Vettel gives Ferrari its first win since 2013

Sebastian Vettel gave Ferrari its first Formula 1 win in nearly two years with a fantastic drive in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Against all odds after Mercedes dominated the season-opening race, Vettel beat Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, who had no response to the four-time world champion's drive.

The victory is Ferrari's first since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix, the first for Vettel with the team, and his first since the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Hamilton had to settle for second position after running out of medium tyres for his final stint, something that led to angry outbursts on the radio. Rosberg completed the podium.

Ferrari's strong day was completed by Kimi Raikkonen finishing in fourth despite having to pit on the opening lap due to a puncture.

Williams duo Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa finished fifth and sixth, after the Finn passed the Brazilian with two laps to go.

Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen became the youngest ever point scorer at 17 years of age with a superb drive to seventh place ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz, again in the points.

Red Bull had a very disappointing day, as its cars proved to be slower than sister team Toro Rosso's. Daniil Kvyat finished down in ninth, one place ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

McLaren also had a race to forget, with Fernando Alonso retiring on lap 22 and teammate Jenson Button on lap 42, both sufferings car problems.

Force India drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez finished 14th and 13th respectively after being hit with penalties for accidents with Kvyat and Romain Grosjean.

Early safety car

While the order remained unchanged at the front at the start, there was drama for Raikkonen and Pastor Maldonado, both suffering a puncture on the opening lap.

Raikkonen was hit from behind on the final corner by the Sauber of Felipe Nasr, who damaged his front wing in the move.

Raikkonen had to complete a full lap on three wheels behind pitting and returning at the bottom of the field.

He got some helped on the next lap, however, as Marcus Ericsson spun into the gravel at Turn 1, triggering a safety car period that brought the field together.

Several drivers, including the Mercedes duo, took the opportunity to pit for new tyres. Vettel stayed out and led from Hulkenberg at the restart while Hamilton dropped to sixth and Rosberg to ninth.

Vettel benefited to open a big lead over Hulkenberg on the following laps, but Hamilton moved to second place by lap 11, ten seconds behind the Ferrari driver, who was quicker than the Briton at the time.

Vettel pitted from the lead on lap 18, emerging in third place behind Hamilton and Rosberg, but on the softer tyre compounds, unlike the Mercedes duo.

The German immediately began to close the gap on Rosberg and passed him easily at the final corner on lap 22.

Vettel needed just three laps to catch Hamilton, and re-took the lead of the race as the Briton dove into the pits to put mediums. He rejoined in fourth place behind Vettel and Rosberg, but moved to second when his teammate pitted moments later.

Hamilton, some 20 seconds behind Vettel, started catching Vettel at a rate of one second per lap.

Vettel pitted for hard tyres on lap 38 and returned to the track right in front of Rosberg and nearly 10 seconds behind Hamilton, who made his final pitstop on the following lap.

No medium tyres for Hamilton

The Briton also put on hard tyres after running out of mediums, but told his team on the radio that it was the wrong decision.

Rosberg was the last of the leaders to pit, with 14 laps to go, putting on mediums. He rejoined in third and launched a three-way fight for victory.

With 10 laps to go, Vettel led from Hamilton by over 10 seconds, with Rosberg another 10 behind. With the trio doing similar laptimes, Vettel's advantage remained stable until the end. 

Race results - Malaysian GP 2015
01   S. Vettel   Ferrari 56 laps 25
02   L. Hamilton   Mercedes +8.5 18
03   N. Rosberg   Mercedes +12.3 15
04   K. Raikkonen   Ferrari +53.8 12
05   V. Bottas   Williams +70.4 10
06   F. Massa   Williams +73.5 8
07   M. Verstappen   Toro Rosso +97.7 6
08   C. Sainz   Toro Rosso +1 lap 4
09   D. Kvyat   Red Bull +1 lap 2
10   D. Ricciardo   Red Bull +1 lap 1
11   R. Grosjean   Lotus +1 lap 0
12   F. Nasr   Sauber +1 lap 0
13   S. Perez   Force India +1 lap 0
14   N. Hulkenberg   Force India +1 lap 0
15   R. Merhi   Manor +3 laps 0
16   P. Maldonado   Lotus DNF 0
17   J. Button   McLaren DNF 0
18   F. Alonso   McLaren DNF 0
19   M. Ericsson   Sauber DNF 0
20   W. Stevens   Manor DNF 0

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Malaysian GP
Sub-event Sunday race
Track Sepang International Circuit
Drivers Jenson Button , Kimi Raikkonen , Fernando Alonso , Lewis Hamilton , Felipe Massa , Carlos Sainz , Nico Rosberg , Pastor Maldonado , Sebastian Vettel , Nico Hulkenberg , Sergio Perez , Romain Grosjean , Daniel Ricciardo , Marcus Ericsson , Valtteri Bottas , Felipe Nasr , Daniil Kvyat , Max Verstappen
Article type Race report