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Ten lessons from the Malaysian GP

  1. Lewis took the chequered flag, Nico’s leading the championship, the Mercs look unbeatable. But we discovered much more from the second race of F1’s 2014 season than the terrifying pace of the Silver Arrows.

    Between Christian Horner’s new fling, Red Bull’s drinking problem and Mark Webber’s excellent Nigel Mansell impersonation, here are the ten big stories from Malaysia…

  2. 1. Lewis Hamilton never claimed he ‘blew Nico Rosberg away'

    Malaysia’s winner took to Twitter this morning to explain he’d actually said he was “pulling away”. Aha.

    Well, never mind what Hamilton said and didn’t say; he blew Nico away. Hamilton reckons the W05 is the best car he’s ever had (take that Ron). He’s going to take a lot of beating this year, folks.

  3. 2. The W05 is not only fast, but appears to be pretty frugal too

    Bernie’s team had a new toy this weekend, which broadcast how much fuel (of the permitted 100kg) each car had used.

    Lewis’s Merc was usually in the top three for economy, meaning there was a lot left in the tank in every sense. This was the car that set a fastest lap close to 1.5secs quicker than the next fastest at the time. Gulp!

  4. 3. The Renault engine in the Red Bulls burns more gas while producing less power than the Merc

    This is Red Bull’s primary problem now, as the weekend tested the RB10’s previously marginal cooling pretty much to the limit.

    In the wet in qualifying, where grunt counts for less, the RB10 was just thousandths off the W05. In the dry there’s at least a second in it.

  5. 4. Operationally speaking, this was not Red Bull's weekend

    The team’s timing let Vettel down in qualifying and the pit-stop cock-up cost Ricciardo dear… and will continue to cost him next weekend in Bahrain where he’ll take a ten place grid penalty for the unsafe release.

    TG is quite sure Red Bull’s slip-ups have nothing to do with claims Christian Horner is now dating Ginger Spice.

  6. 5. Pits-to-car radio can be used not only to inform, but to motivate drivers

    It was a little short-sighted, then, to use exactly that same instruction Felipe Masssa heard back in July 2010 to allow Bottas past. Small wonder Massa just ignored it.

    Interestingly, Bottas never looked like going past once the command had been issued, suggesting what Massa needed to hear were some motivating words. How long before the team gets Rob Smedley back on the air we wonder.

  7. 6. Nico Hulkenberg is still one of the very best on the grid

    We wonder how many races this year we’ll find ourselves bowled over by the man’s rapid, assertive and intelligent driving. He should be driving a McLaren, or a Ferrari.

    And maybe, just maybe he will. If Alonso moves to McLaren, then he could take the number 27 back where it belongs. Then again, if Alonso doesn’t, maybe McLaren will want to have ‘a little chat’ with Jenson…

  8. 7. Button was a very unhappy man despite finishing sixth

    At least he’ll be relieved to have finished ahead of teammate Kevin Magnussen, who is reportedly still cross with himself for running into Kimi Raikkonen on lap one.

    Ron Dennis said the MP4-29 would be half a second faster in Sepang over Melbourne. It wasn’t. Jenson has been here with McLaren before. If Ron Dennis wants to turn around that team, it’s going to need to rediscover the art of in-season development, something it’s not really had since it was stopped from throwing huge amounts of money at in-season testing.

  9. 8. It's pronounced a bit like ‘Fiat' with a very silent ‘K'

    You better practice with Daniil Kyvat’s name because the Russian Toro Rosso driver - aged just 19, as Jenson Button was in his first season - has clearly got the right stuff.

    Another points finish yesterday means a two out of two, which is quite extraordinary considering just how few races the GP3-graduate has enjoyed in any formula. What with Ricciardo’s performances in the A-team, Red Bull’s Driver Academy is proving to be a good thing.

  10. 9. Seb's in trouble with the teachers

    Champ Vettel, we hear, is in hot water with the FIA, not for slagging off the sound of the cars, but for using the decidedly Class C expletive ‘s**t’.

    Really? Does this sound like ‘bringing the sport into disrepute’? Frankly we were more shocked at the way he talks to his team on the radio: “Speak up when you talk to me”? La-di-dah!

  11. 10. Aussie Grit is still a legend

    Hands up who saw former Red Bull driver Mark Webber’s pieces on driver well-being on the BBC on Saturday?

    Those with an arm in the air will have seen Mark parody Nigel Mansell’s celebrated post-race interview technique. It was the best thing on TV all weekend. Webber seems to be relishing his new-found freedom with Porsche. So much for Red Bull being the home of free spirits in F1…

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