The new 2013 Formula 1 Grand Prix season is now in full swing, with two races already under the drivers’ belts, including the first challenge down-under in Australia, and last weekend’s thrills and spills in Malaysia.
T W White & Sons is going to be keeping a close eye on the championship this year, and in particular our local boys at McLaren, based just down the road at Woking.
We want to support British engineering, British technology and British talent – especially with former F1 World Driver Champion Jenson Button leading the McLaren F1 team this year.
It was a better weekend for McLaren in Malaysia too. The team made great progress in Malaysia after struggling for speed in Melbourne, with Jenson qualifying in an improved 8th place and McLaren new boy Sergio Perez rounding out the top 10 in a treacherously wet qualifying session.
Come race day the McLarens were looking stronger, with much improved pace over the previous weekend in Australia.
At one point Button was even leading the race – even if only due to the running order being turned on its head by pit stops.
The British driver still ran at a strong and consistent pace not too far behind the Red Bulls (eventual first and second place finishers) before having to unfortunately retire on safety grounds after a wheel was incorrectly fitted to his car at a pit stop.
His teammate, Mexican Sergio Perez actually set the fastest lap of the race in only his second appearance for McLaren.
It was Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber that hit the headlines though. Both drivers streaked away from the field, and with Webber emerging from the final round of pit stops ahead of his teammate, it looked like a fight was on.
Until team boss Adrian Horner came over the radio telling second place man Vettel “this was getting silly.”
Vettel proceeded to duke it out alongside the guy he shares a garage with, eventually passing him and taking the win.
Cue one very icy podium celebration, with Mark Webber outlining to interviewer Martin Brundle that both drivers were told to turn their engines down, only for Vettel to ignore team orders and come past.
He also claimed the current World Champion always had the protection of the team, so it wouldn’t matter either way. We can’t wait to see what happens there.
Apart from the above, and Nico Rosberg being told he had to remain behind his new teammate Lewis Hamilton – missing out on a podium as a result – it was an uneventful race.
Last week’s winner Kimi Raikkonen finished in a not so sparkling seventh place, while McLaren driver Perez came home in ninth.
A special nod to Brit and F1 new boy Max Chilton who took 16th spot, as well as Paul di Resta, who was running strongly before wheel nut issues forced him to bow out.
The F1 circus moves to China in just under three weeks time. Keep watching T W White & Sons Blog every Monday for Formula 1 news and reviews throughout the 2013 season.
Malaysia Grand Prix podium:
1. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull
2. Mark Webber – Red Bull
3. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes-Benz
We want to hear your thoughts on the Red Bull and Mercedes team orders. Agree with what Vettel did? Siding with Webber? Whatever your thoughts, join the debate below!