It was a golden weekend in Malaysia for the Mercedes-Benz Formula One team as Brit Lewis Hamilton lead the Silver Arrows cars home to a one-two finish, with teammate Nico Rosberg standing on the second step of the podium.
Given the team’s form in testing and the early part of this season, we can’t say we’re surprised at the result, but with reliability issues striking Hamilton back in Australia, it’s still a great achievement.
Even more interesting was the reversal of fortune for Red Bull, with Sebastian Vettel finishing in third place – but even the reigning world champion couldn’t stop the Mercedes dominance.
Hamilton took pole from Vettel in a wet qualifying session by just 0.055 seconds, setting the race up for a close battle, while Rosberg edged out Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari for third.
Come the race though, both Mercedes were imperious. Hamilton made a good start, converting his pole into the lead at the first corner. From there he dictated the pace, with Rosberg powerless to match Hamilton’s charge and more focused on keeping a resurgent Vettel behind him.
The Mercedes driver was gracious and heartfelt in victory, too, dedicating his Malaysia GP win to the families of the victims from missing flight MH370 that disappeared three weeks ago. A classy touch.
Alonso managed to steal fourth after Daniel Ricciardo in the sister Red Bull exited his pit box before his left-front wheel was fully attached, meaning his mechanics had to drag him back and rectify the problem, handing Alonso some valuable points at an event he termed a nightmare race.
His teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, had worse luck still. The Finn collided with rookie Kevin Magnussen on lap two as the F1 newbie’s McLaren tagged the back of Raikkonen’s Ferrari, puncturing a tyre.
It meant T W White & Son’s local team had a less impressive weekend than last time out Down Under, with Magnussen given a five-second stop and go penalty, as well as two penalty points on his racing licence. As you can imagine, ice man Raikkonen wasn’t happy and lost his cool.
Jenson Button managed to carry some momentum from the double podium in Australia (following Ricciardo’s disqualification) coming home in sixth, while Magnussen ended up crossing the line in ninth.
That means the two drivers sit fourth and fifth in the championship respectively, with veteran Button leading the pair. They trail Alonso in third, Hamilton in second and Rosberg in first, who is now 18 points ahead thanks to two a first and a second place, while Hamilton’s retirement last time out meant a no score.
Mercedes head the constructors’ table on 68 points, while McLaren has already righted the wrongs of last year, sitting second on 43 points.
Following the “Multi 21” Red Bull fiasco last year in Malaysia, team orders once again reared its head in the far east, with Massa opting to ignore a radio message explaining teammate Valtteri Bottas was quicker than him.
Massa argued it wasn’t a clear instruction and defended his position, meaning once again fans across the world were arguing about team orders. We want to know what you think – and about the race in general – so why not leave us a comment, tweet to us or join in the debate on our Facebook page.
Overall, Malaysia 2014 proved an interesting race. There were still teething problems for many cars, but in such a short space of time already, the level and speed of engineering in F1 has proved that the new rules will make the racing interesting. It’s going to be fascinating to watch how the cars develop and the pace increases as consistency improves.