Malaysia analysis - Red Bull victorious, but not invincible 11 Apr 2011
The good news for Red Bulls rivals in Malaysia? The RB7 looks to have an Achilles heel in its KERS system. The bad news? Even without it, Sebastian Vettel won pretty much at will as he controlled the Sepang race throughout, continuing the perfect start to his title defence. McLaren pushed the blue cars hard all weekend, but ultimately couldnt find the necessary pace. On top of that, they found themselves under pressure in the race from the fast-starting Renault team, who made it two podiums from two races courtesy of a revitalised Nick Heidfeld. We take a team-by-team look back at Sundays action
Sebastian Vettel, P1
Mark Webber, P4
The lap after his engineers told him not to use his KERS any more, Vettel set a fastest lap just to show how dominant the Red Bull RB7 still was in Malaysia. The only real challenge to him came from Heidfelds fast-starting Renault at the start. After that he controlled the gap to Hamilton and, later, Button, and won as he pleased to open his points lead to 24 over the latter. Webber dropped from third to ninth on the opening lap thanks to a KERS system that failed to deliver at the start, then had to run a four-stop strategy to get back into contention. It worked, and after numerous wheel-to-wheel fights and fastest lap, he just failed to grab third from Heidfeld.
Jenson Button, P2
Lewis Hamilton, P8
Hamilton kept Vettel under pressure in the second stints after getting held up behind Heidfeld in the first after losing out at the start. But after flat-spotting a set of soft tyres in qualifying he only had two for the race instead of the three of his rivals. That hurt him in the third stint, as his MP4-26 didnt handle as well on the harder compound. He fended off Webber and Alonso towards the end, lost out to Heidfeld, then slid off and dropped to seventh with a fourth stop, Subsequently he was awarded a post-race 20s penalty for changing direction more than once while defending, dropping to eighth. Button, meanwhile, couldnt keep up initially on the soft tyres but found his MP4-26 loved the harder compound. He moved ahead of Hamilton in his final stint and kept Vettel honest to the end after a superb, smooth performance reminiscent of Alain Prost at his best.
Nick Heidfeld, P3
Vitaly Petrov, Retired lap 53, accident
Both Renaults made demon starts. Heidfeld sprinted from sixth on the grid to second and stayed there until the first pit stops, confirming the R31s Melbourne race pace. Later he came back at Hamilton with a vengeance, grabbing the final podium position at the start of lap 51 and defending it against determined attack from Webber. Petrov was headed for eighth when he slid off on the 53rd lap and broke his steering column mounting when he aviated over a kerb and had a very hard landing as he came back on track.
Felipe Massa, P5
Fernando Alonso, P6
Ferrari had better race pace, especially on the harder rubber, which was a much-needed fillip. Massa ran ahead of Alonso until a delay in his first stop, and came through for fifth in the end after the Spaniards challenge for Hamiltons third place on lap 46 led to a wing-damaging collision which necessitated a fourth pit stop. Later he was penalised 20s for the collision, but it did not affect his sixth place.
Kamui Kobayashi, P7
Sergio Perez, Retired lap 24, impact/electrical failure
No after-race shocks for Sauber this time; at least, not to their detriment. Kobayashi drove brilliantly for eighth place, battling hard with Webber, Schumacher and Petrov, and that became seventh in a payback for Melbourne, when Hamilton got penalised. Perez wasnt as strong this weekend, and retired after debris from Buemis Toro Rosso struck his C30s undertray, set off its fire extinguisher and led to electrical shutdown.
Michael Schumacher, P9
Nico Rosberg, P12
Mercedes had an awful race. Both MGP W02s were reliable and their DRS wings worked, but they lacked pace. Schumacher had an off on his way to ninth place and the teams first points of the year, while Rosberg simply never featured.
Paul di Resta, P10
Adrian Sutil, P11
Yet again di Resta ran ahead of Sutil and had a very strong three-stop race in which points were always a possibility. He couldnt hold off Schumacher on fresher tyres towards the end, but still took another point for another 10th place. Sutil damaged his front wing hitting Barrichello on the third lap, necessitating one more pit stop than the two he planned.
Sebastien Buemi, P13
Jaime Alguersuari, P14
Buemi was chasing Kobayashi and Schumacher and looking for points when he got hit with a 10s stop-and-go penalty for speeding in the pit lane, thanks to a malfunctioning limiter. He fought back to catch and re-pass Alguersuari, who was mystified why his STR6 was slow and had very high tyre degradation.
Heikki Kovalainen, P15
Jarno Trulli, Retired lap 32, clutch
Kovalainen had a great race and was right on Alguersuaris tail by the finish, but Trulli had an anti-stall problem at the start, later locked up and slid off into the Turn One gravel after a pit stop, and then retired with a clutch problem.
Timo Glock, P16
Jerome D'Ambrosio, Retired lap 43, impact/power cut-out
Glock ran ahead of Trulli for a while before being overtaken, and said he had a trouble-free run to 16th. DAmbrosio kept him honest, but impact with a hefty kerb triggered the power system cut-out after 42 laps.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Retired lap 47, rear wing problem
Narain Karthikeyan, Retired lap 15, water temperature
Having made the race comfortably, HRT got 60 laps crucial laps under their belt in what amounted to their first test session of the season. They withdrew Karthikeyan as a precaution when his engine temperatures hit the red zone, then Liuzzi a lot later with a rear wing problem.
Rubens Barrichello, Retired lap 23, hydraulics
Pastor Maldonado, Retired lap 9, misfire
Williams had an appalling time that began with a puncture for Barrichello on the third lap, courtesy of Sutils front wing, retirement for Maldonado six laps later with a misfire, and then retirement for the Brazilian with hydraulic failure on the 23rd lap. And they werent fast, either.
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