Ferrari Unexpectedly Win The Malaysian Grand Prix
Formula One

The shock wasn’t that Ferrari won the Malaysian Grand Prix it was the manner in which they won because few favored the Scuderia to do anything significant for 2015 after the low-ebb of 2014. But in Malaysia win they did and in the end it was a straight head-to-head battle with Ferrari vs McLaren where ethereal luck didn’t play its part.

The front row of the grid was made in the rain of Saturday’s qualifying session, Sebastian Vettel managed to oust the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg into third place while Lewis Hamilton secured pole position. Vettel seemed the perfect meat in the middle of a Mercedes sandwich.


Logic and form suggested that if rain played a part in securing Vettel’s second place grid slot then surely Sundays race in drier and hotter conditions would mean that both Mercedes could use their superiority to overcome the Ferrari’s comparative inferiority.

As the red lights went out to signal the start of the race Hamilton made a great start, Vettel held onto second going into the first two corners with Rosberg breathing down his neck. This it seemed was going to be a walk in the park for Mercedes. Based on the form of the previous race Hamilton would ease away and Rosberg would take second off a slower Ferrari with Vettel a valiant third.


But for once the race didn’t follow the form book, yes Ferrari have improved significantly however the two Mercedes drivers, and therefore the team, didn’t quite realise by how much.

The spoils for victory between Ferrari and Mercedes became a battle of the tyre strategy, not an exciting spectacle for a 2hr race, that was provided elsewhere up and down the grid, but it was fascinating to witness.


You could say Vettel won the race on lap 4 when a safety car period was called, Hamilton and Rosberg where one of many other teams to make an early pitstop while Vettel stayed out for a total of 17 laps before he made his first of three pitstops. Mercedes seemed to prefer the harder tyre compound which was slower but more consistent for their specific setup.

Vettel preferred the faster medium compound tyres with the exception of one stop. The form book expected the Mercedes driven by Hamilton to catch and pass Vettel. However the Ferrari was able to match the Mercedes and hold position. At first it seemed strange until the realization dawned that this indeed was a genuine challenge for the race victory.


And so it ended with Sebastian Vettel taking his first win for Ferrari in only his second race for a team he idolised as a kid more than any other. Hamilton finished second with Rosberg Third. Ferrari’s day got better as Kimi Raikkonen ended up 4th. The dour Fin started the race in 11th as a result of a qualifying mix up and then his day seemed over by the end of the first lap as he picked up a tyre puncture.

Raikkonen’s race was helped by the safety car period but his pace and that of his Ferrari teammate was underlined by a strong showing as he made his recovery complete. The Williams of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were next up and the Torro Rosso rookies of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr were 7th and 8th respectively.


Red Bull are enduring a miserable start to the season, Daniil Kvyat finished 9th and teammate Daniel Ricciardo 10th both rounding up the top 10 points finishers, small reward for a team that expects to dine on victories and podiums.

The 56 lap race ended with 15 runners out of twenty and among the list of retirees were the McLaren’s of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. McLaren’s retirement from the race wasn’t entirely unexpected and was in stark contrast to the equally unexpected victory by Ferrari.

As Nico Rosberg said after the race its “game on”. Or is it, the next race in China on April 12th will see if Ferrari were on the game or Mercedes had a “day off” in Malaysia.

2015 Malaysian Grand Prix Race Results:
1 Sebastian Vettel GER Ferrari 1:41:05.793 25 2 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes +8.569s 18 3 Nico Rosberg GER Mercedes +12.31s 15 4 Kimi Räikkönen FIN Ferrari +53.822s 12 5 Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams +70.409s 10 6 Felipe Massa BRA Williams +73.586s 8 7 Max Verstappen NED Toro Rosso +97.762s 6 8 Carlos Sainz ESP Toro Rosso +1 lap 4 9 Daniil Kvyat RUS Red Bull +1 lap 2 10 Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull +1 lap 1 11 Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus +1 lap 0 12 Felipe Nasr BRA Sauber +1 lap 0 13 Sergio Perez MEX Force India +1 lap 0 14 Nico Hulkenberg GER Force India +1 lap 0 15 Roberto Merhi ESP Marussia +3 laps 0 RT Pastor Maldonado VEN Lotus DNF 0 RT Jenson Button GBR McLaren DNF 0 RT Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren DNF 0 RT Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber DNF 0 Fastest lap – Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1m 42.062s (lap 43)
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