Button wins in rain-interrupted Malaysian Grand Prix

Jenson Button was awarded his second successive victory for Brawn GP after heavy rain interrupted the Malaysian Grand Prix just after half-distance.

Toyota’s Timo Glock should have taken second position thanks to a wise strategy to run intermediates just as it started to rain, but the German fell back to third behind fellow countrymen Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) on count back when the race result was re-calculated following the stoppage on lap 32.

Jarno Trulli finished fourth for Toyota, with Rubens Barrichello and Mark Webber completing the top six for Brawn GP and Red Bull Racing respectively.

World champion Lewis Hamilton scored his first points of the new season with seventh, despite spinning just before the race was red flagged. Before he went off the track, the McLaren driver had a great wheel-to-wheel battle with Mark Webber, with the Australian edging ahead in the duel.

As for Nico Rosberg, who made a fantastic start off from row two to lead into the first corner, the Williams star was caught out in the confusion during the series of tyre changes when the heavens opened on the Sepang International Circuit. Half-a-championship point with eighth wasn’t the best result for Rosberg following his impressive opening laps.

Due to the late running of the event, to provide a better time slot for European television audience, it was always likely that rain would affect Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix. But nobody expected the precipitation to play such a key role in a race that was full of excitement.

The changeable weather conditions made it extremely difficult for the race crews to pick out the right tyres. Kimi Raikkonen was the first to blink and along with Ferrari, gambled on running the extreme wets as early as lap 18. This proved highly premature, with the Finn losing up to 20 seconds per lap as the tyres struggled on the still fully dry track.

But the rain did commence just a few laps later, prompting the whole field to dive into the pits. Everyone opted for extreme tyres apart from Timo Glock, who picked intermediates.

This proved to be an inspired choice as the rain stayed relatively light at first. The Toyota was able to take ten seconds per lap out of the leaders and carve through to second position, which became the lead when Button stopped for intermediates, as most of the others already had done so.

Once on the intermediates, Button took less than a lap to catch and re-pass Glock, but just as soon as the Brawn GP car was back in front, the heavens opened and that prompted yet another round of pit stops as all the intermediate runners had no choice but to stop yet again to return to full wets.

The downpour was so intense that even extreme wets were insufficient, with many cars spinning due to a lack of grip. The safety car was called out on lap 31, with Button narrowly leading from Glock after both had returned to wet tyres. Finally the red flag came out on lap 32 and the race order up to this point read:

Button, Glock, Heidfeld (a long way behind after a spin), Trulli, Barrichello, Hamilton, Rosberg, Webber, Massa, Bourdais, Alonso, Nakajima, Piquet, Raikkonen, Sutil, Vettel, Buemi and Fisichella (who had spun twice).

Missing from this list was Kubica and Kovalainen. The BMW Sauber stuttered off the grid and retired after just one slow lap, while Kovalainen spun his McLaren into the gravel only a few corners into the grand prix, meaning the Finn has yet to complete a racing lap this season.

Now it became a waiting game and questions were being asked whether there was going to be a restart. The sky was getting darker due to the fading light and the rain has yet to ease off, but would the race continue? After nearly an hour of waiting on an increasingly sodden grid, the race directors finally called it off.

Button had won, but it was just a matter of deciding how far the race directors would go back to decide the order behind the winner. In the end, that was lap 31, giving a race finishing order of: Button, Heidfeld, Glock, Trulli, Barrichello, Webber, Hamilton and Rosberg as the points scorers. Then: Massa, Bourdais, Alonso, Nakajima, Piquet, Raikkonen, Vettel, Buemi, Sutil and Fisichella.

Since the Malaysian Grand Prix had gone past the halfway mark but not the 75 percent race distance, half points were awarded. But for Button, it was the chance to extend his drivers’ championship lead from 10 points to 15, with team-mate Barrichello next on 10 from Trulli on 8.5. In the constructors’ championship, Brawn have 25 to Toyota’s 16.5.

It was surreal ending to the Malaysian Grand Prix but despite the outcome, Brawn GP and Jenson Button have proved once again to be the class act. Winning its second race in a row, from pole position, is a fantastic achievement and we will find out in the next coming races whether that winning momentum can continue.

Race results from the Malaysian Grand Prix:

1.  Button        Brawn GP              1h10:59.092
2.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber              +22.722
3.  Glock         Toyota                +23.513
4.  Trulli        Toyota                 +46.173
5.  Barrichello   Brawn GP              +47.360
6.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault        +52.333
7.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      +60.733
8.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota       +71.576
9.  Massa         Ferrari               +76.932
10.  Bourdais      Toro Rosso-Ferrari      +102.164
11.  Alonso        Renault                +1 lap
12.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota        +1 lap
13.  Piquet        Renault                 +1 lap
14.  Raikkonen     Ferrari                 +1 lap
15.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault        +1 lap
16.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari      +1 lap
17.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes    +1 lap
18.  Fisichella    Force India-Mercedes    +2 laps

Fastest lap: Button, 1:36.641

Not classified/retirements:
Kubica        BMW Sauber              1 lap
Kovalainen    McLaren-Mercedes      1 lap

World Championship standings, round 2:

1.  Button         15
2.  Barrichello    10
3.  Trulli         8.5
4.  Glock          8
5.  Alonso         4
6.  Heidfeld       4
7.  Rosberg        3.5
8.  Buemi          2
9.  Webber         1.5
10.  Bourdais       1
11.  Hamilton       1

Constructors:online casino
1.  Brawn GP               25
2.  Toyota                 16.5
3.  Renault                4
4.  BMW-Sauber             4
5.  Williams-Toyota        3.5
6.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari     3
7.  Red Bull-Renault       1.5
8.  McLaren-Mercedes       1

Next race: Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai. April 17-19.

5 thoughts to “Button wins in rain-interrupted Malaysian Grand Prix”

  1. A fantastic win for Jenson Button, apart from being slightly slow off the line he drove a faultless race when even some more experienced drivers went for spins. A shame though that it didn’t go above 3/4s distance for full points.

  2. A great result for the Brit and Brawn GP. Let’s hear from the winner following this dramatic Malaysian Grand Prix. Taken from Autosport.com:

    Briton Jenson Button celebrated his second consecutive victory of the season after what he called a “crazy” Malaysian Grand Prix.

    The event was abandoned after 32 of the scheduled 56 laps as the weather conditions made it impossible for drivers to stay on track, even behind the safety car.

    When the race was stopped, Button had already made four pitstops and, despite that, the Brawn GP driver emerged on top to give his team a dream start to the year.

    “What a crazy race,” said Button, who had won the Australian Grand Prix behind the safety car.

    “My start was pretty bad. I don’t think I’d got enough heat in the tyres and had a lot of oversteer. But I went back to fourth, got up to third, eventually got back up to the front, and I was pretty happy with that, our pace was pretty good.

    “Choosing the tyres was very difficult, because normally here when it rains it pours, but it didn’t to start with. We went for the full wet tyre and it destroyed itself, and then I saw Timo (Glock) flying up behind us with the inter, so we put the intermediates on.

    “Just as he came by I saw his tyres were bald and it was raining out the back, so he was struggling quite a lot and had to pit.

    “I got one lap in on the inter at a reasonable pace and was able to get in and put the wet tyre on and get back in front.”

    Half points were awarded for the race, leaving Button on top of the standings with 15, five ahead of team-mate Rubens Barrichello, fifth today.

    Regarding the wet conditions and the late running of the Grand Prix, read this excellent article posted on F1 Fanatic that it was the FOM fault for this surreal ending to the race:


  3. Good on Button for that win, bloody terrible conditions though.

    Ferrari once again their own worst enemy. How can a team with that much experience commit such terribly stupid acts.

    On the subject of Hamilton, I’m afraid he was lost to honesty the moment he joined Mclaren which is without doubt the most dishonest, most cheating team on the entire grid.

  4. LOL Janus! As you I dont quite hate Lewis or Mclaren quite as much as you, though I do think the team have screwed Lewis over many time, but because they “nurtured” him since he was 11 years old, he has attitude, but certainly not towards the team which is killing him.

    Anyways, some fantastic racing before the red flag I thought. A great example of KERS Vs Non KERS. It saved Alonso a great many times, and to see a few dog fights with many drivers was so good to see. I hope it continues and think that the fact that not everyone has KERS is a good thing to a certain extent. Yes those without find it a bit hard to overtake, but from a selfish point of view it makes for great TV, as non KERS can generally brake later and so stay in touch? But it was a slippery track, so we’ll see over the next few races a to see if it ‘s fair for those without.

    Thought Jensons flying laps to get him in front after his pit stop were just stunning. He was miles in front when leaving the pit lane with Trulli ( I think ) a very distant second.

    So for now the new changes are really working. The qualifying times are so close! But I do remember one year it was the last race I think where the first 3 cars had exactly the same time. to 1’000s of a second! Sure it one drier was MIka H. Not sure if it was a timing error, though.

    It’s so great to see different teams being “up there”. Long may it continue, for if it does, at least the changes prove that it makes for much better racing. As I think I heard DC say, before, big teams could spend their way into the lead. Now they have to think and do some real work, something the lower teams have had to do for decades!

  5. I agree with you Snige, this KERS vs Non-KERS business has spiced up overtaking a lot. Only Lewis’ McLaren seem to able to PASS anyone with it though, at least visibly. At the moment it’s more frequently used for defending a position. In Melbourne Barrichello was so surprised by Kimi pulling away from him under power after tucking under the Ferrari’s rear wing that it caused Rubens to misjudge an attempted pass and hit the Ferrari.
    May be the FIA can reconsider making the KERS compulsory for next year? When everyone has KERS it wouldn’t be the same….

    BTW the qualifying session you are thinking of was the GP of Europe of 1997, the Championship deciding final race of that season. J Villeneuve, M Schumacher and HH Frentzen were the 3 drivers with identical times to within 0.001 second. Fourth place went to Damon Hill in the Arrows, just 0.058 seconds behind ! What was not caught on TV (everyone was too excited over the pole time(s!) 🙂 ) was that Hill was on course to beat the pole time on that lap when, on the last corner, Ukyo Katayama spun in front of him and Damon had to take avoiding action, ruining the lap!

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