Lewis Hamilton was understandably delighted after winning the Malaysian Grand Prix, the 23rd victory of his career and the first at the Sepang International Circuit, but he admitted that it was “tougher than it looked”.
He held the lead into turn one, after storming to pole position on Saturday, and was unchallenged to the chequered flag. He put in a faultless drive to cross the line 17 seconds ahead of his team-mate. The 1-2 finish helped to move Mercedes up to first in the constructors’ championship.
“I’m incredibly happy today,” he said. “This is my first win in Malaysia after eight attempts and it’s all down to the team. They have done a fantastic job and I have to say a huge thank you to everyone here at the track and back at our factories who have been pushing non-stop to get the car where it is.”
Explaining the challenges of the race, he added: “The race was tougher than it perhaps looked today and the conditions here always make it a great challenge. But I was able to look after the car, the tyres and the fuel and still keep a bit of pace in hand which made my job that little bit easier.
“It’s great to see Mercedes leading the championship but we know that we have to make these early races pay. Anything can happen as we saw in Australia, so this is an important result for us. One-two finishes don’t happen very often and this is a real achievement for the team.”
Nico Rosberg finished in second place after struggling with tyre degradation early in the race. “This is an incredible day for our team and for Mercedes-Benz. I had a great start again, even though it was tight with Sebastian. It was very close at the wall and I just closed the eyes, went for the gap and did it. Later I was able to control the pace and to defend my position against Seb but Lewis was out of my reach, so congratulations to him for his win.”
Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG Petronas