Too much drama, but one hell of a race

The focus of what was an exciting race on the wet-dry Sepang International Circuit got shuffled to the background.

Turmoil has ensued after a drama filled Formula One Malaysia Grand Prix weekend at the Sepang International Circuit, but isn’t that what racing is all about.

The Malaysia Grand Prix was one of the best races in a long time. Throughout the field drivers battled each other, the tires and the elements to put on a great spectacle of motorsport.

The drama of Sunday’s race is not always seen or felt in F1, and no matter which driver you were rooting for or where you were watching from, the excitement was overwhelming.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel won the race, but his win has been marred by his inability to follow team orders and stay behind teammate Mark Webber.

Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing RB9 and Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB9
Mark Webber, Red Bull Racing RB9 and Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB9

Photo by: Hazrin Yeob Men Shah

With just 15 laps left in the race Webber left the pits in the lead, but was immediately challenged by Vettel. Webber held the upper hand and kept the lead, even as Vettel dipped and danced behind his Australian teammate.

Team principal Christian Horner eventually came on the radio and told Seb to back off. He also asked both drivers to switch their fuel mixtures and reduce power.

Vettel heard the order, but made the decision to ignore his bosses, jeopardize the team's chances and fight for the lead.

Vettel did eventually get by Webber to win the race, but one of the most painful podium celebrations ensued.

Webber called out Vettel during the post-race interview, and the two were visibly sick with each other. They could not hide the animosity felt, leaving many to question the future dynamic of the team. Webber has even questioned his own future with the team.

It is no secret that Webber has played second fiddle to Vettel and has never relished the job. The Australian has said time and time again that he will not help Vettel win championships because he is on a quest for his own World Championship.

Red Bull have said they will meet internally this week to discuss the ramifications of the Malaysian Grand Prix finale, but it is uncertain whether Vettel will pay any penalty for ignoring team rules.

Horner must do something drastic to regain control of his team and to create parody and harmony amongst his drivers. He calmly said, "Seb this is silly" over the radio, but did not assert great authority over the situation.

After the race Horner said in The Guardian: "I've spoken to both drivers and Sebastian has apologized to both Mark and the team. From our point of view as soon as that last pit stop was completed the instruction was given to both cars effectively to hold position. At that point Sebastian has chosen to ignore that.

"Obviously it wasn't right what he did, he accepts that, clearly said if he could wind the clock back he wouldn't do it again. That's the way it is. We need to put it behind us and move on."

Former driver John Watson and others have called for Vettel to be suspended for one race, but some have defended Vettel's ruthlessness.

"To win a world championship three or four times you have to be very selfish," Gerhard Berger said in The Guardian. "These boys have such a big killer instinct – they cannot follow their brain and they just do what their instinct tells them. This is part of Vettel's success and nobody, no team-mate, no team chief, will change it."

Fourth place Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 with third place team mate Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 in pfe
Fourth place Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 with third place team mate Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 in pfe

Photo by: XPB Images

AMG Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg dealt with a similar situation, but team principal Ross Brawn was able to keep his drivers in check.

Hamilton, who finished third, was not as fast as his teammate for much of the race and at about the same time Vettel and Webber started their battle so did Hamilton and Rosberg.

Rosberg complained that Hamilton was holding him up and he wanted by. Hamilton even asked Brawn if Rosberg could pass.

However, Brawn explained to Rosberg that Hamilton was saving fuel and could go faster as well.

At the end of the race Hamilton hugged his teammate in a showing of solidarity between the old friends. Hamilton shared Vettel's and Webber's negative body language, but his was different.

Hamilton even gave credit to his teammate for being faster for much of the race.

"I don't feel great at the moment. Nico deserves to be in the position I am in. He drove a much smarter race. I said to Ross at the end that I wanted to let him past. He said: 'Absolutely not. When I tell you what I want to do, you have to stick by it.' So I am glad I stuck by it and that I didn't get in trouble with Ross. Hats off to Nico – he did a fantastic job and he was driver of the day for me."

Hamilton did make one mistake by driving into McLaren's put stall during the race. Mercedes were servicing Hamilton and Rosberg back to back and the gaffe by Hamilton cost his teammate valuable seconds and a potential podium finish.

McLaren's reaction to Hamilton's mistake was great. McLaren tweeted: "Feel free to pop in and say 'Hi' any time" Lewis Hamilton

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mark Webber , Gerhard Berger , Ross Brawn , Lewis Hamilton , John Watson , Nico Rosberg , Sebastian Vettel
Teams Red Bull Racing , Mercedes , McLaren
Article type Blog
Tags hamilton, horner, malaysian gp, mercedes, red bull, rosberg, sepang, vettel, webber