This weekend we saw the second race of the 2014 Formula One season at the Sepang International Circuit, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
At the moment it looks like Mercedes is this year’s Red Bull: Lewis Hamilton quickly left the rest of the field from pole position, causally leading the entire race from start to finish. This was Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel’s role last year, but 2014 hasn’t been as good to the German driver as 2013 was. Having retired from the first race in Australia, he “only” managed to finish 3rd in Malaysia. I say “only” since finishing 3rd isn’t bad, but it’s unusual for him, having finished 1st in 13 of the 19 races last year. Of course it’s a good thing that Vettel isn’t that dominant in 2014, but it’s a shame that it looks like there will be another dominating driver this year, and even worse that it’s Lewis Hamilton.
Out on the track isn’t the only place where Red Bull is slipping this year. They are also having problems in the pits, where they were on top of every other team last year. During the Malaysian Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo left the pit box before the front left tire was properly secured, and he had to stop and be pushed back to the Red Bull box. That incident earned Ricciardo a ten second stop-and-go penalty and a ten grid penalty in the next race for an unsafe release. Just to top it off, the front wing on his Red Bull failed on the out lap, forcing Ricciardo to return to the pit yet again. During all this he was lapped by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso twice and eventually retired four laps before the checkered flag. It certainly looks like the Aussie driver has come down with a serious case of the Webber Curse.
In Formula One in general, there have been two main talking points among the commentators, spectators and fans at the start of this season: The new noses and the engine sound. In both these cases people need to sit down and shut the fuck up.