Sepang (Malaysia), March 24 (IANS) The 2013 Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix turned out to be a forgettable experience for Sahara Force India whose drivers had to retire mid-way through the race Sunday owing to faulty wheel nuts.
The eventful 58 laps saw Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel defy team orders to win his first race of the season ahead of teammate Mark Webber. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were also involved in an intra-team battle which ended with the former McLaren driver holding on to the third spot.
For Force India, Sunday marked the end to a weekend when they failed to capitalise on the promise shown during the practice sessions and qualifying.
Both Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil struggled with their pit stops before retiring on lap 24 and 29, respectively.
The trouble started when di Resta and Sutil were called simultaneously for the first pit stop as the Scot waited for his turn. The problem with the wheel nuts persisted for the their next two stops before the team decided call the cars back in the garage.
“”An early end to a race that promised so much for us. Both cars had the same problem with the wheel nuts and it cost us a lot of time in the pits. We’re not sure exactly what happened yet so the team stopped the cars to make sure we understand the issue,” said Sutil.
Di Resta said: “We saw an issue at Adrian’s first pit stop when I was sat behind him, which cost me about 15 seconds, and then I had the same issue with the wheel nut at my second pit stop. As a precaution the team chose to retire the car. We will go away, take this on the chin, and come back fighting in China.”
A double retirement was the first one for Force India since Japan 2010.
The Silverstone-based team made their best ever start to a season in Australia where Sutil and di Resta finished seventh and eighth.
They remain in fifth in the team standings with 10 points.