Vettel outruns teammate Webber for Malaysian GP win
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Sports Network) - Three-time defending Formula One
world champion Sebastian Vettel won Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix after a
fierce battle with his Red Bull teammate, Mark Webber, late in the race.
Vettel, the pole sitter, was running second to Webber following the fourth and
final round of pit stops. The two almost made contact while fighting for the
lead on lap 46. They ran side-by-side for several turns before Vettel pulled
ahead of Webber and then ran in front for the remaining 10 laps.
Vettel crossed the finish line 4.2 seconds ahead of Webber to claim his 27th
career victory, which placed him in a tie with Jackie Stewart for sixth on the
all-time F1 grand prix winners list.
"It was very close wheel-to-wheel racing," Vettel said. "I think there wasn't
much room for either of us, so it was a tight battle. I probably was a little
bit too keen too soon, because in terms of strategy, I was on the soft tire
towards the end. I felt I had the upper hand in the end."
Vettel captured his third victory in the Malaysian GP. He also won it in 2010
and '11. The German finished 11th in the event last year.
After the race concluded, Webber had heated words with Vettel, claiming he
disobeyed team orders. The two have been at odds with each other in the past,
but after the Malaysian GP, their relationship has sunk to an all-time low.
"After the last stop, the team told me the race was over, so I turned the
engine down to go to the end," Webber said. "I want to race as well, but in
the end, the team made a decision, which we always say before the race is
probably how it's going to be. We look after the tires and get the car to the
end. But Seb made his own decisions today, and he'll have protection. So
that's the way it goes."
Vettel said later during a post-race press conference that he owes Webber an
"As you can see, I'm not entirely happy," Vettel noted. "I think I did a big
mistake today. I think we should have stayed in the positions that we were in.
I didn't ignore it on purpose, but I messed up in that situation and took the
lead, which I can see now he's upset. I want to be honest at least and stick
to the truth and apologize."
Vettel was not only in hot water with his teammate but his team boss,
Christian Horner, as well. After both drivers nearly crashed, Horner said to
Vettel over the team radio, "This is silly, Seb, come on."
Red Bull will have internal discussions to resolve the matter before the next
grand prix, which will be on April 14 in Shanghai, China.
"What happened today is something that shouldn't have happened," Horner said
after the race. "It's something that Sebastian has apologized for, and it's
something that we will discuss internally as a team."
Vettel made his final stop on lap 43, while Webber came in for his last pit on
the following lap. Webber rejoined in the lead but had Vettel on his side
through the first couple of turns before he was able to pull away.
Webber held off Vettel for the next two laps before Vettel made his winning
"Let's just say there were a lot of things going through my mind in the last
15 laps of the grand prix, lots of different reasons, not just from today but
also from the past," Webber said. "We'll see what happens. We've got three
weeks before the next race."
Lewis Hamilton continues to be impressive in his first season with Mercedes by
finishing third in the Malaysian GP. Hamilton had a mishap during his first
pit stop when he mistakenly drove into one of McLaren's stalls. He drove for
McLaren for six seasons before joining Mercedes this year.
"For so many years, I was used to driving into the McLaren pits," Hamilton
admitted. "I got it wrong, so a big apology to my team."
Nico Rosberg finished one spot behind his new teammate, Hamilton, in fourth.
Rosberg was ordered by his team not to challenge Hamilton for position in the
"It was disappointing for me having to hold position, but I understand the
team's decision to safeguard our positions and to make sure both cars got to
the end," Rosberg said.
While Felipe Massa gave Ferrari its best finish with a fifth-place run, his
teammate, Fernando Alonso, had his day come to an abrupt end after the first
lap. Alonso, who participated in his 200th career grand prix, clipped the back
of Vettel and damaged the front wing on his Ferrari in turn two.
Alonso chose not to pit for repairs. His wing gave away after he crossed the
start/finish line, causing him to drive off into the gravel.
Lotus drivers Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen finished sixth and seventh,
respectively. Raikkonen began the season last week by winning the Australian
Nico Hulkenberg from Sauber took the eighth spot, while McLaren's Sergio Perez
and Jean-Eric Vergne from Toro Rosso completed the top-10.
Jenson Button from McLaren retired with a handful of laps remaining and wound
up finishing 17th. Button had already fallen one lap behind after a mistake
during his third pit stop. His right-front tire was not properly attached, as
he came to a stop on pit lane. Button's crew sprinted to the car and pushed it
back to make the repair.
With the win, Vettel moved atop the championship standings, as he has
accumulated 40 points for the season. Raikkonen is second in points with 31,
followed by Webber with 26 and 25 for Hamilton.
03/24 10:27:20 ET
Powered by The Sports Network.