Virgin driver d’Ambrosio hits the kerb but is still happy he’s improving

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1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 25pts

JEROME d’Ambrosio refused to be downbeat despite his retirement in the latter stages of the Malaysian Grand Prix yesterday.

The Marussia Virgin Racing driver was forced to return to the Sepang paddock on foot with 12 laps of the race remaining after he hit the kerb hard in turn nine, causing the power switch to toggle off and the car stopped out on track.

Up to that point, d’Ambrosio, in his debut year in Formula One, had crept up to 18th position.

The Belgian ace said: “I’m quite happy with this weekend. Saturday was definitely much better – and the race as well. I was able to keep up a good pace, especially in the second and third stints, so I must say I’m pretty happy about that.

“But this is just the beginning and I have to keep on working and improving all the time.”

John Booth, the Dinnington-based team’s team principal, refused to blame d’Ambrosio for the miscalculation and insisted: “He should feel very happy that he is doing a great job overall in only his second race.”

D’Ambrosio’s team-mate, Timo Glock, executed his two-stop strategy expertly and had a trouble-free run to the finish, bringing the Virgin car home in 16th place in Kuala Lumpur.

“I got a good start and got ahead of Jarno Trulli in the Lotus into turn one and everything was going well, but I was only able to defend the position for so long before he was able to get past,” said Glock. “The car was working well and we were able to look after the tyres so we were able to stick to a two-stop strategy.”

Booth said the team were “disappointed” not to register a two-car finish at the Sepang International Circuit but he said both drivers performed well and that they were a “little better” off in terms of pace than they were in Melbourne.

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, who topped the timesheets in qualifying on Saturday, cruised to his second successive victory.

The reigning world champion finished 3.2 seconds ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button to stretch his championship lead to 24 points. Including last season, Vettel has won five of the last six grands prix overall.

Renault’s Nick Heidfield grabbed third spot while England’s Lewis Hamilton dropped to eight following a clash on track while disputing third place with two-time champion Fernando Alonso.

Scotland’s Paul di Resta again finished in the points, collecting 10th position in his Force India.

Result

1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 25pts

2 Jenson Button McLaren-Merc 18

3 Nick Heidfeld Renault 15

4 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 12

5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 10

6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 8

7 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 6

8 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Merc 4

9 Michael Schumacher Merc 2

10 Paul di Resta Force India-Merc 1

11 Adrian Sutil Force India-Merc

12 Nico Rosberg Mercedes

13 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari

14 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari

15 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault

16 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth

17 Vitaly Petrov Renault

Ret Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth

Ret Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosw

Ret Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault

Re Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari

Ret Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosw

Ret Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosw

Ret Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosw