Sebastian Vettel led Mark Webber in a 1-2 finish for Red Bull at the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday, claiming an overdue victory after mechanical failures had cost him wins in the opening two Formula One races.

Vettel passed pole-sitter Webber in the run to the first corner and held that lead throughout, with Nico Rosberg finishing third for Mercedes as forecast rain stayed away from the Sepang circuit.

Renault's Robert Kubica was fourth and Force India's Adrian Sutil took fifth.

“A very good result for us, especially for me, after two races where we didn't finish where we wanted to be,” Vettel said.

Webber said he had a little wheel spin trying to get off the line, ceding the lead to his teammate, and was forced to settle for second after a close fight through to corner four on lap one.

“A 1-2 finish for us was sensational,” Webber said. “It was a nice comeback by us after some tough races. We blew everyone away, which is great.”

McLaren pair Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button fought their way through the field from rear grid positions to finish sixth and eighth respectively, either side of Ferrari's Felipe Massa.

Hamilton had stormed up from 20th on the grid to third before he pitted.

He then couldn't get past Sutil, who was too fast on the straight sections.

Massa leads the championship by two points from Vettel and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who would have topped the standings but for an engine failure on the penultimate lap as he attempted an ambitious passing move on Button.

Red Bull's victory on Sunday meant it was the first time in 20 years that three different teams had won the opening three races of a championship.

The closeness of the competition was reflected in the standings, with the top seven drivers separated by only nine points. Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari and Williams' Nico Hulkenberg were ninth and 10th respectively, with both earning their first F1 points.

Schumacher retires

Mercedes' Michael Schumacher retired on the 10th lap with a wheel nut failure, extending his unhappy start to his comeback season compared to his teammate. He has nine points from three races. Rosberg has 35.

“It's a shame,” Schumacher said. “We were in a good position ... I believe we could have had two cars in very good points.

“To be honest, I'm right on schedule, in my opinion. The car is not quite on schedule.”

Williams' Rubens Barrichello was slow off the start line and never in contention for the points, and Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa was affected by an engine failure on the installation lap.

Ferrari leads the constructors' championship with 76 points, ahead of McLaren on 66, with Red Bull surging up to 61.

The results: 1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1 hr 33 mins 48.412, 2. Mark Webber (Red Bull) +4.849 s, 3. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes GP) 13.504, 4. Robert Kubica (Renault) 18.589, 5. Adrian Sutil (Force India) 21.059, 6. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren 23.471) 7. Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 27.068, 8. Jenson Button (McLaren) 37.918.

9. Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso) 01:10.602, 10. Nico Huelkenberg (Williams) 01:13.399,

11. Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso) 01:18.938, 12. Rubens Barrichello (Williams) 1 lap, 13. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 2 laps, 14. Lucas Di Grassi (Virgin) 3 laps, 15. Karun Chandhok (HRT) 3 laps, 16. Bruno Senna (HRT) 4 laps, 17. Jarno Trulli (Lotus) 5 laps r.

Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus) 10 laps r., Vitaly Petrov (Renault) 24 laps r., Vitantonio Liuzzi (Force India) 44 laps r,

Michael Schumacher (Mercedes GP) 47 laps r, Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber) 48 laps r.

Timo Glock (Virgin) 54 laps dns, Pedro de la Rosa (Sauber) 56 laps.

(r-retired, nc-not classified, dns-did not start).

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