Two Renault powered drivers stepped onto the podium following a scintillating Malaysian Grand Prix today.
Sebastian Vettel won the 56 lap race from team-mate Mark Webber to take the lead of the drivers’ championship and extend Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s cushion at the top of the constructors’ title race.
Webber held the lead in the early stages of the race as Vettel made an early stop to slick tyres, but the two strategies saw the pair racing closely after Vettel passed Hamilton for second in the mid point of the race. The reigning world champion then stopped earlier for his fourth and final pit stop, and when Webber exited his final tyre change, the two were nose to tail. Vettel got past on lap 46, eventually pulling out a four second lead by the end of the race.
Lotus F1 Team, winners of the Australian Grand Prix, finished in sixth and seventh with Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen respectively after tight battles with the Ferrari of Felipe Massa and Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg. Raikkonen is now second in the drivers’ championship while the team retains second.
Williams F1 Team’s Valtteri Bottas finished in 11th overall, less than one second from scoring his first-ever F1 points. Team-mate Pastor Maldonado retired from the race on lap 45 after a suspected KERS failure. Caterham F1 Team again finished with two cars, with Charles Pic 14th and Giedo van der Garde 15th.
Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations
The Malaysian Grand Prix is always a hard challenge for the engines on account of the percentage of the lap spent at wide open throttle and the low speed driveability required for the hairpin turns. Managing fuel consumption is also tricky with the weather changing very quickly. With Sepang being the second race of the year, we started to see different strategies emerging with engine usage, with some teams choosing to run units to high mileage and others changing to new ones. As the field is so tight this year how you allocate your engines and the mileage accrued will become a very important consideration in gaining track position later on this season.
Overall, it’s been a fascinating Grand Prix weekend and a very positive result for Renault Sport F1, with four Renault engines finishing in the top ten and the top three drivers in the championship powered by the RS27. Across the four teams in Australia and Malaysia we’ve covered around 12,000km without any major issues – the engine change for Pastor this morning was precautionary and will not affect our plans for the year at all – so we are completely on schedule for where we should be now. We have a bit of a gap before the next race so we’ll return to Viry and work with the teams to maximize performance for the next double header.