Rosberg completes a Mercedes one-two; Vettel finishes third
Lewis Hamilton led from pole position to win the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday ahead of Nico Rosberg in a Mercedes show of strength.
Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel was third ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
It was a demonstration by Mercedes who have now won the season’s two opening Formula One races and secured a first one-two since the 1955 Italian Grand Prix.
Hamilton cruised to his 23rd grand prix victory while Rosberg enjoyed another podium place after winning the season opener in Australia two weeks ago.
Red Bull were boosted by Vettel’s podium finish but team-mate Daniel Ricciardo’s race was ruined by a late tyre change blunder.
Hamilton took the chequered flag 17.133 seconds ahead of his team-mate, with Vettel 24.334 seconds back. It was the Briton’s first win since Hungarian GP in July and his first in Malaysia.
The remaining places in the top 10 were taken by Nico Huelkenberg (Force India), Jenson Button (McLaren), Felipe Massa (Williams), Valtteri Bottas (Williams), Kevin Magnusson (McLaren) and Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso).
Heavy rain forecast for the start of the race at the Sepang International Circuit held off and Hamilton was able to get away cleanly from Rosberg, who moved past Vettel at the start.
Ricciardo also began well, overtaking Alonso and Vettel, before slipping back behind the German on lap four.
McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen was handed a five-second stop-go penalty for hitting Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari, causing a puncture, while Force India’s Sergio Perez failed to start due to a software problem.
Engine reliability proved a problem for Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado, who was forced to retire, while Toro Ross’s Jean-Eric Vergne retired reporting a lack of power, and both Saubers of Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez also pulled out in quick succession.
Hamilton was untroubled at the front, building up a lead of around 10 seconds by the half-way mark, with only the threat of rain a possible concern for the 2008 world champion.
Ricciardo was lying fourth when he pitted with 15 laps to go, but mechanics failed to secure his left front tyre properly and the Australian had to stop in the pit lane and be pushed back for the tyre to be fixed.
He then almost immediately had to return to the pits with a broken front wing and was then punished with a 10-second stop-go penalty for an unsafe release in the first pit stop before he finally retired with four laps remaining.
As skies darkened, drivers reported drops of rain with some 20 laps of the 56 laps to go, but the feared downpour failed to materialise and any potential late drama was avoided.