Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2014

Hamilton heads dominant Mercedes 1-2 in Malaysia

2014 Malaysian Grand Prix summary

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sepang International Circuit, 2014Lewis Hamilton put the disappointment of Albert Park well behind him in Sepang by dominating proceedings to take his first win of the 2014 season.

Nico Rosberg cruised to second to secure Mercedes’ first one-two finish in F1 since the Italian Grand Prix in 1955. Sebastian Vettel rounded out the podium to claim his and Red Bull’s first points of the season.

Hamilton led from pole, pulling a decent gap to team mate Rosberg in the initial stages as the German suffered from early rear tyre degradation. Kimi Raikkonen’s race was ruined after contact from Kevin Magnussen left him cruising back to the pits with a right-rear puncture. The Danish rookie later received a five second stop-and-go penalty for the incident.

After the first pit cycle, it was the two Mercedes leading the two Red Bulls – Vettel and Ricciardo respectively – with Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari keeping in touch with the leaders in fifth and Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India in sixth. Fuel saving became the focus of the second stints, as Daniel Ricciardo was told to target a gap of around two seconds to his team mate in fourth while Hulkenberg began to slowly close the gap to Alonso in sixth.

With the second round of stops completed, the order at the front remained the same. Vettel had closed the gap to the second-placed Rosberg, but the Red Bull could not get close enough to mount a challenge. Both Saubers were eliminated in almost consecutive laps with apparent mechanical issues.

It was at this stage that drivers first began reporting spots of rain around the circuit, but it was not enough to factor into the strategy of the race and the circuit remained dry for the remainder of the event.

Then, disaster for Ricciardo. Pitting for the third time, the Australian was released with the left-front wheel not secured to the car and forced to stop in the centre of the pit lane while the team recovered the car, costing him an enormous amount of time. There were further problems once the Australian was back out on circuit, as an apparent front wing failure left Ricciardo cruising back to the pits with a right-front puncture.

With only Vettel to provide the illusion of a challenge, the two Mercedes ticked off the remaining laps to cruise to what could well be the first of many one-two finishes of the season. Vettel took his first podium of the season in third.

Hulkenberg gambled with a two stop strategy, but it failed to win him fourth from Alonso, who caught and passed the Force India with four laps to go. Felipe Massa was told by the Williams team to let Valtteri Bottas through for seventh position, but the Brazilian refused to let his younger team mate passed with the team ultimately telling both cars to hold places in the final laps.

Jenson Button finished sixth, with Magnussen recovering to ninth and Daniil Kvyat rounding out the points in tenth to take two points finishes from his first two grands prix. After Marussia took a 13th place finish in Melbourne, Caterham will be delighted to have both cars at the chequered flag at their home race with Kamui Kobayashi taking a vital 13th place finish for the team.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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78 comments on “Hamilton heads dominant Mercedes 1-2 in Malaysia”

  1. Was this a Grand Chelem, or did Hulkenburg leading for 1/2 a lap before pitting prevent it?

    1. Hulk did lead a lap

    2. Hulkenberg didn’t actually lead that lap, Hamilton led the lap passing the finish line through the pit stop lane, then overtook Hulkenberg during the out lap. So technically Lewis led every lap of the race.

      I don’t really know if Grand Chelem needs the driver to lead every meter of the race or just the laps.

    3. Hulk did not lead an entire lap, he stayed in front of Lewis for 3/4 turns but Lewis led every single counted lap…

    4. Believe it was a Grand Chelem. Hulk didn’t make an entire lap ahead of Ham.

      1. It doesn’t matter if the Hulk didn’t make an entire lap ahead oh him: to earn a Grand Chelem you must lead at every stage of the race (apart from the pole, win and fastest lap).

        1. Yeah, but to lead a lap it means to finish the lap in first. And think that Ham, tough he left the pit stop behind Hulk, he still managed to finish the lap in first. No?

        2. I’m pretty sure it’s only about leading a lap, just like Vettel at singapore last year or something.

        3. Wrong. Its every counted racing lap.

          1. Yep, my fault. I clearly misspoke.

    5. according to FIAs lap chart HAM crossed every lap of the race 1st , so it is.

  2. Sounds like the jack may have damaged Ricciardo’s wing in the pit stop.
    I still prefer the McLaren jack that chops the nose off…

  3. I may have misunderstood. Did Massa complain about Bottas pressuring him early on and request team orders to keep him behind, then ignore the later team orders when they weren’t in his favour?

    1. That’s how I understood it as well.

    2. @matt90 apparently Massa ignored team orders but in the last couple races both cars were required to cool down because their “civil war” was overheating the cars.

      1. lol @matt90

        It is funny, for a man who for the most of his times in F1 a second driver giving away his position to a team mate to come to a different team and have to again, give way his position to younger and much less experienced team mate. I would, in a emotional way support Massa here. I am sure he will have more hearing to do still.

        1. That would be fine if he wasn’t crying about being challenged earlier on in the race.

          1. I agree @matt90. Individual differences need to be kept aside when team importance comes into place. We all do that at our work, don’t we? We become selfless, homeless, family-less etc. for the work we do :P [pun definitely intended]

        2. @hemzshaw “Valtteri is faster than you” :)

          1. Irrespective of that @jcost, the way Massa was told could have been better. And if that “faster than you” message was for me, sure I would not ever contest him :D :D

          2. @hemzshaw yes, they should have used different words :)

    3. @matt90

      Pretty much yes… but given his previous treatment in Ferrari, I’d forgive him… IMO Williams should have phrased it better, like say Bottas played ball earlier on and that it’d only be right he do the same and/or that Bottas had the better chance of overtaking Button… instead they phrased it almost word for word from Hockenheim 2010 (Pardon spelling), of course Massa wouldn’t want a repeat of that.

      1. I can’t forgive him given the level of annoyance he displayed when Bottas was having a go at the start, even though he then proved incapable of passing the McLaren.

        1. @matt90

          Yeah that was quite primma donna attitude from Massa, hopefully they can settle that at Williams and not have a repeat of it in future races.

          1. I’ve never really liked Massa, and that attitude was part of it. In the previous race he was calling for a ban for Kobayashi just because he thought he’d missed his braking point.

          2. @matt90

            While I agree his reaction was over the top, in his defense even Kobayashi himself thought it was driver error and being taken out at the first corner after days of preparation through no fault of your own is bound to make anyone (really) mad… I’m sure he said that in the heat of the moment and has long since cooled off.

  4. On the FOM live timing app Alonso was never shown to have taken on the primes, did he take them at his final stop?

    1. @geemac his 3rd stint was on primes.

    2. He took them at his second stop.

    3. Thanks very much @tmf42 and @mike-dee

  5. Fikri Harish (@)
    30th March 2014, 11:22

    Hulkenberg is surely going to get a podium finish sometime this year, won’t he?

    I’m this close to calling my doormat Felipe by the way.

    1. With all the probability of Mercedes being overtaken or matched for their performance by European races, I definitely see this as a possibility. He deserves that, big time. Also, the fears with performance of Perez are also coming true. He never managed to finish in points in the two races save for Ric’s disq.

      1. Why did Sergio not start today at all?? Any issues with PU?

      2. Perez had a puncture in Australia due to being hit by Gutierrez and didn’t get to start this race, so the jury’s still out on that. He’s been out-qualified by Hulk both times, but he’s never really been known for qualifying performance.

  6. The extreme fuel saving some us expected is not happening. I take my hat off for all the great engineers involved in Formula 1 because they’ve made a great job, there are still some growing pains but way less than I anticipated.

    1. Mr win or lose
      30th March 2014, 12:07

      It seemed that the Williams’ were even “underfueled”, based on their fuel consumption they didn’t even need the 100 kg of fuel.

      1. Does anyone know what percentages of fuel each driver used? And were they underfueled or did thet just drag X amount of fuel for the whole race to not use it!

        1. Mr win or lose
          30th March 2014, 13:37

          With 6 laps to go, Vettel had consumed about 89% of the maximum amount of fuel, while Massa and Bottas were somewhere around 81-83%. So they probably had 6-8% less fuel, which may explain why they were relatively fast in the beginning of the race.

          Probably they were doing the same thing last year, given the relatively low fuel consumption in the 2013 season (about 140 kg compared to 150 or 160 kg mentioned by other sources).

  7. Mercedes dominating again…And the next GP unless Mercedes couldn’t finish, will be the same, and the next GP also…we entered Mercedes times…

    1. Oh, you see the future…well done for you. All the teams might as well abandon the season and leave the Mercedes to play with each other, right? Yeah, let’s do that. Ferrari, RBR, Williams, Force India, please do be lambs and give the rest of the playground time to Mercedes. The team needs to win something, or else…Mercedes times will finish before it even started.

      1. @yes-master Não (nop) i’m not seeing the future, i’m seeing the present…And the present says that only Mercedes cars were on the 1st places of the Qualification or in race…So what you make of it? Ferrari Domination? So the RBR have done a good job to put the car in terms that they can battle with Mercedes but the truth is they have not yet. No one did actually…so what you make of it?

        1. Mas (but) it was you to say that “we entered Mercedes times…” which means entering a future cycle. As for the present I agree entirely, Mercedes is the fastest team and looking at the last results, without any question, mercedes motors are the most reliable at the moment. But saying that is not saying that the next two three or four gps will be for Mercedes to win. Because that is to see the future.

    2. yes . Yes ….. YES . Ring dig a ding ding ding ding . Enjoy these times .

    3. Looks like reliability is Mercedes only opposition but I think the Bulls have a great car and they will get close, I hope it’s sooner rather than later but they will get there and Ferrari is not completely out of the picture, they have some ironing to do but they can improve.

      1. @jcost I thing that’s the only problem for Merc right know

    4. @hipn0tic
      Yea thank goodness this, it was about time.

      1. @jason12 If you’re a Merc fan yes, if not, well just wait for and see(like me) :)

        1. @hipn0tic Red Bull has had 4 years . I would agree with you after a couple of years of domination at least ;-)

          1. @hamilfan even as a Red Bull fan, I must say I preferred 2010 and in particular 2012 – where they struggled a bit ;)

          2. Right on @vettel1, as a F1 fan this champioship for know, like it is IMO dull, but i recon that a big part of F1 fans are happy with this. I prefered seeing Ferrari more in front, RBR more in front and Williams that they suggested a lot but gave us so little, regardless the winner in the end, but then again it’s just my opinion

          3. @vettel1 Yeah 2012 was a really fine year . So close with the tyre lottery and then even in the end Fernando was a relentless opponent . That final race where Vettel made a storming drive ! Great year for f1 .

  8. Mercedes are very quick at this phase. No other team was able to show yet real ability to compete directly with mercedes. However, RBR is getting much closer. And, as I hope, Ferrari will eventually. Ofc, still believe in Maclaren and Willians and Force India to show some arguments to increase the competitiveness level which 2014’s F1 season is shouting for.
    We, fans, need something to distract us from the lack of “engine noise” discussions.

    1. THis season for me is getting pretty dull….

      1. As for me too. Hope to see significant improvements from the top teams, other than Mercedes which is at the point, or else, this year will be frustrating for the fans.

  9. Anyone else think the Williams cars would look awesome with that Martini light blue colour wheels and the McLaren with orange wheels?
    On another note I am seriously impressed with Red Bulls, (for all that I dislike them), comeback and with Riccardos and Hulkenburgs performances!

  10. Grosjean was so “close” on scoring the first point. That Lotus surely is a dog… not even with DRS and tires that were 12 laps fresher (altough can’t remember the compounds) he could pass easily that tank that Kobayashi drives.

  11. This Lewis guy really is rubbish at saving fuel and looking after his tyres…

    1. Never believe the media…..

    2. Yeah, your mother too, he saved more fuel then his team mate.

      1. I think Jake was being sarcastic here about the innumerable references media has made about Lewis being unable to save fuel or tyres

        1. @Anirudh S, ”if” he was my apologies, ”if” he ain’t then it was meand for him/

      2. The clue to sarcasm is something patently not true (particularly if the reason for it being false has just been made abundantly clear) and often the use of… or a smiley of some kind. It is sometimes used to turn around a widespread opinion which has just been highly discredited.

        You are now ready to use the internet.

      3. It was meant to be sarcastic, which I thought would be quite obvious. Apologies if it wasn’t clear.

        1. @jleigh I see this sort of thing happen again and again which is why I advise against trying to use sarcasm this way.

  12. Looking at the times from the race and speedtrap(from Fp3) it looks that Mercedes is about 1.5s quicker over a lap than RB , 15 km/h faster , slightly better sector 2 times(= equally good chasis) and according to helmut marco they have 80hp stronger power unit…
    At the time LH put the fastest lap of the race with the !!!Hard tyre!!! (1:43) he was 2s faster than SB.
    Even if Mercedes stoped developing today their car they will still win comfordably the championship.
    People thought RB was dominant in 2013, but they had only a margin of couple tenths (0.1-0.3 sec) Today we are not talking about tenths, we are talking about seconds. Maybe this is not so obvious because merc controled their pace for reliability but the fastest time of LH and the way that NR made a gap over SB after the yellow flag in the closing laps shows the real dynamic of mercedes.

    1. Mercedes-Benz did fantastic today, BMW should return into F1 as soon as possible. Wonder how the Honda engine will do.

      1. I was wondering the other day how long BMW will be willing to sit back if Mercedes dominate. I wonder which team they would associate with this time though.

        1. I was thinking likewise. Red Bull, possibly, or Sauber again?

          1. Red Bull might be a good bet. They’ve rarely been openly happy with Renault even before this season. I don’t see Sauber unless they were looking to actually take over a team again. If they’re only looking to supply engines they’ll want a bigger name with more recent success.

  13. Hat-trick for Lewis!

    Looking forward to a lot more of these.

    1. Yeah a lot more . I want him to get at least all pole positions this year for the pole position trophy ;-) . I am more interested in that rather than the championship .

  14. So…when will those renault engines become decent?

  15. After joining Mercedes last year, Lewis committed to increase the size of Merc’s ‘tiny’ trophy cabinet. After a number of podium finishes last year and successes so far this year, Mercedes-Benz will have to design a new trophy cabinet to keep them all…

    Well done, Lewis.

  16. I thought it was an interesting race to watch on TV but the subdued sounding engines were not so interesting. I can’t say I liked the V-8 sound (sorta like a powersaw) but it did create a more dramatic ambiance.

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