German Sebastian Vettel raced to victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix after overtaking teammate Mark Webber. James Frankland reviews the action and looks ahead to the China...
Sebastian Vettel converted his second consecutive pole position into a first win of the season, vaulting him into the lead of the Driver's Championship. It was, however, a victory achieved in controversial circumstances as Vettel appeared to defy a team order to hold station behind teammate Mark Webber, who led after the last round of pitstops. Vettel fought his way past the sister RB9 on lap 44 and remained in front to the end, to the obvious displeasure of Webber.
Lewis Hamilton underlined the progress Mercedes have made by taking third place, with teammate Nico Rosberg in his wheeltracks across the line. Mercedes had their own team orders issues to contend with, Rosberg requesting on several occasions to be allowed past Hamilton but being told to hold station by team principal Ross Brawn.
Ferrari were unable to convert their pre-race promise into a solid result, with Fernando Alonso going missing on the second lap, sustaining front wing damage on the opening tour after a collision with Vettel. The #3 Ferrari speared off into the Turn 1 gravel trap after Alonso's errant front wing got trapped under the car, denying him the ability to steer away from the impending accident. Felipe Massa recovered to take fifth place, on the day probably as good as the Scuderia could have achieved with Red Bull and Mercedes leading the way.
Australia winner Kimi Raikkonen was bumped back three places on the grid to tenth for impeding Rosberg in qualifying, and the Finn could only recover to finish seventh on a day when Lotus couldn't match the pace of the front runners. As a result his odds on winning his second Driver's Championship have gone back out to 8.27/1 while Vettel has shortened from 2.62 after Australia to 2.0811/10 now. Alonso's DNF puts him 22 points behind the leaders and his title odds now stand at 4.77/2. Although it is early, he could have taken a decent points haul but for an inexplicable decision to stay out with front wing damage, and you doubt he can afford many non-points scoring results if he is to be on top at season's end.
In the Top Three market, Hamilton looks the value bet with odds currently at 3.3512/5. Lewis appears to have the upper hand within the team at present and on track seems to be able to put the W04 into solid points-scoring positions.
Red Bull still lead the odds in the Constructor's Championship market at 1.738/11 and following their 1-2 finish in Malaysia sit atop the table by 26 points from Lotus, tied with Ferrari but ahead thanks to Raikkonen's win. With much racing still to take place in 2013, keep an eye on Ferrari who are currently at 3.9n/a and won't let the opportunity to fight Red Bull pass easily.
There's now a three-week gap to the Chinese Grand Prix, won last year by Nico Rosberg for Mercedes. They could go well at this track again with a high emphasis on power and a long back straight for the Merc powerplant to shine.