2016 US & Mexican Grand Prix Review- Winners & Losers

US GRAND PRIX

DRIVER OF THE DAY

Carlos Sainz (P6, Toro Rosso)

Astute driving from the Spain’s rising tyro. Capitalised upon his pit strategy superbly, although he was undoubtedly a beneficiary of the VSC caused by Max Verstappen. He lost P5 to Fernando Alonso on the final lap, however his compatriot required the track extended run-off to beat Sainz.

REJECT OF THE DAY

Jolyon Palmer (P13, Won’t be at Renault for 2017)

You’re shit.

MEXICAN GRAND PRIX

DRIVER OF THE DAY

Marcus Ericsson (P11, Sauber)

Beat his team-mate Nasr by four places and outpaced the McLaren-Hondas.

REJECT OF THE DAY

Sebastian Vettel (P5, Ferrari)

FERRARI: Charlie said…

VETTEL: Yeah? Here’s the message for Charlie: F**k off. Honestly. F**k off!!

Seb, I know you’ve had a miserable season but you allowed the pressure to get the better of you. To desperately swerve into the path of Ricciardo- ironically replicating one of Verstappen’s questionable weaving brake manoeuvres whilst furiously excoriating the young Dutchman on his radio- was literally unfathomable and hypocritical. Ridiculous and disgraceful of a four-time world champion.

Losers

F1 Authorities (P-Clueless, LOL)

Banning weaving under braking was always going to cause tension amongst drivers and so it proved with the distribution of penalties. Max Verstappen’s driving has verged upon excessive at times, but to apply explicit penalties for such manoeuvres will detract new fans from F1. Verstappen, Sainz & Kvyat received post-race penalties of five seconds added to their race time.Sebastian Vettel received a ten second penalty and two licence points to add to the malaise, but it was well deserved in lieu of the events of the race.

 

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2006-2015 United States Grand Prix Formbook

2006

POLE: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)

FASTEST LAP: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)

WINNER: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)

After the debacle of the previous year, where all Michelin-shod cars were forced to withdraw on the grounds, leaving just six cars starting, the 2006 edition of the US Grand Prix at the renowned Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a welcome sight. However, ten cars would be eliminated due to collisions within the first ten laps and only nine cars would greet the chequered flag. Felipe Massa’s exquisite start saw him lead his venerable team-mate Michael Schumacher for the first 29 laps. The German maestro would make this race his fifth victory in seven starts at Indianapolis, an unprecedented record for the modern era. Championship rival Fernando Alonso uncharacteristically struggled in his Renault, finishing fifth and almost half a minute down on the rampant Ferraris. His much-maligned team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella rounded off the podium, whilst Jarno Trulli carried his Toyota home in fourth.

2007

POLE: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes)

FASTEST LAP: Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

WINNER: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes)

The new rising star of F1 arrived in Indianapolis brimming with confidence after his composed maiden victory in Montreal the previous week. Lewis Hamilton had been trailing his double reigning world champion team-mate Fernando Alonso in the first two qualifying sessions, but he would sensationally grab his second career pole in Q3. Robert Kubica’s harrowing crash in Montreal, leaving him concussed with an injured ankle necessitated the need for a replacement, with a fresh-faced Sebastian Vettel making his Grand Prix debut. The 19 year-old German qualified a solid seventh, just two places behind BMW Sauber team-mate Nick Heidfeld. Despite running wide at the first corner on the first lap of the race, the wily youngster finished eighth, becoming the then-youngest points scorer in F1 history before Max Verstappen usurped his record in 2015.

The race would witness a nail-biting wheel-to-wheel battle between the McLaren drivers, which had no doubt left boss Ron Dennis tethering on the edge of his seat. Controversy had already arisen in Monaco, where team-orders permitted an irate Hamilton to keep station behind Alonso to ensure maximum points for the constructors’ championship. The seasoned Spaniard attempted every trick in the book to catch the rookie Englishman unaware, but Hamilton would prevail after 73 laps with a beaming smile as he took his second victory of his blossoming career. Hamilton left Indianapolis leading Alonso by ten points and nearest non-McLaren rival and 3rd place finisher Felipe Massa by nineteen points, whose Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was lambasted by the Italian media after finishing a mediocre fourth. The result left the taciturn Finn 26 points behind F1’s superstar rookie after just seven races, but no-one could foresee the extraordinary events that would enfold.

2012

POLE: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault)

FASTEST LAP: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault)

WINNER: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes)

The first-ever Grand Prix to be held in Texas promised fireworks and delivered spectacularly. A cat-and-mouse chase between Vettel and Hamilton would see the German held up by a hesitant Narain Karthikeyan (HRT), allowing Hamilton to nip past Vettel on lap 42 for a popular victory. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) finished a distant third, leaving the Spaniard thirteen points behind the Red Bull driver in the drivers’ championship going into the season finale at Interlagos.

2013

POLE: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault)

FASTEST LAP: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault)

WINNER: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault)

Sebastian Vettel set a new record for most consecutive wins in a season (eight). This is currently the last race to date to have all cars powered by Renault on the podium. Romain Grosjean impressed, leading two laps during the pit stop phase and finishing second, whilst Mark Webber finished third in the penultimate Grand Prix of his illustrious career.

2014

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POLE: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

FASTEST LAP: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault)

WINNER: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

In a classic 2014 race, Nico Rosberg qualified on pole, but Lewis Hamilton pulled off another startling manoeuvre on his German rival to take his tenth win of his eventual second WDC. Only 18 cars would start the race due to the dire financial situation of the soon-to-be liquidated Caterham and the struggling Marussia (now Manor Racing) teams. The result left Rosberg trailing Hamilton by 24 points with two races remaining.

2015

POLE: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

FASTEST LAP: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

WINNER: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

A topsy-turvy thriller would see Lewis Hamilton crowned world champion for a third time, but not without controversy. The Briton’s manoeuvre on his despised team-mate Rosberg was seen as pushing the boundaries of the regulations, but no penalties were applied. As the torrential conditions dried once the virtual safety car was withdrawn, the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat overtook both Mercedes in quick succession after. The race would be hit by a high level of attrition, as only twelve cars finished. Ricciardo would later lose the lead once track conditions necessitated slicks and his collision with Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India left him limping home in tenth. After Kvyat’s crash on lap 41, Rosberg lost control of his rear tyres due to excessive wheelspin on lap 46, gifting a lead to Hamilton which he would not lose. The American crowd greeted the Englishman with rapturous appreciation and post-race/pre-podium scenes of Rosberg throwing back a cap to his embittered team-mate caused a further stir on social media. As a result of this Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has won four of the five United States Grands Prix (including 2007 at Indianapolis) he has partaken.

2006-15 Formbook

Bold (pole) italics (fastest lap)

DRIVER NAME ’06 / ’07 / ’12/ ’13 / ’14 / ’15

Lewis Hamilton — / 1st / 1st / 4th / 1st / 1st

Nico Rosberg 9th / 16th / 13th / 9th / 2nd / 2nd

Sebastian Vettel — / 8th / 2nd / 1st / 7th /3rd

Kimi Raikkonen RET / 4th / 6th / — / 13th / RET

Felipe Massa 2nd / 3rd / 4th / 12th / 4th / RET

Valtteri Bottas — / — / — / 8th / 5th / RET

Daniel Ricciardo — / — / 12th / 11th / 3rd / 10th

Max Verstappen — / — / — / — / TD / 4th

Nico Hulkenberg — / — / 8th / 6th / RET / RET

Sergio Perez — / — / 11th / 7th / RET / 5th

Kevin Magnussen — / — / — / — / 8th / —

Jolyon Palmer — / — / — / — / — / TD

Carlos Sainz — / — / — / — / — / 7th

Daniil Kvyat — / — / — / — / 15th / RET

Felipe Nasr — / — / — / — / — / 9th

Marcus Ericsson — / — / — / — / — / RET

Fernando Alonso 5th / 2nd / 3rd / 5th / 6th / 11th

Jenson Button RET / 12th / 5th / 10th / 12th / 6th

Pascal Wehrlein (N/A)

Esteban Ocon (N/A)

Romain Grosjean — / — / 7th / 2nd / 11th / RET

Esteban Gutierrez — / — / — / 13th / 14th / —

Post-Japanese GP review & news: Perez, Sainz & Vandoorne to Ferrari for 2018?

DRIVER OF THE DAY

Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari, P5)

Another race, another lost cause. It may seem bizarre Kimi bothers with F1 anymore, but his majestic overtakes reminded everyone of his passion and resolve. The Finn proved he has unfinished business and his double overtake on Sergio Perez and Jolyon Palmer is proof that the fire continues to flicker in the Iceman’s belly.

Winners

Nico Rosberg (Mercedes, P1)

33 points ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the driver’s world championship.

Max Verstappen (Red Bull, P2)

Underlined his credentials of a future F1 legend once again. A peerless drive was illuminated by his feisty defence in the closing laps, where his block move against Lewis Hamilton out of 130R into the Casino Triangle chicane raised eyebrows again from critics. However, his perfect exploitation of the regulations showed: the Dutchman used the racing line to go wide on the exit of 130R, but swerved left to position himself onto the orthodox line for the run to Casino. The rules state a driver is allowed one move on the straight leading to a corner; therefore Max cunningly utilised the regulations to his advantage by promptly interpreting his exit line out of 130R as entirely separate from his defensive manoeuvre on the run-up to Casino. Hamilton took the inside line, but FIA regulations deemed Verstappen eligible to chop him off and cover the inside line. The most splendid aspect of Max’s move was how subtle and graceful it was: unlike his hasty, abrasive defensive manoeuvres on Raikkonen on the run-up to Les Combes in Spa, the Dutchman has adapted his defence technique in a very short space of time.

Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari, P4)

Ignoring his foul-mouthed performance on his radio, the 29 year-old German drove as well as could. The decision to gamble on softs in the final stint was, however, yet another example of Ferrari’s never-ending incompetence regarding pit strategy. Relationship breakdowns rumours are escalating and opinions within the Italian media of Vettel are rapidly deteriorating.

Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull, P6)

Not one of his finest races, but his outside chances of winning this year’s drivers’ championship have extinguished. The Australian struggled with car balance and tyre degradation in a race where his team-mate illuminated the headlines again.

Sergio Perez & Nico Hulkenberg (Force India, P7 & P8)

The Mexican continued his domination over his highly-touted German team-mate with another narrow finish in front of him, as Force India collected ten points to extend their advantage over Williams in their quest for P4 the constructors’ standings with just four races remaining. Hulkenberg confirmed his move to Renault this Friday, whilst Perez continues at Silverstone-based squad for 2017. Some feel Perez is occupying his seat for one more year in the hopes of a seat at Ferrari for 2018, as the contracts of Raikkonen and Vettel end next season. Other believe he has an eye on a seat at McLaren, but his relationship with the Woking-based squad was tarnished by his poor 2013 season with them.

Felipe Massa & Valtteri Bottas (Williams, P9 & P10)

An average season continues for this Banbury-squad, as retiring veteran Massa finally got one over his fledgling tam-mate Bottas. The Finn is rumoured to be lined up for the second seat at Renault, who are looking to revamp their team after a dismal 2016. Rumours of Lance Stroll & Felipe Nasr continue unabated, but outsiders such as Daniil Kvyat, Romain Grosjean & Pascal Wehrlein remain in the frame for seats at Williams.

REJECT OF THE DAY

Esteban Gutierrez (Haas, P20)

The 25 year-old Mexican’s hopes of a seat for 2017 continue to plummet by each passing race. Despite vowing to end his hoodoo of continually finishing P11, Gutierrez succeeded to outsmart himself and limp home in P20, a staggering ten places lower than where he started. The Haas car may be difficult to drive in race conditions, but he surely isn’t going to attract any suitors after this farcical performance.

Losers

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes, P3)

The Englishman went into Japan ill-affording more points conceded to his arch-nemesis Rosberg, but once again Hamilton was completely trumped. There may be 100 points still available, but Rosberg can now finish P2 in the remaining four Grands Prix and win his first drivers’ championship, so Hamilton is in dire need of divine intervention. Speculation over what caused his poor starts left conspiracy theorists raging again, ranging from the damp surface on his particular gird slot of P2, where FIA had explicitly banned any drying of the start-finish straight 30 minutes before the race’s start, to his clutch slipping again. There was consternation over Verstappen’s defensive manoeuvre on the penultimate lap, however in hindsight, Hamilton could have chosen the outside line to avoid such a hoodwink. This will prove academic if Rosberg wins just one more race and seal this year’s title emphatically.

McLaren Honda (P-Nowhere)

In the space of just one Grand Prix weekend, McLaren swing from a double-points finish at Sepang to a horror return to the atrocious displays of their annus horribilis of 2015. Somehow, they failed to find a suitable set-up for Suzuka and this time they could not blame Honda; their chassis never achieved an optimum level of grip and handling required for the elevation changes in the fast corners, leaving Alonso and Button to perform even more abjectly in front of the “home” crowd than they did last year.

Blue Flags

On the tight, twisty confines of Suzuka, traffic was always going to be a major gremlin for front-runners, but the non-existent attrition rate of this year’s display left the big boys fuming in disgust. Depending on your criteria, this year’s Japanese Grand Prix is only the fifth in F1 history (and second race this season after Chinese Grand Prix) to have all starters finish past the chequered flag and classified, whereas if you include last year’s race (where Felipe Nasr’s Sauber was classified despite retiring two laps shy of the full distance) and the dubious 2005 US Grand Prix (where only six cars started and finished after the Michelin-shod cars withdrew before the start), this is the seventh race in F1 history to have all starters classified.

Pascal Wehrlein (Manor, P22)

The German joins Hans Hermann, Narain Karthikeyan and Jolyon Palmer on the ignoble list of drivers who finished last in races where starters finished. Of course, Patrick Friesacher and Felipe Nasr join the list if you include the classification of the actual starters and retired cars classified having completed at least 90% of the race distance.

2010-15 Japanese Grand Prix Form Book and a tribute to Jules Bianchi

2010

Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault) Pole: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-RenaultFastest Lap: Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault)

Torrential conditions on Saturday postponed qualifying to Sunday morning amidst a titanic scrap for the drivers’ championship between five drivers. When qualifying finally happened, it saw a routine order to the grid Tas the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber locked out the front row. Lewis Hamilton qualified third, but a gearbox changed saw him dropped five places. The early laps saw six drivers eliminated in accidents; Lucas di Grassi comically crashed at 130R on the parade lap, whilst the race start saw Nico Hulkenberg & Vitaly Petrov colliding, creating a concertina effort where Felipe Massa & Vitantonio Liuzzi attempted to avoid them, only to collect each other too. Robert Kubica’s early retirement with wheel failure saw the five championship contenders of Vettel, Webber, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button bunched up in the top five. The race order remained intact throughout except for the Mclarens, as Hamilton’s gearbox would malfunction later in the race, so the loss of third gear allowed his team-mate Button to claim P4.

2011

Winner: Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes) Pole: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-RenaultFastest Lap: Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes)

The start saw controversy as Vettel staunchly blocked off Button, which left the Briton pleading for his German rival to penalised. Jenson Button would profit from an optimal strategy, allowing him to lead the race comfortably from lap 23. Unfortunately his team-mate Hamilton would suffer his fourth collision of the season with 2008 title rival Felipe Massa, leaving many pundits to scold the 26 year old for his pugnacious driving style. Alonso finished P2, whilst Vettel secured his second consecutive title with P3 in front of his bewildered team-mate Mark Webber. Hamilton stumbled home in P5, with elder statesman Michael Schumacher enjoying his renaissance in P6. Massa, Perez, Petrov and Nico Rosberg rounded off the top ten finishers.

2012

Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault) Pole: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-RenaultFastest Lap: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault)

2012 saw yet another dramatic start, but this time it would leave huge implications on the outcome of the drivers’ championship. Championship contender Alonso attempted to makes amends for his poor qualifying position of P7 by squeezing Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus onto the grass, causing the Finn’s front wing to clip the Spaniard’s rear-left tyre. The resultant puncture forced Alonso into retirement at turn 1, paving the way for title rival Vettel to score a grand chelem, after having scored his fourth consecutive pole position at Suzuka on Saturday. Team-mate Massa finished P2, albeit twenty seconds adrift, whilst local hero Kamui Kobayashi scored the only podium of his career for Sauber in P3. Button, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Pastor Maldonado, Webber & Daniel Ricciardo were the other top ten finishers.

2013

Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault) Pole: Mark Webber (Red Bull-RenaultFastest Lap: Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault)

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1 Germany Sebastian Vettel Red BullRenault 53 1:26:49.301 2 25
2 2 Australia Mark Webber Red BullRenault 53 +7.129 1 18
3 8 France Romain Grosjean LotusRenault 53 +9.910 4 15
4 3 Spain Fernando Alonso Ferrari 53 +45.605 8 12
5 7 Finland Kimi Räikkönen LotusRenault 53 +47.325 9 10
6 11 Germany Nico Hülkenberg SauberFerrari 53 +51.615 7 8
7 12 Mexico Esteban Gutiérrez SauberFerrari 53 +1:11.630 14 6
8 9 Germany Nico Rosberg Mercedes 53 +1:12.023 6 4
9 5 United Kingdom Jenson Button McLarenMercedes 53 +1:20.821 10 2
10 4 Brazil Felipe Massa Ferrari 53 +1:29.263 5 1

2014

Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) Pole: Nico Rosberg (MercedesFastest Lap: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

Rest in peace Jules Bianchi.

2015

Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) Pole: Nico Rosberg (MercedesFastest Lap: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

Nico Rosberg his second consecutive pole position at Suzuka, with team-mate Hamilton starting alongside on the front row. The start saw the Briton squeezed his embittered rival to outside of turn 1, paving the way for a dominant lights-to-flag finish. Rosberg and the Ferraris of Vettel and Raikkonen predictably finished in P2, P3 & P4. Bottas and Hulkenberg secured P5 and P6 for Williams and Force India respectively,  whilst Lotus’s Grosjean & Maldonado sealed P7 & P8 and Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz rounded out the top ten on a day when the senior Red Bulls languished. Despite finishing ahead of team-mate Button by five places, P11 occupant Alonso hurled angry radio rants to his McLaren engineers during the race, slamming Honda’s power unit as a “GP2 engine”.


Form Book (2010-2015)

———-Pole (bold) Fastest lap (italics)————

DRIVER ( ’10 / ’11 / ’12 / ’13 / ’14 / ’15 )

Hamilton ( 5th / 5th / 5th / Ret / 1st / 1st )

Rosberg ( 17th / 10th / Ret / 8th / 2nd / 2nd )

Vettel ( 1st / 3rd / 1st / 1st / 3rd / 3rd )

Raikkonen ( — / — / 6th / 5th / 12th / 4th )

Bottas ( — / — / TD / 17th / 6th / 5th )

Massa ( Ret / 7th / 2nd / 10th / 7th / 17th )

Ricciardo ( — / 22nd / 10th / 13th / 4th / 15th )

Verstappen ( — / — / — / — / TD / 9th )

Perez ( — / 8th / Ret / 15th / 10th / 12th )

Hulkenberg ( Ret / TD / 7th / 6th / 8th / 6th )

Magnussen ( — / — / — / — / 14th / — )

Palmer ( — / — / — / — / — / TD )

Kvyat ( — / — / — / — / 11th / 13th )

Sainz ( — / — / — / — / — / 10th )

Nasr ( — / — / — / — / — / 20th )

Ericsson ( — / — / — / — / 17th / 14th )

Alonso ( 3rd / 2nd / Ret / 4th / Ret / 11th )

Button ( 4th / 1st / 4th / 9th / 5th / 16th )

Wehrlein (N/A)

Ocon (N/A)

Grosjean ( — / — / 19th / 3rd / 15th / 7th )

Gutierrez ( — / — / — / 7th / 13th / — )

2016 Malaysian Grand Prix Review: Up In Smoke

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DRIVER OF THE DAY

Nico Rosberg (P3)

A superb comeback after having been tapped around at Turn 1 on the first lap by Sebastian Vettel, thus being dropped to 21st. He may have been lucky in regards to Lewis Hamilton’s engine failure, which extended his championship lead to 23 points, but his tenacious overtakes were a sight to behold. His final pass of the race on Kimi Raikkonen was awe-inspiring in its execution, which was greeted by tumultuous approval from spectators. The stewards strangely decided to punished him with ten seconds added to his race time, but this was rendered academic by the German’s finishing margin of 13 seconds over the Finn. It was a performance of an increasingly probable world champion.

REJECT OF THE DAY

Lewis Hamilton (Ret, Engine)

Someone doesn’t want me to win this year but I won’t give up.

We have so many engines, but mine are the only ones failing. Someone needs to give me some answers.

A plethora of conspiracy theorists returned when the Briton appeared to insinuate accusations of sabotage within his Mercedes team. Hamilton is once again playing the victim card in the vein of his idol Ayrton Senna, leaving neutrals perturbed. The race result leaves the Briton requiring him to win all five remaining Grands Prix in order to win the WDC as a minimum requirement, barring any misfortunes for his embittered team-mate.

THE REST OF THE FIELD

Red Bull secured their first 1-2 since 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix, with a thrilling tussle through turns 5-8 on lap 39, but the Virtual Safety Car summoned on lap 41 due to Hamilton’s engine denotation saw team orders enforce a processional finish. Daniel Ricciardo took a well-deserved first victory since 2014, whilst Max Verstappen was content with a strong display. Kimi Raikkonen had an average race with P4, whilst Valtteri Bottas brought cheer to his beleaguered Williams team, finishing P5 after starting P11. Sergio Perez again toppled team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, as the Force India achieved P6 and P8, which consolidated P4 in the constructors’ standings and stretched their lead over Williams by three points. McLaren highlighted their immerse progress once again, with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button securing P7 and P9. Button’s qualifying lap of 1:34.518 was a staggering seven seconds faster than his 2015 qualifying lap at Sepang of 1:41.636. Alonso started P22 thanks to an egregious 45-place grid penalty, but pounced at the chaos at turn 1 in order to elevate himself to P12 when the Virtual Safety Car was enforced on lap 1. Jolyon Palmer finally scored his first ever point in F1, which atoned for his lamentable spin in Hungary where he had been running P10 likewise. The lack of horsepower of 2015-spec Ferrari engines proved a major nuisance for Toro Rosso, whose drivers Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat coasted home in P11 and P14. Marcus Ericsson drove a composed race to P12 for Sauber, but Felipe Massa suffered a hellish race, where his car’s throttle failed temporarily on the parade laps and his race was littered by tyre punctures and various maladies, finishing P13. The Manors of Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon had a feisty dice throughout the race, finishing P15 and P16, last of the classified finishers. Haas had a calamitous day, with Romain Grosjean’s brakes failing on lap 8 whilst running P10 and Esteban Gutierrez forced to park up after his insufficiently secured wheel came loose on lap 40. Sebastian Vettel was eliminated with his overzealous lunge on Verstappen at turn 1, where contact with Rosberg wedged his front-left wheel askewed. The stewards punished the 29 year old German with a three grid penalty retrospectively for the next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. Kevin Magnussen and Felipe Nasr were the two other retirees, with power loss and brake failures respectively.

DOFD

Grosjean (2) Rosberg (3) Magnussen (1) Verstappen (3) Ricciardo (2) Bottas (1) Perez (1) Raikkonen (1) Alonso (1) Vettel (1)

ROFD

F1 Authorities X2 Williams X1 Vettel X1 Kvyat X1  Rosberg X2 Hamilton X3 Hulkenberg X1 Gutierrez X1 Palmer X1 Verstappen X2 Nasr X2 Ericsson X1

2010-15 Malaysian GP Form Book

2010

Pole: Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault) Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault)

Qualifying was a wet and wild affair, with the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa and the McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton placing outside the top 15 due to their bizarre decision to remain in their garages until rain arrived. The top five consisted of Webber, Nico Rosberg, Vettel, Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg.

Vettel rocketed past Webber and Rosberg at the start and led all but two of 56 laps of the race distance. Fernando Alonso suffered a malfunctioning gear linkage issues, forcing him to manually operate the clutch. Whilst battling Button for eighth, the Spaniard’s engine blew up, leaving him two points behind team-mate Massa, who inherited the championship lead after finishing P7. Vettel’s first victory of the season also left him two points behind Massa, whilst Button’s P8 and Rosberg’s P3 left them four points adrift behind the Brazilian.

2011

Pole: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault) Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault)

Vettel made it two out of two in a season where he would run away with eleven race victories. The then-24 year old repeated his previous year’s dominant performance by leading all but two laps again. Jenson Button finished P2, leaving him P2 in the championship standings albeit an already mammoth 24 points adrift. Nick Heidfeld drove out of his skin to finish P3 in his Renault, whilst Webber and Massa placed P4 and P5. Alonso and Hamilton were both penalised 20 seconds for their late race encounter, dropping the Briton to P8, although the Spaniard retained P6. Kamui Kobayashi and Michael Schumacher scored their first points of the season in P7 and P9, whilst rookie Paul di Resta continued his strong start to his F1 career with a second consecutive P10.

2012

Pole: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes) Winner: Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)

Qualifying saw the McLarens lock out the front row, with Schumacher elevating his Mercedes to a surprise P3.

Race day saw torrential conditions ten minutes before the start, which saw the race suspended after seven laps. The incalculable conditions and altercations with Narain Karthikeyan’s HRT led to frontrunners Button and Vettel languishing outside the top ten, paving the way for Alonso and Sergio Perez’s Sauber to fight for the victory. In a feisty, tense battle, the young Mexican proceeded to slice Alonso’s lead, but alleged team orders and an off at turn 14 on lap 50 gifted an unexpected 25 points to the Spaniard, who had low expectations due to poor testing performances of his recalcitrant F2012.

2013

Pole: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault) Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault)

This race was notorious for Webber’s “Multi-21” post-race comment, after Vettel disobeyed team orders. The result gifted Vettel P1 in the drivers’ standings with 40 points, placing nine points ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and fourteen points above his entrenched rival Webber.

2014

Pole: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

After Hamilton retired early with engine failure in the season’s opener in Melbourne, the Briton promptly achieved a Grand Chelem- win, pole, fastest lap and every lap lead. It left him eighteen points behind Rosberg, who lead the drivers’ standings after finishing P2. Reigning four-time WDC Vettel finished P3 in his first points finish of 2014, whilst Alonso elevated himself into P3 in the drivers’ standings with a P4 race finish.

2015

Pole: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) Winner: Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

Vettel took a sensational first victory for his new Ferrari team, a much-needed resurgence after both suffered agonising winless seasons during 2014. The Silver Arrows struggled profusely with tyre degradation in the humid conditions, leaving both Hamilton and Rosberg requiring three pit stops, whilst Vettel only needed two. This result left Hamilton leading the WDC with 43 points, three ahead of Vettel and ten ahead of Rosberg.

FORM BOOK (2010-2015)

Bold (pole) italics (fastest lap)

Lewis Hamilton (6th / 8th / 3rd/ 3rd / 1st 2nd)

Nico Rosberg (3rd / 12th / 13th / 4th / 2nd / 3rd)

Sebastian Vettel (1st / 1st / 11th / 1st / 3rd / 1st)

Kimi Raikkonen (– / — / 5th / 7th / 12th / 4th)

Daniel Ricciardo (– / — / 12th / 18th / Ret / 10th)

Max Verstappen (– / — / — / — / — / 7th)

Felipe Massa (7th / 5th / 15th / 5th / 7th / 6th)

Valtteri Bottas (–/ — / TD / 11th / 8th / 5th)

Sergio Perez (– / Ret / 2nd / 9th / DNS / 13th)

Nico Hulkenberg (10th / TD / 9th / 8th / 5th / 14th)

Daniil Kvyat (– / — / — / — / 10th / 9th)

Carlos Sainz (– / — / — / — / — / 8th)

Kevin Magnussen (– / — / — / — / 9th / –)

Jolyon Palmer (N/A)

Marcus Ericsson (– / — / — / — / 14th / Ret)

Felipe Nasr (– / — / — / — / — / 12th)

Fernando Alonso (13th / 6th / 1st / Ret / 4th / Ret)

Jenson Button (8th / 2nd/ 14th / 17th / 6th / Ret)

Pascal Wehrlein (N/A)

Esteban Ocon (N/A)

Romain Grosjean (– / — / Ret / 6th / 11th / 11th)

Esteban Gutierrez (– / — / — / 12th / Ret / –)