What did we learn from the Malaysian GP? – “Silly” Sepang


The Malaysian GP certainly had amazing weather with rain and heat, plus the addition of frost on the podium.  Current world champion Sebastian Vettel displayed what might just be his true colors with his “win at any cost” attitude, ignoring his team’s instructions and risking taking both the Red Bull cars out of the race.  (More on that later.)

In the Mercedes team garage there was a similar situation with team instructions to the drivers to hold position, much to the annoyance of Nico Rosberg who had to sit behind Lewis Hamilton, their expensive new driver, who now knows he is definitely Number 1 and Rosberg will have to wear the Number 2 hat, and bad luck Nico!  Despite Rosberg’s pleas to the pits to let him pass Hamilton, he was firmly put in his place by Team Manager Ross Brawn and told to hold position.  In Hamilton’s favor was the fact that he was uneasy standing on the third spot on the podium and even said that Rosberg should have been up there and not him.

Ferrari had a weekend to forget as their star driver Fernando Alonso lost the plot on the first lap, knocked his front wing askew and ran off the track, deep into the kitty litter, never to be seen again.  Felipe Massa in the other Ferrari who had secured second on the grid seemed to be asleep for the first 90 percent of the race, but bucked up towards the end to come fifth.

And so to Red Bull and their driving buddies Vettel and Webber.  For once, Webber had a blinder of a start, shook off Vettel and Alonso and had the race well in his pocket long before half distance.  With the final stop out of the way for both Webber and Vettel, Team Manager Christian Horner told both drivers to turn their engines down and go easy on the tyres and cruise to the finish.  This meant that Red Bull would safely come first and second, with the win going to Webber.  However, Vettel decided he wanted the win, ignored his team’s orders, battled with Webber (who had already turned his engine down) and jeopardized the perfect finish.  Adrian Newey, the Red Bull engineering genius, tore strips off Vettel afterwards, with Vettel assuming a hang-dog appearance and the bottom lip was starting to pout.  Christian Horner did not come to Vettel’s rescue either, and amazingly, Team Advisor Helmut Marko (Vettel’s greatest proponent) was left where he could not justify Vettel’s actions in public.

Webber was furious, but has been in these situations before, saying, “In the end Seb made his own decisions today and will have protection as usual, and that’s the way it goes.”  At the post race press conference Vettel did offer an apology, but a rather hollow one.  This race has left a stain on Vettel’s character, but I am not surprised, having shown a rather immature side of him previously.

Force India had identical wheel nut failures on both cars.  With the financial woes being experienced by team owner Mallya, were they cheap copy ones from the back streets of Mumbai?

One other aspect shown in Sepang is the ridiculous tyre situation, where drivers have to pussy-foot around with tyres that self destruct after six laps.  This is nonsense.  Pirelli should be told to make tyres that last the entire race distance, and that is it.  The public are being robbed of the spectacle of drivers giving it their all, and are getting turned off by it.  Are you listening FIA?