Date: 25th March 2013 at 10:47am
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Lewis Hamilton secured his first podium finish since his move to Mercedes in only his second race with the team in Malaysia.

But for the 2008 Formula One World Champion, his third place finish ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg did not come under the circumstances that he would have liked.

Hamilton had shown good pace during the free practice sessions, in particular free practice three on the Saturday morning, so the Brit was pleased with qualifying in fourth place on the grid following Saturday’s pole position shoot-out.

?I’m pretty happy with fourth place considering the conditions today. The car was not too bad in the dry but the balance could have been a lot better, then it was pretty tricky conditions in the wet during Q3. We did our lap with older tyres than the guys in front, which was a bit unfortunate, but our pace was good overall so I can’t complain. It’s the second race on the second row for me and there are lots of positives to take out of the weekend so far. Our long run pace looked pretty good compared to the other teams so I’m hoping for dry conditions tomorrow.? he told formula1.com on Saturday evening.

The Brit almost got his wish, the rain avoided the race throughout the afternoon, but a rain shower prior to the race getting underway meant that the race started in damp conditions, with all cars on the wet intermediate tyre.

Hamilton’s early race pace looked promising and he had earned his way past the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel before he was told to use a fuel saving option, which drastically slowed his car down and surrendered the place to Vettel.

He went from battling for a potential race victory to slipping into the clutches of fourth placed Nico Rosberg. After a couple of laps of Rosberg overtaking Hamilton down the final back straight under DRS and Hamilton re-taking the position on the front straight in the other DRS Zone a team order was made across the live feed telling the drivers to hold station.

Malaysia is of course a big race for the German team with their title sponsor Petronas being a big Malaysian oil and gas company, so when team principal Ross Brawn told the drivers to bring the cars home in third and fourth. They did just that, although Rosberg did briefly contest the decision over the radio.

It was clear that Hamilton himself wasn’t best pleased with how the result came about, avoiding the camera’s in the holding area and then looking very subdued on the podium.

Hamilton is of course a pure blooded racer and he was unable to do that with the fuel situation.

?That was a fantastic job by the team today. They worked so hard over the winter and to achieve a podium at the second race of the season is a nice reward, particularly here in Malaysia at one of our home races. I have to say big congratulations to Nico. He drove a smarter and more controlled race than me this afternoon and deserved to finish where I did. The team made the call for us to hold positions and we both respected that. The race was tough, we were fighting hard with Red Bull and went aggressive on our fuel strategy but they were just too good today. Third and fourth places is still a great result for us however and just increases our motivation to keep pushing and close that gap.?

The podium was only the teams sixth since the team bought out the Brawn GP team in 2010. Four of those podiums have been scored by Rosberg, with Michael Schumacher earning the other in Canada last season.

 

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