Race

Hello and welcome to ESPN's live coverage of the Malaysian Grand Prix, the second race of the 2015 season.

---

15:02: Hamilton returns to the pole slot. We're moments away from lights out - who is going to win the race down to Turn 1?

---

14:59: The tyre blankets come off and Hamilton leads the pack away on the formation lap. Looks like a clean getaway for everyone.

Only the two McLarens have opted to start on the hard tyre. They'll be hoping to gain a few positions with a slightly longer first stint but their big weakness at the moment is the lack of power it is running.

---

14:57:Not long now until the formation lap. Prediction time - Hamilton to win at a canter, with Vettel splitting the Mercs by beating Rosberg to third. So as you were from qualifying, essentially.

---

14:55:

---

14:52::

---

14:49: Just ten minutes left until the start of this race.

---

14:48:

14:47: The drivers are at the front of the grid for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

---

14:45: We already know Will Stevens will sit out this race because of a fuel system problem Manor was unable to fix over night. He's just tweeted the following:

---

14:44:

---

14:40: The Red Bulls are well positioned today after yesterday - they benefited from Ferrari's decision to send Kimi Raikkonen out late, meaning he got stuck in traffic and dropped out of Q2, and Williams underperforming in the wet weather.

---

14:38:

---

14:36:

---

14:35: To recap qualifying - Lewis Hamilton took pole by the slimmest of margins. Sebastian Vettel returned Ferrari to the front row of the grid for the first time since 2003. But the big star of the session was 17-year-old Max Verstappen, who managed to qualify sixth in the wet despite struggling with brake issues.

---

14:30: It's absolutely sweltering out there today. The air temperature is 33C and track 61C, though that's down from 65C as it was an hour ago. Pirelli suggests we're likely to see three stops from most drivers in this race.

Lap 1

Great start from Hamilton as Vettel immediately moves across to block Rosberg and he manages to hold second through Turn 1.

Massa has made a good start, as has Hulkenberg! The German is well inside the top ten.

Maldonado reports a puncture, another disastrous first lap for the Lotus man.

Lap 2

Hamilton crosses seven tenths ahead of Vettel, whose opened up nearly a second on Rosberg already. Verstappen has dropped to ninth, Hulkenberg up to seventh - so it really was a wonderful start from the Force India man.

Puncture for Raikkonen! The Finn slows as he passes the pit lane and his left rear tyre shears apart as he drives down towards Turn 4. Looks like he took contact from behind from Felipe Nasr's Sauber at the end of the first lap. How unlucky has Raikkonen been so far this season?

Lap 3

Grosjean makes a move around the outside of Verstappen on the final corner. Lovely move.

Fastest lap for Hamilton in clear air, a 1:46.505.

Nasr pits for a new front wing after that early contact with Raikkonen. Still no sign of the Ferrari man.

Raikkonen stops and takes on the medium tyre. Uphill battle for the Finn to get anything from the race.

Lap 4

Hamilton's lead up to eight tenths. Vettel is keeping Hamilton in his sights and is 1.5s clear of Rosberg already.

Woah, big mistake from Ericsson! He tries an almighty lunge on the outside of Hulkenberg into Turn 1 and slides off across the tarmac and gets beached into the small gravel trap. Such a promising race in tatters.

Safety car deployed!

Lap 5

Hamilton pits from the lead, as do many of the other guys in the top ten. This is really going to shake the order up now.

Nice tidy stop from Mercedes on Hamilton. Seems Vettel has stayed out there on track, I think Rosberg will have lost some positions out there in all that chaos. Big calls from Mercedes and Ferrari.

Hamilton asking if his front wing looks OK, did he have some contact somewhere in that last lap? Mercedes say they will need to look at a replay.

This means Vettel leads Hulkenberg behind the safety car. Grosjean in third. Hamilton the first man of the men who have stopped down in sixth. Crucially, both Ricciardo and Massa have leapfrogged Rosberg.

Lap 6

The safety car stays out but Ericsson's car is nowhere in sight at Turn 1.

"It's incredibly hot out here for the tyres," Hamilton says.

Race control confirms the safety car will return to the pits this lap.

Seeing a replay of a very slow pit stop for Bottas, looks like the left rear took a long time to go on his car. He's dropped right down to 14th.

Amusing from Raikkonnen: "Can I pass these people because they are not even trying to catch the safety car?"

Lap 7

Vettel manages the restart perfectly as Rosberg tries a move down the inside of Massa but he cannot find a way past the fellow Mercedes-powered car. These are the moments Rosberg needs to overcome if he wants to prove he's grown as a driver from last year.

Hamilton currently stuck behind Perez but slides down the inside at Turn 9, with Ricciardo following the Mercedes past the Force India.

"The engine is not giving me any power!" complains Massa. The Brazilian passes Perez, who is now dropping backwards.

Lap 8

Rosberg dispatches Perez as well but still hasn't found a way past Massa.

Fastest lap from Vettel, a 1:46.037.

Verstappen and Kvyat sweep past Perez. The Mexican really struggling - his team-mate Hulkenberg currently second. Vetel really opening up a good lead out in front with Hamilton still navigating his way through traffic.

Lap 9

Vettel already leads by 5.8s. If this carries on, he'll be very well placed compared to Hamilton when he decides to pit. The world champion currently stuck behind Sainz's Toro Rosso.

Lap 10

Rosberg lunges down the inside of Massa and makes the move stick at the final corner. But Massa powers back past the Mercedes down the pit straight!

Hamilton gets past Sainz into Turn 1 as Rosberg and Massa continue to vie for position - it looks like Rosberg has finally made the move stick.

Grosjean the next man to be dispatched by Hamilton coming through Turn 10, he made it look so easy. Hulkenberg the next man up.

Lap 11

Hamilton eases past Hulkenberg while accelerating out of the final corner, he didn't even need DRS. He's some ten seconds behind Vettel, but the German is yet to pit.

Bottas passes Verstappen for ninth.

Hulkenberg holding firm in third and there's a train of cars forming behind him. Remember Grosjean, Hulkenberg and Sainz are all yet to pit - as is our race leader Vettel.

Lap 12

Ricciardo gets alongside Sainz as the Spaniard runs wide into the final turn and Ricciardo has a go into Turn 1 and runs it way too deep! Rosberg moves up another position. That wasn't the Ricciardo we knew from last year.

Some great scraps going on down there though.

Lap 13

Vettel holding that lead over Hamilton - that race pace from Friday was no flash in the pan.

Rosberg dives down the inside of Sainz to move up fifth. Grosjean and Hulkenberg the next men up for the German.

Big, big lock up from Grosjean into Turn 9 and that hands the position to Rosberg. He should dispatch Hulkenberg pretty easily now.

Lap 14

Vettel's lead 9.7s. If he can save a stop over Hamilton this is game on.

Rosberg eases past Hulkenberg on the straight to reclaim third position.

Huge train behind Hulkenberg, who will be trying to eek out this first stint for as long as earthly possible.

Lap 15

Ricciardo runs wide again while trying to pass Massa at the final corner. Sainz and Raikkonen peel off into the pits.

Hamilton's last lap some seven tenths quicker than Vettel - is the Ferrari starting to struggle with the option tyre?

Hulkenberg doing a wonderful job for Force India.

Lap 16

Hulkenberg finally peels off into the pit lane, as does Grosjean. That releases a few of the drivers from that train of cars.

How long can Vettel stay out? That's got to be the question Ferrari is asking as he's lapping slower than Hamilton now - although the gap between lap times was only three tenths last time out.

Maldonado is under investigation for exceeding speeds under the safety car.

Lap 17

Vettel's lead is just starting to decrease slightly. Hamilton has eased it down to 8.7s.

Button and Perez having a good scrap for 10th - the former team-mates wheel-to-wheel at the final corner before Button makes the move stick through Turn 1.

Raikkonen sets a fastest lap, a 1:45.956.

Amusing exchange at Force India. "Checo, your tyre degradation is good." "Yeah, but I'm still too slow, man!"

Lap 18

Vettel pits from the lead for a fresh set of medium tyres. He emerges behind the two Mercedes drivers. Great stop from Ferrari - the four-time world champion spent 2.4s in the box.

Kvyat and Ricciardo dicing for position and the young Russian makes the move stick into Turn 1! Ricciardo has been complaining about his hot brakes out there and he looks to be struggling. He'd already lost a position to Verstappen on the lap previous after running wide.

Lap 19

Hamilton, our new race leader, crosses eight seconds ahead of Rosberg. Vettel a further 4.6s down but on a fresh set of options.

Button asked if he can stretch out this stint any longer and replies, "the worry is the front left".

Lap 20

Fastest lap from Vettel - a 1:44.452! He's gaining on Rosberg, he took two seconds off him on that lap alone. This is going to get interesting.

Rosberg 7.5s behind Hamilton out in front. These are some crucial laps coming up now.

We're seeing a replay of Nasr running wide at Turn 14, losing a few places in the process it seems.

"Put it to me simply, if he gets past me, has he won?" Rosberg asks Mercedes. Affirmative is the answer. Time for Rosberg to show his mettle out there against a car with superior straight-line speed.

Lap 21

Hamilton's lead down to 7.2s but we don't know if the race leader is conserving anything. There's going to be an almighty battle late on in this one for the win and it's going to be cars painted in different colours if Vettel can dispatch Rosberg.

Alonso is told to box the car due to problems.

Vettel dives down the inside of Rosberg at the final corner! Great move from the four-time world champion. Vettel absolutely flying, albeit with the benefit of fresher option tyres against a Mercedes on the hard tyre.

Lap 22

Kvyat pits from eighth for a tidy stop, as does Button for a set of the softer compound. Team-mate Alonso pulls in not far behind him but it's not for fresh rubber, it's to retire the car. Difficult start all round for Alonso in 2015. Hopefully no-one show him Vettel's lap times....

Lap 23

"Good boy, good boy," Ferrari tells Vettel. He's also told Hamilton is struggling with degradation. The lead now down to five seconds.

Hamilton tells Mercedes his rears are dropping off.

Wow, lovely stuff from Verstappen! He passes Ricciardo on the outside through Turns 1 and 2, excellent pass from the teen prodigy.

Lap 24

Vettel absolutely eating away at Hamilton's lead and the world champion is complaining about sliding around out there. Mercedes need to pit to have any chance of winning this race.

Verstappen now dispatches Hulkenberg into Turns 1 and 2 and he's back into tenth.

Raikkonen has had a quiet race but he's up into sixth and lapping much faster than the Mercs.

Vettel up alongside Hamilton in the final corner but the Brit peels off into the pit lane for new tyres.

Lap 25

This race is now all about how far the Ferraris can go on their current tyres. Raikkonen is still a factor in this race, too. He's 30 seconds down on race leader Vettel but still very much in with a chance of doing something late on given Ferraris pace.

Rosberg told he has one more lap after the current one before pitting. I don't know the exact gap between he and Hamilton before the last stop but I can't imagine he'll get out ahead of his team-mate.

Lap 26

Hamilton immediately posts a purple first sector on those option tyres. This one is far from over.

Contact between Kvyat and Hulkenberg coming out of Turn 2!!! Kvyat is spun around and somehow there wasn't huge damage to Hulkenberg's Force India.

Watching the replay, it looks like a car coming out of the pits forced Hulkenberg wide, Kvyat dived inside both the German and Ricciardo but they just run out of space coming out of Turn 2.

Another set of hard tyres for Rosberg - very curious! IsMercedes hoping to get Rosberg to the end of the race on this set?

Lap 27

Hamilton 22 seconds down on Vettel, Raikkonen now nine seconds behind in third. Rosberg has slotted back into fourth position, three seconds down on the Finn.

Hamilton's last lap a full second quicker than Vettel's now he has that fresh option on. Rosberg is going to need to get past Raikkonen to make this strategy work, you feel.

Lap 28

Vettel looking so comfortable out there. This is like the man we saw dominating the field in 2013 - smooth as you like. A revival from any other team was exactly what this season needed. More of the same, please.

Ricciardo tries a move on Hulkenberg, his car releases a huge puff of brake dust as he does so but he makes it stick.

"I'm a little bit surprised, we seem to be catching cars, quite a few cars!" Button tells McLaren. That's the train of cars behind Hulkenberg he's gaining on.

Rosberg all over the back of Raikkonen now - the Finn is on rather old tyres so will be lacking a fair amount of grip.

Lap 29

Rosberg opens the DRS and eases past Raikkonen down the pit straight.

Fastest lap from Hamilton, a 1:43.976.

That incident between Kvyat and Hulkenberg is under investigation.

Lap 30

Vettel's lead now down to 20.2s. Rosberg 13 seconds down on team-mate Hamilton.

Verstappen moves up to sixth.

Kvyat finally dispatches the Force India of Hulkenberg.

"What's our target?" asks Hamilton. He's told he can win but he'll need to make the pass on Vettel on track, so this one won't just be won in the pits. Rosberg told he's on course for P2 - but he will also need to pass Vettel's Ferrari.

Lap 31

This race is light years apart from the one we saw in Melbourne two weeks.

Contact between Perez and Grosjean on the run down through Turn 13. Looks like Grosjean tried to make the move stick through the inside of the corner and they just made contact. Grosjean did well to keep the spinning Lotus out of the gravel but he was perhaps a touch optimistic on that one.

Lap 32

Vettel's lead now 18s.

Grosjean sounds rather ticked off on the radio. "I can't believe it," the Frenchman complains. That incident is also under investigation.

Lap 33

Hamilton takes another second out of Vettel's lead, which is now 16.8s.

Vettel is told he's looking after his tyres very well.

Hulkenberg has been given a ten-second time penalty for that earlier incident with Kvyat.

Lap 34

Not a good day for Force India as Perez gets a 10-second time penalty of his own for that tangle with Grosjean.

Verstappen makes another nice move on Bottas into Turn 1, but he forces the Williams slightly wide through towards Turn 2. Bottas tries to fight back coming down to Turn 4 and he can't make it move, but he carries the speed through to pass the Toro Rosso through Turn 5. Great action lower down the field.

Some tyre information:

Lap 35

Vettel's lead now 14 seconds. Rosberg is told he's critical for catching Vettel at the end of the race, meaning his chances of doing that seem to be slipping away at the moment.

Raikkonen pits from fourth and these next laps will be very important data-wise for Ferrari as they work out Vettel's strategy.

After being written off so drastically last time out, this is just the sort of race F1 needed. Great entertainment.

Lap 36

Perez serves that penalty at his pit stop before departing with fresh options.

Lap 37

Vettel told to box at the end of this lap as Raikkonen dives down the inside of Verstappen at the final corner to move up to sixth.

Expect Vettel to take on the hard tyre. Rosberg has actually been lapping quicker than Hamilton on his hard tyres in the last few laps, so who knows how this one is going to play out in the final 19 laps.

Lap 38

Vettel pits from the lead. Lovely stop from Ferrari - 3s. Hamilton retakes the lead of the race. Vettel emerges ahead of Rosberg! Mercedes really needed Rosberg to emerge ahead to hold up the Ferrari a bit for Hamilton. Everything falling the way of Ferrari and Vettel currently.

"Tyres aren't feeling very good, man!" Hamilton complains. This really is like 2013 all over again. Vettel charging, Mercedes struggling with tyres.

Hard tyres for Vettel, by the way.

Lap 39

Hamilton's lead doesn't last long and he pits for hard tyres of his own. If he's going to pass Vettel he's going to need to pull something very special out of the bag.

"This is the wrong tyre man!" Hamilton tells Mercedes. He's told this is a fresh set of primes rather than a used set of options. Rosberg's time on the hard tyres has been good.

Lap 40

Vettel sets a new fastest lap, a 1:43.732. I think this is his to lose now!

Grosjean all over the back of Nasr's Sauber in the battle for 12th but can't get close enough. Grosjean has been one of the drivers in the wars this afternoon.

Lap 41

Vettel's lead currently 4.8s over Rosberg.

"OK once again I don't know what on earth I'm supposed to be doing!" says Hamilton as he hears a message from Paddy Lowe asking whether they should pit Hamilton again. Things not going the way of the world champion right now.

Rosberg is called into the pits but Hamilton is catching him fairly promptly.

Replay of Verstappen coming into the pits but really overshooting his entry and bouncing over the grass and gravel. He manages to keep it together.

Button reporting a loss of power.

Lap 42

Rosberg pits from second, releasing Hamilton to chase Vettel but does he have enough raw pace to do it?

Now this is interesting. Rosberg takes on the option tyre.

Button crawling around the lap at the moment but he's still in the first sector. That's going to be a long drive back to the pit lane.

Mercedes tells Hamilton they expect him to catch Vettel with five laps left. As he says it, Hamilton snaps back: "Don't talk to me through the corners! I almost went off." The heat really getting to the world champion, it seems!

Lap 43

I don't understand what Mercedes is looking at because Hamilton is not taking nearly enough time out of Vettel to catch him before the end of this race. The lead just under 14 seconds.

"Guys, I know you don't like to hear it but I don't think I'll make it to the end," says Hulkenberg as he continues to struggle with his tyres.

Button retires in the pits.

Lap 44

Hamilton only took three tenths out of Vettel on that last lap. Hard to see where he's going to suddenly find the pace to knock off 13 seconds in 12 laps.

Rosberg, meanwhile, is flying on the options. He's over a second a lap quicker than his team-mate. He has 12 seconds to make up, however.

"Blue flag, blue flag, blue flag!" says Vettel as he comes up behind the scrap between Hulkenberg and Perez.

Lap 45

Vettel slinks past Grosjean and then eases past Hulkenberg. That will have cost him a bit of time but not enough, you would think, to stop a win.

Hamilton told he needs 42.7s to catch Vettel and immediately posts a fastest first sector. Has Hamilton been keeping something in reserve for a late charge? We're about to find out.

Rosberg's charge on Hamilton has died down slightly, he's 10.9 behind and doesn't seem to be lapping quick enough to get close.

Lap 46

Now then. Hamilton has turned up the juice and is starting to take bites out of Vettel's lead. This one might not be over just yet.

Lap 47

As I say that, Vettel crosses with a personal best lap. The lead 11.7s.

Rosberg once again asking Mercedes to tell him about the race - he looks pretty nailed on for third.

Lap 48

It's a case of be careful what you wish for if you're Nico Rosberg. He said he wanted Mercedes' advantage to be lessened as the season went on after the Australian Grand Prix.

Hamilton not doing nearly enough to catch Vettel. Definitely the wrong tyre choice at that final pit stop for the world champion.

Lap 49

Nice little battle between the Toro Rosso rookies and Verstappen dives down the inside of Sainz at Turn 4 for seventh position. Lovely little move and well done Sainz for giving his team-mate room to pass.

Maldonado pulls into the Lotus garage to retire.

Lap 50

Carlos says: "Any comments about the 2 pits from Vettel vs the 3 pits from AMG?"

I think Mercedes panicked slightly at the safety car or were over-confident about their strategy. Big shock from Ferrari out here today.

Lap 51

Spare a thought for Raikkonen. He's in fourth and you wonder what Ferrari could have done with two cars out there rather than just Vettel - the Finn is currently fourth, which would match his best from last year.

"You're doing well, keep your head down," Ferrari tells Vettel. Hamilton chipping away at the lead but nowhere near enough. The lead still 10 seconds.

Rosberg seven seconds behind Hamilton but I don't think he has enough in the tank to get much closer.

Look at this - Vettel is about to lap the Red Bulls. His decision to leave is looking like a stroke of genius this afternoon.

A big ask indeed. He needs to find two seconds a lap on Vettel....

Lap 52

I'd be interesting to see what would have happened without the safety car today. I think that was probably the difference between first and second for Ferrari, but Mercedes will need to take a long, hard look at its own strategy after this one.

Lap 53

Good news Ferrari fans, Vettel is one lap closer. He's just got to get this car to the finish now but he's sounded as cool as a cucumber in every radio message we've heard all day.

Arrivabene looks pretty nervous on that pit wall. Maybe he should start wearing robes and sandals after this one? Something of a miracle-worker at Maranello.

We could be in for a wonderful season if this carries on.

Lap 54

The Williams boys are duelling for fifth. Massa currently holding station in front of Bottas but the gap is only half a second. I wonder what Williams makes of Ferrari's form today?

Good work from the broadcaster, zooming in on Christian Horner as Vettel lapped the Red Bulls. This performance from Ferrari makes his comments about equalisation look even sillier.

Lap 55

Hamilton is going to be an interesting interview after this one, considering he immediately told Mercedes they had made the wrong tyre call. He also didn't seem impressed that he could hear that communication from Paddy Lowe.

Bottas tries it around the outside of Turn 1 and Massa holds firm and gives his team-mate a little nudge for good measure! Good racing from the Williams boys.

Massa gets wide on the exit of Turn 4 and Bottas gets alongside through Turn 5 to pass his team-mate! Wonderful stuff.

Lap 56

Vettel has started his final lap. What a result this is going to be.

Sebastian Vettel wins the Malaysian Grand Prix for Ferrari

Wonderful job from Vettel and Ferrari. Hamilton and Rosberg round off the podium. Raikkonen finishes fourth to leave Ferrari wondering if it could have been even better.

"Yes! Yes! Great drive! Numero uno is back! Ferrari is back!" comes the call to Vettel from the pit wall.

"Woooohooo! Yes!" screams Vettel. Understandably, Vettel sounds absolutely ecstatic.

Vettel waves a yellow Ferrari flag in parc ferme. This victory is his 40th - he's one away from matching Ayrton Senna.

Rosberg looks rather upset in parc ferme. You wonder if Rosberg will be able to compete in a championship battle involving Ferrari as well.

Applause for Vettel as he walks into the weigh-in room. Hamilton shakes the hand of the German and smiles, "We couldn't keep up with you guys!"

Vettel looks pretty emotional.

The German national anthem will be followed by the Italian one on the podium. That takes me back....

It's been a long time since we've heard the Italian national anthem up there!

Rosberg actually looks more disappointed than Hamilton on the podium. He must be starting to wonder how he's going to start turning the tables on not one, but two drivers this year.