Vettel leads home Red Bull 1-2 in Malaysian GP

Sunday, April 4, 2010

SEPANG - Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull put the technical problems that dogged Red Bull in the first two races of the season behind him Sunday with an impressive victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The 22-year-old German never looked back after jumping from third to first in the opening corner, coming home ahead of team-mate Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg, who claimed a first podium finish for Mercedes.

Robert Kubica of Renault was fourth followed by Force India’s Adrian Sutil and Lewis Hamilton in a McLaren.

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa moves two points clear of Vettel and team-mate Fernando Alonso at the top of the drivers’ standings thanks to a seventh-place finish, although just six points separate the top six drivers.

Defending world champion Jenson Button of McLaren, Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari and Niko Hulkenberg of Williams completed the points placings.

Vettel managed to pass Rosberg and Webber in the opening corner while Kubica was also able to jump two places to lie fourth at the end of the opening lap.

Michael Schumacher’s race ended after 11 laps while running in sixth place due to technical problems.

“The problem was that one of the wheel nuts came off. I don’t know why, I don’t know what exactly happened. I just looked at the car and saw that there was none left,” said Schumacher.

“I did not have enough drive left to get into the pits so I had to retire.”

Although he only qualified down in 20th place, Hamilton moved up to 12th by the end of the first lap and managed to make it up to sixth by lap 17 behind Sutil, who made his first pit stop four laps later and returned in eighth place.

Third-placed Rosberg pitted on lap 23 for new tyres, coming back ahead of Kubica, and was followed one lap later by race leader Vettel.

Webber was next to pit although the Australian lost valuable time due to issues changing his front right tyre. Hamilton was the last of the leading cars to pit on lap 31, coming back in seventh just ahead of teammate Button and the Ferraris of Massa and Alonso.

Vettel and Webber slowly pulled away from the rest of the field during the second half of the race while Hamilton struggled to overtake Germany’s Sutil.

Massa managed to pass Button on lap 44 at Turn One to move up to seventh while Alonso struggled to get by the Briton and eventually had to retire with two laps to go after suffering engine failure.

As the race approached its climax and no rain in sight, Vettel and Webber both eased off while Rosberg remained comfortably ahead of Kubica.

The 2010 F1 season continues on April 18 with the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.

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