Lewis Hamilton made it Mercedes 2-0 in the 2014 Formula 1 season so far on Sunday, March 30, by winning his first Malaysian Grand Prix out of eight attempts. According to Formula 1, the British driver and his second place team-mate, German driver Nico Rosberg formed the first one-two Mercedes finish in a world championship race since the pair of Juan Manuel Fangio and Piero Taruffi did it in Italy back in 1955.
With Rosberg's win in the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago, this pushes Mercedes even further ahead in the 2014 constructors' championship with 68 points. McLaren is next closest with 43; Ferrari is third at 30. Four-time winner Red Bull got its first points on the board from Sebastian Vettel's third place finish in Malaysia and now has 15 points.
Hamilton and Rosberg led most of the race from the start, making the drama happen in the pits and back in the field.
Daniel Ricciardo continued a run of bad luck when his front left tire was not put on properly on his third pit stop, requiring the team to stop him before he exited pit lane and roll him back for a fix. Red Bull and Ricciardo were hit with a 10-place grid penalty for Bahrain next week for its initial unsafe release of the car, according to Formula 1. Later in the race, his car experienced a front wing issue and a tire puncture and had to return to the pits without finishing the race.
Another drama unfolded in the final laps of the race when Williams driver Felipe Massa, in seventh position, did not obey team orders to let his less experienced team-mate, Valtteri Bottas to pass him in an attempt to forge an attack on McLaren's Jenson Button, who was running sixth. Massa, who has heard team orders before when he drove for Ferrari and was asked multiple times to move over for Fernando Alonso, did not comply. Alonso, out ahead of this disagreement, finished fourth, but his new Ferrari team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, placed back in 12th.
Below are a few comments from drivers after Sunday's race, according to Formula 1:
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1st place:
"I'm incredibly happy today. This is my first win in Malaysia after eight attempts and to do it for our Petronas family in their home country makes it even more special. It's all down to the team. They have done a fantastic job and I have to say a huge thank you to everyone here at the track and back at our factories who have been pushing non-stop to get the car where it is. The race was tougher than it perhaps looked today and the conditions here always make it a great challenge. But I was able to look after the car, the tyres and the fuel and still keep a bit of pace in hand which made my job that little bit easier."
"It's great to see Mercedes leading the championship but we know that we have to make these early races pay. Anything can happen as we saw in Australia, so this is an important result for us. One-two finishes don't happen very often and this is a real achievement for the team. Finally, I would like to offer this victory in tribute to all those affected by the tragedy of MH370."
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 2nd place:
"For the first time in the modern Silver Arrows era, we have achieved a one-two finish which is an incredible result. The team did a phenomenal job over the winter and my thanks once again for that. I also want to thank our partners Petronas. They have given our team so much support, along with the best products for our power unit, so we are proud to be associated with them and I hope they enjoy the celebrations today. I had a great start again, even though it was tight with Sebastian. It was very close at the wall and I just closed the eyes, went for the gap and did it. Later I was able to control the pace and to defend my position against Seb but Lewis was out of my reach, so congratulations to him for his win. I really look forward now to next weekend in Bahrain.”
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 3rd place:
"We have certainly made a good step forwards, but we still have a lot of work to do. It’s great to get a podium finish today. Considering where we were, not even two months ago, I think this weekend is a massive step in the right direction. It's a shame we didn't finish with both cars, but it’s good to see the car is quick and we need the laps; for now it's important to collect points. The guys are pushing back in the factory and at Renault – it’s been a massive job from them – and we’ll try to be up there very soon again. It was a shame to lose a place at the start, but third was our maximum position today, so I'm very happy with that. It’s a shame for Daniel with what happened, he drove really well.”
Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull, DNF:
"It was looking like we could have a solid points finish today; the race was going pretty well. The start was really good and I made up a couple of positions and I was starting to, let's say, mix it up at the front, which is nice. It’s fun being up there and fighting for the top few spots, but then we had a problem at the last pit stop and then we had a puncture. I think we had a front wing failure and a few other things went on and then the stop-go penalty, so the race ended pretty quickly for us, it went from looking good to looking pretty bad in a short amount of time. I’m really disappointed, but at the same time there’s a little bit in me which is happy because I think I’ve come out the first two races how I wanted to, in a way. I still want to improve, but we’ve started off on the right foot, so for that I'm pleased and with a little bit of luck we’ll turn things around soon and I’ll get some points. I love racing up the front, it’s been a privilege so far and a lot of fun in the last couple of races. It’s a bit addictive actually, I want more, so you’ll see me up there plenty of times this year."
After the second race of the 2014 season, Nico Rosberg leads the drivers' championship with 43 points, and his team-mate Lewis Hamilton is second with 25, just edging out Ferrari's Fernando Alonso at 24 and McLaren's Jenson Button at 23.
Reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel earned his first points for the season with 15 on Sunday.
The next race on the 2014 Formula 1 calendar is the Bahrain Grand Prix on April 6.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Connie Ann Kirk, Ph.D. has been credentialed by the FIA to write about Formula 1. She is working on a book about racers and racing. Follow Connie on Twitter at @ConnieAnnKirk.