Tourism Malaysia have
always been gracious and they simply move up a gear when the Formula 1
Malaysian Grand Prix draws near.
Every Year, Tourism Malaysia offer Racing Fans Free Tickets to witness the action unfold at the Sepang International Circuit. I was a beneficiary last year and a bigger surprise was in store for me this year.
Tourism Malaysia India hosted a game where a Fan had to answer questions as the car moved around the track. The quicker you answered, better the lap time.
The Grand Prize? An All-Expenses-Paid Trip to witness the Malaysian Grand Prix. The effort paid off as I emerged the winner.
Thanks to Tourism Malaysia, I was at Sepang again. Hope you enjoy the photos from the weekend!
Welcome to Sepang International Circuit!
The Stunning Mercedes Petronas AMG Formula 1 Car!!
I reached the Stand. It was the K1 Grandstand with Fantastic Views of the Start Finish Line, First Couple of Turns and Parts of the Other Sectors too.
View from the K1 Grandstand :
The Start of Saturday Practice saw the teams take a cautious approach into the session.
Finally The Drivers started their Qualifying Simulations
Kimi Raikkonen, Full Focus into First Turn :
Others Follow Suit :
The Two Sister Red Bulls
switch roles :
Feeling the Force of a Force India :
were late entrants but everyone knows the Threat they pose to the Front-Runners.
First Turn is very demanding on all cars. Its an acute turn and one can suffer heavy lock-ups if a car has too much speed into the corner.
The Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen looks absolutely stunning :
Some more shots of the Prancing Horse :
The Sauber of Hulkenberg, the German's First race
after problems in the first race.
With the Race Simulations done & the sun out, , the Teams switched to the Softer of the Harder Compounds
The Toro Rosso and Williams
in Tandem :
Where is Romain Grosjean
negotiating the First Turn
The Practice session ended and it was time for the V8 Supercars to take centrestage :
It was now time for Qualifying!!!
Shots from Q1 :
The Teams all opted for the Hard Tyre. Some Teams however switched to the Medium Hard option fearing elimination at the end of Q1.
The Times came down quickly, the gap between the two tyres a sizable 1.5
seconds. The Bigger teams too were pushed into using the Option
compound in Q1 itself.
Q1 ended and the predicted guys were eliminated.
and all teams went out on Option Tyres, some teams opted for a 2 run strategy with scrubbed options for the First Stint.
Mark Webber too came out early for Red Bull Racing to set a marker :
too followed suit :
suffered a major Lock-up into Turn 1 with Fernando Alonso
breathing down his neck :
made a late entry into the session :
Q2 ended and the Top 10 now prepared for a final Shootout!
There was a big surprise on the way though!! Malaysia
is known for drastic weather changes and the clouds that threatened finally caused the deluge over the circuit in the break.
It was a short shower but certain parts of the track were wet enough for Teams to opt for Intermediate Tyres
Sebastien Vettel vs Fernando Alonso!
Fernando Alonso starts his Flying Lap :
flying in Sector 2 :
Kimi Raikkonen dives into the pits for a new set of Intermediates while Lewis Hamilton sets a time :
Kimi starts his final Qualifying Run :
Mark Webber and Sebastien Vettel too went on their final runs :
Sebastien Vettel, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso were the top 3 starters for the Race!
The Big Day had arrived. It was a great way to start the proceedings by bumping into Kimi Raikkonen Fans!!
The Rain Clouds gathering in the Horizon... Could this be a Wet Race??
The Grid Preparations begin!!
Safety Car carries out a Track Check :
The Rain came in sooner than we thought and like last year it was time to bring out the Gazebos
for the Teams
The Drivers leave the pitlane on their outlap, Intermediate tyres for everyone. The Rain in Q3 ensured Free Tyre Choice
sampled the Wet Tyre too but the Track wasn't so wet and everyone stuck to Intermediates.
The Grandstands were packed to the Rafters as the Start Neared..
The Safety Car did a final track check, the final preparations were done and it was now time for the Warm-up Lap!
The Start of the Warm Up Lap while the team engineers rush back to their garages!
The Five Red Lights Illuminate and the Race is a GO!!!
There was a collision between Alonso and Vettel into the First Turn
which damaged the Former's Front Wing. The Spaniard managed to defend his 2nd place against Webber ( who had a fabulous start )
and opted not to pit to change the Front Wing.
The Decision was disastrous as the Front Wing Dislodged and got stuck under the car. Alonso was a mere passenger as his Ferrari beached itself into the Gravel near the First turn ( Right in front of our stand )
The Track dried up quickly enough and the Teams were quick to switch back to dry tyres. Drivers chose different strategies. Vettel
switched to the Mediums ( Option ) while Webber
opted for the Hard Tyre ( Prime ).
Hulkenberg battles it out with Button
Sergio Perez is passed by Grosjean
with the aid of DRS
then has to fend off Kimi Raikkonen.
had two Front wing changes ( one in his Outlap and one in the start of the race ). The Venezuelan
was now carving his way up the field.
Perez makes his car as wide as possible to prevent Kimi Raikkonen from an overtake
The Force India
Team Mates too had a duel
There was racing happening throughout the field which was great for Fans
watching his mirrors as he sees the Ferrari of Massa and the Lotuses of Grosjean and Raikkonen close in.
was having a tough weekend but he kept at it.
though was having a better weekend. He is seen here reeling Massa
was being closed in on by Hamilton
and it seemed that the Mercedes Petronas AMG Team
might just get more than just a podium but unfortunately Lewis
was asked to conserve fuel and his challenge fizzled out.
was now allowed to push and the lead that Mark Webber
had was slowly being cut down. Mark Webber
meanwhile was told to switch to Multi - 21, a code used in the Red Bull
team which signifies reducing the engine power, maintaining positions and coasting to the finish line.
meanwhile was still flanked by the Lotuses
Miserable day came to an end when he Beached his Williams
into the Gravel
The Red Bull pair
completed their Pit Stops and Webber
was just able to hold on to his lead against Vettel. ( Lap 44 ).
The two battled over the next two laps, including a very close call on the front straight, after which Vettel
took the lead from his teammate. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner
earlier came on the radio to say, "This is silly Seb(astian). Come on."
The Team tried to notify Vettel
that they wanted both to keep their current positions. However Vettel
chose otherwise and the repercussions were disastrous.
fuel conserving drive caused him to fall into the grasp of his teammate Nico Rosberg. Nico
requested the team to let him pass his teammate as he felt he could challenge the Red Bulls. However Team Principal Ross Brawn
denied him his wish and both were asked to maintain their positions.
took the Chequered Flag and Victory at the 2013 Malaysian GP. Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton completed the Podium. Nico Rosberg felt he was robbed of a podium and hoped that the team would return the favour one day.
between the Red Bull Team-mates
took digs at Vettel
in the Podium Interview
and gave him the snub later. Unfortunately it seems an end to a mercurial relation between the team-mates.
A Big Thumbs-up!!
The Fans had a memorable day but the race would also be remembered for its Controversial incidents...
had done a fabulous job again of Hosting the Grand Prix!!! Well done Malaysia!!
I would like to thank Tourism Malaysia
again for this memorable experience. I absolutely loved it and will be back next year too.
I shall be writing again about this
trip. So watch this space!!!