Motorsports Mondial

Cool in the heat and loving it

Photo. Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel continues his winning streak on Sunday by taking the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang. Victory in both the opening races of the season has given the Red Bull reigning world champion 24 points lead over Jenson Button. The McLaren driver finished second and third man on the podium was Renault’s Robert Kubica replacement Nick Heidfeld.

Vettel now has 12 career victories and Sunday’s win was fifth Formula 1 success in the last six events for the young German.

Mark Webber came close to a podium finish. The second Red Bull driver lost places at the start but fought back to finish fourth.

Felipe Massa was fifth ahead of teammate Fernando Alonso. The 2005 & ’06 World Champion damaged his front wing in a battle with ex-teammate Lewis Hamilton. The McLaren driver had to make a late pit stop and finished seventh, not what the 2008 World Champion was hoping after looking strong for a podium finish earlier in the race.

Hamilton’s seventh place became eighth after a post-race 20-second penalty for blocking Alonso. The Spaniard was also assessed a similar penalty for running into the back of Hamilton’s McLaren, but retains his finishing position.

Japanese Kamui Kobayashi was in his usual combative mood and after dueling with Michael Schumacher finished eighth and was promoted to seventh following Hamilton’s penalty. Schumacher was ninth.

The final championship point for tenth place was scored by Scotsman Paul di Resta; the Force India driver also earned a point on his Grand Prix debut in Australia.

A dramatic moment on lap 53 of 56 saw the Renault of Vitaly Petrov go wide and then became airborne when the Russian driver tried to re-join the track, breaking the steering column upon landing. Petrov was poised for points finish after his dream podium drive in Albert Park.

Vettel leads with 50 points. Button is second on 26, two points ahead of Hamilton. Further two points behind in fourth is Webber with 22 points. Alonso is fifth with 20 points. Petrov and Heidfeld are next with 15 points each.

Round three will take place next Sunday in Shanghai

— Nasir Hameed

Greetings and scintillating regards from Sepang…….

Photo. Reuters