Vettel win gives Red Bull wings, for now

2011-04-02 18:34

This year’s season opened with a thrilling start and if Sebastian Vettel’s easy win is anything to go by, the Red Bull team is ­determined to defend their title at the Malaysian Grand Prix next weekend.

The first stretch saw Vettel and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton in a race to the first corner. Although Ferrari’s Felippe Massa had the fastest lap in the race with 1 minute 28.947 ­seconds, Vettel was ahead at the end of the opening lap.

Those 2.4 seconds were enough for him to set the pace for the entire race and saw him take the podium for first place by 22.2 seconds.

The German is proving to be quite an aggressive driverand a force to be reckoned with on the track .

However, one can’t help question what the results would have been if Hamilton had not encountered a ­problem with the flooring in his car on lap 32.

The footage of his car bottoming out on TV appeared worse than it really was, a sure sign that he will be driving hard to score extra points in Malaysia.

F1.com quoted Hamilton as saying that he had watched a few shots after the race.

“It looked quite bad on TV. I also had a look at the front floor and it was pretty badly banged up.

“Luckily, it wasn’t too bad to drive. Obviously, I was losing a bit of ­downforce, but, by then, I already had quite a comfortable margin over Vitaly (Petrov).

“Into the closing laps, the team just told me not to push it or take any ­unnecessary risks,” said Hamilton.

Team Sauber was disqualified from last Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix after the race stewards completed their post-race checks.

They revealed a radius on the upper rear wing element off both Sauber C30 cars were a few ­millimetres off the FIA’s technical ­regulations.

This meant that the team’s drivers, Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi, respectively lost their seventh- and eighth-place ­finishes on the grid.

But the team is ready for the next race and won’t let this tiny setback ­discourage them.

The Australian GP saw many new rookie drivers joining the grid. ­Sauber’s Sergio Perez impressed with a 7th position from 13th and won the team six points.

Force India’s Paul di Resta took 12th position and Virgin’s Jerome D’Ambrosio came in 16th, while ­Williams’ debutante Pastor Maldonado had technical issues in his FW33 and had to end the race on lap nine.

The race saw lots of little bumps and technical issues from various teams, which means they’ll all be more prepared for the rest of the ­season.

Malaysia will definitely see the top contenders battling it out to lead the score boards, although Red Bull is quite likely to hang on to the reins and see Vettel on the podium again.

Going into Sunday’s race, the driver score board stands with Vettel leading on 25 points, Hamilton on 18, Petrov on 15 and Fernando Alonso on 12.

Red Bull leads the constructors’ title by 35 points, followed McLaren (26), Ferrari (18), Renault (15), Toro Rosso (4) and Force India.

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