Ferrari poised to attack Vettel but Alonso has an eye on Raikkonen

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix pre-race analysis

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Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix. But as we saw last week that isn’t the ticket to race victory it often was last year.

The unpredictable threat of rain, the challenge of preserving tyres if it stays dry, and a pair of fast-starting Ferraris on his heels are just a few of the obstacles between Vettel and victory.

And then there’s the small matter of what Kimi Raikkonen, the winner of last week’s race, can do from tenth on the grid.

The start

The Sepang International Circuit features the longest run from the grid to turn one of any track on the calendar. The cars have already covered two-thirds of a kilometre before they reach the apex of the long, looping turn one.

A driver who makes a poor start or loses KERS at a critical time – as happened to Mark Webber in Australia – will have car after car dodging past him on the sprint from the grid.

Both Ferraris made strong starts last week – particularly Fernando Alonso, who then found himself boxed in on the narrow Albert Park course. The vast width of Sepang makes that far less likely to happen here.

If the red cars get away better Vettel could have both of them looming in his mirror as they race to turn one. Which one will he block first: Massa, who starts closest to him – or his two-times championship rival Alonso?

The latter anticipates putting Vettel under pressure when the red lights go out: “I think if everything goes normally I will have a very good start so we should be able to at least maintain the position, if not attack, so we will see how are the first meters tomorrow,” said Alonso.

However he added that the frantic dash to turn one is not as crucial now as it once was: “I think that in this Formula One that we are experiencing today, the start is very low priority.”

“I think that 56 laps is a very long race, a lot of strategy calls to make, a lot of tyre issues that everybody needs to get through during the race.”


With Pirelli expecting three pit stops per car during the race, the desire to save as much fresh rubber as possible was uppermost in the minds of many drivers during qualifying.

Red Bull took it to the greatest lengths, Vettel using a single set of mediums in Q1 and Q2. Webber attempted to do likewise but had to resort to using a second fresh set. The only other driver who pulled off the same trick as Vettel was Adrian Sutil.

In Australia Ferrari were able to get more performance out of their tyres over a stint than Red Bull. If that is repeated here they are in a strong position for the race, but bear in mind this is a very different circuit with a harder tyre compound and higher temperatures.

Practice did not give a great guide to race stint performance as the second session was cut short by rain. In the few laps that were run the Lotus pair seemed content to push their tyres harder and sooner than their rivals, indicating a degree of confidence in their tyre management.

Alonso is certainly wary of their potential: “If you have a good race pace, as I think Kimi has or Lotus has, I think they will arrive sooner or later in the race and will put some pressure on us, so I think we need to be very calm.”

However before they contend with the front runners Raikkonen and team mate Romain Grosjean have to make their way forward from tenth and eleventh on the grid. This is a consequence of Raikkonen’s penalty and Grosjean missing Q3 after the team lost its radar picture at the beginning of Q2, leading them to send him out on worn tyres for the brief window of dry running.

One point that stood out in Q3 was that of the five drivers who put on fresh sets of intermediates halfway through, three claimed the top places on the grid but the other two – Raikkonen and Sutil – languished at the lower end of the top ten.

Both these drivers also completed the previous race making one pit stop fewer than most of their rivals. That tells us something about how their cars treat the tyres – preserving their life well over a race stint but lacking that vital instant warm-up for a qualifying scenario.


Each driver started qualifying with three sets of hard tyres and three sets of mediums for it and the race. Here’s how many new sets of each type of tyre they have left:

1Sebastian Vettel32
2Felipe Massa22
3Fernando Alonso22
4Lewis Hamilton22
5Mark Webber31
6Nico Rosberg22
7Jenson Button22
8Adrian Sutil32
9Sergio Perez22
10Kimi Raikkonen31
11Romain Grosjean31
12Nico Hulkenberg22
13Daniel Ricciardo31
14Esteban Gutierrez21
15Paul di Resta31
16Pastor Maldonado22
17Jean-Eric Vergne22
18Valtteri Bottas22
19Jules Bianchi31
20Charles Pic31
21Max Chilton31
22Giedo van der Garde31

As all the drivers in Q3 set their best times on intermediate tyres, all drivers will have a free choice of which tyre compound they start on.

Qualifying times in full


Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Sebastian VettelRed Bull1’37.8991’37.245 (-0.654)1’49.674 (+12.429)
2Felipe MassaFerrari1’37.7121’36.874 (-0.838)1’50.587 (+13.713)
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’37.3141’36.877 (-0.437)1’50.727 (+13.850)
4Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’37.5131’36.517 (-0.996)1’51.699 (+15.182)
5Mark WebberRed Bull1’37.6191’36.449 (-1.170)1’52.244 (+15.795)
6Nico RosbergMercedes1’37.2391’36.190 (-1.049)1’52.519 (+16.329)
7Kimi RaikkonenLotus1’36.9591’36.640 (-0.319)1’52.970 (+16.330)
8Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’37.4871’37.117 (-0.370)1’53.175 (+16.058)
9Adrian SutilForce India1’36.8091’36.834 (+0.025)1’53.439 (+16.605)
10Sergio PerezMcLaren1’37.7021’37.342 (-0.360)1’54.136 (+16.794)
11Romain GrosjeanLotus1’37.3631’37.636 (+0.273)
12Nico HulkenbergSauber1’37.9311’38.125 (+0.194)
13Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso1’37.7221’38.822 (+1.100)
14Esteban GutierrezSauber1’37.7071’39.221 (+1.514)
15Paul di RestaForce India1’37.4931’44.509 (+7.016)
16Pastor MaldonadoWilliams1’37.867
17Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso1’38.157
18Valtteri BottasWilliams1’38.207
19Jules BianchiMarussia1’38.434
20Charles PicCaterham1’39.314
21Max ChiltonMarussia1’39.672
22Giedo van der GardeCaterham1’39.932

Sector times

DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Sebastian Vettel25.139 (10)32.520 (10)39.586 (10)
Felipe Massa25.080 (9)32.416 (8)39.378 (7)
Fernando Alonso25.014 (4)32.274 (4)39.372 (6)
Lewis Hamilton24.987 (3)32.209 (3)39.321 (4)
Mark Webber25.016 (5)32.194 (2)39.239 (2)
Nico Rosberg24.983 (2)32.048 (1)39.159 (1)
Kimi Raikkonen24.932 (1)32.309 (5)39.336 (5)
Jenson Button25.169 (11)32.356 (6)39.518 (9)
Adrian Sutil25.046 (6)32.394 (7)39.316 (3)
Sergio Perez25.234 (13)32.483 (9)39.625 (11)
Romain Grosjean25.065 (8)32.560 (12)39.695 (12)
Nico Hulkenberg25.366 (15)32.685 (15)39.824 (15)
Daniel Ricciardo25.233 (12)32.675 (14)39.814 (14)
Esteban Gutierrez25.240 (14)32.672 (13)39.761 (13)
Paul di Resta25.048 (7)32.826 (19)39.509 (8)
Pastor Maldonado25.422 (17)32.541 (11)39.856 (16)
Jean-Eric Vergne25.366 (15)32.802 (17)39.986 (18)
Valtteri Bottas25.467 (19)32.792 (16)39.906 (17)
Jules Bianchi25.443 (18)32.804 (18)40.187 (19)
Charles Pic25.649 (21)33.341 (20)40.324 (20)
Max Chilton25.593 (20)33.526 (21)40.553 (22)
Giedo van der Garde25.689 (22)33.772 (22)40.471 (21)

Speed trap

PosDriverCarSpeed (kph/mph)Gap
1Adrian SutilForce India307.1 (190.8)
2Paul di RestaForce India306.9 (190.7)-0.2
3Romain GrosjeanLotus306.9 (190.7)-0.2
4Kimi RaikkonenLotus306.5 (190.5)-0.6
5Fernando AlonsoFerrari303.2 (188.4)-3.9
6Sergio PerezMcLaren303.0 (188.3)-4.1
7Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso302.8 (188.2)-4.3
8Felipe MassaFerrari302.6 (188.0)-4.5
9Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso302.5 (188.0)-4.6
10Jenson ButtonMcLaren302.0 (187.7)-5.1
11Charles PicCaterham301.9 (187.6)-5.2
12Nico HulkenbergSauber301.9 (187.6)-5.2
13Max ChiltonMarussia301.7 (187.5)-5.4
14Jules BianchiMarussia301.4 (187.3)-5.7
15Nico RosbergMercedes301.1 (187.1)-6.0
16Esteban GutierrezSauber300.4 (186.7)-6.7
17Giedo van der GardeCaterham300.3 (186.6)-6.8
18Lewis HamiltonMercedes300.1 (186.5)-7.0
19Mark WebberRed Bull299.6 (186.2)-7.5
20Sebastian VettelRed Bull298.5 (185.5)-8.6
21Pastor MaldonadoWilliams298.0 (185.2)-9.1
22Valtteri BottasWilliams296.4 (184.2)-10.7

Over to you

Who’s your tip for victory? Where will Raikkonen finish from tenth on the grid?

Share your views on the Malaysian Grand Prix in the comments.

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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94 comments on “Ferrari poised to attack Vettel but Alonso has an eye on Raikkonen”

  1. If Red Bull haven’t improved their tire management and race pace then we are in for a Ferrari double.

    1. Redbull, Ferrari …. Why no article on the McLarens..??

      1. @jjjj – because they are rubbish currently, to put it bluntly. They are almost competely out of contention for the win, so they haven’t had an article dedicated to them (just as every other team apart from the aforementioned has too).

        1. Only a fool rubbishes the competition.

          1. I’ll consider Caterham for a shot to the win, then.

          2. There is a point at which you have to become a realist though, and McLaren are beyond that realm.

    2. Alonso has an eye on Raikkonen, so the F1 circus decide penalty for impeding Rosberg..I didn’t hear Rosberg complains though.

      1. Hear, hear
        Now we ended up that it’s Alonso’s fault for Raikkonen penalty…

        1. It was Hamilton’s fault, obviously.

  2. Keith, I may be wrong but as I understand teams start qualifying with three sets of primes and three sets of options.

    See here:

    If so then I think your tyre allocation table is incorrect, as it appears to have assume that teams started with 4 tyres of each compound.

    1. FP1: 6 primes, 5 options (see 25.4a)
      FP2: 5 primes, 5 options (see 25.4a)
      FP3: 4 primes, 4 options (see 25.4a)
      Q: 3 primes, 3 options (see 25.4c)

      Feel free to correct me if this isn’t correct!

      1. @tom_ec1: So how many sets of tires does Optimus Prime have?

        I know as much as you, so I was a little confused too, but I also know from hanging around here for longer than I should, that Keith is never wrong. There may be an occasional typo but he is not wrong. I knew many things that I thought were right but ever since I joined F1F… I’ve been learning new things, which is good, that’s why I love this page.

        1. @aish Keith is very good, and is generally not wrong, 99% of the time – but being human he is not infallible.

          As @enigma and @tom_ec1 have referred to – everyone starts quali with 3 primes and 3 options.

          Keith please don’t take this the wrong way mate. Happens to the best of us.

    2. Yeah, I remember Martin Brundle saying that before this morning’s qualifying.

    3. I think it’s 3 as well. @keithcollantine ?

    4. @tom_ec1 Yes you’re right I’ve amended the table.

      1. That 1% that Keith gets wrong is simply due to working too hard and lack of sleep :)

  3. The top speed of the Red Bull looks pretty slow. It predict that Vettel will be 3rd and Webber 23rd by the time they get to the first corner.

    1. Only 5km/h difference between Alonso and Vettel. It’s not that huge a difference, and should be easy to overcome if Vettel gets DRS. But im with ya, the Ferrari’s probaly are quick as lightning at the start.

    2. Steve Matchett on NBC pointed out what was a visibly smaller rear wing on the RBR’s than the rest and yet they are still down on top speed. Strange!
      David Hobbs also observed that contrary to percieved wisdom the Medium tyres, seemed to be as or more durable than the Hards, certainly I saw some shocking failures of the hards in P3.

      1. Steve Matchett on NBC pointed out what was a visibly smaller rear wing on the RBR’s than the rest and yet they are still down on top speed. Strange!

        Gear ratios. Red Bull are always hitting the limiter in final gear way before the end of straights.

    3. @davef1 There are only 22 cars on the grid this year ;)

      1. Just goes to show how bad Webbers starts can be!

      2. Don’t worry, I know there’s only 22 cars. I was just joking that his start would’ve been so bad that he would’ve ended up behind the medical car =P

    4. @davef1

      The top speed of the Red Bull looks pretty slow. It predict that Vettel will be 3rd and Webber 23rd by the time they get to the first corner.

      I laughed.

    5. @davef1 Often a high top speed comes with the penalty of slower acceleration, and they don’t reach top speed on the dash to the first corner. That said, You’re right to think that the 2 Ferrari’s probably will be very fast out of the start grid as we have seen in Melbourne and last year. However Vettel is not Webber, so probably he will make it through the first corner.

  4. I’m shocked how slow the cars are in the speed trap, I would have imagined 200mph on the long straights of Sepang.

    1. Speed traps are often not immediately before the braking zone I believe.

    2. I think they may well be in this instance though, otherwise the Red Bull would be right up at the top – downforce usually aids acceleration (due to the increased traction) but hurts top speed.

      1. Only in the initial phase really I thought. I imagine the speed at which downforce stops being beneficial in a straight line is considerably lower than 190.

        1. @matt90 – true true, but would the initial boost outweigh the loss of acceleration higher up I wonder (for example, in the race to 180 would a Red Bull or a Ferrari come out on top do you think, ignoring starts)?

    3. @mattynotwo They were all saving tires, didn’t you know? Let me tell you what, this one will be a slow race, it’s because of the new tyre compounds. They degrade quicker than cheap implants.

  5. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    23rd March 2013, 17:21

    I will be very surprised if Vettel ends the first lap in any position higher than third. In fact I’d be surprised if that was the case after the first sector. Red Bull are on the defensive tomorrow, because, from where I’ve been sat, they seem to have the worst degradation of any team on the grid. I will be gobsmacked if Ferrari don’t win tomorrow, because they’ve been quietly quick all weekend, and seem to have created a car pretty much perfect for the 2013 tyres. I know everyone’s thinking that Raikkonen may still come through, and he might, but the only reason that Raikkonen won in Melbourne was because Ferrari opted for the slower two stop strategy. Alonso was capable of a two-stop, and was, in terms of raw pace, the fastest car on track, so he will almost certainly take the victory tomorrow. I know people are reading this comment, looking at my avatar and thinking: “Sad Ferrari fan alert”, but Alonso and Ferrari were the quickest package in Melbourne, and will almost certainly be tomorrow regardless of the conditions. However, Mercedes also look good, and will be yet another barrier stopping Raikkonen from making it to the podium. I cannot see any other podium than Alonso from Massa from Hamilton. Now tell me why I’m wrong why don’t you…

    1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      23rd March 2013, 17:23

      *…Ferrari opted for the slower three stop strategy

    2. We havnt really seen how RBR treat these harder tyres. For all we know, they could be one of the few teams who will find the sweet spot.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        23rd March 2013, 19:13

        I suppose you didn’t see the longer runs in FP2, during which Red Bull showed poorly.

    3. Kimi and Lotus had the quickest package, not Ferrari. they couldnt do two stops cuz of tires. and certainly couldnt of set fastest race lap on 24 lap worn tires. plus Kimi is on his game this year and watch him cut and slice thru the field. Merc wont be anything of a barrier. Vettel wont finish on the podium; two Ferraris and Kimi(if its a fully dry race)

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        23rd March 2013, 19:28

        Being “on the game” is no guarantee of success, or at least in wasn’t for Hamilton in 2012. Also I think your interpretation of Alonso’s Melbourne pace is rather subjective. Alonso wasn’t pushing in the final stint, he had been held up behind the traffic, and in that traffic the dirty air rather ruined his tyres, so he knew that catching Kimi wasn’t on the cards. Here’s a fact. Ferrari could have done a two stop. All of Ferrari’s stops in Melbourne were reactionary, and utterly within confines of the three stop strategy structure, however the Ferraris didn’t seem to be struggling at the ends of their stints; unlike Vettel. The Ferrari strategists wrongly believed that the pace advantage of being on fresher tyres for longer would counter act the tyre ware, which was no were near as extensive as it seemed throughout practice and testing. Ferrari read the race incorrectly, and that was what lost them the race, not a chassis that is hard on its tyres. Also, you say that Mercedes won’t offer much of a barrier to Kimi’s “slice thru the field”. I’m sorry mate, but there’s being a die-hard fan and then there’s being a fantasist; and saying that Raikkonen is going breeze past a team that showed excellently consistent long runs in practice is very much the later.

    4. Too many variables.

    5. Okay, and now let’s add some unpredictible events…

    6. In fact, Both Ferraris would had prob. beaten Kimi if it hasn’t been for the fast Force India that were in the way some times.

    7. I’m not quite sure I agree with your outright dismissal of Vettel. Let’s not forget that the top 10 runners get a free choice on tyres, and I’m certain that Vettel, unless he has a disastrous Webber like start, can hold on to his lead for at least the first stint. Then given that there is a 50% chance of rain after 4 pm (Malaysia time) it can be anybody’s game right up to p10 on the grid. But under statistical Expectation my money would still be on Vettel given his wet weather performance yesterday. (Even though I went with Raikkonen as the predicted winner!). Although since I’m a Ferrari fan, I’m hoping Alonso and Massa can conjure some magic in the dry/wet conditions to relegate Vettel to at least third.

      1. In fact it’s the opposite. Top 10 qualifiers have to start with the same tires they’ve qualified with. It’s ones that qualifier beyond 10 have a choice of tires.

        1. Did you see the qualifying sir? Since it was a wet Q3 session, drivers get free choice on their tyres.

  6. the tires make races way too random and what was supposed to be an equalizer became an even bigger distortion of individual performances.

    1. We’ve only had a single race, and two wet/dry qualifying sessions…

      1. true it’s still pretty early but it seems like a continuation of 2012 which I didn’t enjoy that much. Personally I think racing should take the spotlight not tire management.

        1. 2012 wasn’t very random by the end, so a continuation of that would actually be perfect for you.

    2. I dont think Melbourne was very “random” either considering the top 6 finishers all started in the top 7 grid slots (and Rosberg would most likely be there too if he hadn’t retired.) Surely if it were random we would have cars starting 15th-20th up there somewhere

  7. Who’s your tip for victory? Maybe my heart is ruling my head, but I’m going to say Massa.

    Where will Raikkonen finish from tenth on the grid? Fourth.

    1. Massa could very well win it, but due to those long DRS zones he will actually need to have genuine race pace over Alonso.

      1. Which he has done all weekend up to now…

        1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          23rd March 2013, 20:26

          Massa was very much the cork that was blocking the sudden explosion of pace from Alonso in Melbourne. In race trim, Massa is still lagging Alonso; although so is the whole field.

    2. Kimi will come from behind hard and fast; with one less pitstop will take his 2nd victory.

      1. Winning from tenth is certainly not impossible, but it is statistically unlikely.

        In any case it’s probably going to rain at some point in the race, making all predictions an exercise in wishful thinking.

      2. @jonsan: Agreed. I lol at the guy who says Massa will win, he doesn’t know Alonso drives both the cars.

    3. unfortunately I think massas only chance of winning is if alonso crashes out. That is in my opinion though and hope to be proved wrong!

      1. I think Massa will have a great chance of winning if he can beat Vettel to T1 but Alonso can’t

    4. (@jonsan) I’d love to see Massa win again. I have a huge soft spot for him, as I also do for Webber. They’re both so extremely likeable you just want them to win, even in the knowledge they’re usually not the best on the grid. The more realistic part of me hopes for a Kimi or Alonso championship.

  8. Well, Raikkonen almost won from 11th in Bahrain, so I don’t rule him out, especially if E21 can preserve it’s tyres better than rivals. Besides, Lotus brought quite big update, so they should be very quick in tomorrow’s race. If it rains, then it’s a different story. Then Vettel or Hamilton can gran victory. But I would bet on Alonso. He has one of the quickest car, especially in race trim and starts from 3rd (remember, Felipe is ahead of him, so he’s almost 2nd).

  9. Surprised Keith that you’re not keeping track of the wet weather tyres. Didn’t the Merc’s only run one set of inters each? If it rains tomorrow, they’re in a better position than those around them.

    1. Dont think that matters
      First: I doubt its going to be a full WET race
      Second: Even if it is, tyre degradation wont be a major issue for inters

      1. Even if it is, tyre degradation wont be a major issue for inters

        It will be in changeable conditions (as in qualifying today) though, but granted it would probably be a strange set of circumstances.

        Come to think of it, the dry option tyres remind me a little of the backup car on the top gear challenges!

      2. I mentioned intermediates. You mentioned full wets. Not sure what the correlation is there.

        Tyre deg is a MAJOR contributor because it’s likely for mixed conditions. Those with fresher tyres will do better assuming the correct tyre calls are made.

    2. Who said I’m not?

      1. Merely stating that I thought you’d mention it in the article.

  10. How come Sebastian is so slow in the sector times? Is it because of the worn tyres? Or is the Red Bull genuinely slow?

    I somehow don’t think Kimi will be a factor tomorrow. I think the victory will go to Alonso or Hamilton tomorrow.

    Vettel will get a solid haul of points.. which is all he needs to do till Newey figures out the 2013 tyres.

    1. Probably you missed the quali Sumedh, Vettel did Q1 and Q2 in a single set of medium, thereby the slow sector times

    2. How come Sebastian is so slow in the sector times? Is it because of the worn tyres? Or is the Red Bull genuinely slow?

      He used worn tyres in Q2 and of course Q3 was wet, so that fully explains it! It does look rather odd though seeing “10th, 10th, 10th” yet he stormed to pole though!

  11. It will be an interesting race if Massa leads at the end of the first lap ahead of someone other than Alonso. I don’t think Massa’s race pace in Australia was as strong as Alonso’s, but perhaps leading the race will be the confidence boost Felipe needs.

    I’m still a bit wary of Red Bull and all their talk of not having enough tyres for the race; I would be very surprised if they need more than three stops. Like @tom_ec1, I understood that each driver only had three sets of the primes, in which case Red Bull could have a useful advantage over Ferrari and Mercedes.

    1. @adrianmorse, a little rain and no-body will want to run the primes at all and they wont have to. looks bad for drivers like Webber with only 1 set of mediums to use, but it could be all about wets and inters.

  12. Dream senario will Massa and Alonso win, in that order :)
    I betted some Money on Massa as WC Before Australia when the betting were 65x the Money. so fingers crossed.

    I know its a super-longshot, but when i saw the multiplier i figured that if i didn’t do it i would forever forget it if he had won.

  13. I think Vettel will win and Kimi will manage to get 5th.

  14. The penalty for Kimi Räikkönen could be more significant than it appears on the surface if Adrian Sutil is planning to run the same, presumably two-stop, strategy. If Kimi doesn’t get past him in the first couple of laps then he could be held up for a long enough time to scupper his chances of making it to the podium. Kimi is near the top of the speed trap ranking, but Sutil is still ahead of him, at the very top.

    The Mercedes pair are looking sharp as well, so I’d say fifth place would be a good result for Kimi now.

    1. @estesark Good point, agreed. Sutil could be very costly for Raikkonen, and I wouldn’t rule Hamilton out of contention for victory. A very open race tomorrow.

  15. Ferraris are looking strong, but at the same time anything can happen here!

    Come on Felipe.

    1. Sadly, I expect Ferarri will be on the radio during the installation lap telling Masa that Alonzo is faster. If they can dispatch Vettel and work together, they could use the double DRS zones to slingshot each other and drive away for the field. I wonder if the double DRS zones will make for some opportunistic alliances.

      1. That’s sort of Villeneuve and Pironi situation when they had swapped position again again for the show. And then Pironi decided to maintain his lead…forget it. I’m just saying.

  16. … Grosjean missing Q3 after the team lost its radar picture at the beginning of Q2 …

    Didn’t know that. Was this an error from the Lotus guys, or was this out of their control? I guess the former.

    1. When Sky interviewed FI they said everybody lost radar, so they made the same mistake with PDR.

      1. @cyclonetog Aaaaaahhhh… I completely missed that! Thanks!

  17. Kimi admitted his car was set up for dry weather. If it’s in fact true, then no rain can give him a huge chance of reaching the podium. One way or the other, I don’t see Seb winning this one. Ferrari’s are a huge threat in any conditions and Lotus seems to be superior in the dry.

  18. I think Kimi will make up a lot of ground in the run down to T1 and they’ll run the race from there.
    If Sutil is still ahead of Kimi I don’t see that as a problem, Sutil was quickest in Q1 and is fast down the straight so unlikely to hold Kimi up.
    Unfortunately if it’s a dry race it’ll probably be won on strategy again. If it’s mixed wet/dry then all that is out of the window.

  19. I think Massa’s a good bet to lead after lap 1 – he’s had some storming getaways in the last few races, and maybe the answer to your question of who Vettel blocks first is: the one he wants to beat most.

    I’d be surprised (but delighted) if Massa won the race though. Leaving aside all the conspiracy theories about Ferrari, Massa and Smedley aren’t always the sharpest tools in the box when it comes to strategy. Melbourne I thought was one of those occasions.

    1. Don’t you think that was by design. Massa was on the radio clearly wondering why he wasn’t covering. My thought at that time was that Ferrari were making sure Alonzo pipped Massa as well. I suspect Smedley takes orders as well, that’s Racing 101, he can’t be that stupid.

  20. I think RBR will suffer from tyres as will Mercedes, Lotus no, Ferrari maybe, Mclaren may come into it in this case but who knows.

    All I know is if the title of the article is anything to go by we should be in for a good race.

  21. “The Sepang International Circuit features the longest run from the grid to turn one of any track on the calendar.”

    Wasn’t Barcelona the circuit with the longest run from the start/finish line to the first corner?

  22. For the win?
    1 Alonso
    2 Massa
    3 Kimi
    4 Sutil
    Alonso will get by Vettel and Massa on the first lap.
    Force India (probably Sutil) will get podiums this season and I will predict win at least one race.

  23. Am predicting a reasonably good start from Webber today due to his proximity to Vettel.

  24. gutierrez will have a few tyre troubles IMO

  25. I wonder where Sutil would have qualified if it stayed dry……..

  26. i think it would have been a battle for pole between Raikkonen and sutil and maybe hamilton too…if it was a dry quali…

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