Vettel in must-win situation for Ferrari at Malaysian GP

2017-09-27 06:02

TO finish first, first you must finish. These are likely the words that have been rolling around Sebastian Vettel’s mind following the start-line crash in Singapore, which now has him at a 28-point deficit to Lewis Hamilton.

There’s little doubt that this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix is vital for Ferrari’s and Vettel’s championship aspirations.

The Formula 1 paddock travels little more than 300km to Sepang, just outside the city centre of Kuala Lumpur, in Malaysia for this weekend’s 15th round of the 2017 season.

The Malaysian circuit, famed for its hot and humid conditions, has been on the F1 calendar since 1999 and is making its final appearance this year.

As, arguably, Herman Tilke’s most-liked circuit design, the Sepang International circuit, is one of the most technically challenging of the season.

Its combination of medium- and high-speed corners and the ever-present long back and start/finish straits means that somewhere drivers and teams will have to compromise on the car set-up.

Some in the paddock will have you believe that the Mercedes will stroll to victory this weekend given that the Malaysian circuit suits the Silver Arrow to a tee.

While the strengths of the Mercedes are likely to be highlighted, Ferrari should not be underestimated.

Kimi Raikkonen believes that Ferrari can be in the mix for victory this weekend.

“You (the media) assume that it’s difficult. We don’t,” said Raikkonen.

“We go there (to Malaysia), it’s another race, another weekend, and we go there full of fight and we’ll do our best”.

Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene echoed Raikkonen’s sentiments by saying that the battle is not over but has simply become more difficult.

While the two main rivals in the 2017 championship dominate the headlines, many ask what are the chances of Red Bull cheekily snatching the prize from both of them.

The stats suggest that the Austrian team has indeed made significant progress since the start of the season.

And while they’ll be snapping at the heels for the top step of the podium, barring unreliability, crashes, or a sudden and opportune cloudburst, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen are unlikely to have the raw pace to match Merc and Ferrari.

As if to add more intrigue to the mix, Ferrari and Mercedes have chosen different tyre strategies for this weekend too. With the medium, soft, and supersoft compounds available, Mercedes has chosen to focus more on the yellow-walled soft tyre.

With five sets available to Hamilton, Mercedes have looked especially strong on the soft tyre on several occasions this season. In contrast, Ferrari has chosen to focus on the supersoft compound by selecting nine sets each for Vettel and Raikkonen with Red Bull taking a similar approach to Ferrari.

The weather forecast, never devoid of the threat of a thunderstorm, predicts scorching temperatures for the duration of the weekend, which could swing the advantage to Ferrari and the supersoft compound.

There is no doubt whatsoever that Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel must win the Malaysian Grand Prix in order to keep their championship hopes alive.

Ferrari has been adamant that they are, categorically, not out of the championship.

It’s time now to underscore their bullish belief where it matters most – on track.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
ADVERTORIAL
Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.