Malaysian Grand Prix 2013 at Sepang Preview

by SteveRogerson

The second grand prix of the 2013 Formula One racing season on Sunday 24th March sees the teams heading for Malaysia,

Ferrari lead the constructors championship and Lotus driver Kimi Räikkönen the drivers championship after the first grand prix in Australia. The Formula One racing teams must now prepare for a potentially wet race in Malaysia on Sunday 24 March 2013, with Red Bull and McLaren both hoping to do better.

Felipe Massa was unlucky in Melbourne

Felipe Massa finished fourth in Australia
Felipe Massa finished fourth in Australia

The only certainty after the opening grand prix of the 2013 season is that nothing is certain, as a combination of a washed out qualifying and a mixture of fortunes in the Australian Grand Prix meant that not even a vague pattern of how the season will pan out could be gleaned. And with less that a week to prepare for the season’s second grand prix – the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang on Sunday 24 March 2013 – it seems unlikely that such patterns will emerge, especially given the changeable weather often found in Sepang.

There is no doubt that Lotus will have gone home with smiles on their faces after Melbourne, with both drivers in the points, though there may be some chin scratching as to why one of their drivers – Kimi Räikkönen – could win the race and the other – Romain Grosjean – struggled with pace and was fortunate to hang on to tenth place.

Red Bull caused a bit of a surprise as their expected blistering pace never emerged, though world champion Sebastien Vettel managed to get onto the podium in third place and his team mate Mark Webber had a respectable sixth place. And with Red Bull well known for improving as the season progresses, Melbourne will be seen by them as a reasonable starting point.

Ferrari are perhaps the happiest team at this point, leading the constructors championship after Fernando Alonso finished second and Felipe Massa fourth – Massa almost certainly would have done better but for a strange decision on when to make one of his tyre stops.

Lewis Hamilton had a good first drive for his new team Mercedes but will have been a little concerned over reliability after his team mate Nico Rosberg’s car conked out half way through the race. But he will be nowhere near as worried as the engineers at the team he left – McLaren –after a poor performance. Last season’s winner at Melbourne Jenson Button suffered through an error of judgement over tyres in qualifying, but even with that the car was well off the pace and could only manage ninth with his new team mate Sergio Perez just outside the points.

The big surprise in Melbourne was how well the Force India team did, with Adrian Sutil at one point showing good pace as he pulled away in the lead. Late tyre problems though saw him fall down to seventh, one ahead of his team mate Paul di Resta.

As to the other five teams, Sauber, Toro Rosso and Williams will almost certainly find themselves in the points before too long but one feels another long pointless season lies ahead for Caterham and Marussia.


Malaysian Grand Prix

Hot, humid and wet are the best three words to describe motor racing in Sepang. It nearly always rains and when it does it comes down in bucketfuls. A few minutes later and they will be racing in bright sunshine. Part of the fun is the mad scramble for the pits to change tyres as the weather switches.

The circuit itself provides a good mix of challenges for the drivers with both fast and slow corners. Fernando Alonso won this race last year.


News From the Pitlane

After a fuel leak stopped Nico Hulkenberg from starting in Melbourne, his team Sauber have announced that he will have a brand new chassis for the Malaysian race. The old chassis has been sent back to Switzerland so engineers can try to work out why it happened.


Standings After One Grand Prix

Constructors: 1. Ferrari 30, 2. Lotus 26, 3. Red Bull 23, 4. Mercedes 10, 5. Force India 10, 6. McLaren 2.

Drivers: 1. Kimi Räikkönen 25, 2. Fernado Alonso 18, 3. Sebastian Vettel 15, 4. Felipe Massa 12, 5. Lewis Hamilton 10, 6. Mark Webber 8, 7. Adrian Sutil 6, 8. Paul di Resta 4, 9. Jenson Button 2, 10. Romain Grosjean 1.

Updated: 03/23/2013, SteveRogerson
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