Only two races into the season and the 2013 F1 campaign has already delivered in spectacular fashion. What the opening race in Melbourne lacked, the Malaysian GP had in abundance. There were some spectacular wheel-to-wheel fights, entertaining action in the pit lanes and one of the most depressing moods you'll likely ever find on an F1 podium.
Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber have a lot of history. Whenever asked about one another, there has always been a sense of tension in the air. Even with a mutual respect between the two, Vettel is in great risk of having lost a lot of that following his decision to ignore team orders and overtake his team mate in a risky 46th lap manoeuvre.
We will never know what truly goes on inside a F1 racing team, but Vettel's reaction after he was confronted by Webber and his immediate apology suggests that the three-time world champion is genuinely regretting his actions. But was he really so wrong to pull off this move? He is a racing driver at the end of the day and why slow down if in reality you know you can go a bit faster? Sure, Formula 1 is a team sport, although that can be forgotten quite easily sometimes. He risked a one-two finish for Red Bull and neglected to listen to the teams orders. It also creates a huge fuss this early in the season which could have been easily avoided. On the other hand, Vettel's move reminded many of the ruthlessness a true great needs to have in this fiercely competitive sport. Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were all drivers who displayed extremely dominant egos and the drive for success. All three of them are known to have done whatever it takes in order to be successful and Vettel can now certainly be added to that list.
The views on the issue will always be controversial but Vettel is certain to have lost a lot of respect. It didn't help his cause that Lewis Hamilton, finishing third in Malaysia, apologised on the podium and said that his teammate, Nico Rosberg, actually deserved to be there instead of him. Hamilton and Rosberg were praised for the way they dealt with team orders, while the feud between Vettel and Webber is in the spotlight.
As for the race itself, it was quite an exciting one. Fernando Alonso crashed out on the second lap after damaging his front wing on the opening lap after brushing with Vettel. Hamilton turning up in the McLaren box for new tyres was a much required comical relief in a race that was packed with tension. Force India had a nightmare though, including several lengthy pit stops and both cars having to retire.
Just two races into the season and there is no shortage of excitement and drama around the F1 paddock. It's all set up nicely for the next race in China on April 14th.