Team-mate Wars: Malaysia

Wednesday 02-April-2014 08:30

In F1, the first person you have to beat is your team-mate.

Nico Rosberg 0 - Lewis Hamilton 2

Lewis got pole, but much more importantly, he got six cylinders for the race. And that was that. Lewis was better than Nico in every department in Sepang; qualifying, start, lack-of-snappiness, race pace and fastest lap. Such was the dominance of the Mercedes team that memories of the 2009 season are already being invoked. And it's no fun if the team-mates get on - you want a bit of glaring across the garage.

Red Bull
Daniel Ricciardo 1 - Sebastian Vettel 1

It was a BIG surprise that the fuel-flow sensor on Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull stopped working - of all the cars that should happen to, eh. Red Bull about to have a major barny with the FIA about fuel flow sensors and of all the people on the grid for it to happen to a second time, it's Daniel's car. And after the mechanics so carefully tapped it with a 2kg mole wrench to make sure it was absolutely free of fuel before it was put onto the car, what a catastrophe.

Seb shaded Daniel in qualifying, but not by much. Daniel got a better start than Seb, who is this season equipped with 'Suzy' after he took 'Heidi' to glory in 2013. Once Vettel was past his team-mate it was only going to be some mechanical or pit-stop glitch that got Daniel the place back, and in the end it was Dan who was the victim of a rare Red Bull pit-stop error.

Fernando Alonso 2 - Kimi Raikkonen 0

Raikkonen looked to have conquered his Ferrari F14T demons, running strongly in free practice. However Alonso got the better of him in qualifying and while neither Ferrari started well (such is the way in 2014), Raikkonen's unfortunate puncture ended his race before he could show the kind of race craft that got him so many points last year. Alonso claimed he was slow in the race, but only Lewis Hamilton set a faster lap.

Jenson Button 1 - Kevin Magnussen 1

Again, impressive qualifying from Magnussen, a good start but a race ruined by a tentative lunge. Button again outdrove his car to take 6th place and was very diplomatic about where his Ron-Dennis-promised "0.5 second improvement" had gone to.

Valtteri Bottas 0 - Felipe Massa 2

Felipe again got the better of Valtteri in qualifying and was running ahead on the road, when we got into all that Team Orders nonsense. Drivers have to rely on what they're being told by their engineers more than ever in 2014 and Massa should have listened. He should also have got through Magnussen a lot earlier, considering the degree of damage to the MP4-29's front wing. If you sit behind someone for too long you lose the advantage and Felipe was guilty of that twice with both McLarens. The team potentially lost four points because of it.

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne 1 - Daniil Kvyat 1

Kvyat yet again proved why he got the seat ahead of more experienced Red Bull protégés with a steady, if remote drive to P9. JEV's race finished early.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg 2 - Sergio Perez 0

Another impressive performance from The Hulk. Imagine how much better he could be if they upped the weight limit of cars to a sensible level and didn't penalise the tall drivers. On the subject of weight, and this is not implying that Nico is involved, three separate drivers mentioned drugs this weekend. Mark Webber in his excellent BBC piece about driver training and preparation for the BBC and also Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. They all said that with weight being critical that some drivers are taking drugs to dehydrate themselves and keep their weight to a minimum before qualifying. Now that it's out there on mainstream media, the FIA need to do something.

Esteban Gutierrez 1 - Adrian Sutil 1

When it comes to weight, the Sauber package is just too hefty overall and Sauber are aiming to cut the car's weight by 20kg. Sutil didn't get out of Q1, but Gutierrez did.

Marcus Ericsson 1 - Kamui Kobayashi 1

Kobayashi was back on form in Sepang and the Caterham team put in an impressive two-car finish.

Max Chilton 2 - Jules Bianchi 0

Jules may have outqualified Max, but he got involved in a stupid first lap tussle with Maldonado, picked up points on his licence and retired. This was easily a day when he could have picked up a 12th or 13th place. Max steered clear and continued his amazing run of finishing every F1 race he's driven in.

Star of the race
Daniel Ricciardo 1, Lewis Hamilton 1

Overtaking Move of the Race
Valtteri Bottas 1, Daniel Ricciardo 1

Sat on the Naughty Step
Christian Horner 1, Kevin Magnussen 1

Media Watch
Three Times Le Mans Winner Allan McNish, as technical expert Gary Anderson's replacement on the BBC, had to explain the technology of fuel flow sensors in Sepang. It was a bit like listening to Cheryl Cole explaining nuclear fission. All the right words were coming out, but you weren't convinced he knew what he was talking about. Allan will be a good DC replacement one day, he's articulate and engaging, but the Three Times Le Mans Winner comes at it from exactly the same angle as his fellow Scot. While Martin Brundle isn't afraid to be contentious and James Allen has a serious weight of F1 knowledge at his disposal, Allan and David are the Chuckle Brothers - to you David, to you Three Times Le Mans Winner.

David Coulthard: Talking about the kind of gear everyone should be wearing in the rain-sodden paddock - "You're more likely to see me in my speedos in the paddock. How about that a bit scary?

David Coulthard: "Ron Dennis once said it's better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you're stupid, than to open it and confirm you are."

David Coulthard: "There's no space for headless chickens in an F1 garage."

Suzi Perry: Speaking directly to the viewers at home. "You're part of us."

Jan Magnussen: "I'm just his dad, he doesn't have to do what I tell him...he's very good at that."

Andrew Davies

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