Hamilton dominates for Malaysian GP win
30 March 2014 – Lewis Hamilton dominated proceedings to secure his maiden Malaysian Grand Prix victory on Sunday afternoon. The Mercedes driver, who led the race from start to finish, took the chequered flag more than 15 seconds ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg, while Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel completed the podium.
As the lights went out, Hamilton showed no signs of the sluggish getaway he endured at the season opener in Australia, while Rosberg launched his car up the inside of Vettel's to make it a Mercedes one-two.
Vettel and new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo initially diced over third, but the reigning World Champion slipped past with the use of DRS on the fourth lap before gradually pulling away and cementing a podium place.
The top four positions remained the same through the opening two pit-stop phases, with Hamilton bringing his lead margin over the 10-second mark and Rosberg responding to any surges in pace from Vettel behind.
Ricciardo's encouraging race took a dramatic turn for the worse on Lap 41, when the Australian was released from a pit-stop with a loose front-left wheel and had to be wheeled back to the box for additional work.
And it did not end there, as the Toro Rosso graduate was forced to make two additional stops – the first for a front wing failure and the second for a stop/go penalty – before the decision was made to retire his car.
There was a small threat of rain as the race drew to a close, prompting the majority of drivers to prolong their penultimate stints to avoid a potential extra stop for wet weather tyres, but showers ultimately stayed away.
While the podium places were settled in the final laps, there were a number of battles for the remaining points.
Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso finished fourth after a late pass on Force India's Nico Hülkenberg, who made a two-stop plan work as opposed to the three-stop approach used by his main rivals. Meanwhile, Jenson Button fended off Williams duo Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, who were embroiled in a team order debate.
Kevin Magnussen, who was hit with a five second stop/go penalty for a tangle with Kimi Räikkönen, delivered a strong recovery drive for ninth, while fellow rookie Daniil Kvyat performed admirably to claim the final point.
Räikkönen ultimately finished 12th after his aforementioned collision with Magnussen, which gave the Ferrari driver a right-rear puncture and led to an unscheduled pit-stop. He was pipped to the line by Romain Grosjean, whose Lotus team can now see some light at the end of the tunnel after its recent struggles.
Caterham drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson finished 13th and 14th to conclude their initially troublesome weekends on a positive note, with Marussia's Max Chilton the last of the finishers.
Aside from Ricciardo's stoppage, Sauber drivers Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutiérrez, Toro Rosso's Jean-Éric Vergne, Marussia's Jules Bianchi and Lotus's Pastor Maldonado all hit technical trouble during the race. But Sergio Pérez was the first to officially retire after failing to make the start due to major engine problems.
The paddock now moves on to Bahrain, where Rosberg and Mercedes will arrive as the championship leaders.
The third round of the 2014 Formula 1 season takes place in Bahrain from April 4-6