What did we learn from Malaysia?

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Well, we learned that Lewis Hamilton may think that he sits at the right hand of God, but he doesn’t, after a snotty nosed kid beat him convincingly. We also learned that Ferrari, despite several billion lira, has inherent mechanical/electrical problems that can’t be fixed overnight. And Ricciardo is not on Vettel’s Xmas card list, Magnusson is on nobody’s list, and Palmer doesn’t even make the list.

The final Malaysian F1 race began in a novel way, with Vettel (Ferrari) suffering engine failure in Qualifying and because he had to change engines then receiving grid penalties and having to accept grid slot 20. Ferrari had no sooner got over that major disaster than the sister car of Raikkonen expired on the way to his second slot on the grid. Pushed back to the pits it was another impossible to fix and Ferrari had red faces to go with their red overalls. Heads will roll. Ferrari team manager Arrivabene will be lucky if he has time for his lunchtime sandwiches.

At the start, Hamilton (Mercedes) bolted from pole position but was caught by Verstappen (Red Bull) and then passed by him on lap 4.

Behind, Bottas (Mercedes) was squabbling with Ricciardo (Red Bull), with the Red Bull driver coming out on top by lap 9. Bottas is not showing the speed he was capable of earlier this year. “Today was difficult,” he admitted. “I was trying everything I could, I was giving it all I had, but I was lacking pace and I was sliding around. The story of the race was managing the tyre temperatures. If I tried harder, then I started to overheat the tyre and slide even more, so I had to manage everything and that’s why I was so slow.” And when Lewis Hamilton is the yardstick in the team, Bottas should be wary of being obviously slow.

Interest was kept up watching Vettel coming from grid slot 20 up to 4th and within DRS of Ricciardo by lap 48. Everyone expected the Australian to let Vettel through, but the Aussie had not forgotten previous incidents when both he and Vettel were on the same team (note, not ‘team mates’) and firmly slammed the door shut on the German. After that, Vettel gave up and finished well behind Ricciardo, but still in front of Bottas.

All the way through the pack there was close racing and an excellent first F1 outing for the young Frenchman Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) finishing 14th.

Fastest race laps is interesting, with Vettel way out in front.

1 S Vettel Ferrari 1:34.080

2 N Hulkenberg Renault 1:34.266

3 L Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.452

4 M Verstappen Red Bull 1:34.467

5 D Ricciardo Red Bull 1:34.770

6 V Bottas Mercedes 1:35.284

Bottas is almost 1 second off Hamilton, which will not go unnoticed by Mercedes management, and being on a one year contract, Mercedes can look around for a replacement.

Final Results:

1 M Verstappen Red Bull

2 L Hamilton Mercedes

3 D Ricciardo Red Bull

4 S Vettel Ferrari 1

5 V Bottas Mercedes

6 S Perez Force India

7 S Vandoorne

8 L Stroll Williams

9 F Massa Williams

10 E Ocon Force India

11 F Alonso McLaren

12 K Magnussen Haas

13 R Grosjean Haas

14 P Gasly Toro Rosso

15 J Palmer Renault

16 N Hulkenberg Renault

17 P Wehrlein Sauber

18 M Ericsson Sauber

Retired

C Sainz Toro Rosso Engine

K Raikkonen Ferrari Engine