F1 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix: Hamilton looking to bounce back
PUBLISHED: 13:49 23 March 2014 | UPDATED: 13:49 24 March 2014
Motor racer Lewis Hamilton is looking to put his 2014 Australian Grand Prix disappointment behind him when the Formula One circus moves to Malaysia this week
Hamilton, the 29-year-old Mercedes AMG Petronas star from Hertfordshire, retired from the season-opening race in Melbourne as Silver Arrows colleague Nico Rosberg took the chequered flag.
Despite suffering an issue with a misfiring cylinder in the opening laps, after claiming pole position in Albert Park qualifying, 2008 F1 world champion Hamilton was heartened by the form of his Mercedes mate Rosberg.
The German scored a composed victory, claiming first place off the line and leading every lap of the race to win by 24 seconds.
Hamilton is hoping to bounce back around the Sepang circuit near Kuala Lumpur in the second race of the season, the 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday, March 30.
2014 World Drivers’ Championship
1 Nico Rosberg 25pts
2 Kevin Magnussen 18
3 Jenson Button 15
4 Fernando Alonso 12
5 Valtteri Bottas 10
6 Nico Hulkenberg 8
7 Kimi Raikkonen 6
8 Jean-Eric Vergne 4
9 Daniil Kvyat 2
10 Sergio Perez 1
* Subject to Red Bull appeal
Speaking after the season curtain-raiser in Melbourne, Hamilton said: “It looks like we only had five cylinders firing and, while I wanted to keep going, we had to play safe and save the engine.
“It’s unfortunate but that’s racing and we will recover from this. We have a great car and engine, and the pace was really strong as Nico clearly showed.”
Hamilton added: “Of course I’m disappointed with my own race and when I think about all the work that has gone on back at our factories, it’s tough to have a costly hiccup.
“However we have achieved an incredible amount to get here, to be at the front and to be so competitive. We will bounce back and learn from this. There is a very long way to go this season.”
2014 F1 World Constructors’ Championship
After Australian Grand Prix
1 McLaren 33 pts
2 Mercedes AMG 25
3 Ferrari 18
4 Williams 10
5 Force India 9
6 Scuderia Toro Rosso 6
* Subject to Red Bull appeal
After celebrating his fourth F1 career victory, Rosberg said: “To start the season with a win is unbelievable and I have to say a big thank you to everybody who was involved in building our car over the winter.
“However, despite our success, we also know that there is still some work to do.
“We saw over the weekend that reliability is still a concern and it prevented us from having a strong two-car finish.”
Mercedes-Benz Motorsport chief Toto Wolff also pinpointed reliability as being a key factor this season.
"We have a great car and engine, and the pace was really strong today as Nico clearly showed."
Wolff said: “We know that reliability will be crucial to this long season and we will be working hard to improve the situation for the race in Malaysia.”
Mercedes technical director Paddy Lowe echoed Wolff’s assessment.
“We know that this season will be more of a marathon than a sprint and that reliability will play a decisive role,” said Lowe.
“After taking a moment to savour this win, we will be hard at work to improve further for the next race in Malaysia.”
After securing two podiums in Australia, subject to Red Bull’s appeal over Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification, McLaren drivers Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button head to Malaysia in good heart, with the Woking team leading the constructors’ championship after one race.
McLaren rookie Magnussen, who claimed a podium on his F1 debut, said: “Where do we go from here? Well, we need to continue improving. And I’m sure we will.
“I’ll try to learn as much as I can, and to carry this experience forward to Malaysia.
“It’s a completely different circuit, so there’s no guarantee we’ll have the sort of speed we showed here [in Australia], but I’m sure the team will keep pushing as hard as they’ve done already this year.”
Button, the 2009 F1 world champion, finished fourth in Melbourne, after starting from 10th on the grid, but was promoted to third following Ricciardo’s disqualification for an alleged fuel infringement.
He said: “I don’t think we expected to be leading the constructors’ world championship at the end of this [Australian GP] weekend, but I think the pace in the car is generally there: in clear air, we seem capable of fighting every team except one.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back in the car in Malaysia.”
McLaren Mecedes racing director Eric Boullier isn’t taking the team’s position for granted after just one grand prix. Mercedes’ super-fast challenger is still the car to beat.
“To be in first place in the constructors’ world championship is a very nice feeling, but let’s not forget that today’s race was only the first of 19, and I’ll be a lot happier if we’re still in first place in the constructors’ world championship after the 19th race,” said Boullier.
“Having said that, I’m not making any predictions, and it’s clear that we’ve got a lot of work to do in order to close the performance gap between our car and the fastest car.”
He added: “Our next stop is Malaysia, which will be hot and hard. But we’re ready for the challenge.”
The 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix takes place at the Sepang International Circuit next Sunday.