Sebastian wins the Malaysian Grand Prix…

…making that four wins in a row.

Add his race wins in Brazil and Abu Dhabi to the two this year and you’ve got four consecutive race wins for the 23 year old.

I can finally, confidently say that Formula 1 is looking good. With the combined efforts of DRS (Drag Reduction System), KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) and Pirelli tires, the show seems to be improving. Take a look at the start of the Malaysian Grand Prix: going into the first turn, both Lotus Renault’s had managed to pass the Ferrari duo (who were also on a good start) and squeeze in between the McLarens. At the same time Webber struggled to maintain his grid position, falling back to 10th place by Turn 2. Vettel began extending his gap to Hamilton and Mercedes GP were embarrassingly out of the top 10.

DRS

I love it. Simple. As you watch a chase unfold around a lap and wait impatiently as they approach the last straight before the finish line, the camera view switches to the rear wing and as they take the U-turn and cross the activation line, the win lifts up reducing the amount of drag and adding more straight-line speed. It works quite well. However, cars are only allowed to use DRS when within a second of the car in front of them. As long as the fans are clear of the DRS activation region before the race, there is no complication there.

KERS

Also a great boost of power for overtaking. Redbull have yet to use KERS fully. In Australia they neglected it completely and in Malaysia they let their drivers use it to the minimum: Webber’s system failing completely and Sebastian being limited to its use. The reason for that is that KERS is a handful to develop and will be quite some time before Redbull feel their system is completely ready.

Pirelli

Soft tires were lasting between 12 to 17 laps at a time. That is great entertainment. Obviously the top ten drivers started the race on soft tires (in order to keep up with one another). If several had started on hard tires, in order to eliminate a pit stop later in the race, they would have lost time trying to keep up with the drivers on soft tires anyway. It was not a strategy worth adopting.

Lotus Renault

Heidfeld was put in place of Kubica after his rally accident during the off season and Petrov remained on board as the second driver. Lotus Renault have now scored two third-place podiums in two races which is quite an improvement on last year’s expectations. Firstly, I think the Lotus Renault is one of the most good looking cars on the grid. Second, they finally have a great overall package. That straight-line speed on the start was incredible. They have that and a decent qualifying pace (which put them 8th and 9th for the race). Watch them closely.

Ferrari

They are not where they want to be in terms of qualifying pace. Race pace, however, proved to be quite quick, challenging the McLarens at one point. Only Alonso’s ambitions outweighed his talent while trying to overtake Hamilton. As long as Ferrari back his aggressive driving, then there are no problems there. With slightly more patience, he could have enjoyed his first podium of the year.

Don’t get me started with Massa. He needs to be shaken out of the trance he is in. I don’t feel he has what it takes to challenge his competitors. I don’t feel he has what it takes to beat them.

Pit stops

Three, sometimes even four pitstops, it was fun to watch. Fun to watch. Isn’t that what we’re on about? The race was pretty straight forward too. Nothing was too confusing to follow. Soft tires are quite delicate – spot on concerning performance and speed but hard on durability.

Malaysia saw Sebastian dominate but because of the three-stop pit strategy, it felt as though he was always amongst the other drivers and not alone, seconds ahead in a league of his own. All teams were more or less evenly matched during various points. Talking front runners, none of them were either too slow nor too fast for the other. Battling for positions were aplenty and strategy was key. One thing was for sure, Redbull Racing have been practicing their pit stops. Every single one of them was flawless. The crew member responsible for Massa’s front left wheel nut was facing problems screwing it onto the tire. Frustrating for Massa and just enough evidence to prove that Ferrari need a little more practice.

China is next. Get ready for another morning race.

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