Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes took a decisive victory on Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix. His teammate, Nico Rosberg, followed in second and showed that Mercedes still have quite a bit of speed in hand. However, on the third step of the podium was Sebastian Vettel, which is astounding considering Red Bull’s form in Winter testing. Clearly, Red Bull is making great strides with a car that has given them a great base to work with, and Renault is progressing with its power unit as well. Ferrari and McLaren disappointed, but Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg put in a star performance to finish 5th. This season is shaping up to be extremely exciting.
Hamilton cruised to victory, leading from pole to podium and enjoying a sizeable 17.3-second margin over the field.
It was his first win since Hungary last year – and, with team-mate Nico Rosberg finishing second, Mercedes secured their first one-two since 1955.
Speaking on the podium after the race, Hamilton dedicated the victory to the victims and families of the Malaysian Airlines plane which went missing three weeks ago.
Sebastian Vettel’s third-place finish gave Red Bull some comfort on a disappointing afternoon for the team after Daniel Ricciardo had to withdraw three laps from the end.
Ricciardo had started very well, slotting into fourth place behind his team-mate and looking set to push him all the way, but technical problems were his undoing: a tyre was not affixed correctly following a pit stop, resulting in a ten-second stop-go penalty, and then he suffered a puncture courtesy of a broken wing.
That left Fernando Alonso clear to sneak a fourth-place finish in his Ferrari, with Nico Hulkenberg taking fifth for Force India after his team-mate Sergio Perez failed to start due to a technical problem.
Jenson Button took sixth for McLaren, and after an intriguing duel which saw Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas took seventh and eighth respectively for Williams .
The race had been preceded by a minute’s silence in memory of missing plane MH370. After the race, Hamilton spoke to guest presenter Benedict Cumberbatch, star of TV’s Sherlock, and told him: “After such a tragedy three weeks ago, I’d like to dedicate this to those people and their families.”