Here be spoilers!

Here be spoilers!

Here be spoilers!

Here be spoilers!

Here be spoilers!

Here be spoilers!

Here be spoilers!

Here be spoilers!

Here be spoilers!

Here be spoilers!

Here be spoilers!

Here be spoilers!

Here be spoilers!

Here be spoilers!

Here be spoilers!

Here be spoilers!

OK. That should get us out of message preview range. Now let's talk about that Malaysian GP!!

tl;dr;

Vettel takes his 27th victory but manages to piss off everyone on the Red Bull team to do it. Webber finishes 2nd while Hamilton finishes 3rd with Rosberg close behind. Massa recovered from a terrible start to finish 5th nearly 30 seconds behind the Mercedes duo. The rest of the order in the top ten were Grosjean, Räikkönen, Hulkenberg, Perez, and Vergne.

Overall it was a dramatic race that started in mixed conditions and finished dry.

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The Full Story

Wow. Where even to begin with all the drama from this race? I suppose it's best to start at the beginning.

With the size of this track and the crazy Malaysian weather the start was fairly dry but the entry into turn 1 was soaking wet. Vettel led into turn 1 from pole, but Alonso made a great run from 3rd on the grid to pass Massa and then try to go around the outside of Vettel. It didn't work but when he tried to slot in behind Vettel into turn 2 he clouted the back of the Red Bull and broke one of his front wing supports. The wing started rubbing on the ground with sparks outing off the endplate but it didn't seem to slow him down too much because of the conditions. I was shocked though to see him NOT dive into the pits at the end of lap one. The team had told him to stay out in the hopes that they could switch to dry tires and nose at the same time. The track was rapidly drying out and two early stops would demolish his race. In the end we never found out as the front wing broke free and wedged under the Ferrari down the front straight. With his front wheels in the air Alonso ground to a halt in the gravel at turn 1.

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Webber had made a great start and was up to 2nd with the Mercedes of Hamilton and Rosberg close behind followed by Jenson Button in a rejuvenated McLaren. Vettel was the first to stop for slicks on lap 6 but it was a gamble that wouldn't pay off as the wet parts of the track were still too wet. The team immediately called out to Webber to stay on track as the inters were still faster. Soon though everyone started to change over.

Hamilton showed that old habits die hard as he showed up in the McLaren pit box for service on his Mercedes. I guess when you've spent your whole racing career from age 13 until now with one team it feels like the right place to go. Down at the Torro Rosso pits they released Vergne directly into the Caterham of Pic. Both had to get nose changes as a result. Force India had a disastrous pitstop as Sutil's car couldn't get the left rear wheel attached. The whole time this was going on di Resta had to sit behind and wait his turn. This dropped both of them way down the order and was a foreshadowing of the afternoon to come for several drivers.

As the track dried the order settled in a bit with Webber and Vettel leading from Hamilton and Rosberg. Further back, Räikkönen was having a much different weekend from the last as he couldn't get around the McLaren of Perez. Once he finally managed to get around Perez he raced off in pursuit of Grosjean. Overall though the Lotus seemed twitchy here and the great performance of Australia was nowhere to be found.

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In the next round of stops Force India's day went from bad to worse as the crew struggled to get the wheel nuts to secure the tires to both cars. Eventually they got going again, but the combination of questionable wheel attachment and a lot of heat soak in the pits ended up forcing them to retire both cars. This was a second blow in a row to di Resta who, after being told to hold station behind Sutil in Australia, had throughly out classed his team mate today and was on track to collect some nice points.

The nuts weren't done though and soon Jenson Button was released without his right front wheel attached all the way. He stopped in the pit lane and had to wait for his team to run down pit lane and push him back to the box to reattach the wheel. All of this took a really long time and Button's solid run in the points was finished.

When the Red Bull boys were done with their stops, Vettel and Webber were wheel to wheel through the awesome complex of turns that start the lap in Sepang. It was close, great fighting between them and eventually Webber came out on top.

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Up front the Mercs and Red Bulls were playing a tense game of cat and mouse with each other and intramurally. Vettel came on the radio complaining that Mark was "too slow" and that he should be allowed to pass. Webber responded to this by flipping the next sector times a good .5 seconds quicker than Vettel and the order was re-established. On the Mercedes side Hamilton was now being told to save fuel and this let Rosberg start to close in on him and the Red Bull cars began to walk away from him.

Right now the race seemed to be focused on the battle between Red Bull and Mercedes. Little did we know that this race was about to go from exciting to thrilling to dramatic.

This year the teams are limited to just 8 engines per car. This means that the teams will dial the engines back in order to save them if they can. With the order pretty well set both Mercedes and Red Bull made this call and the drivers were all told to hold places until the end of the race.

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Over on the Mercedes side of the house this lead to a long argument between Ross Brawn and Rosberg who was visibly quicker than Hamilton. Brawn explained over the radio that Hamilton was under a controlled pace as well and not just slow and that Nico just needed to make sure that he got to the end. Eventually Rosberg had to just take his lumps and accept 4th place behind a much slower car.

Further up the pit wall Red Bull was again telling Seb to calm down but he wasn't having any of it. He didn't turn anything down and put a move on Webber down the pit wall that then led to two laps of wheel to wheel fighting that saw Vettel come out on top with his fresher option tires. Mark was clearly pissed as he gave Vettel the "International You're Number One" sign all the way down the back straight. The team was on the radio through all of this telling Vettel to stop being "silly" and all other manner of things. On the fresher rubber he quickly pulled away to claim his 27th victory with the rest finishing in the order they were in.

As Rosberg parked his car he told the team over the radio that they need to be sure to remember what he had done for the team today. Hopefully they will.

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Hell Hath no Furry Like a an Australian Scorned

As Seb crossed the finish line he did as you expect and went over to the pit wall to salute the team as he passed. Webber on the other hand made a distinct show of moving as far away from the pit wall as possible. Over the radio Horner congratulated Seb for the victory but said that he, like Lucy, had, "A lot of explaining to do." Vettel parked the car and headed up to the podium green room, but Mark was nowhere to be seen. Hamilton got to the room but was clearly in a foul mood as he said little to Seb and then sat on the floor as Adrian Newey quietly talked to Sebastian. Finally Webber walked in and congratulated Lewis then took the chair as far as possible from Vettel. Seb gingerly called out, "Mark…" to which the reply was, "Multi 21 Seb. Multi 21." the code for formation finish at Red Bull. Before Vettel could come up with a reply, Webber was gone.

The Podium that Nobody Wanted

When Martin Brundle started the podium interviews it was even more clear that Webber was in a petulant mood. He calmly lashed out at both Seb and the team mentioning that although Seb had ignored the agreements and team orders that he would "be protected like always" inside the team. Seb looked very uncomfortable on the top step in a way I've not seen since Schumacher and Barrichello at the Nurburgring. The proceeding got even more downbeat when Brundle moved on to Hamilton who quickly said he didn't feel like he deserved the 3rd place and that Nico should be the one on the third step.

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In the press conference things were still icy cold with Hamilton not wanting 3rd place, Webber slamming his glass down on the table, and Vettel trying to apologize. Webber had none of it and would not accept the apology. Vettel tried taking his case to the people telling the press that he had "fucked up" and should not have attacked Webber. This continued into the press pen afterwards with Vettel claiming he hadn't heard the call to hold and Webber struggling to hold his tongue. He even hinted at what sounded like quitting the sport, saying that he would need to see if the three weeks before China were "enough medicine" for him.

In other interviews Alan Webber (Mark's dad) was even making this into a colonial issue by saying that Red Bull are a European team and will always favor the European driver. Christian Horner was telling people that Seb had clearly defied team orders and was in the wrong. Red Bull clearly has a lot of work to do in the next three weeks to become a happy team again.

Team by Team

Red Bull got a 1-2 finish, but it seems to have come at significant cost to their unity. In the end they were never really challenged for the top steps.

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Mercedes had a very strong finish with 3-4. They started last year with good pace and bad luck but this year seem to have changed the luck part of the equation. We will need to wait and see if they are able to keep up as the season goes on. One has to wonder if Schumacher is sitting at home wishing he had taken the option for one more year.

McLaren had a much more promising weekend with Button running around 5th or so until his wheel nut issues. Perez fought hard to keep Kimi behind him, but in the end had to yield. Still collecting some points was nice for Perez as they were his first since he was announced as a McLaren driver last season. McLaren will need to get the pit stops under control though. They lost a lot of points in the first half of 2012 on pit blunders and they are too good of a team to keep doing that.

Lotus is at a loss to describe their sudden lack of form. Roman seemed happy enough with his car, but Kimi was clearly finding his Lotus to be a handful, particularly exiting the first complex of turns.

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Ferrari had a pretty wretched weekend. Massa made a terrible start from which he never regained the form that had put him on the front row. He was clearly the best of the rest behind the top two teams, but after his qualifying performance he certainly hoped for better. Alonso made an uncharacteristic error that ended his race when the team decided to gamble on not replacing the wing. He actually didn't make it very far past where he would have stopped in his box when the wing broke free on the track.

Sauber had a good showing from The Hulk who was able to finish ahead of the remaining competitive McLaren. Gutierrez once again failed to make any sort of impact on the race at all. I hope that he's bringing them a lot of cash for that seat.

Force India ran well enough until all the wheel nut issues forced the retirement of both cars.

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Williams continued their terrible form as well with Maldanado making another unforced error that resulted in a broken wing and eventually he retired. Bottas drove cleanly but the car didn't have the pace to get him more than 11th. They are a long way from that team that took a dominant victory last year.

The highlight of the back markers was Jules Bianchi who drove above his Marussia's level to beat his team mate and both of the Caterhams.

Red Bull's Dangerous Path

The story of the race though was the drama at Red Bull. Vettel and Webber have certainly had their clashes in the past and Webber has normally responded to team favorite politics by turning in wins. After the heartbreak of Korea 2010 Webber has had a hard time beating Seb on a regular basis, but he certainly had every reason to think he had the team behind him. With the revelation this weekend that Dietrich Mateschitz insisted on giving Webber another season rather than hire Lewis Hamilton, Mark knows that he has support at the highest levels. None of that means anything though if the other person in the agreement doesn't honor it.

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We've seen this before and it can poison a team. We saw it between Prost and Senna in 1989 and in 1982 between Villeneuve and Pironi in Imola. When things break down between top drivers in a team it can break the team apart. In the worst of cases it can cost lives.

Vettel continues to apologize for what has happened, but Webber and Horner aren't buying the story that he didn't know the plan. In any case they need to get things patched over inside the team. Their rivals aren't that far behind and I have a feeling that as the season goes on they are going to need every point that they can get.

The Loose Screw Award

This has got to go to the wheel nuts. I can't remember a race where so many cars had trouble having wheels attached and it ruined the races of three drivers that should have finished in the points.

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This has ended up way longer than I anticipated so I'll leave it off with the opinion that this season is going to be a great one with a variety of winners, losers, and everything in-between!