F1 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix result: Hamilton leads a Mercedes one-two
- Credit: Mercedes-Benz
Formula One racer Lewis Hamilton won the 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix with a dominant drive from pole position at Sepang.
The 29-year-old Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 star from Hertfordshire motored to a lights-to-chequered flag victory round the Sepang International Circuit near Kuala Lumpur this morning (Sunday), his first win in Malaysia.
He crossed the finish line an emphatic 17 seconds clear of Silver Arrows teammate Nico Rosberg, as Mercedes claimed a podium one-two – the team’s first since Juan Manuel Fangio and Piero Taruffi at the 1955 Italian Grand Prix.
It was Hamilton’s second win for Mercedes and his 23rd Formula One career victory, and one of his most commanding.
Reigning F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel finished third for Red Bull, but the day belonged to Hamilton, who drove a faultless race from the front of the grid – and was interviewed afterwards on the podium by Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch.
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Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso took fourth place in the provisional results ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.
Jenson Button was sixth for McLaren, with Williams’ Felipe Massa seventh. Valtteri Bottas took eighth for Williams with McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen ninth. Daniil Kvyat completed the top 10 for Toro Rosso.
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Hamilton’s victory was the 15th for the Silver Arrows in Formula One and the 101st for Mercedes-Benz power. Cars powered by Mercedes also dominated the top 10 in Sepang.
The 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix winner said: “I’m incredibly happy today. This is my first win in Malaysia after eight attempts and to do it for our Petronas family in their home country makes it even more special.
“It’s all down to the team. They have done a fantastic job and I have to say a huge thank you to everyone here at the track and back at our factories who have been pushing non-stop to get the car where it is.”
Hamilton took the chequered flag with an advantage of 17 seconds and set the fastest lap of the race on lap 52. However, he said it wasn’t as comfortable as the statistics suggest.
“The race was tougher than it perhaps looked today and the conditions here always make it a great challenge,” said the 2008 F1 world champion.
“But I was able to look after the car, the tyres and the fuel and still keep a bit of pace in hand which made my job that little bit easier.”
With Rosberg following up his Australian GP victory with another podium, Mercedes have overtaken McLaren in the constructors’ championship.
Hamilton said: “It’s great to see Mercedes leading the championship but we know that we have to make these early races pay. Anything can happen as we saw in Australia, so this is an important result for us. One-two finishes don’t happen very often and this is a real achievement for the team.”
Hamilton added: “Finally, I would like to offer this victory in tribute to all those affected by the tragedy of MH370. A special mention also goes to my step-mum Linda for her 50th birthday tomorrow!”
The Stevenage-born motor racer stopped on laps 15 and 33 for medium tyres, switching to the hard compound at his final stop on lap 51. Finishing in second place, Rosberg followed the same tyre strategy as Lewis, stopping on laps 14, 32 and 50.
Rosberg said: “This is an incredible day for our team and for Mercedes-Benz. Everyone back at our factories in Brackley and Brixworth, and all employees of Mercedes-Benz, can feel very proud today.
“For the first time in the modern Silver Arrows era, we have achieved a one-two finish which is an incredible result. The team did a phenomenal job over the winter and my thanks once again for that.”
Lining up third on the grid after qualifying, Rosberg took Vettel off the line. He said: “I had a great start again, even though it was tight with Sebastian. It was very close at the wall and I just closed the eyes, went for the gap and did it.
“Later I was able to control the pace and to defend my position against Seb, but Lewis was out of my reach, so congratulations to him for his win.”
Mercedes-Benz Motorsport chief Toto Wolff was delighted to convert pole and P3 into maximum points.
He said: “It doesn’t get any better than a one-two finish – congratulations to everybody in the team, at Mercedes-Benz and at Petronas who worked so hard to make this happen.
“It was a controlled race from the first lap and Lewis and Nico did a fantastic job in very demanding conditions. But we cannot afford to be complacent: we still have room for improvement with our overall package and the race showed us once again that the competition are right there behind us.
“We will savour the moment this evening but we all know that if you stand still in this business, you go backwards. So we will be pushing hard to improve further for the next race in Bahrain.”
Mercedes’ technical director Paddy Lowe hailed it was a “faultless day” for the team.
He said: “We knew from our practice running that we had the pace in the car, so today was about managing the team and the car through 56 laps without encountering any problems or making any mistakes.
“Formula One is a very complex sport and, as we have seen ourselves in recent weeks, the littlest things can destroy a race.
“But we delivered a faultless day for both cars and both drivers; we are simply over the moon to have scored the first one-two finish for Mercedes-Benz since 1955 and to have earned our own small place in that fantastic tradition.
“The entire team has spent several years working on this Silver Arrow and today we successfully delivered the final piece of the puzzle.”
While there were celebrations in the Mercedes garage, Daniel Ricciardo’s hopes of challenging for a podium were dashed when Red Bull messed up one of his tyre stops and his car had to be pushed back down the pit lane into the box.
To add salt to the wound, the Aussie was subsequently penalised by FIA race stewards with a 10-second stop-go penalty for unsafe release, scuppering the Red Bull star’s race. In the space of three laps, and two pit-stops and a broken front wing, he went from P4 to P16 and eventually retired.
And, post race, Ricciardo was hit with a 10-place grid penalty for next week’s 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix for Red Bull’s unsafe release.
After claiming two podiums in the season-opening race in Melbourne following Ricciardo’s disqualification, McLaren officials had to settle for a couple of top 10 finishes in Malaysia.
From eighth and 10th on the grid, both drivers made clean getaways. However, Magnussen tangled with Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari as the pair jostled for position into Turn Two.
The resultant contact shattered Danish driver Kevin’s left-hand-side front-wing end-plate, losing him downforce during his first stint and causing him to drop behind Button, and struggle to keep both Williams drivers at bay.
Magnussen stopped for fresh tyres on lap nine, during which pit-stop the team also fitted a new nose-box to his car.
However, soon afterwards, he was awarded a five-second stop-go penalty in respect of his coming-together with Raikkonen, which he took at the start of his second pit-stop.
Despite those setbacks, he pushed hard until the end, finishing ninth, his second consecutive points finish in as many grands prix.
Button’s race was incident-free – he vaulted Kevin to run seventh in the early laps, expertly keeping Felipe Massa’s Williams at bay throughout the first stint.
He gained another place when the Red Bull of Ricciardo was delayed by a number of issues in the middle of the race. Then, in the closing laps, he put up a spirited defence, again facing an attack from Massa, to come home sixth.
With four points finishes from four starts in 2014, McLaren currently sits second in the constructors’ world championship.
However, after Hamilton’s impressive win in Malaysia, bookies William Hill make the Mercedes driver the 11/10 favourite to win the 2014 Drivers’ Championship ahead of his teammate, Nico Rosberg at 11/4. Sebastian Vettel is 10/3 after his third place.
The Mercedes cars have started the season so impressively that it is 6/4 that either Hamilton or Rosberg wins the Drivers’ Championship with his teammate finishing second.
“The Mercedes cars are so far ahead of the pack at the moment, it seems as though even at this early stage of the season, everyone is already playing catch up,” said William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly.
The F1 circus now heads to Bahrain for next Sunday’s night 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix.