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After China
Championship Standings:

Drivers' Standings
1 Sebastian Vettel 54
2 Lewis Hamilton 45
3 Valtteri Bottas 40
4 Daniel Ricciardo 37
5 Kimi Raikkonen 30
6 Fernando Alonso 22
7 Nico Hulkenberg 22
8 Max Verstappen 18
9 Pierre Gasly 12
10 Kevin Magnussen 11
11 Stoffel Vandoorne 6
12 Carlos Sainz 3
13 Marcus Ericsson 2
14 Esteban Ocon 1
15 Sergio Perez 0
16 Charles Leclerc 0
17 Brendon Hartley 0
18 Lance Stroll 0
19 Romain Grosjean 0
20 Sergey Sirotkin 0

Constructors' Standings
1 Mercedes 85
2 Ferrari 84
3 Red Bull Racing 55
4 Mclaren Renault 28
5 Renault 25
6 Toro Rosso Honda 12
7 Haas Ferrari 11
8 Sauber Ferrari 2
9 Force India Mercedes 1
10 Williams Mercedes 0

Vettel makes it four in a row with Sepang win

by Mark J. Cipolloni
Sunday, April 10, 2011


Vettel celebrates on the podium
Sebastian Vettel extended his championship lead on Sunday by winning the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.

"In the heat we stayed cool," said the reigning world champion and Red Bull driver, who is now 24 points ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button, who finished second on Sunday.

German Vettel's win was despite apparent reliability problems for the KERS system aboard both RB7 cars.

Lewis Hamilton faded in the last part of the race and was further slowed with a hit from behind by Fernando Alonso, but with Button within sight of the winner (although Vettel may have been cruising to save the car), McLaren is confident for the coming races.

Despite having to run most of the race without KERS on his Red Bull, the defending World Champion drove a perfect race from the start.  Most people in the paddock know Vettel is the best driver in F1 right now and he added to his status by making it four wins in a row - the first two races of the 2011 season, plus the final two races of the 2010 season. It is Vettel's 12th career F1 win in a short career span.

Mark Webber chased Nick Heidfeld hard in the final laps but couldn't get past, finishing in fourth place in the second Red Bull, followed by Felipe Massa in the Ferrari in fifth place

Fernando Alonso was right behind his teammate in sixth place, followed by Lewis Hamilton in the second McLaren in seventh place, Kamui Kobayashi in the Sauber-Ferrari in eighth place, Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes GP in ninth place, and Paul di Resta finishing with the final point in his Force India-Mercedes in tenth.

Vettel grabs the lead at the start
While Vettel had a clean start, it was a bit of chaos behind him and his teammate Mark Webber was the biggest loser with Heidfeld the big winner. Webber, who reported a KERS problem before the start of the race, could do nothing as cars passed him as if he was towing an anchor.

As a result Heidfeld emerged in 2nd place followed by the two McLarens, Vitaly Petrov and the two Ferraris. Webber found himself stuck behind Michael Schumacher who was in eighth.

With Vettel in control at the front, the battles between Hamilton, Button, Alonso, Webber and Heidfeld were exciting. As was expected with the new rules and tires, there were plenty of overtaking moves from just about everyone down the field.

Pit stops were again crucial role as most of the front-runners opted for three stops and the third-round of stops proved to be the important ones for McLaren as Button pipped his teammate to for 2nd place after Hamilton had problems with the front-left tire.

Lewis Hamilton
With Hamilton struggling, Alonso soon found himself right on the McLaren driver's tail. Hamilton though held his ground and forced a mistake from Alonso. Alonso became frustrated and drove into the back of Hamilton. Both drivers were forced to stop again and they both dropped to sixth and seventh. Both have been summoned by the race stewards.

Hamilton blamed a poor start for his difficult race and it all started when he lost out to Nick Heidfeld at the start after a strong start from the Renault driver. Despite making his way past the Heidfeld during the pit stops, Hamilton’s race took a turn for the worse after losing time with a wheel nut issue while making his last stop.

"This is racing I guess...", Hamilton told BBC Sport after the race. "Well I started second and did everything I could to keep up and I don't really have too much to say, really."

When asked if the race started to go downhill after contact with Alonso, the McLaren driver replied: " started from getting stuck behind Heidfeld (at the start), I had Jenson on the inside and Heidfeld on the outside so I was really squashed into Turn 1, that was an awful position to be in, but that's that way it goes sometimes."


1. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 56 0.000s
2. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 56 3.261
3. Nick Heidfeld Germany Renault 56 25.075
4. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 56 26.384
5. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari 56 36.958
6. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari 56 37.248
7. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 56 49.957
8. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari 56 1m06.439
9. Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes GP 56 1m24.896
10. Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes 56 1m31.563
11. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 56 1m41.379
12. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes GP 55 1 Lap
13. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 55 1 Lap
14. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari 55 1 Lap
15. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Lotus-Renault 55 1 Lap
16. Timo Glock Germany Virgin-Cosworth 54 2 Laps
17. Vitaly Petrov Russia Renault 52 DNF, Damage
18. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy HRT-Cosworth 46 DNF
19. Jerome d'Ambrosio Belgium Virgin-Cosworth 42 DNF
20. Jarno Trulli Italy Lotus-Renault 31 DNF
21. Sergio Perez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari 23 DNF
22. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Williams-Cosworth 22 DNF
23. Narain Karthikeyan India HRT-Cosworth 14 DNF
24. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Cosworth 8 DNF

FASTEST LAP: Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:40.571

"We will run a new floor in China on Friday," revealed team boss Martin Whitmarsh.

Said Button: "The step we've made from the last race to here is very impressive."

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