MALAYSIA GP 2015 – WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Malaysian Grand Prix - Practice Day - Sepang, Malaysia

Hey guys. It’s been a while since I made a post on my blog. Family life is the main culprit. But naturally, seeing Kimi in 2014 in a car more fit for a donkey didn’t help either. I was actually going to write a post for Australia. Kimi didn’t finish but it was obvious how monumentally better the Ferrari is this year. Kimis pace until the DNF downunder proved that – and even more so, Vettels podium. But I fell ill and had to tend to my ailing body rather than write a review.

Enough with the excuses though. We had a cracking race in Malaysia. I was tempted to turn off the TV at first. But I am glad I didn’t.

QUALIFYING

There is no getting around the frustration of what could have been. The Ferrari was more than quick enough for a second row start. And a first row with some luck. Alas – such luck was not at Kimis disposal. One could blame the powers that be for the poorly timed rainfall. But I would much rather blame the true culprit: Bernie Ecclestone. Malaysia was fine a few years ago. Until he got the idea of moving the race and qualifying forward in time. When everyone knows that it almost inevitably always rains in the afternoon during the rainy season in Malaysia. However, I suspect it is done with serious intent. To hopefully give some shakeup and create some excitement in the beginning of the season. I firmly believe that is the main motivation. Not to appease European viewers by letting them sleep an extra hour or two.

But I digress. Here is what happened. Kimi got out of the garage a tad too late and was stuck behind Ericsson. He tried to pass but it cost him enough to miss Q2. P11 it is. Video: http://indavideo.hu/video/Kimi_beragadt

THE RACE

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Malaysian Grand Prix - Race Day - Sepang, Malaysia

Lights out and the second longest dash of the season down to turn 1 is on! Kimis start is poor. You see the car squirming due to an excess of wheelspin. He gets through the first few turns unscathed but is down to 14th until he makes a stunning pass on the outside
of turn 4. He picks off 2 drivers in one sitting with that move. Unfortunately, one of those drivers is the rookie Felipe Nasr. Another hothead Brazillian just like his namebrother.

We get to “enjoy” the consequences of that when he outbrakes himself in an idiotic attempt to fight Kimi. The result is that Nasr clips Kimis rear wheel, giving him an immediate puncture just as he had passed the pit entrance. Now he has to make the very long way around the Sepang track, with the wheel disintegrating and damaging his floor in his progress. Making the car lose downforce.

29761.3

It is like a total infathomable repeat of history from last year! Kimi does fantastic in the practice sessions. Enter the rain in qualifying and the car was not as good anymore. But even with the dog of 2014 he managed to qualify 6th. Then in the race, another Scandinavian clips Kimis rear tire. Giving him a puncture that damages his floor. Deja vu. Now where is that fucking remote so I can turn off this miserable shit??

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Malaysian Grand Prix - Race Day - Sepang, MalaysiaBut what is this? Karma hits the mongrel Ericsson as he copies his Sauber teammate and outbrakes himself in turn 1. He proceeds to clumsily get stuck in the gravel. Cue Nelsons laugh. Safety Car is brought out, which does Kimi a huge favor. It would have been an even bigger favor if the idiot rookie Nasr had known how to behave behind a Safety Car. But no. He wants to fuck with Kimi some more and for some reason just stays way behind instead of catching up to the rest of the field. What an utter moron. At least Kimi is not a lap down. But he is 17th.

VETTEL IS DEALT HIS FAVORITE HAND

Up ahead, Vettel has decided to stay out on his mediums whereas both Mercedes cars opted to pit for new hards. It would turn out to be the decisive strategic move of the race. As the Mercs make their way through traffic, Vettel is undisturbed in front. And he can turn out some quick laps on the softer rubber. Giving him the gap and buffer he would need for the rest of the race. Very reminiscent of his Red Bull days. This is what he does best. And Mercedes giving him that opportunity was a huge mistake for them. But undoubtedly good suspense- and entertainmentwise.

KIMIS MONSTRUOUS FIGHTBACK

Back in the field, Kimi is hardly getting any screen time at all. But since I have the timing app where I can follow each cars position on the track in real time, I know exactly when and where Kimi is passing people. And he sure isn’t wasting any time. In just a few laps he has made it past 5 cars including 2 McLarens and his old teammate and finds himself in 12th position.

The next obstacle a few seconds ahead of Kimi is a 9-car Hulkenberg DRS train. Great, now we are going to see Kimi catch up to that, not being able to pass. And Ferrari calling him in way too late and losing 2 or 3 positions in the progress. That was the general state of business last year. But lo and behold! Ferrari actually makes a great strategy call for Kimi and calls him in before catching up and losing any time. Bolts on a new set of mediums and only has a couple of cars to battle instead of a huge train. Now I have seen everything. I guess when you remove the Spanish flu from a team, the entire organization will quickly heal and improve.

Not only that, the stop is fast and flawless. He emerges in 17th. But only has Sainz and Maldonado to deal with. And once he had made minced meat of them, the DRS-train had dissolved due to people stopping for new tires. It has been a long while since I have seen such a good strategy call from the Ferrari pitwall on Kimis behalf.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Malaysian Grand Prix - Race Day - Sepang, Malaysia

After passing Felipe Nasr for the 3rd time in under 20 laps, Kimi has edged his way into the top 10. In fact, he overtook Nasr AND Button in one swoop. Next up is another pass of Alonso in his McLaren. He claims he didn’t think it was 1995 after he crashed (which I
don’t believe for one second) but he might think it is 2001 and racing for Minardi. Because the track position is eerily similar. The Spaniard had to retire his car just a few laps later. And Alonso went to his hotel room to practice his samurai mantra of how the Mercedes performance proves he made the right choice in going to McLaren. Good luck with that. As long as the car is not red, eh?

RELAX LITTLE BIRDIES

Meanwhile, Kimi has climbed up to 6th place. After grabbing my rifle and randomly shooting and shouting at birds in my garden after qualifying, I am now certain that they can rest easy on their branches today. It’s not optimal, but giving the horrible hand he was dealt, it’s pretty damn good.

Next up is the two Williams. Kimi is catching Bottas with 2-3 seconds per lap. As the white cars both pit, Kimi finds himself 13 places up and in 4th. That was one heckuva recovery from the Finn. Damage control, yes. But great to see Kimi in a car that suits him infinitely better than 2014.

The other Ferrari of Vettel is also making a lot of progress. He is catching Hamilton after a stop. Just as he makes the pass, Hamilton dives into the pits. Ferrari clearly having the advantage over Mercedes on tire wear in Malaysia.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Malaysian Grand Prix - Race Day - Sepang, Malaysia

The race is only halfway done. And there is a lot of great fights all through the field. Contact and spins. Lots of action – which was great. When it comes to the top 4, the excitement was mostly if Vettel could really hold off the chasing Mercs. Kimi having spent a lot of tires getting to where he is, has to nurse the tires until the point where he can make the final stop for hards and drive them to the chequered flag. There was a glimmer of hope that Rosberg might go to the end on the set of tires that he retook 3rd position from Kimi with. But like I said, the recovery drive had spent Kimis mediums and Rosberg could build a gap big enough for another stop.

FINAL WORDS

As the laps ticked on down the Mercedes boys, especially Hamilton, were getting more and more frustrated as the possibility of catching Vettel was slipping away. Some heated team radio messages only added to the enjoyment. And sure enough, Vettel takes the chequered flag and the win in his second race for Ferrari. As much as I would like to have seen Kimi in the mix, I know that will come. It was a well deserved win for the German and congratulations and praise is in order. Given Rosbergs snarky comments and attitude in Australia towards Vettel, the satisfaction is only that much sweeter.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Malaysian Grand Prix - Race Day - Sepang, Malaysia

The drives of the day belong to the Ferrari boys. Splitting it 50/50 between the two. Vettel did exactly what he had to do. Kimi got a shitty deal but kept his head down and drove a fantastic race in a stricken car. He was naturally disappointed with the result as he knew he had a real shot at victory. But that opportunity was already lost on Saturday. He knows and Ferrari knows that qualifying is paramount. A second row starting position has to be the minimum to expect from both Ferraris in a non-dramatic Saturday. That is what the car seems to be capable of, judging from the two races. A hot temperature also seem to help the red cars. We will see how much once we move to Europe.

So I choose to focus on the positives here instead of lamenting over what could have been. The season is long. And we have a good car. Kimi will have his days in the sun as well. Until China, stay safe, stay frosty. And keep passing the open windows.

Love,
Soren

Take it away, Freddie.

Vettel: "And then Alonso was like: "The car is shit. I'm gonna bang it into this wall and take a break. Kimi: "But then he was all like: "Duuuhh.. I drive go-karts."

Vettel: “You know, Kimi. Sometimes I like to sing while I swerve to warm the tires.”
Kimi: “Yea, I don’t do that.”

Images © Price, Charniaux, Batchelor / XPB Images
Do not hesitate to contact me if you need any of these photos taken down for any reason.

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20 Responses to MALAYSIA GP 2015 – WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES

  1. Israel says:

    As long as the car is not red, I wish you the best….

  2. Sameet Khan says:

    What people are actually forgetting is that the Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T, is made with engineers and Kimi. They had started the development during last season to try some things not looking the positions in races.
    Alonso had made the car impossible to drive to anybody else other than him and then eventually in 5 years time ruined the car even for himself.
    Kimi came with Allen from Lotus and turned it into a good competetive car again. The car which is easy and exact to drive and also is gentle to the tyres. Not perfect, but very good in races.
    Seb came to well served table, but taking nothing away from him, he drove very well, indeed.

    • Soren says:

      I can only agree with that. The honeymoon of Alonso and Ferrari only went downward after the fateful strategy call in Abu Dhabi 2010.
      I would take Kimis feedback any day over Alonsos. And so it seems would Ferrari. Money and Santander deals can only buy you so much.

      • Richard says:

        Hmmm. so Ferrari developed their 2015 car following Kimi’s input? I thought (as has been mentioned to death on this site included) that it was Alonso’s team? That everything was done to suit Alonso? And suddenly it turns out it’s all to do with Kimi? The 2015 car was done and dusted well before Alonso left the team, To say it was all done following Kimi’s preferences is ludicrous. Any driver would benefit from the new car. Engineers design cars, not drivers.

      • Soren says:

        Please. The 2014 car has a lot of Alonsos input all over it. As for the 2015 car, that was a big part Allison that came into play. As for the drivers, Alonso had far less input into the 15 car as he was half-way out the door already in mid-season. Kimi on the other hand has worked with Allison before in Lotus and they get along very well. And according to Allison, Kimis input in invaluable and incredibly precise. Proof of this is how well adjusted Kimi seems in this years car. Thanks to his input.

      • Richard says:

        Reply to Soren, as I can’t do it directly to his post…

        You, amongst many other Kimi fans, blamed most of Kimi’s lack of performance to the pull–rod suspension, which you said was done to SUIT Alonso (lie. Alonso has no preference and his WDC titles were achieved in a push-rod car). It was all done to favour Alonso over his team-mate, and of course the pull-rod was lousy for Kimi. Guess what? The 2015 still uses Pull-Rod (Allison himself has said it was far less important than other areas of the car). Most of Ferrari’s boost in performance comes directly from the engine (just look at Sauber for confirmation). I don’t know what Alonso, Kimi, or any driver for that matter has to do with developing an engine. As I said, drivers do not design cars. The fundamentals of this year’s car were well laid down before Alonso was ‘half-way out’. If you run an F1 blog we will assume you know something about times in F1. It seems to me you like to twist the scenarios to suit your agenda, but that’s understandable and, with the name you give your site, at least it makes sense, so at least we should thank you for openly declaring your lack of objectivity.

      • Soren says:

        I agree that more than half of the performance boost comes from the effects of higher engine output. But Allison has also said that they have done work in the area of the pull-rod suspension. And that could not have been done without the invaluable feedback from Kimi. And Kimi alone. Before Vettel was there.
        And twisting scenarios to fit your scenario is something everyone does. Including you.

  3. Welcome back man… miss your review… Yes Bernie is just damn evil… he just want to make the race a bit more drama… I remember 2009… I just piss of that the race only last half way thru… But on the good not Kimi is back… this year going to be a 4 way battle royal for the championship…

    • Soren says:

      Thank man. Appreciate it.
      2009 is a brilliant example. I think that was the first year the time schedule was changed. That should have been proof enough that it was a bad idea.
      Battle Royale. Haha. I like it.

  4. kimifan100 says:

    Hi. Soren – it is exactly the stuff I wanted to read on Kimi’s great run!!! Thank you… Go, Kimi, go 🙂

  5. donaldof1 says:

    Great review as always! Welcome back!

  6. Vonnie says:

    I haven’t stopped grinning from your first word to Freddy’s voice! You keep well so we can have more reviews like this, ya hear! Awesome drive by our Kimi…awesome review by our Soren!

    • Soren says:

      Nice to see you in the comments section, Yvonne 🙂 Thank you my friend. Kimi will shut last years critics with his performances this year.

  7. Victor says:

    1/ We can blame the midget BE, and I can agree, he is old, senile and megalomaniac. But the conditions (rain) are the same for everyone. I love Kimi, but he has to up he’s game, push to have very good engenieers on his side, it is a team sport, if he wants to continue and fight for victories and championship.
    2/ If him and he’s team of engineers are not concentrating enough during qualy he will always end up in the middle of the pack with inexperienced pay drivers and high chances of collusions..
    He will end up as a second driver or not extending he’s contract. It will be a shame to waste the hard work done last year.

    • frank says:

      No, Kimi will not turn into a number 2 driver. Arrivabene is a honest guy and he has said it’s not the way this team will operate. He will support both drivers equally.

  8. Philippe says:

    Hey Soren, Its always good to read whats on your mind.
    I just hope that our man has some luck for a change. I’am also curious if they will be able to close the gap completely with the Merc guys.

    • Soren says:

      Thank you, Philippe. I’m not worried. Kimi has put in two blistering impressive performances already. And he will keep doing it. And when he does the same from a front or second row start, then sparks will fly.
      I think Mercedes are still a little out of reach under normal circumstances at the moment. I hope Ferrari will catch up, but I can only guess at this point.

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