Malaysian Grand Prix: Driver ratings

By on Monday, March 30, 2015

Sebastian Vettel ended his and Ferrari's victory drought at the Malaysian Grand Prix. gives a rundown of the runners and riders at a hot Sepang.

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

44 | Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes | G: 1st | R: 2nd | 8/10

Hamilton missed the opening session but didn’t let that bother him as he swept to pole position at Sepang for the second straight year. Mercedes was flummoxed by Ferrari in the race but Hamilton tried his utmost, passing rivals with aplomb, which ultimately enabled him to best Nico Rosberg.

6 | Nico Rosberg | Mercedes | G: 3rd | R: 3rd | 6/10

Rosberg wasn’t quite on form in qualifying but with the pace of the Mercedes a bad day still merited third position. In the race his first stop dropped him into traffic, but not negotiating it quickly enough ultimately cost him a chance at beating Hamilton to second.

3 | Daniel Ricciardo | Red Bull | G: 4th| R: 10th | 6/10

After such a tricky weekend in Australia, fourth on the grid was a welcome step forward in Malaysia. But that step forward was absent in the race as front wing contact was exacerbated by brake problems, which left him struggling with tyres.

26 | Daniil Kvyat | Red Bull | G: 5th| R: 9th | 6/10

Kvyat equalled his best qualifying performance with fifth position in the wet session. The race was a trying affair and contact with Nico Hülkenberg didn’t aid his cause, though he was able to salvage two points courtesy of ninth place.

19 | Felipe Massa | Williams | G: 7th | R: 6th | 7/10

Scuderia Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari

Williams didn’t have the pace in a wet Q3 session and pinned the deficit on inadequate tyre pressures. Matters were slightly rosier in the race but the squad was unable to get near the leading quartet, while Massa slipped behind Bottas late on.

77 | Valtteri Bottas | Williams | G: 8th| R: 5th | 8/10

After his back injury in Australia, Bottas put in a feisty performance with a couple of late moves. Having lost out early on he fought back, firstly passing the impressive Max Verstappen before prevailing against team-mate Massa.

5 | Sebastian Vettel | Ferrari | G: 2nd| R: 1st | 10/10

Once again Vettel was scintillating in a wet qualifying session as he came agonisingly close to claiming Ferrari’s first pole position since 2012. In the race, however, he was sublime as he nailed his strategy to claim a stunning victory, ending his and Ferrari’s barren run.

7 | Kimi Räikkönen | Ferrari | G: 11th| R: 4th | 8/10

Räikkönen was the quickest Ferrari for much of practice but was hindered by Marcus Ericsson in Q2 and missed the cut as the deluge began. He was clipped by Felipe Nasr and sustained a puncture so to recover to fourth – having not been at the back of the pack at the restart – was a fine effort.

14 | Fernando Alonso | McLaren | G: 18th| R: Ret | 7/10

McLaren Honda

McLaren Honda

Alonso returned to action and declared himself happy with McLaren’s progress, even if he was confined to the ignominy of a Q1 exit. He put up a valiant fight in the race but had to retire, no doubt he wouldn’t have been too enthusiastic over the ultimate race result.

22 | Jenson Button | McLaren | G: 17th| R: Ret | 7/10

Button didn’t quite make it through to Q2 but there was slight progress compared to Australia. Like two weeks’ ago he put up a fight against faster cars but a turbo problem scuppered his prospects towards the end of the race – McLaren’s first double retirement since 2006.

27 | Nico Hülkenberg | Force India | G: 13th| R: 14th | 8/10

Force India is marooned in no man’s land but his start and defence of a top position after the first round of stops was nothing short of exceptional. He slipped back through the field but his result was not representative of his efforts. Penalty for Kvyat contact was over the top from the stewards.

11 | Sergio Pérez | Force India | G: 14th| R: 13th | 6/10

As in Australia Pérez had a sub-par race, though part of that was down to the current inadequacies of the VJM08. He tumbled down the order after the Safety Car period and only came to prominence when he collided with Grosjean, for which he was rather harshly penalised.

33 | Max Verstappen | Toro Rosso | G: 6th| R: 7th | 9/10

Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

Verstappen didn’t appear to have the legs of Sainz in practice but he thrived in qualifying and set a time rapid enough for sixth place – matching the best grid slot achieved by father Jos. He dropped back at the start with brake woes but once they cleared he was superb, passing Ricciardo in outstanding fashion.

55 | Carlos Sainz | Toro Rosso | G: 15th| R: 8th | 8/10

Sainz had shown encouraging pace across the three practice sessions but was caught out in the race and ended as the slowest runner in Q2. From his position on the grid he leapt up the pack as he executed a two stop strategy well, though had to cede time to Verstappen towards the end.

8 | Romain Grosjean | Lotus | G: 10th| R: 11th | 6/10

Grosjean made it through to Q3 but was docked two places when stewards deemed he cut the queue in the pit lane in Q2. He had some good battles but lost out when he clipped Sergio Pérez. He who dares, wins, but on this occasion he lost out.

13 | Pastor Maldonado | Lotus | G: 12th| R: Ret | 5/10

Maldonado was once again luckless on the opening lap as he picked up a puncture which left him at the back. His eagerness behind the safety car then resulted in a penalty, while brake issues ultimately compounded his woes.

28 | Will Stevens | Manor Marussia | G: 20th | R: DNS | N/A

Manor F1 Team

Manor F1 Team

Stevens got out on track on Friday but fuel system problem left him stranded in the garage during qualifying. Unfortunately for the Briton that problem was not fixed in time for the race and he was unable to take the start.

98 | Roberto Merhi | Manor Marussia | G: 19th | R: 15th | 6/10

Merhi spun in both second and third practice and while he could take part in qualifying, his lap was outside of the 107% mark, though stewards allowed him to race. He stayed out of the way in the race, didn’t make an error, and brought the car home.

9 | Marcus Ericsson | Sauber | G: 9th| R: Ret | 3/10

Ericsson made it through to Q2 for the first time in his career and then promptly went and progressed into the top 10 shootout. He was aggressive at the start in passing Verstappen but erred while attempting a move on Hülkenberg and spun into the gravel, ending his race.

12 | Felipe Nasr | Sauber | G: 16th | R: 12th | 5/10

Nasr sat out the first session in favour of Raffaele Marciello and didn’t appear comfortable throughout practice, eventually dropping out at the first hurdle in qualifying. He clipped Räikkönen early on and was compromised thereafter, but points never looked in the offing for the rookie.

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