The 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix (formally the 2015 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix) was the second race of the 2015 Formula One season. The race was the 35th Malaysian Grand Prix, and the 17th time as a round of the Formula One World Championship and held at the Sepang International Circuit.
In a wet qualifying, Lewis Hamilton took pole position ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who broke the run of consecutive front row lockouts by Mercedes. Vettel went on to win the race, with Hamilton in second and Nico Rosberg in third after a much more efficient strategy.
- 1 Background
- 2 Entry list
- 3 Practice Overview
- 4 Qualifying
- 5 Race
- 6 Milestones
- 7 Standings after race
- 8 Notes
- 9 External links
Medium "option" and hard "prime" tyres were used for the Grand Prix.
Following Jules Bianchi's crash in the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix during wet and dull conditions, the Grand Prix started one hour earlier than the 2014 race, so to not start within four hours of sunset.
Fernando Alonso was set to compete in the race after he was advised to not take part in the Australian Grand Prix following an accident in the first Barcelona test, first having a test of McLaren's simulator on 18 March 2015, which he stated that he was having a "great day", though he still had to take medical tests by FIA doctors at Cambridge University on 22 March 2015 to make sure he is fit for the Malaysian Grand Prix. They seem to be passed, although his adviser refused to confirm if they were, before he would arrive at the Sepang International Circuit. McLaren later announced that Alonso would take part if he passes a final FIA medical test on 26 March, along with an extra sensor on the MP4-30 so to get more data, after Alonso noted having a feeling of "heavy" steering prior to his crash. The test was passed, enabling Alonso to race.
Valtteri Bottas was also feeling confident to take part after he could not take part in Australia due to a back injury, mentioning that progress is being made. He later announced that he had recovered from the injury, although he too had to take medical tests on the same day as Alonso. They were passed as well, making him able to take part.
Lewis Hamilton revealed that he was going to have a special helmet design to celebrate Petronas and Malaysia due to being a fan of the country, but was unable to use it because of the FIA's new rule of not allowing drivers to use different helmet designs during a season.
There were also worries about if fans would get bored of Mercedes winning all of the races of the 2015 season. The response even included Christian Horner, the team principal of Red Bull, making an attempt to the FIA to make changes to the rules. Red Bull also mentioned that they may leave Formula One if nothing is changed, to which Bernie Ecclestone, the sport's boss, explained: "There is a rule that I think [former president] Max [Mosley] put in when he was there that in the event... that a particular team or engine supplier did something magic - which Mercedes have done - the FIA can level up things. They [Mercedes] have done a first class job which everybody acknowledges. We need to change things a little bit now and try to level things up a little bit." However, he later said that the fans "have been complaining about everything, so let's hear it. If you were in my position, apart from leaving, what would you do?" Toto Wolff made a response, saying: "Just get your f****** head down, work hard and try to sort it out." Jenson Button also gave doubts about making rule changes, saying that "There's nothing really to ban because it doesn't look like Mercedes are doing anything other teams aren't doing."
Also before the Grand Prix weekend, the German Grand Prix was confirmed to have been cancelled for the season due to financial problems, giving some concerns about the possibility of other classic circuits, such as Autodromo Nazionale Monza, being excluded.
The fastest time of the first practice session, 1:40.124, was set by Nico Rosberg. His teammate Lewis Hamilton, however, could not record a time when his engine malfunctioned. Kimi Räikkönen was second fastest ahead of his teammate Sebastian Vettel. Romain Grosjean also managed well for Lotus when he set the fourth fastest time, and Carlos Sainz, Jr. was fifth in his rookie year. Daniel Ricciardo set his time behind Sainz, followed by the other Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen. It was tough for Williams, when Valtteri Bottas was eighth fastest, while Felipe Massa was eleventh. Red Bull's other driver Daniil Kvyat was ninth, but later suffered from brake issues and power loss.
Marcus Ericsson was the last of the top ten in the session. Felipe Nasr was taken over by Raffaele Marciello, who was thirteenth. Pastor Maldonado, who was one of the victims of going off-track when the track surface rubbered in at a slow pace. Fernando Alonso, returning after missing the Australian Grand Prix, set the fourteenth fastest time, seeming to improve McLaren's pace. Jenson Button, however, was seventeenth fastest. Between them both was Nico Hülkenberg and Sergio Pérez respectively. Finally, Marussia took part for the first time in the 2015 season. Will Stevens was eighteenth, while Roberto Merhi was nineteenth, though he had to stay in the garage for most of the session after receiving mechanical problems.
Force India was later fined €1,000 for Pérez speeding in the pit lane. Meanwhile, a team representative for Williams had to report to the stewards after it turned out that Massa used prime specification tyres more than 30 minutes after the start of the session, as the sporting regulations included a rule that only allows these tyres to be used in the first 30 minutes of the session.
Waiting for 38 minutes while his car's issues from the first practice session were being fixed, Hamilton set the fastest time in the second session, being 1:39.790. Teammate Rosberg was in third place behind Räikkönen. The session was red-flagged when Merhi spun at Turn 11. He ended his session in last place. Although Vettel later spun in the same place, he was able to get the seventh fastest time by the end of the session. Despite complaining of problems with his engine, Kvyat managed to finish the session in fourth place for Red Bull. Williams also improved their pace when Bottas and Massa finished fifth and sixth respectively. The youngest 2015 driver Verstappen finished in eighth place ahead of Ericsson.
Kvyat's teammate Ricciardo was tenth when the session ended, followed by Maldonado, who managed to survive his loose left-hand sidepod. Nasr in the other Sauber was behind, with Pérez following him. Sainz was far behind fifth in fourteenth, ahead of the other Force India driver Hülkenberg. Following them was Alonso and Button, still struggling with McLaren's slow power, a lot of understeer, and turn-in that was not so good. Grosjean could not finish in the top ten when power loss forced him to finish the session in eighteenth ahead of Stevens.
Rosberg was again fastest, with a time of 1:39.690. Hamilton was second fastest, complaining that he had problems with his brake balance. Räikkönen was third fastest after a delay caused by a puncture. His teammate Vettel followed in the results. Following them both were Massa and Bottas respectively. Ricciardo was seventh fastest, ahead of rookies Sainz and Verstappen. Ericsson was the last of the top ten, preceding Grosjean and Maldonado. Kvyat was thirteenth with his time of 1:41.776, but was unable to improve when he had lock-up on his left-front tyre before the final parts of the session.
Hülkenberg was fourteenth, and his teammate Pérez set the sixteenth fastest time behind Alonso, whose teammate Button was eighteenth following Nasr. Merhi spun at Turn 9 during the session, but was able to continue, setting the nineteenth fastest time ahead of Stevens.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull-Renault||1:41.787||6||1:41.799||10||1:40.590||7|
|11||Sergio Pérez||Force India-Mercedes||1:43.054||16||1:42.242||13||1:42.100||16|
|26||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull-Renault||1:42.055||9||1:40.346||4||1:41.776||13|
|27||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:42.893||15||1:42.330||15||1:41.804||14|
|33||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:41.803||7||1:41.220||8||1:40.989||9|
|44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||No Time||20||1:39.790||1||1:39.874||2|
|55||Carlos Sainz, Jr.||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:41.596||5||1:42.291||14||1:40.601||8|
Hamilton was fastest in Q1 ahead of Rosberg. Nasr was knocked out along with Button, Alonso, Merhi and Stevens. Merhi set his time outside the 107% time, while Stevens could not go out due to fuel system problems from the third practice session. Both drivers were given permission from the stewards to take part in the race.
As Q2 started, all of the drivers drove out quickly to set a lap before a shower of heavy rain came in a few minutes. Rosberg set the fastest time, but Hamilton was eighth when he was stuck in traffic due to his engine not firing up fast enough when getting out. Räikkönen was excluded for the third qualifying session when he qualified eleventh. The other drivers knocked out were Maldonado, Hülkenberg, Pérez and Sainz.
Due to the heavy rain, the third qualifying session was delayed until 18:15. Williams, Lotus and Sauber had their drivers go out on full wet tyres, before later putting on intermediates like the other teams. Hamilton set the fastest time of 1:49.834. When the session ended, Vettel finished second, ahead of Rosberg. Ricciardo and Kvyat both followed, ahead of rookie Verstappen. Massa had to handle the seventh fastest time, and Grosjean qualified eighth, but was dropped down to tenth behind Bottas and Ericsson after he received a two-place grid penalty for not leaving the pit lane in sequence.
|4||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull-Renault||10||1:40.504||4||1:41.085||4||1:51.541||4|
|5||26||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull-Renault||12||1:40.546||9||1:41.665||5||1:51.951||5|
|6||33||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso-Renault||13||1:40.793||7||1:41.430||6||1:51.981||6|
|13||27||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||14||1:40.830||13||1:43.023||13|
|14||11||Sergio Pérez||Force India-Mercedes||15||1:41.036||14||1:43.469||14|
|15||55||Carlos Sainz, Jr.||Toro Rosso-Renault||4||1:39.814||15||1:43.701||15|
|107% time: 1:46.217|
|–||28||Will Stevens||Manor-Ferrari||20||no time||20†|
- * Grosjean was given a two-place grid penalty for not leaving the pit lane in the order that he arrived.
- † Merhi and Stevens were not able to get a time better than the Q1 107% requirement, and will race under the stewards' permission.
|16||Carlos Sainz, Jr.|
- * Grosjean was dropped down to tenth after he did not exit the pit lane in the order that he arrived, resulting in a two-place grid penalty.
- † Merhi and Stevens did not manage to set a time within the Q1 107% requirement, and were given permission by the stewards to race.
Due to his fuel system still malfunctioning, Stevens was unable to start the race.
Hamilton was able to keep the lead ahead of Vettel, who managed to keep Rosberg behind him. Ricciardo managed to keep fourth ahead of Massa, with Kvyat in sixth place after Verstappen dropped down to ninth. Meanwhile, Maldonado received a puncture after making contact with Bottas at the first corner, also damaging the former's floor. Just as he went past the pit lane, Räikkönen also suffered a puncture after Nasr's front wing hit his tyre, forcing him to do a whole lap before coming back to the pits. Nasr later came in for a front wing change on lap 3. Meanwhile, Grosjean went past Verstappen for ninth.
Ericsson later spun into the gravel trap at Turn 1 while trying to overtake Hülkenberg, and could not get moving again, bringing out the safety car. He later explained that the spin was his mistake. Hamilton, Rosberg, Massa, Ricciardo and Kvyat all came in for pit stops, putting Vettel into the lead when he chose to stay out. Hamilton rejoined in sixth, while Rosberg came out in ninth place. The safety car came in at the end of lap 6, and Pérez was seventh by lap 8 after being overtaken by Hamilton and Ricciardo, while Massa and Rosberg battled for eighth place. Both of them and Kvyat overtook Pérez, and by lap 10, Rosberg was eventually past Massa, while Hamilton got into second place. With Bottas overtaking him, Verstappen was tenth at the moment. On lap 13, Rosberg got into sixth after Ricciardo went too deep while trying to overtake Sainz. With the help of the safety car, Räikkönen was twelfth. Hamilton was about 9.7 seconds behind Vettel on lap 14, while Rosberg managed to get into third place. Räikkönen and Sainz came in on lap 15, while Grosjean and Hülkenberg took their first pit stops on the next lap. Maldonado was given a ten-second time penalty for exceeding the safety car time, taking it on his next pit stop by lap 19. Meanwhile, Vettel took his pit stop on lap 18, rejoining in third place behind Hamilton and Rosberg, but was managing to catch up to Rosberg on fresher tyres. Kvyat also overtook his teammate Ricciardo, after the latter struggled with his brakes. Ricciardo soon took a pit stop on the next lap. Kvyat and Button both pitted on lap 22, while Alonso had to retire from issues with his ERS cooling. Vettel had also overtook Rosberg on the same lap, and Verstappen got past Ricciardo on the following lap to take tenth place.
With tyres that were still fresh, Vettel overtook Hamilton at the final corner on lap 24, just as the latter came in for his second pit stop, rejoining in third until Rosberg took another pit stop at the end of the following lap, coming back out in fourth place. On lap 26, Hülkenberg made contact with Kvyat, causing the latter to spin, but that did not stop him from continuing to race. Rosberg got into third place after overtaking Räikkönen on the start/finish straight on lap 28. Grosjean dropped to fourteenth on lap 31 after being spun by Pérez making contact with his car, still managing to continue. Both Force India drivers were each given 10-second penalties to serve in their next pit stops.
Vettel took his second and final pit stop at the end of lap 37, rejoining in second place. Hamilton came in for his third stop on lap 39, but was not happy when the crew had put on hard tyres, complaining on the team radio: "This is the wrong tyre man." On lap 40, he felt frustrated when he said to the team: "I can hear you. I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing. Paddy says I might be doing another stop." The team then replied: "That was miscommunication. That was just chatter." Button was forced to retire on lap 41 after receiving a sudden loss of power. Being talked to by the team, Hamilton still felt unhappy when he replied: "Hey man don't talk to me through the corners! I nearly just went off!"
Maldonado was added to the list of retirements in the Grand Prix after having brake problems. Hamilton managed to close the gap to Vettel, but it was not enough when Vettel crossed the finish line to win the race 8.569 seconds ahead of Hamilton, earning his and Ferrari's first win since 2013, and screaming on the team radio: "Woooooohoooo! Grazie! Grazie! Grazie!" Rosberg followed in third, with Räikkönen in fourth. Bottas finished fifth after overtaking Massa on the final lap. Verstappen finished in seventh place, making him the youngest Formula One driver to score points Sainz, Kvyat and Ricciardo completed the top ten.
Diego Ioverno Ferrari team joined on the podium to receive the winning manufacturer’s award.
Vettel and Ferrari were impressed by the win, and Vettel was unable to prevent crying on the podium ceremony. He said to Eddie Jordan during the podium interview: I remember when the gate opened in Maranello it was like a dream coming true. I remember the last time I was there was as a young kid watching Michael over the fence driving around in the Ferrari and now I'm driving that very red car. It's incredible. The day today, the race, really spot on, the whole team was there, great strategy, great pace, we beat them fair and square [...]. Not expecting him to win, Hamilton said that Vettel and Ferrari "did a fantastic job this weekend".
Following his win, Vettel dedicated it to Michael Schumacher, saying "It's been my dream. Michael was my hero. All the kids at the go-kart track looked up to him. When he turned up to shake hands every year it made our lives. I don't understand yet how special it is."
Vettel's excitement was shared by Ferrari, who sang along to their country's national anthem while the podium ceremony was on. Maurizio Arrivabene also said that he started to cry after Schumacher's manager sent a text message to congratulate the team. Additionally, it was not long before people started making comparisons to Vettel and Schumacher, including how long it took for the two drivers to win their first races with Ferrari.
Responding to the fact of a team other than Mercedes winning the race, Süddeutsche Zeitung stated that it was"the best the flagging sport could have hoped for", while the Daily Mail said: "Now a sport that has developed an impressive aptitude for navel-gazing, [...] can rest from its self-loathing criticism, at least for a while."
However, Marussia was accused by Bob Fernley of Force India for not running both cars in the qualifying session and race. He also gave an urge to the FIA to have this matter investigated, but the claims were rejected by Marussia, with Graeme Lowdon explaining: "I can guarantee you if that car could have moved, it would have raced."
Verstappen classified his record of being the youngest F1 driver to score points being a "good day", and was congratulated by his father Jos Verstappen, who said: "I'm very pleased for what he has done today. I'm happy that he finished the race and the way he raced, he deserved it. I'm very proud."
Pérez and Hülkenberg were each given two penalty points for their incidents with Kvyat and Grosjean, while Maldonado was given three for speeding under the safety car. However, Kvyat stated that he thought Hülkenberg's collision with him was a racing incident.
|1||5||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||56||1 h 41 m 05.793 s||2||25|
|2||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||56||+ 8.569 s||1||18|
|3||6||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||56||+ 12.310 s||3||15|
|4||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Ferrari||56||+ 53.822 s||11||12|
|5||77||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Mercedes||56||+ 1 m 10.409 s||8||10|
|6||19||Felipe Massa||Williams-Mercedes||56||+ 1 m 13.586 s||7||8|
|7||33||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso-Renault||56||+ 1 m 37.762 s||6||6|
|8||55||Carlos Sainz, Jr.||Toro Rosso-Renault||55||+ 1 lap||15||4|
|9||26||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull-Renault||55||+ 1 lap||5||2|
|10||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull-Renault||55||+ 1 lap||4||1|
|11||8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Mercedes||55||+ 1 lap||10|
|12||12||Felipe Nasr||Sauber-Ferrari||55||+ 1 lap||16|
|13||11||Sergio Pérez||Force India-Mercedes||55||+ 1 lap||14|
|14||27||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||55||+ 1 lap||13|
|15||98||Roberto Merhi||Marussia-Ferrari||53||+ 3 laps||19|
|Ret||9||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber-Ferrari||2||Spun off||9|
|DNS||28||Will Stevens||Marussia-Ferrari||0||Fuel system||–|
|1||6||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||43||1:42.062||195.516 km/h||3|
|2||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||45||1:43.125||+ 1.063 s||193.501 km/h||2|
|3||5||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||46||1:43.648||+ 1.586 s||192.524 km/h||1|
|4||12||Felipe Nasr||Sauber-Ferrari||45||1:43.902||+ 1.840 s||192.054 km/h||12|
|5||19||Felipe Massa||Williams-Mercedes||40||1:43.990||+ 1.928 s||191.891 km/h||6|
|6||77||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Mercedes||42||1:44.088||+ 2.026 s||191.710 km/h||5|
|7||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Ferrari||40||1:44.124||+ 2.062 s||191.644 km/h||4|
|8||26||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull-Renault||41||1:44.514||+ 2.452 s||190.929 km/h||9|
|9||33||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso-Renault||42||1:44.579||+ 2.517 s||190.810 km/h||7|
|10||8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Mercedes||36||1:44.812||+ 2.750 s||190.386 km/h||11|
|11||27||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||46||1:44.822||+ 2.760 s||190.368 km/h||14|
|12||13||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus-Mercedes||38||1:45.070||+ 3.008 s||189.919 km/h||Ret|
|13||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull-Renault||42||1:45.312||+ 3.250 s||189.482 km/h||10|
|14||11||Sergio Pérez||Force India-Mercedes||37||1:45.345||+ 3.283 s||189.423 km/h||13|
|15||55||Carlos Sainz, Jr.||Toro Rosso-Renault||37||1:45.507||+ 3.445 s||189.132 km/h||8|
|16||22||Jenson Button||McLaren-Honda||38||1:46.056||+ 3.994 s||188.153 km/h||Ret|
|17||14||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda||17||1:48.460||+ 6.398 s||183.983 km/h||Ret|
|18||9||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber-Ferrari||3||1:48.760||+ 6.698 s||183.475 km/h||Ret|
|19||98||Roberto Merhi||Marussia-Ferrari||44||1:49.040||+6.978 s||183.004 km/h||15|
Laps in the lead
|1||Lewis Hamilton||1 – 3||3||16.629 km|
|2||Sebastian Vettel||4 – 17||14||77.602 km|
|3||Lewis Hamilton||18 – 23||6||33.258 km|
|4||Sebastian Vettel||24 – 37||14||77.602 km|
|5||Lewis Hamilton||38||1||5.543 km|
|6||Sebastian Vettel||39 – 56||18||99.774 km|
|1||Sebastian Vettel||46||254.978 km|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||10||55.430 km|
- Lewis Hamilton's 150th Grand Prix.
- Hamilton's 40th pole position.
- Hamilton passed the 1500-point mark (ended race on 1514 points).
- Sebastian Vettel's 40th Grand Prix victory.
- Vettel's first win for Ferrari.
- Max Verstappen's first points, making his F1's youngest points scorer.
- Roberto Merhi's first start.
- Nico Rosberg's tenth fastest lap.
- Valtteri Bottas scored his 200th point.
Standings after race
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