What a start to the Formula One season in Melbourne! Nico Rosberg won the first Grand Prix of 2014, Daniel Ricciardo being disqualified from second place, Kevin Magnussen in his first race achieving his first podium in the sport with his promotion to second place and Jenson Button taking his fifteenth podium in Formula One.
Heading into the Grand Prix this weekend, the world of Formula One is in mourning for the loss of everyone who was on board Flight MH370 and their families who have tragically lost their lives. On Sunday before the race, a minute’s silence will be held as a mark of remembrance and respect.
Also, ‘fuel gate’ is still the primary focus of pundits and fans. It has been announced over the past week that the appeal hearing regarding Ricciardo’s disqualification will be taking place on the 14th April 2014, just before the start of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend.
Many pundits and fans of the sport believe that ‘fuel gate’ may open up a new can of worms for the sport and many believe that the FIA need to be stringent regarding the appeal case coming up. As I have stated previously, if the FIA have solid and substantial evidence that Red Bull have exceeded the fuel limit, then they should be absolutely punished and face the consequences of their actions.
But the debate still goes on with Red Bull and the FIA over the course of the weekend regarding ‘fuel gate’. Both parties have publically to the media stating their cases that will be used for the appeal and fuelling the media fire before the appeal has even taken place.
The Malaysian Grand Prix is one of the hardest races physically for the drivers and the teams. Due to the very high ambient temperatures, it presents a lot of challenges towards the cars as they try to increase the cooling in order to get maximum benefit of the aerodynamics.
The track has a normal grip evolution over the course of the weekend. On the circuit, you have slow chicanes and Turns 4-8 are extremely fast flowing and the drivers aim to get a good balance for their cars. It is important that they get their braking stability right in their cars in order to set a fast lap time around the circuit.
Track conditions at the Sepang circuit can change rapidly and very quickly indeed (for example 2012’s race started off in the dry and ended up raining heavily), the humidity of the weather (it is extremely hot) and also high degradation with the Pirelli tyres that are presenting the driver with a challenge that tests the best.
There has been controversy, unexpected issues, reasons for concern and signs of promise for a few teams after the first Grand Prix in Australia. Most Formula One fans have now switched their attentions towards the second race of the Formula One season in Sepang. Question is; have Mercedes kept up their advantage from Australia and will they still be seen as championship contenders for 2014?
The race weekend begins now….
Practices 1, 2 and 3
The main headline from the Practice sessions is Mercedes look to have the driver-car package to beat this weekend as weather conditions and tyre management which will test the drivers, teams and the cars throughout Friday and Saturday practice sessions.
Lewis Hamilton tops the timesheets in FP1
Practice 1 saw Lewis Hamilton top the timesheet with a time of 1.40.691 followed closely by Raikkonen with a gap of 0.152 seconds, Rosberg in third with a gap of 0.337 seconds, Button in fourth with a gap of 0.420 seconds and Magnussen in fifth with a gap of 0.583 seconds behind Hamilton.
Within Practice 1, Romain Grosjean in his Lotus stopped on track at Turn 9 and the car was stuck in gear and seemed to be losing hydraulic pressure. Also, McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen stopped on the circuit heading into the pit lane and would appear to be suffering from electrical issues. It was later confirmed that Magnussen suffered an overheating sensor problem which stopped him getting the car back to his pit box.
Also within Practice 1, many drivers were pushing the limit early on in order to get a clear indication of the grip from the circuit. Many drivers such as Sutil, Ericsson, Alonso and Massa experienced problems with Turn 15.
Before Practice 2, it was confirmed by the Mercedes team that Lewis Hamilton after suffering a wire problem that forced him to retire from the Australian Grand Prix has ran with the engine from the Grand Prix during this session. This is great news for Hamilton and the Mercedes team and proves that they made the right decision to retire Hamilton in Melbourne.
Nico Rosberg tops the timesheets in FP2
Practice 2 saw Nico Rosberg topping the timesheets with a time of 1.39.909 followed by Raikkonen with a gap of 0.035 seconds, Vettel in third with a gap of 0.061 seconds, Hamilton in fourth with a gap of 0.142 seconds behind and Alonso in fifth with a gap of 0.194 seconds behind Rosberg. Nico Hulkenberg managed to achieve a top 10 finish with 10th place. The early pace is showing that Force India may have the pace to get some good championship points this weekend.
Within Practice 2, Marussia driver Max Chilton and Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne experienced spins on the track while trying to find the limit. Grosjean once again stops on track after his Lotus appears to have jumped a gear and once again seem to be experiencing ongoing issues with the car. Also towards the end of the session, Ricciardo has a spin on the track in the Red Bull.
Rosberg once again tops the timesheets in FP3
Practice 3 saw Rosberg top the timesheet again with a time of 1.39.008 followed by Hamilton with a gap of 0.232 seconds, Raikkonen in third with a gap of 1.148 seconds, Vettel in fourth with a gap of 1.379 seconds and Hulkenberg in a fifth with a gap of 1.515 seconds behind Rosberg. The surprise of the session is Massa managing to grab 8th place showing that Williams may have good pace within their car. Force India look to be having a good weekend so far with Perez also 10th place which show that Force India might be able to get into Q3 with a fight and to gain some championship points on Sunday.
Within Practice 3, Grosjean once again goes off the circuit in his Lotus but is able to continue on with the session. Also Magnussen once again suffers a breakdown on his car and it was confirmed after the session that the McLaren team are experiencing a problem with a faulty sensor that is in the process of trying to be fixed before qualifying.
You would be stupid not to bet against the Mercedes drivers of Hamilton and Rosberg to gain pole position again this weekend. As the Mercedes drivers seem to be performing brilliantly at the moment and the momentum is with them from all the track mileage and their strong form from the last race. Raikkonen, Alonso and Vettel also cannot be discounted for the pole also as they are consistently within the top ten places at the moment.
However, I think that Toro Rosso, Williams, Force India or Ferrari have shown that they could throw themselves into the mix and could qualify well here to be in the hunt for some decent points this weekend. We all look forward to the qualifying session of the Grand Prix with excitement…
But heading into Qualifying, it would seem that Mercedes are looking like the team to beat heading into the session that look set to gain Pole Position ahead of the race on Sunday. But Force India or Williams may spring a surprise and throw a spanner into the works based on their early pace and promise within the Practice sessions.
However, there is a threat of rain that could hit the Sepang circuit throughout the session, will this spice up the action? Let the battle for Pole Position begin…
The start of Q1 was delayed due to a heavy rain shower that hit the Sepang circuit just before the start of the session. But at quarter to five (Malaysian time), the rain eased off and Q1 began.
In Q1, Rosberg tops the timesheets with a time of 1.57.183, Hamilton was second with a gap of 0.079 seconds behind, Vettel was third with a gap of 0.471 seconds behind, Hulkenberg was fourth with a gap of 1.700 seconds behind and Alonso was fifth with a gap of 1.706 seconds behind Rosberg. Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Bottas, Massa and Perez managed to get 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th places for their teams. At the end of Q1, we lose Maldonado, Sutil, Bianchi, Kobayashi, Chilton and Ericsson.
At the very end of the Q1 session, Ericsson while lapping for the first time in the rain made contact with the kerb coming out of Turn 3 which saw him make contact with the advertising boards at Turn 4. This brought out the red flag and the Q1 session did not restart.
In Q2, Hamilton tops the timesheets with a time of 1.59.041, Vettel is second with a gap of 0.358 seconds behind, Rosberg is third with a gap of 0.404 seconds behind, Riccardo is fourth with a gap of 1.106 seconds behind and Hulkenberg is fifth with a gap of 1.798 seconds behind. The big surprise of the sessions was Magnussen finishing in 9th place and Vergne finished the session in 10th place. At the end of Q2, we lose Kvyat, Guiterrez, Massa, Perez, Bottas and Grosjean.
Within Q2, there was an incident on track between Alonso and Kvyat where both drivers banged wheels with each other and lead to Alonso suffering damage to his left front suspension. This incident brought out the red flag and left Ferrari with a lot of work to do in order to continue running once the session was restarted.
However, the Ferrari team did a superb job and managed to fix the problem with Alonso’s car as best as they possibly could. This then allowed Alonso to continue running in the session while the stewards investigated the incident further.
The battle for pole position is on…
The Top 3 Qualifiers at the Malaysian Grand Prix: Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel
In Q3, Hamilton tops the timesheet and gets pole with an amazingly fast lap time of 1.59.431 to claim Pole Position at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Hamilton has also equalled Jim Clark’s record of 33 Pole Positions which is a fantastic achievement.
Vettel was second fastest with a gap of 0.055 seconds behind Hamilton and Rosberg was third fastest with a gap of 0.619 seconds behind Hamilton. Alonso was fourth fastest with a gap of 0.744 seconds behind, Ricciardo was fifth fastest with a gap of 1.10 seconds behind, Raikkonen was sixth fastest with a gap of 1.787 seconds behind, Hulkenberg was seventh fastest with a gap of 2.281 seconds behind, Magnussen was eighth fastest with a gap of 2.782 seconds behind, Vergne was ninth fastest and Button was tenth fastest.
It would seem that Mercedes genuinely has the pace to challenge for the race win again this weekend. Both of the Mercedes drivers seem to have the cars underneath them to do this. You cannot discount Ricciardo or even Vettel to be challenging also for the race win in order to kick start their 2014 season. Alonso could also be the dark horse to take the win away from Mercedes that could see gaining some points on his rivals to start his fight for the championship.
Button, Magnussen, Vergne, Hulkenberg and Massa could also have a decent race tomorrow and pick up some much needed points for their respective teams to start off their 2014 season strongly. Will it rain tomorrow? I do not know. Who will win the Grand Prix tomorrow? I really don’t know (hoping for a Button win!). Who will lead the championship after this race? Will it be Alonso, Rosberg, Vettel, Ricciardo or Hamilton? I don’t know. The Grand Prix has been set up nicely and set to be an exciting return for many fans of the sport. Let’s see what happens…
Prior to the race, Bottas has received a three place grid penalty from the stewards after he was found to have impeded Ricciardo during the qualifying session yesterday. Also, Bottas has also picked up two penalty points on his license as a result of this.
As I have already mentioned, the world of Formula One is in mourning for the loss of everyone who was on board Flight MH370 and their families who have tragically lost their lives. A minute’s silence will be held as a mark of remembrance and respect before the start of the race.
Even before he made his way to the grid, Perez appears to be suffering problems with his Force India and is wheeled back into his garage to see if his team can fix the problem. Sadly, Force India could not fix the problems with Perez’s car and has no choice but to retire from the Grand Prix before the race had even begun.
The F1 world is watching and waiting to see if the 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix will live up to expectations and who will be the winner? Here we go… 21 drivers are lined up on their grid positions, five red lights and its GO!!!!!!!!
Hamilton leads the field in the lead towards Turn 1
Hamilton appears to have been bogged down off the start line but is still leading the field. Both Hamilton and Vettel find themselves covering Rosberg. Rosberg has a blistering start and now finds himself passing Vettel. Heading into Turn 1, Ricciardo on the outside is trying to get past Alonso, Vettel and even Raikkonen.
There is contact at Turn 4 between Bianchi and Maldonado which sees both drivers coasting in order to make it back to the pits. Further on track, Magnussen tries to pass Raikkonen for position but cannot do so.
Lap 2 sees Hamilton leading Rosberg by 2 seconds. Hulkenberg then tries to make a move on Alonso into Turn 1 and gains track position. Magnussen is now able to pass Raikkonen for 7th place. However, there has been contact between the drivers and Raikkonen has suffered a puncture on his left rear tyre. At the end of the lap, Bianchi pits.
The next lap sees Hamilton extend his lead to 3.2 seconds. Button is then able to pass his team mate for position on the circuit. There is a battle for 9th place between Massa, Bottas, Guiterrez and Kvyat. Massa is now able to pass Bottas for position. Lap 4 sees Vettel passing Ricciardo for third place and Magnussen passing Massa. The FIA announce that the stewards are now looking at the incident between Bianchi and Maldonado on the first lap.
By Lap 6, the lead is 4 seconds exactly. Magnussen, Massa and Bottas are battling each other for 8th place. The FIA announce that the stewards are now looking into the incident between Raikkonen and Magnussen. The next lap sees Bianchi receiving a five second stop and go penalty for the incident with Maldonado. On team radio, Bottas is telling his team that he “has more pace” than his team mate Massa and Maldonado has been informed by his team to box and to retire the car from the Grand Prix.
Lap 9 sees Hamilton leading Rosberg still by 5.2 seconds. At the end of the lap, Magnussen pits and rejoins the race in 17th place. The next lap sees Massa and Bottas still battling each other for 8th place on the track. Magnussen has received a five second stop and go penalty for his part in the incident with Raikkonen. At the end of the lap both Kvyat and Guiterrez pit.
On Lap 13, Hamilton leads the field by 6.4 seconds. Guiterrez and Sutil are battling each other for 14th place. There is a battle on track between Alonso and Ricciardo for 7th place. Alonso tries to get past him but Ricciardo manages to hold his line and keeps the position. At the end of the lap, Vettel and Button pit.
The next lap sees Bottas losing positions as he is struggling with his tyres. Vettel, Ricciardo and Alonso are able to pass him for position. At the end of the lap, Rosberg pits with a 2.5 second stop and rejoins the race back in third place. At the end of Lap 15, Hamilton pits with a 3.1 second stop and rejoins the race in second behind Hulkenberg who hasn’t stopped yet.
On Lap 16, Hamilton very quickly is able to pass Hulkenberg and regain the lead of the race. Bottas and Massa once again are battling each other for position, this time it is for tenth place. At the end of the lap, Hulkenberg pits with a 3.9 second stop and rejoins the race back in 6th place.
Lap 17 sees Hamilton leading the race to Rosberg by 8.6 seconds. Raikkonen tries to pass Ericsson for position and also Vergne also tries to pass Ericsson on the outside. The next lap sees Raikkonen finally able to pass Ericsson’s Caterham. Vettel and Ricciardo are battling for third place. On team radio, it has been confirmed to Ricciardo that his fuel sensor is dead and to listen to the “beeps” in order to keep to the fuel limit. At the end of the lap, Raikkonen pits.
On Lap 19, Vergne sadly has to retire his Toro Rosso from the Grand Prix. Kvyat and Bottas are battling for 9th place. The next lap sees Bottas passing him Kvyat for the position. 9.7 seconds is the gap that Hamilton leads the race ahead of Rosberg. Rosberg and Vettel are now in battle with each other for second place. At the end of the lap, Kvyat pits with a 5.2 second stop and rejoins the race in 15th place.
By Lap 25, the battle for fifth between Alonso and Hulkenberg is still ongoing. One lap later, Sutil passes Chilton for 14th place and Guiterrez is able to finally pass Ericsson. Hamilton leads the race on Lap 27 by exactly 10 seconds. At the end of the lap, Alonso and Massa make their pit stops. The next lap sees Ricciardo pitting with a 2.9 second stop and rejoins the race in 5th place.
Lap 29 sees Hamilton leading by 10.4 seconds. Kobayashi and Magnussen are battling each other for 11th place and Magnussen is able to pass Kobayashi and takes 11th place in the race. Lap 30 sees Grosjean trying to get past Kobayashi for track position and Kobayashi is able at this stage to keep Grosjean behind him.
Hamilton still leads the field on Lap 31 by 10.2 seconds. On team radio, Hamilton is informed by his team that there could be a chance of rain towards the end of the Grand Prix. At the end of the lap, Vettel pits with a 2.7 second stop and rejoins the race in 4th place. The end of the next lap sees Rosberg make his pit stop.
Lap 33 and Hamilton has a 31.3 second gap to Hulkenberg in second place. Rosberg and Vettel are still battling each other for 3rd place. At the end of the lap, Hamilton pits with a 3.8 second stop and retains the lead of the Grand Prix. The next lap sees Hulkenberg, Rosberg and Vettel battling for second. Sutil’s Sauber stops on the final corner of the circuit and brings out the yellow flags. At the end of the lap, Hulkenberg pits.
By Lap 35, on team radio Raikkonen is informed by his Ferrari team that it is now raining on the back section of the Sepang circuit. Two laps later and Hamilton leads by 12.1 seconds. Gutierrez retires his Sauber from the race. This is the first time since 2011 that Sauber have experienced a double retirement from a Grand Prix. On track, Ricciardo and Alonso are battling for 4th place.
Three laps later, Hamilton has an 11.8 second lead. Vettel is told by his team on the radio that “drops” of rain in Turns 9 and 10 of the circuit. The end of the next lap sees both Button and Magnussen pit and rejoin the race in 9th and 11th places. By the end of Lap 40, Ricciardo pits for new tyres only to find that the front left tyre has not been attached to the car properly.
Ricciardo being pushed back to his pit box
Ricciardo then with help from his mechanics is reversed back to his pit box in order to correct the problem which has in effect ruined his chances of a decent result today. By Lap 42, the FIA announce that the stewards are looking into the “unsafe release” of Ricciardo after his pit stop.
Lap 43 sees Hamilton leading the race ahead of Rosberg by 10.7 seconds. Ricciardo then suffers front wing damage on his Red Bull after it failed and then has to pit again in order for the front wing to be fixed. Lap 45 sees the announcement that Ricciardo will have to serve a 10 second stop and go penalty for the “unsafe release” from his pit stop.
Lap 46 sees Button and Massa battling for 6th place on track. Massa tries to get past Button but Button defends brilliantly and is able to keep the position for now. By Lap 49, Hamilton extends his lead to 13.8 seconds. Hulkenberg and Alonso are battling for 4th place. At the end of the lap, Vettel pits with a 3.3 second stop and rejoins the race in 3rd place.
Lap 50 sees Hamilton leading by 13.9 seconds. Vettel and Hulkenberg are now battling with each other for 3rd place. At the end of the lap, Rosberg makes his pit stop. The next lap sees Grosjean and Raikkonen battling for 11th place. At the end of the lap, Hamilton makes his final stop and retains his lead.
Lap 52 sees Raikkonen catching Grosjean very quickly. Ricciardo is now told by the Red Bull team to retire his car from the Grand Prix. Alonso is now very quickly catching the Force India of Hulkenberg. Also, we hear over the team radio that Massa has received instructions from the Williams team that “Bottas is faster than him and to let him through”. The next lap sees Alonso finally able to pass Hulkenberg for fourth place. Lap 54 sees the battle between Massa and Bottas still ongoing.
Felipe Massa still leads Valtteri Bottas after Williams give team order
It would appear that Massa despite being told by his team to let his team mate through is not going to do so. Lap 55 sees the battle with Raikkonen and Grosjean still ongoing. Bottas is then informed by the Williams team that “he is racing Felipe”. Bottas then tries to get past Massa but cannot do so.
The Podium of the Malaysian Grand Prix with the winner Hamilton, Rosberg in second and Vettel in third.
The final lap of the race sees Hamilton leading Rosberg by 14.5 seconds. Hamilton completes the final lap and he wins the Grand Prix. He also clinches his 100th points finish in Formula One and also the first one two finish for the Mercedes team since the Italian Grand Prix in 1955.
Rosberg is a brilliant second 17.3 seconds behind Hamilton, Vettel finishes third and claims the final spot on the podium 24.5 seconds behind Hamilton, Alonso is a brilliant fourth 39.9 seconds behind Hamilton, Hulkenberg finished a credible fifth 47.1 seconds behind Hamilton, Button was sixth 1:23.6 seconds behind Hamilton, Massa finishes seventh 1:25 seconds behind Hamilton, Bottas was eighth 57.6 seconds behind Hamilton, Magnussen finished ninth 1 lap behind Hamilton and Kvyat picked up the final point in tenth.
Nico Rosberg leads the Driver’s championship with 43 points, Hamilton is second with 25 points, Alonso is third with 24 points, Button is fourth with 12 points, Magnussen is fifth with 20 points, Hulkenberg is sixth with 18 points, Vettel is seventh with 15 points, Bottas is eighth with 14 points, Raikkonen is ninth with 6 points and Massa is tenth with 6 points.
Mercedes leads the Constructor’s championship with 68 points, McLaren is second with 43 points, Ferrari is third with 30 points, Williams is fourth with 20 points, Force India is fifth with 19 points, Red Bull is sixth with 15 points and Toro Rosso are seventh with 7 points.
After the race, the FIA announced Daniel Ricciardo will take a ten place grid penalty into the Bahrain Grand Prix for the unsafe release from his pit stop as the racing regulations 23.12 (c) which has been introduced for this year states.
Article 23.12 (c) of the Sporting Regulations states the following:-
‘If the car is deemed to have been released in an unsafe condition during the race the driver concerned will receive a ten grid place penalty at the driver’s next event. However, if any car released in an unsafe condition is able to resume the race a penalty under Article 18.3 (c) will also be imposed on the driver concerned.’
At the moment, I do feel for Ricciardo. In my eyes, he has shown why he was picked to be Webber’s replacement at Red Bull for this season. Ricciardo has shown that he when he has the equipment and the resources, he can deliver. He has been on form all weekend and managed to once again race competitively at the front of the grid.
Despite him being disqualified in Australia and then penalised during and after the race today, I believe that Ricciardo can hold his head up high and he will bounce back from this. At this current time, he may have lost second place in the Australian Grand Prix but we will have to see what happens with the appeal that has been started by his team in the next couple of weeks.
Also added to this, he will now suffer a ten grid place penalty in Bahrain, he will just have to do the best job he possibly can during qualifying in order to minimise the damage for the race next weekend.
As for Vettel, this weekend saw him take the final step of the podium that many people did not expect him to achieve. Vettel has all weekend with the car been able to extract pace and performance and it would seem that the problems he encountered from pre-season testing look to be making progress in the right direction.
At the moment, Red Bull and their 2014 season has not got off to the start many expected of them towards the end of last season where they dominated once again. They have throughout the weekend taken major steps forward in order to get on top of the problems with their RB10 and they will build upon this as they look towards Bahrain next weekend.
I feel that McLaren have gained slightly from the race today. I was happy that Button did have some pace to challenge today and managed to score decent points for the team. This weekend Jenson had a tough battle to now achieve sixth place in the race and I am sure the team are thankful for his efforts. I do feel that Button got the most that he could out of his car.
But Magnussen has impressed me once again this weekend. He has shown that he is without question a potential talent of the future. Magnussen has amazed everyone with how quickly he has gotten on the pace with the MP4-29 and he was once again rewarded with a good result this weekend.
This weekend has seen just how far behind Lotus is in regards to the rest of the field. Even though Grosjean has managed to complete a race distance for the team today, this clearly demonstrates to me that there is some potential within their car when it is able to run under racing conditions. But the Lotus team still have a lot of work to do in order to try and be more competitive by Bahrain or even the start of the European leg of the season.
In my view, I feel that this will be an impossible and challenging task for them. This weekend has highlighted even more problems with their car and they will need to fully understand how to solve these without losing even more ground to their rivals before the championship fight dissolves in front of them.
The biggest surprise this weekend for me was the 10th place of Kvyat. Firstly, he has had an impressive weekend. Despite the incident with Alonso during Q2 on Saturday, he drove solidly in the race today to bring home some much needed points for the team. I really believe that Kvyat is starting to show why he was signed by Toro Rosso for this year and he is showing that he can score some points for the team on a regular basis so far.
Alonso, Bottas and Massa do deserve a mention. Firstly, Alonso drove a solid race this weekend. He has been on top 10 form all weekend and managed to gain some good points this weekend with fourth place. Once again, Alonso is showing his talent and is able to extract performance out of the car. But I believe that Ferrari was very lucky to secure with the good points they have scored this weekend even though they need to work on their race pace throughout the season.
Meanwhile, the Williams team have had yet again an encouraging weekend despite the team issuing team orders during the race. Bottas had a battle to claim eighth today. Bottas this weekend has driven solidly. At several stage of the race, Bottas was once again trying to battle his way up the grid as far as he possibly could and got the best result that he could achieve today.
Meanwhile his team-mate Massa has managed to finish the race today after the disappointment he suffered in Australia after being hit by Kobayashi. It was nice to see that Massa was rewarded with some points after showing his form during the weekend.
As we all know, the Williams team during the race asked Massa on the radio to let Bottas go through because “he [Bottas] is faster than you” in order to try and catch Button who was ahead of them. Massa decided that he would not let Bottas past and in the end managed to keep his team mate behind him.
I think that this will be debated over the course of the week ahead. You could argue that Massa was in his right to refuse to let Bottas past. As Massa throughout his career has obeyed team orders to his previous team mates and he really did believe that he would not encounter this situation at Williams this quickly.
If Massa did let Bottas past, you could state the case that this would give a psychological advantage to Bottas. But if he let Bottas past, many pundits and fans would think that Massa once again will play the role of second fiddle in a team that has reinforced his desire to race again and race equally.
I do feel that the situation with the Williams team could now change slightly in terms of the dynamic between both of their drivers. There is no question that both drivers are in my view equally talented and have shown that if they have the equipment, they can deliver for the team.
But I believe that strong words will be spoken during the debriefing in the Williams team after the race in order for the situation to be resolved without affecting the team and also the working relationship between Massa and Bottas.
Even though we did hear during the race that Massa was asked by the Williams team to let Bottas go through, it is great to see that both drivers managed to add to the points tally for the Williams team. They are showing signs of progress for the season ahead, even if they still have a bit of work to still in the dry and especially in the wet.
Once again Hulkenberg has had an impressive weekend but he has impressed me a lot this weekend yet again. He drove a fantastic lap in qualifying and drove a cracking race to bring home some much needed points for the team. I believe that Nico this year has learnt his lessons from last season from the sport and is working harder than ever to keep the form he showed in 2013 going and trying to get some much needed points for Force India in 2014.
I really believe that Nico when is good is a high quality driver that he is and I was happy to him get some points today after a great drive. I would also like to say that he drove to my mind a really good race today, battling with Alonso throughout the race and deserved to take some good points home today after finishing in second place.
Also, Rosberg deserves a mention. This weekend saw Rosberg put in an amazing performance in order to take second place today. He has shown this weekend that he cannot be discounted for challenging at the front of the grid and has gained more points to his championship lead as we head into Bahrain next week.
All that is left to say about this race is that Hamilton deserved to win today. His driving was brilliant and controlled throughout the race. Mercedes have built on the solid foundation from pre-season testing. The Mercedes team seem to be able to make sure that their qualifying performance is also consistent and reliable, while it seems they have proven that their race pace today is consistent and reliable.
Hamilton has done a great job this weekend and has been rewarded for his efforts with a great win after the disappointment of Australia two weeks ago and showing once again that Mercedes are still the team to beat as we head towards Bahrain next week.
We are left wondering what will happen within the world of Formula One leading up to the next race in Bahrain next week. Will Red Bull, McLaren, Williams, Ferrari, Toro Rosso and Force India build upon a solid foundation achieved from today?
But the most important question; will Mercedes be able to keep their advantage and their performance in Bahrain next weekend? We wait with anticipation, bring on Bahrain!
Also, please listen and join in to my #JonesonF1 Promotional Partner Pit Stop Radio on Monday 31th March 2014 at 8pm GMT for their Malaysian Grand Prix Race Review. You can join in the chat by visiting http://www.pitstopradio.blogspot.com. If you need any further information, you can follow Pit Stop Radio on Twitter @PitStopRadio.