Standings: Vettel 1, Ricciardo 1
Seb was on top in both qualifying and the race and has leveled the score with Dan after two races. Vettel looked to be the quicker driver throughout the race, if only marginally. Ricciardo was certainly more of a hassle than qualifying may have suggested and Vettel will be pleased to have scored 15 points for third place and be well ahead of his team-mate. Ricciardo is quick but at the moment Vettel looks like he’s still out-and-out the quicker racer. Ricciardo has a long way to go yet, but his season has started promisingly and Vettel will need to continue strong results like these to beat his new team-mate.
Despite being hit by the kamikaze Kvyat in qualifying, Alonso still managed to bring the car across the line for fourth place – quite an impressive achievement all things considered. In the race he got away cleanly while Raikkonen suffered a direct hit by Magnussen, all but ending his chances for a strong result in Malaysia. Raikkonen is still getting to grips with his new Ferrari and Alonso will be happy to have improved his lead over Kimi.
After a fantastic debut, Magnussen made a bit of a tit of himself at the start of the Malaysian Grand Prix. The penalty that followed hurt his race and he was unable to recover by the end of the event. A typical steady-if-not-unspectacular result from Button, but he’s finished ahead of Kevin and that’s all he needs to do right now.
The Lotus pair lined up side-by-side on Sunday but unfortunately they were side-by-side at the bottom end of the grid. The team’s poor fortunes continued in Malaysia, with Pastor going through another power unit and Grosjean finishing a lap down and out of the points. But hey, Romain nearly got a point. That’s good news – right?
Standings: Rosberg 1, Hamilton 1
After a tough Melbourne Lewis jumped back into the game with pole, fastest lap and the win. He nearly lead the entire event, except for briefly being headed by Hulkenberg when the Brit came out of the pits. It’ll be comforting to Lewis to know he’s able to push so much and receive so much in return from his car and the next few races could prove crucial to establishing the order within Mercedes. Nico didn’t have Lewis’s pace on Saturday or Sunday, but he still leads the championship.
Standingse: Sutil 1, Gutierrez 1
Esteban shone in Saturday’s overcast conditions but both drivers would eventually retire within a couple of laps of each other. A tough early season for Sauber, a team who need results to secure their future, but the team may have some strong updates coming through for the start of the European leg.
Then again, they may not.
Nico could have trundled around on Sunday and would have received the point over Perez due to the Mexican driver’s mechanical gremlins forcing him out of the race before it started. As it happens, Nico did nothing close to trundling and was a genuine top-four contender for much of the race. The 2014 Force India doesn’t quite have the pace to be confident of results like that so both Nico and the team will be very satisfied they were able to pull that result out of the bag. Now onto Bahrain.
Massa qualified ahead and finished ahead, yet I’ve given the point to Bottas. Why, you ask? Because of Felipe’s disregard for reality when addressing the media following the team orders incident. I don’t frown on Massa for refusing to let him past (good on him), but telling the media after the race that Bottas had no chance in catching the car in front was an absolute joke. The Finn was miles faster than Massa and would have had a great opportunity to nab some extra points for Williams had Felipe let him by. As it was, selfishness won out. For shame.
Standings: Vergne 1, Kvyat 1
Jean-Eric retired from the race relatively early on, but he out-qualified his team-mate while Kvyat nearly took Alonso out in a clumsy move up the inside. The Russian showed in Melbourne he’s able to perform, but a level-headed approach is as important as speed in F1 and that could take some time to sort out.
Standings: Kobayashi 1, Ericsson 1
Kamui was on top in qualifying and then lead home Ericsson for Caterham’s equal second-best ever result. You’ve gotta hope the team will get more opportunities like this in the future, but time’s running out and they’ll need a fair bit of luck if they’re to crack into the top-ten before Tony Fernandez pulls the plug on the operation.
Standings: Bianchi 0, Chilton 2
Max was put back in his place in qualifying but Jules made a clumsy move on Maldonado on the opening lap to ruin his weekend. As Martin Brundle said, when you’re driving a car like the Marussia your priority is on bringing the car home and not doing dangerous overtaking maneuvers. Bianchi needs to forget the race and move onto Bahrain. Max. . . Max needs to do something more than finish last every race.
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