Sebastian Vettel’s comprehensive victory in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix to register his first race win of the Formula One season finally confirmed the belief of most commentators that Red Bull is the team to beat in 2010.
London’s Independent newspaper described how the 22-year-old German and teammate Mark Webber, who finished second, “simply ran away from the opposition, ensuring a crushing victory they desperately needed.”
The only reason Vettel had to wait until Malaysia for a race success is because he suffered misfortune in the opening two races when a spark plug problem and then a wheel issue saw him surrender pole in Bahrain and Australia.
This time, after an electric start that saw him pass Webber and Nico Rosberg in Turn One, Vettel eased to his sixth career win without incident.
“Vettel finds change of luck,” wrote The Independent.
While Vettel could reflect on a job well done by Red Bull, Lewis Hamilton was left cursing the poor decision-making of his McLaren team during a rain-drenched qualifying session on Saturday that meant the 25-year-old had to start from 20th on the grid.
Hamilton subsequently put in a sensational drive to finish in sixth position but the Briton made clear he needed to see a clear improvement from his team.
“We can’t afford to have races like that,” Hamilton said. “I don’t know how many more of those kinds of races I can do.
“It’s not easy at all. The weekend has shown we have the pace. I think if it had been dry in qualifying we could have made the first two rows.”
As well as celebrating Vettel’s win, Germany’s Bild daily said on its website that Rosberg is now the number one driver at Mercedes after outperforming seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher for the third race in succession.
Schumacher’s race ended after 11 laps while running in sixth place due to technical problems while Rosberg went on to secure Mercedes’ first podium placing of the season.
“Sebastian Vettel may be the winner of the Malaysian Grand Prix but there is another German who is feeling like a winner,” Bild wrote.
“Rosberg has been ahead of Schumi all season — in all three qualifying sessions, in all three races.” The 24-year-old may be ahead of his teammate but Rosberg showed he is under no illusions when it comes to the strength of Red Bull at the moment.
“I think we’ve started the season OK with two fifth places and now a third place. I think its a good start with some solid results and I’m happy with that and its very important now that we push on because we need to develop faster than the others, which is not going to be easy, but I’m confident that we can do the job and that’s going to be the most important thing, to really push on now,” said Rosberg.
“It didn’t seem to be such a huge gap to Red Bull at the beginning. I’m not sure, but anyway, its definitely some tenths that we need to catch up.”