Nico started 2nd on the grid. Unfortunately, Nico lost his position at the start but he consistently ran 3rd until the end of the race. His lone pitstop on lap 22 enabled him to gain a full second against his rival for 3rd position, Robert Kubica of Renault. The team’s strategy and excellent performance by the crew cemented his place as a podium finisher and snatching those precious championship points for Mercedes GP.
Michael Schumacher had to retire due to mechanical problems. A wheel nut from his left rear wheel came off on lap 10, forcing the seven time world champion to leave his car on the grass. Schumacher was running 6th when the unfortunate incident happened.
The Milton Keynes-based team, Red Bull Racing is back in contention. The team mates, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber got 1st and 2nd podium finish respectively. As a result, Red Bull is now placed 3rd on the Constructors’ team championship with 61 points.
“Its a fantastic result today to achieve our teams first podium at the home race for our title partner, PETRONAS. I want to thank the whole team for all of their hard work this weekend and over the winter. This result is the start of the reward for our efforts. Its a great feeling to be back up on the podium again and to have so much support from the Malaysian fans here. My start didnt go that well today as I had a bit too much wheelspin and once I was in third place, I knew it would be difficult to follow the leading cars. I struggled a little with the options in the first stint which allowed Robert to stay quite close but once we switched to the primes, I felt really comfortable and we could manage the race home to third place. This is a great end to a strong weekend for us. Were not quite where we want to be yet so we need to push on but Im confident that well get there soon.”
“It was a shame that I could not finish the race but unfortunately the wheel nut on the left rear wheel was lost. The car suddenly became very unstable in turn six and I could hardly steer and had no drive left. I initially thought it was something to do with the suspension but after I stopped and had a look, it was evident that was a wheel nut missing. It is something very unusual to happen and in testing we never had problems so we have to look it. I would have obviously wanted to finish the race and I think it could have worked out quite reasonably well. But in the end that is motor racing, I remember that very well. It makes no sense to get angry about it, you have to accept it as part of the game and look ahead. At least Nico scored our first podium finish and I am happy for him and the team.”
“That was an excellent drive from Nico today and a first-class performance to secure his third career podium and the first podium for the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team. We are delighted to have achieved the first podium for the Silver Arrows here in Malaysia and to be able to share the rewards of our hard work with our title partner PETRONAS at their home Grand Prix. My compliments to Nico for an assured performance today and over the weekend. Michael was in a good position after the start and we were looking forward to having a good race on his side but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. The car lost a wheel nut which is a problem that we haven’t experienced before. The wheel nuts are double-checked on the grid so we will investigate and put in place the necessary solutions.”
“A great drive from Nico and our first podium after starting from the first row in our third race. The team had a first-class strategy and Nico did not put one foot wrong and secured this first and for us historic podium finish, at the home race of our title partner PETRONAS. Our gap to the two Red Bull-Renaults in front of Nico was still considerable and we all know there is more work to be done in order to catch up. However it looks like we are heading in the right direction and the point standings after three races dont look too bad. Sorry for Michael who had a great start and was positioned sixth when a wheel nut came loose which stopped his race. We will work hard and concentrated to make sure that our car will be fully reliable in the future and get quicker step by step. After Melbourne, Nico and the team performed again the quickest pit stop which is very rewarding for our guys and sometimes very important to get the right amount of World Championship points. Last but certainly not least congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing for their first and well deserved victory in 2010. Seb was the class of the field today.”