Mercedes magnificent as Red Bull returns to the fore

3 Comments

Was it ever really in doubt? Were Mercedes ever not going to win the Malaysian Grand Prix last weekend? The team finally delivered the result that had been predicted for many months: a one-two finish, Hamilton ahead of Rosberg. Total dominance.

In fact, that was the common theme of the entire Malaysian Grand Prix weekend. In every session – from FP1 to the race itself, and including each of the individual qualifying sessions – a Mercedes car finished with the fastest time. In the dry, the W05 car was in a league of its own as Lewis Hamilton eased to just his second win for the team by 17 seconds.

The only threat to the Silver Arrow show came from a resurgent Sebastian Vettel, who did close on Nico Rosberg in second place at one point. However, Rosberg was given the call to push, and push he did as he slowly eked out a gap that gave him plenty of breathing space.

Daniel Ricciardo appears to have replaced Mark Webber in more ways than one at Red Bull, with the Australian’s luckless form continuing in Malaysia. After being disqualified from the Australian Grand Prix, Ricciardo seemed set for fourth place on Sunday after making a good start and easily keeping Fernando Alonso at bay. However, at his final stop, a problem on his front-left tire meant that he had to be held for further repairs, costing him a whole lap. It got worse:

  • Upon returning to the track in 14th place, Ricciardo then suffered a front wing failure, forcing him to pit.
  • Just after pitting for repairs, the stewards handed Ricciardo a five second stop-go penalty, forcing him to come in again to serve it.
  • Red Bull then opted to retire his car with just five laps to go.
  • Finally, the stewards have given him a 10 place grid penalty for the Bahrain Grand Prix next weekend – just for good measure.

Of course, the safety aspect is an important one, as we saw at the German Grand Prix last year, so these sanctions were fair. It was just a luckless day for Ricciardo given that he did nothing wrong.

The stage could be set for a Mercedes versus Red Bull tussle for the 2014 Formula 1 championships. Two races in, and the new era of the sport is already shaping up nicely.

IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama final practice report

IndyCar
Leave a comment

Will Power posted the fastest lap in the third practice session for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.953 mph.

Rookie Robert Wickens (122.552 mph) was second fast, foretelling a continuation of his incredible rookie season.

Scott Dixon (122.237), Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.231) and Alexander Rossi (122.106) rounded out the top five.

The practice was interrupted several times for incidents. 

Ed Jones spun off track in turn five after locking up his brakes with 30 minutes remaining in practice three. He was able to drive back to the pits under his own power.

With 20 minutes still on the clock, Jordan King took a trip into the fence after posting a fastest lap of 121.753 mph. He sustained substantial left side damage to his car and came back to the pits on the hook.

“I’m annoyed really,” King said afterward on the live stream at IndyCar.com. “I slightly locked the inside front, then just stayed off onto the grass and that was it. But I wasn’t really even pushing that hard.”

With two minutes remaining, Charlie Kimball lost power and pulled off the track, bringing an end to the practice session.

Dixon also had an off-road excursion.