Vettel wins Malaysian Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel dominated an eventful Malaysia Grand Prix to wion ahead of Jenson Button and Nick Heidfeld.
The expected rain didn't materialise at Sepang but that didn't detract from the excitement even though Vettel controlled the race and was only ever really under threat at a pit stop.
After his second stop, the Red Bull driver emerged behind Felipe Massa and had to quickly overtake him in order to put a cushion between himself and the fast-approaching McLarens. He succeeded, and despite not being able to deploy his KERS system, the danger was over.
As for second and third places, the picture wasn't as clear-cut. After a brilliant start, which saw him shoot up into P2, Nick Heidfeld looked like being a firm candidate for a podium finish but after a poor first pit stop, he was once more briefly out of contention.
That then left Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso in the fight for a podium place while Mark Webber was on the sidelines because of a malfunctioning KERS system at the start of the race that pushed him down to ninth position.
It was Button who claimed second place which he achieved through clever driving, including taking his team-mate Hamilton after his final pit stop.
At one point, third place was a battle royal between Hamilton and Alonso, who was unable to deploy his moveable rear wing. Alonso tried his luck on different parts of the circuit, but on lap 46 he lost half of his front wing when he drove into Hamilton. He had to pit as a result and his hopes of a podium finish were over.
That was also a big help to Heidfeld, as after that, Hamilton's lap times began to collapse, and suddenly Heidfeld was duelling for a top three spot. With four laps to go, Heidfeld had Hamilton in his sights, and using his moveable wing he attacked on the start/finish straight.
This attack was a success as they approached turn one and the German driver's hopes of a podium finish were rekindled until Webber, who was on fresh tyres and consequently much quicker, came hurtling up from behind. Heidfeld shut the door firmly and held the Australian at bay for the final few kilometres to take the final podium spot. Webber remained fourth.
The drama wasn't over for Hamilton after Heidfeld's manoeuvre; his tyres had finally given up the ghost and he had to pit once more. Thanks to fresh tyres and the moveable wing, Hamilton proved a thorn Vitaly Petrov's side, but the Russian driver went wide of the track before Hamilton could mount a proper attack.
Running onto the grass, he hit a bump, took off into the air, snapping his steering column in the process. Up until then, he had been going well, even though he hadn't always had a clear run. Massa and Alonso also finished before Hamilton.