F1 Race Review: Malaysian GP 2009
If the last race was eventful on track, the events that followed exposed McLaren’s dirty underbelly yet another time. Imagine supplying false data to mislead the Stewards on Trulli’s overtaking under the safety car! Aptly, Lewis lost his 6 points and poor old Trulli’s third was restored. McLaren hasn’t learnt a thing after the Stepney-gate scandal that led to a USD100million fine and a lot of shame two years ago! Finally, justice is served!
A week later, at the hot and humid Sepang Circuit, Brawn flexed their muscles again to put Button on pole for the second consecutive time. Although rain played truant all long, strategist Brawn proved his mettle by keeping his driver in the right place at the right time leading to his second consecutive win in a Red flagged Race. Sadly, with success come ego problems; seems that there is trouble between button and his race engineer!
On the track though, drivers battled the weather, changing from inters to wets and then to inters and then wets. Those like Lewis, Massa and Alonso who made it up through the pack during the race, didn’t gain much when the rains got worse, the safety car came in and the red flag followed. Those like Glock and Heidfeld who stayed there bagged podium places. Force India drivers repeated their consistency at P17 / P18; the bottom!
What is a Red Flag and why were half points awarded? When the race is stopped, it has to be restarted with a 10 minute warning, and drivers had to finish nine more laps for the mandatory 75% of race to be complete for full points. If not, you just get half. Although Button won his second consecutive race of 2009, he just gets 5 points in a race that he could have easily won at the chequered flag with full 10 points if it were for a restart.
FOM really needs to rethink on having races at 1700 local time at tracks where there is no lighting. The two hour limit could have been extended as the race conditions better towards the end. But alas, how could they do it when the sun was going down? Bernie, if you are listening, put a stop to the excessive pleasing of your Euro fans. They can get up a coupe of hours earlier to catch the races! A restart could have been a lot better.
The points table just seems to be going bananas. After a very long time in F1, drivers and teams have decimals! Button leads with 15 followed by his teammate at 10. The Toyota drivers Trulli and Glock follow with 8.5 and 8. After the Australian shame, Lewis Hamilton gets a 1 for his seventh place. For the teams, Brawn Mercedes leads with 15 followed by Toyota’s 16.5; good leads considered that those at third just have 4 points!
11 drivers have now scored points with 9 yet to go. It’s not just the Force India drivers that are there, but both Kimi and Felipe are sitting with a naught. Vettel, Kubica and Kovalainen are among the other prominent zero scorers. Two races down, reigning constructors’ champs are at the bottom of the table! If these trends are to be believed, we are headed for a season full of surprises! Hold your breath till F1 gets to Bahrain.