Vettel beats Webber in thrilling Malaysian GP

Sunday 24th March 2013, 09:45 by TF1T Staff 

Red Bull Racing, Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel didn't have the Malaysian Grand Prix all his own way, but he overcame team-mate Mark Webber with a daring move to secure victory in Sepang.

Webber held on to finish second, rewarding Red Bull with a 1-2 whilst the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg completed the top four after an intense battle which saw team-orders come into affect.

It was a wet start to the race which caused some pre-race carnage on the out-lap as Webber, Daniel Ricciardo, Pastor Maldonado, Valtteri Bottas and Max Chilton all went through the gravel as they travelled to the grid for the start.

All the cars started on intermediate tyres as a result.

Mark Webber managed to end his curse of bad starts and jumped from fifth to second whilst Fernando Alonso made contact with the rear of Sebastian Vettel, damaging his front-wing in the process.

The Ferrari driver didn't pit for a new wing on lap one to his regret, as on the main straight it flew under the car and resulted in his retirement as the gravel trap welcomed his F138.

Almost all the cars had pitted for slick tyres by lap seven, including Lewis Hamilton who went to pit at his old team, McLaren, but realised and drove straight through their box to his new team, Mercedes - to the delight of the mechanics at both teams who were seen laughing afterwards.

Toro Rosso released Jean-Eric Vergne into the path of Charles Pic during their first stop, with both having to replace the front-wing as a result.

Meanwhile Paul di Resta retired after a slow stop which lasted almost a minute. A problem then hit team-mate Sutil during his second stop which relegated him from tenth to 20th by the time he left the box. He retired on lap 24.

An early stop for Hamilton put him ahead of Vettel thanks to a great out-lap, but he remained behind leader Webber who stopped just a lap later.

Jenson Button was also involved in a poor pit stop, his third, saw him leave with a loose right-front. He stopped in pits before being recovered to the box by his crew and rejoining from second to 14th.

Fuel saving at Mercedes for both drivers allowed Vettel to coast past Hamilton to regain second and chase down team-mate Webber.

As the fourth and final round of stops came about, it was a battle between the Red Bull pair, with Webber, stopping after Vettel, rejoining side-by-side. Wheel-to-wheel action ensued as they battled for the lead, but Webber managed to stay ahead, just.

The final few laps were 'on the egde of your seat' stuff as two intra-team battles ensued with just millimetres between Rosberg and Hamilton and then Webber and Vettel, with the latter drivers coming out on top.

Race Result - 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix:

#DriverTeamGapPts
01. S. Vettel Red Bull
25
02. M. Webber Red Bull +4.2 18
03. L. Hamilton Mercedes +12.1 15
04 N. Rosberg Mercedes +12.6 12
05. F. Massa Ferrari +25.6 10
06. R. Grosjean Lotus +35.5 8
07. K. Raikkonen Lotus +48.4 6
08. N. Hulkenberg Sauber +53.0 4
09. S. Perez McLaren +1:12.3 2
10. J. Vergne Toro Rosso +1:27.1 1
11. V. Bottas Williams +1:28.6
12. E. Gutierrez Sauber +1 lap
13. J. Bianchi Marussia +1 lap
14. C. Pic Caterham +1 lap
15. G. van der Garde Caterham +1 lap
16. M. Chilton Marussia +2 laps
17. J. Button McLaren Retired
18. D. Ricciardo Toro Rosso Retired
19. P. Maldonado Williams Retired
20. A. Sutil Force India Retired
21. P. di Resta Force India Retired
22. F. Alonso Ferrari Retired

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