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Vital talking points: Mal GP - Ferrari are back?

'Ferrari are back' Maurizio Arrivabene said over team radio to Sebastian Vettel in Malaysia.

The new Ferrari team principal in only his second race had engineered a race victory to surprise Mercedes.

An emotional Sebastian Vettel winning for the first time since 2013, declared that this was a bigger win than when then Red Bull Racing team-mate Daniel Ricciardo took three race wins in 2014 because this was a genuine victory.

And it was.

Throughout the entire weekend in either dry or wet conditions, Ferrari were within touching distance of Mercedes on one lap pace.

On Friday Kimi Raikkonen was just 0.373 seconds behind the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg in first practice and the same gap split Kimi and Lewis Hamilton in second practice.

On Saturday in third practice the gap grew to 0.555 as both Rosberg and Hamilton got ahead of the Ferrari's.

But in a rain affected qualifying the gap between pole sitter Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel was just 0.074 seconds, with the Ferrari splitting the Mercedes and ending a nine race run of Mercedes lock-outs in qualifying.

It could have been even better if Kimi Raikkonen hadn't been knocked out in Q2 due to traffic, missing out on a run at pole position.

But they key to Ferrari's success was not one lap pace. It was their times on the long runs, particularly when looking at how long their stints were on the Pirelli tyres.

With a track temperature in-excess of 60c Ferrari were able to make both the medium and hard compound tyre work, whilst Mercedes struggled.

This enabled Sebastian Vettel to run a straight forward two-stop tyre strategy whilst Mercedes were caught in two-minds.

The early safety car complicated matters further and on lap four, both Mercedes pitted. This put them in traffic and by the time Lewis Hamilton had cleared the cars in front of him, he was 10 seconds behind Vettel.

Mercedes were then unable to make a two-stop strategy to work, forcing Hamilton into a game of catch-up something that he just couldn't do on the medium compound tyre as they'd used an extra set in qualifying.

Advantage to Ferrari and four-time Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel took the chequered flag ahead of second place Hamilton and third placed Rosberg.

'To be the first one to beat Mercedes fair and square is an incredible achievement,' Vettel told the post race press conference.

We were quicker which is why we beat them. We know they are very strong but we were strong on the tyres which gave us an edge and we made the most of it.'

Sebastian Vettel is now just three points behind Lewis Hamilton in the Formula One World Championship after two rounds.

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday March 30 2015

Time: 10:00AM


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