SEPANG, MALAYSIA – The excitement was evident on the Ferrari radios following Sebastien Vettel’s win for Ferrari at the Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix. “Yes, yes, great drive”, shouted Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene, “… Numero Uno is back… Ferrari is back, Ferrari is back, fantastico, fantastico.” And the jubilant German responded with a “Woooooohoooooooooo… grazie, grazie!” It had been a long two years without a win for Ferrari. It had also been a long spell for Vettel, not having won a race since Brazil in 2013. It appears that Mercedes will have a formidable opponent in the new Ferrari with Vettel in the number one seat.
What is most surprising is that Vettel was the clear victor finishing over 8.5 sec ahead of the two fast running Silver Arrows of Hamilton and Rosberg. “We won the race fair and square” exclaimed Vettel while interviewed on the podium. Hamilton had led from the pole and looked to be very fast as expected. The critical call came early in the race when the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson spun on the fourth lap, bringing out a caution. The Mercedes drivers pitted to switch from the medium compound tires they started on for some hard rubber to go the distance. Ferrari kept Vettel out of the pits, betting on the fact the 2015 Ferrari was easier of tires and could finish with only two stops, against the Mercedes three. The bet paid off.
The second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen did not fair as well following a first lap tangle with Felipe Nasr shredding the rubber of the Maranello stead and forcing Kimi to 15th place. But the strength of the red cars was evident as he was able to recover with a fourth place win. Vettel’s former Red Bull team suffered a poor showing, being lapped by the first place Ferrari.
It was truly exciting to see the excitement on Vettel’s face. It is hard to imagine that a four-time champion would be so emotional, but I guess it would be hard for a four-time champion to hit a two year winless drought. I was also taken back by Vettel’s comments recollecting the day he came to Maranello as a child when his hero Michael Schumacher was winning races. If only Michael could have seen this win. #KeepFightingMichael