian Grand Prix.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Victor Archakis