Vettel finds change of luck in 1-2 for Red Bull

German shakes off previous technological problems to post crushing victory

Red Bull might give you wings, but until yesterday all it had given Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber was heartbreak and disappointment in a season in which proprietor Dietrich Mateschitz demands the Formula One championship title.

But a perfect afternoon in the heat here at the Malaysian Grand Prix put the team back on top as the German and the Australian simply ran away from the opposition, ensuring a crushing victory they desperately needed.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa finished only a fighting seventh, sandwiched between McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, but that was enough to give him the lead of the world championship with 39 points. But such is the impact of the dramatically revised points scoring system that Vettel's 25 points for victory catapults him up to joint-second place, level on 37 with previous leader Fernando Alonso, whose Ferrari broke down within a lap of the finish while fighting for eighth place.

It was not a great race in the mould of Melbourne last week, but there was always something going on. If it was not polesitter Webber initially pressurising Vettel after losing out to him in the first corner, it was Hamilton's superb charge up the order – he was 12th, up from 20th on the grid, by the end of the first lap – or his subsequent pursuit of Adrian Sutil for fifth place, or Button's fight with the Ferraris as that trio made their way up the order.

Vettel's move on Webber in the first corner was the crucial moment of his race. It was close. Webber refused to be cowed as they sped through Turns Two and Three, where he got a better exit and prepared to challenge his team-mate going into Turn Four. Vettel hung tough, however, and after that he had control.

"We had spoken with Christian Horner [team principal] before the race and he told us, 'Boys, behave yourselves,' and we did," Webber said.

"I realised straight away that I had a good start and I passed Nico [Rosberg] and got a good tow from Mark," Vettel revealed. "It was gain, gain, gain and right then I had the advantage in his slipstream on the long run to Turn One, and then I took the chance I had there. It was quite late, and I just made it. Then Mark had the better exit from Turn Two and Three, but it was very slippery down to Turn Four and we both tried to push. We were fighting ourselves, but we kept the respect for each other."

Once Vettel had established his lead, it was just a question of the two of them easing away from competition that had no answer to their sheer pace and composure. This time there was no faulty NGK spark plug electrode to put Vettel's engine on to seven cylinders, nor any wheel drive pegs shearing to give him three-wheel braking and throw him into retirement in a gravel bed, as happened in Bahrain and Australia respectively.

They swapped fastest laps early on, and, if anything, Webber had the advantage, but when the tyre stops came he lost two and a half seconds with a problem in the wheelgun operating his right front wheel, and thereafter Vettel had it in the bag.

"I didn't stop sweating, but I was trying not to be too extreme in the beginning," he admitted, "and at some stage I was hoping for rain to get a cool down. What a day! We had a magnificent car, and the key was to pace yourself and watch out for the tyres. Bridgestone did a good job to bring two compounds that worked well. We needed a good result after two races where we didn't finish where we want to, and it was crucial in those moments not to panic, to stay relaxed, and first position today is the best result we could get. It's a big plus for the team that Mark was second, a lot of points."

Webber, as ever a sportsman even in defeat, savoured a result that made up a lot for his adventures last week on his home ground. "The spirit and chemistry in our team is awesome," he said. "We fought very hard but Seb did the job at the crucial stage and he deserved the victory. It's a great result for the team, we executed a beautiful weekend."

Behind them, Rosberg and Robert Kubica drove relatively quiet and lonely races for Mercedes and Renault respectively, to finish third and fourth, while Hamilton's electrifying rise, from 20th on the grid to second by the time of his tyre stop on the 30th lap, was a highlight of the race. Such is his competitive fire that he just does not know when to quit. Earlier, that had earned him a black-and-white flag as the race stewards disapproved of his excessive weaving on the main straight as he tried to break the slipstream tow in which Russian racer Vitaly Petrov tenaciously clung as they duelled in the opening laps, but even Hamilton could not find a way past Sutil's finely driven Force India. It is powered by the same Mercedes V8 engine as his McLaren and, try as he might, the 2008 champion could not quite muster the final dregs of speed he needed to overcome his old Formula Three team-mate.

Further back, the fight between Button, Massa and Alonso was just as entertaining. Button had stopped on the ninth lap to ditch his soft tyres for the harder compound, so by the time Massa, on fresh rubber, closed in he was powerless to resist on lap 44. Button kept Alonso at bay, however, twice regaining eighth place as the Spaniard slipped ahead under braking for the first corner, only to run wide. The second time that happened was the 55th of the 56 laps, and no sooner had Button dived back ahead than Alonso's Ferrari engine blew up. The two points he lost cost him joint leadership of the championship with Massa.

Malaysian Grand Prix: Result and standings

FIA Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (56 Laps): 1 S Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 1hr 33min 48.412sec; 2 M Webber (Aus) Red Bull 1:33:53.261; 3 N Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP 1:34:01.916; 4 R Kubica (Pol) Renault 1:34:07.001; 5 A Sutil (Ger) Force India 1:34:09.471; 6 L Hamilton (GB) McLaren 1:34:11.883; 7 F Massa (Br) Ferrari 1:34:15.480; 8 J Button (GB) McLaren 1:34:26.330; 9 J Alguersuari (Sp) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:34:59.014; 10 N Hulkenberg (Ger) Williams 1:35:01.811; 11 S Buemi (Swit) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:35:07.350; 12 R Barrichello (Br) Williams at 1 lap; 13 F Alonso (Sp) Ferrari at 2 laps; 14 L di Grassi (Br) Virgin Racing at 3 laps; 15 K Chandhok (Ind) HRT-F1 at 3 laps; 16 B Senna (Br) HRT-F1 at 4 laps; 17 J Trulli (It) Lotus F1 at 5 laps. Not Classified: 18 H Kovalainen (Fin) Lotus F1 46 laps completed; 19 V Petrov (Rus) Renault 32 laps; 20 V Liuzzi (It) Force India 12 laps; 21 M Schumacher (Ger) Mercedes GP 9 laps; 22 K Kobayashi (Japan) BMW Sauber 8 laps; 23 T Glock (Ger) Virgin Racing 2 laps; 24 P de la Rosa (Sp) BMW Sauber 0 laps.

World Championship Standings: Drivers: 1 F Massa (Br) Ferrari 39pts; 2 F Alonso (Sp) Ferrari 37; 3 S Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 37; 4 J Button (GB) McLaren 35; 5 N Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes GP 35; 6 L Hamilton (GB) McLaren 31; 7 R Kubica (Pol) Renault 30; 8 M Webber (Aus) Red Bull 24; 9 A Sutil (Ger) Force India 10; 10 M Schumacher (Ger) Mercedes GP 9; 11 V Liuzzi (It) Force India 8; 12 R Barrichello (Br) Williams 5; 13 J Alguersuari (Sp) Scuderia Toro Rosso 2; 14 N Hulkenberg (Ger) Williams 1.

Manufacturers: 1 Ferrari 76pts; 2 McLaren 66; 3 Red Bull 61; 4 Mercedes GP 44; 5 Renault 30; 6 Force India 18; 7 Williams 6; 8 Scuderia Toro Rosso 2.

Arts and Entertainment
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
filmDheepan, film review
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
News
Tattoo enthusiast Cammy Stewart poses for a portrait during the Great British Tattoo Show
In picturesThe Great British Tattoo Show
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?