Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel wins Malaysian Grand Prix; teammate Mark Webber finishes second

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel wins Malaysian GP

SEPANG, Malaysia — Sebastian Vettel captured the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday, an overdue victory after mechanical failures cost him chances to win the first two Formula One races of the season.

Vettel passed pole-sitter and teammate Mark Webber in the first corner and held the lead throughout, capping off a 1-2 finish for Red Bull. Nico Rosberg finished third for Mercedes as forecast rain stayed away from the 3.44-mile Sepang circuit.

“A very good result for us, especially for me, after two races where we didn’t finish where we wanted to be,” Vettel said.

Renault’s Robert Kubica was fourth and Force India’s Adrian Sutil took fifth.

Webber gave up the lead when he spun his tires trying to get off the line and had to settle for second after a close battle into the fourth turn on the first lap.

“A 1-2 finish for us was sensational,” Webber said. “It was a nice comeback by us after some tough races. We blew everyone away, which is great.”

McLaren teammates Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button — the defending race and series champion — fought their way through the field from the back of the pack to finish sixth and eighth, sandwiched by Ferrari’s Felipe Massa. Button won last week’s Australian Grand Prix.

Massa leads the championship by two points over Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who would have taken the points lead if not for an engine failure on the second to last lap as he attempted a bold pass on Button. Alonso won the season-opening race in Bahrain.

Red Bull’s victory Sunday meant it was the first time in 20 years that three different teams had won the opening three races of a season.

The tight competition was reflected in the standings, with the top seven drivers separated by only nine points.

Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari and Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg were ninth and 10th, with both earning their first F1 points.

Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher, a seven-time world champion, was forced out on the 10th lap with a wheelnut failure. Schumacher, who has a record 91 victories — including three at Sepang — has a disappointing nine points in three races since ending a three-year retirement.

“It’s a shame,” Schumacher said. “We were in a good position … I believe we could have had two cars in very good points.

“To be honest, I’m right on schedule, in my opinion. The car is not quite on schedule.”

Williams’ Rubens Barrichello was slow off the start line and never in contention and Sauber’s Pedro de la Rosa was done in by engine failure on the installation lap.

Next up is the Chinese Grand Prix on April 18.

On the Net:

will not be displayed