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Sebastian Vettel wins the Malaysian GP for Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel

Highlights - Malaysian Grand Prix (UK users only)

By David Ornstein

Red Bull overcame their reliability issues as Sebastian Vettel headed a one-two in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Vettel, whose car cost him potential wins in Bahrain and Australia, overtook team-mate and pole-setter Mark Webber at the start and held on to triumph.

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg took third while the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were sixth and eighth.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa leads the championship after finishing seventh as team-mate Fernando Alonso retired.

Massa is now two points ahead of Alonso, who is level on points with Vettel but heads him in the standings because of a stronger results countback.

Rosberg and Button are both two points back on 35, four ahead of Hamilton and five in front of Renault's Robert Kubica, who again impressed to finish fourth after coming second in Australia.

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Despite losing his position at the head of the grid, Webber drove an excellent race - he produced the fastest lap (one minute 37.054 seconds) - to move up to eighth in the championship.

"The first part of the race is critical and the first sector I had a little wheel spin on the way to Turn One and gave Seb a big tow," said the Australian.

"The spirit and chemistry in our team is awesome and we fought well. Seb got the better of it but it could have gone either way. Great result for the team, we executed a beautiful weekend."

It was a first one-two for Red Bull since the final race of the 2009 season, the team finally getting their reward for consistently being the fastest car on the grid this season.

A broken spark plug did for Vettel in Bahrain and the German had a wheel failure in Melboune, while Webber's engine failed during Friday's practice session for this grand prix.

But they had no such problems on race day at the Sepang Circuit as both cars cruised problem-free and untroubled to the flag.

Malaysian GP - Top three drivers

Malaysian GP - Top three drivers

"I realised straight away I had a good start, I was able to gain, gain, gain and I had a good advantage," said Vettel. "I took the chance into Turn One, it was very late but I took it.

"It's good that we can fight each other but you should keep the respect and I am glad that we have done that, I am sure Mark would do the same as I did.

"After that we had the same pace but I was able to stay in front. We had a magnificent car - I just had to watch the pace and look after the tyres.

"It was a very good result for us especially after two races where we didn't finish where we wanted to be. It was important to stay relaxed and not panic so I am really pleased for me and the team."

The strategic errors made by Ferrari and McLaren during Saturday's rain-affected qualifying meant Alonso and Massa started 19th and 21st respectively, with Button and Hamilton 17th and 20th.

But while Vettel was busy passing Webber on Turn One, all four were making moves of their own and Hamilton, in particular, seemed to be picking off victims at will.

Christian Horner

Horner revels in 'brilliant Red Bull result'

The 2008 champion, along with both Ferraris, was one of the few drivers to start the race on hard tyres but the call paid off as all three put themselves in strong positions.

Reigning champion Button had been sent out on soft tyres but pitted on lap nine for the hard variation and instantly began to hunt down his rivals with several new fastest laps.

Ferrari seemed to be gambling on pre-race forecasts of heavy rain coming to fruition because they kept their drivers out on the hard tyres while most other teams were bringing their men in for a fresh set.

The Italian team's plight was not aided by Alonso's car developing a broken clutch, which produced awkward down-shifts and made braking into the corners tricky and overtaking near-impossible.

With the likes of Rosberg, Kubica and Sutil, who secured an excellent fifth-place finish for Force India, maintaining the pressure up front with some scintillating laps, Ferrari and McLaren acted.

Hamilton stopped for soft tyres on lap 31 and Alonso was the final man to pit on 37, but Hamilton could not make it past Sutil and Alonso's broken clutch put paid to his chances.

The game was up for the Ferraris and McLarens, Button producing increasingly slow laps on ageing tyres and Alonso seeing his engine blow on lap 55 after trying to pass the world champion.

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton and Button happy with positive drives

There was more disappointment for Michael Schumacher as the seven-time world champion retired on lap 10 after a nut dislodged itself from the rear left wheel of his Mercedes.

"I lost a wheel nut basically so there was no more drive left," the German, who had climbed from eighth to sixth when he was forced off, told BBC Radio 5 live. "It's very unusual for us to have a reliability problem.

"We were in good position I was pacing myself, and although it is a long race it was all looking OK."

However, Rosberg was understandably delighted to have secured a first podium finish with his new team since joining from Williams.

"It's a great feeling to be back up on the podium again," he said. "This is a great end to a strong weekend for us.

"We're not quite where we want to be yet so we need to push on but I'm confident that we'll get there soon."

Meanwhile, there was an improved showing from the new teams as a Virgin car - Lucas di Grassi's - completed a race for the first while Lotus and Hispania brought both drivers home.

It was also a day to remember for Torro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari and Nico Hulkenberg of Williams, both of whom scored world championship points for the first time.



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Malaysian Grand Prix

RaceLast updated: 15 Nov 2012 12:35 UK
Position Country Driver Race Time
1 germany S Vettel 1:33:48.412
2 australia M Webber 1:33:53.261
3 germany N Rosberg 1:34:01.916
4 poland R Kubica 1:34:07.001
5 germany A Sutil 1:34:09.471
6 great britain L Hamilton 1:34:11.883
7 brazil F Massa 1:34:15.480
8 great britain J Button 1:34:26.330
9 spain J Alguersuari 1:34:59.014
10 germany N Hulkenberg 1:35:01.811


see also
Malaysian Grand Prix race results
24 Feb 10 |  Results
Philosophical Webber rues lapse
04 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton pleased with fightback
04 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Massa plays down title advantage
04 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Malaysian Grand Prix photos
04 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Malaysian GP as it happened
04 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
McLaren & Ferrari rue rain errors
03 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Webber masters rain to grab pole
03 Apr 10 |  Formula 1


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