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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull secure elusive Formula One victory

SEPANG, Malaysia — Spurred by the disappointment of mechanical failures that cost him victory in the Formula One season's first two races, Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel led from start to finish to win Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.

After the team's title hopes had been written off because of doubts about the reliability of its cars, Red Bull answered in the best possible way — Vettel leading a 1-2 finish ahead of teammate Mark Webber.

Vettel led in Bahrain and Australia before his car let him down mid race, but there was no easing up Sunday, with the German passing pole-sitter Webber in the run to the first corner.

"A very good result for us, especially for me, after two races where we didn't finish where we wanted to be," Vettel said. "Racing cars are built on the limit, and sometimes they break."

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was a distant third, with Renault's Robert Kubica fourth. Force India's Adrian Sutil took fifth, holding off McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.

Webber gave up the lead when he spun his tires trying to get off the line and had to settle for second after a battle into the fourth turn on the first lap. He pushed Vettel early, but that pressure eased when a stuck wheel gun made for a slow pit stop.

"A 1-2 finish for us was sensational," Webber said. "It was a nice comeback by us after some tough races. We blew everyone away, which is great."

McLaren teammates Hamilton and Jenson Button — the defending race and series champion — fought their way from the back of the pack to finish sixth and eighth. Ferrari's Felipe Massa was seventh.

Despite not finishing better than third in any race, Massa leads the points race with 39, two ahead of Vettel and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

Mercedes' Michael Schumacher, a seven-time champion, was forced out on the 10th lap with a wheel nut failure. Schumacher has just nine points in three races since ending a three-year retirement. "It's a shame. We were in a good position," he said.

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Subway 600, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Phoenix International Raceway; TV: Ch. 13

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull secure elusive Formula One victory 04/04/10 [Last modified: Sunday, April 4, 2010 11:09pm]
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