In a Veil of Red

30 Mar

You know what’s the best part of doing these articles? The title. The title is the centrepiece, the thing that everybody sees first and the thing that gives a (not so) subtle hint as to what the article is about. And you can choose any title you want. Anything.

Right, so now i’ve stopped fantasizing over my title (Which sounds like its come from a bad crime novel), we can get on with the main event- Malaysian GP ratings! And, unlike Melbourne, what a race we had this time around. From the shock of seeing Mercedes knocked from their perch, to having Manor run and seeing an impossible number of midfield battles, this race was really something else. Although, both McLarens did retire- that was as predictable as the lightning storm during qualifying….

Ferrari: 10/10 +1 Bonus Point

Awarded the bonus point for winning and not being Mercedes, it was a flawless race from an incredibly resurgent Ferrari- everything they did went to plan, even when the elements and Felipe Nasr’s front wing tried to make sure it didn’t. Props to them for bringing Kimi home in 2nd despite the fact he spent an entire lap with 3 wheels.

Sebastian Vettel: Finishing Position: 1st
Rating: 10/10 +2 Bonus Points

I’m not really keeping score yet, but Vettel now has 3 bonus points from 2 races. This weekend, he scored the first for being insanely quick and pulling moves on both Mercedes’, and the 2nd for his rather hilarious ‘blue flag’ song down the radio. But, all in all, it was a stunning performance- Seb is back, and better than before.

Kimi Räikkönen: Finishing Position: 4th
Rating: 10/10

The Iceman strikes again- if Melbourne didn’t show that he was getting back to his best (Albeit without any points), then Malaysia well and truly proved it. Starting 11th due to the rain, he spent an entire lap with just 3 working wheels after Felipe Nasr broke off his wing in Kimi’s tyre, and he still managed to finish 4th! Imagine what he could do if he had luck.

Mercedes: 6/10

Possibly a weekend Mercedes would want to forget, making strategy errors left right and centre that cost the team any chance of beating Ferrari to victory. Then again, even if they had done it right, they still might not have won.

Lewis Hamilton: Finishing Position: 2nd
Rating: 8/10

It was hardly a bad drive from Lewis, but certainly not one of his best. Also, the race really could have done without him having a meltdown over the radio for being talked to through corners, and maybe just less of him complaining altogether. Still, he leads the championship…..

Nico Rosberg: Finishing Position: 3rd
Rating: 7.5/10

Again, not Nico’s greatest race, and he needs to pull himself together if he wants to look like a challenger, having been lost in Hamilton’s shadow for the first couple of races. This time he could only manage 3rd, but in fairness it hadn’t looked like his weekend after he could only put it 3rd on the grid in qualifying anyway.

Williams: 8/10

Williams have always struggled in the rain, and it looked like it could disadvantage them once again after the Saturday downpour left them only locking out the 4th row of the grid. However, on race day the team put in a good performance to see them take some impressive points, but there’s still room to improve.

Valtteri Bottas: Finishing Position: 5th
Rating: 8.5/10

It was good to see Valtteri back in the car after having to miss out in Australia, and despite having a sketchy start to the race he managed to fight his way back to an impressive 5th place, ahead of his teammate and scoring his first points of the season.

Felipe Massa: Finishing Position: 6th
Rating: 8/10

Another Solid race for Felipe, who’s really showing what he’s capable of doing, despite not having the greatest car n the grid. Now that he seems to be having more luck than last season, he’s racking up points, but he would probably have like to have beaten his teammate…

Toro Rosso: 9/10

It would seem Toro Rosso are benefiting from Red Bull’s fallout with Renault, as they’ve managed to leapfrog them in terms of on track performance, in Malaysia at least anyway, and in a sense they’ve now become a showcase for two of the most talented young drivers on the grid.

Max Verstappen: Finishing Position: 7th
Rating: 9/10 +1 Bonus Point

Awarded a bonus point for being 17 and ridiculously quick, Max drove a storming race to not just beat both Red Bulls, but also his teammate. From qualifying to the race he hardly put a foot wrong, and this time he had rewards to show for his efforts, and in turn became the youngest driver ever to score points.

Carlos Sainz Jr: Finishing Position: 8th
Rating: 7.5/10

It was a solid if unspectacular drive from CSJ, making up for his less than fantastic grid position of 15th and scoring points for the 2nd race in a row. He was, however, eclipsed by his record breaking teammate, and now the inter-team fight is really going to heat up as CSJ tries to stamp his authority on his drive.

Red Bull: 5/10

It’s a weekend to forget for Red Bull, who, after their very public wrestling match with engine supplier Renault, somehow managed to perform worse than their junior team Toro Rosso, which I haven’t seen since Honda managed to do the impossible and finish behind Super Aguri, and never looked like challenging. At least Dani Kvyat managed to entertain people by being punted into a spin.

Daniil Kvyat: Finishing Position: 9th
Rating: 6/10

Average. I think that’s best word to use here. Average.

In fairness, it isn’t all Dani’s fault, considering the Red Bull is pretty dreadful, but he still had a race he’ll probably not remember as one of his best, probably best summed up when he got catapulted into the air by Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India.

Daniel Ricciardo: Finishing Position: 10th
Rating: 5/10

If Dani Kvyat was average, then Daniel Riccardo was somewhere below that threshold. Despite starting 4th and ahead of his teammate, he drove an uninspired race in an uninspiring car and still managed to finish behind his teammate despite having 100% less accidents.

Next time Dan, next time.

Lotus: 6/10

Lotus promised so much, but unfortunately didn’t quite deliver. There car certainly looks a lot better than last season, but the end product just isn’t quite there, even if it wasn’t entirely their fault they didn’t score points. Maybe a little luck and some more speed, and they’ll be there in China.

Romain Grosjean: Finishing Position: 11th
Rating: 7/10 +1 Bonus Point

Ah Romain, so close and yet so far. Despite managing to qualify 8th he got demoted to 10th and the ball starting rolling in the wrong direction from that point onwards. Despite trying everything to get in and around the points, his race was over when Sergio Perez spun him half way across Malaysia, ending in Romain executing the save of the season worthy of the 4th bonus point.

Pastor ‘8 Points on my License’ Maldonado: Finishing Position: DNF
Rating: 6.5/10

Wouldn’t really be Pastor if he didn’t manage to do something wrong. This week’s edition saw him exceed the speed limit under the safety car and earn himself a 10-second stop-go penalty and 3 points on his license, meaning he now has a grand total of 8.

Not that it really matters, he retired anyway.

Force India: 4/10 +1 Bonus Point

Somehow managing to have both drivers gain penalties during the race, a novel feat that earns them the 2nd constructor bonus point, Force India were pretty shocking at the Malaysian GP, even worse then Red Bull. It says a lot when even McLaren can drive as fast as you can for half the race.

Sergio Perez: Finishing Position: 13th
Rating: 5/10

A mixed race for Checo, who managed to go slow enough to resume his never ending battle with Jenson Button, but fast enough that he managed to finish in a higher position than his teammate, and he still had time to punt Romain Grosjean into Singapore.

Nico Hülkenberg: Finishing Position: 14th
Rating: 4/10

Despite spending a lot of time fighting cars such as Red Bulls and Toro Rossos, Nico didn’t really inspire any great confidence in the lacklustre Force India. Even though the car isn’t great, you would still hope to have seen him pull it higher than 14th and try to kickstart their season.

Sauber: 6/10

Not the greatest race ever, with Felipe Nasr’s 16th place qualifying showing Australia may not have been truly indicative of their real pace. Indeed, they remained largely anonymous throughout the race, though having one driver ditch his car after 3 laps doesn’t help.

Felipe Nasr: Finishing Position: 12th
Rating: 6/10

Considering he started near the back of the field, 12th isn’t the worst finishing position for Felipe Nasr, but at the same time it’s hardly the greatest, especially given the expectation on him after finishing 5th on his debut. There are still plenty of races left though, there’s no need to panic just yet. (Well, maybe).

Marcus Ericsson, 2014 Edition: Finishing Position: DNF
Rating: 3/10

It all went so well for Marcus in Australia, scoring his first points, and it looked like it could stay good in Malaysia, qualifying inside the top 10…

Ditching it in the gravel after 3 laps though really didn’t help. *Slow Clap*

McHonda: 6/10

It was an improvement from McLaren certainly, considering how off the pace they were in Aus they put in a much better performance in Malaysia, spending the majority of their race battling with the midfield- at points, they were faster than Force India, and as fast as Sauber, Lotus and even Red Bull.

But then both cars packed up. Oh well.

Fernando Alonso: Finishing Position: DNF
Rating: 8/10

Back from the 1990’s, Nando put as much as possible into the McHonda, but a mistake on his fast lap meant he qualified behind Jenson, Despite this setback, he ploughed through the field, taking advantage of the safety car to get all the way into 8th place, and even manage to hold off the cars behind him. Unfortunately his ERS then decided it wanted a holiday, but the talent is certainly still there.

Jenson Button: Finishing Position: DNF
Rating: 7/10

It was much the same for Jenson, battling through the midfield after a disappointing qualifying. There’s no doubt the car is improving, and he managed to make it up into the points for a good few laps, even declaring his delight over the radio that they were able to race people. At the end of the day though, his Turbo still packed up and he finished with nothing. Again.

Manor-Marussia: 7/10

They’re up and running! Finally the cars have been delivered with working data packs, and we got to see them in all sessions over the weekend. Mind you though, it was only really one of them in each session most of the time….

Roberto Merhi: Finishing Position: 15th
Rating: 7/10 +1 Bonus Point

Awarded the final bonus point for doing something McLaren couldn’t- finish the race- it was a solid debut from Roberto Merhi. Despite the fact he didn’t quite make 107%, he was still allowed to race, and didn’t make many mistakes along the way (In the race at least, not so much practice where he decided to practice 180 spins).

He did finish 3 laps down, but details.

Will Stevens, The Most Unfortunate Man in Formula 1: Finishing Position: DNQ
Rating: 6/10

Oh Will, it was all looking so good. The cars were up and running, practice had gone so well and he’d even managed to break into the 107% barrier (105.5%ish i think it was int he end). I’m under no doubt that he could have given Roberto one hell of a race had he been able to. In the end, he didn’t even get the opportunity to qualify.

Well, that is that then for this week. It’s nice to see my demands from the end of my Aus GP ratings were answered, and here’s to hoping that the same can continue in the Chinese Grand Prix.

To the future.

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