This weeks grand prix looked grey and wet in Malaysia. Changeable conditions and brilliant drives left us with a great race and a promising result looking forward to the rest of the season.
Not much to say about qualifying this week, and I doubt there’ll be too much to report in the races to come. Whilst last week was full of surprises, this week sort of just carried on the results from last week. Mclaren once again smashed it, with Hamilton on pole and Button once again only just behind him in second. Mercedes once again impressed, with Schumacher placing third, with both Red Bulls behind him.
The Lotuses too performed well, splitting those Red Bulls apart. Raikkonen incurred a five place grid penalty for a change in gearbox, however. Ferrari struggled again, with Alonso ninth and Massa down in twelfth, not even making it to Q3. Just like last week, it looked as if the Italians would struggle in the race, and Massa still looked terrible.
Grid positions (after penalties):
- Di Resta
- De La Rosa
Mclaren got off to a wonderful start, with both drivers pulling away quite a bit from the other drivers- this time Hamilton did keep his lead in to turn one. Further back, Grosjean managed quite a few places before colliding with Schumacher almost straight away. This put Grosjean and Schumacher both right to the back, undoing all the work form qualifying and the race start. It wasn’t long until Grosjean went off the track and got himself stuck in the sand. Game over once again for the Frenchman.
After just six laps, however, the race was red flagged. After about an hour it was restarted, and Alonso managed to pull away. Mexican driver Sergio Perez looked amazing today though- the team made a great call, immediately putting Perez on the full wet tires even before the red flag. This worked to his advantage, and after a few pit stops from other drivers he was right behind Alonso and right in front of Lewis Hamilton.
You did read right there- Alonso was in the lead. Amazing considering how slow the Ferrari was last week, and its awful performance in qualifying. It looked like a new car in the wet though, and under Alonso’s control lead for most of the race, and went on to win it. A truly great drive from the Spaniard considering the obvious performance gap of the car last week. He also massively outperformed his team mate, Felipe Massa. Massa finished fifteenth. Once again I can argue that Massa is terrible. Whilst his car might not be very good, a fifteen place gap between him and Alonso is incredible, especially as he didn’t actually have any accidents.
Button did have an accident though- a clash with Karthikeyan in his HRT put him back in the pits for a new front wing. From the back he had grip issues, meaning even more tires were needed, putting him right out of it. It was obvious he wasn’t as comfortable with the car in the wet, and he ended up finishing fourteenth. He didn’t perform too well, but he still deserved better and really was quite unlucky. Hamilton meanwhile for once had a quiet race, finishing in a comfortable third place. For most of the race in fact he wasn’t challenged by anyone, and didn’t challenge Perez ahead of him.
Webber came behind Hamilton in the end. He looked better than Vettel all day to be honest, and it didn’t help that Vettel had some car troubles. He also managed to collide with Karthikeyan, giving him a puncture and putting him out of the points for the day. Not the Vettel we know and love (well… hate) on track, nor was he after the race. “you get some idiots driving about on the roads” he said afterwards to the BBC, “and there is obviously one of those people racing too.” A bit Hamilton-esque if you ask me.
The best drive of them all came from Mexican Sergio Perez. He climbed from ninth on the grid all the way up to second. His driving looked beautiful, and it was quick too; if it weren’t for a slight error coming to the end of the grand prix he certainly would have overtaken Alonso and won it. A brilliant, brilliant day for Sauber and Perez who really look much stronger this season. As do all the mid field teams in fact. Mercedes still look as if they can challenge for podiums, and Sauber, Williams and Lotus all look as if they can too.
Senna was also brilliant, impressively finishing sixth, proving that Williams are on for a great season after their abysmal results last year. Raikkonen did well too, leaving us wondering what he could have done if he’d not got that penalty. Di Resta once again showed his skills by picking up some points in seventh, and rookie Jean-Eric Vergne got his first lot of points with an eighth place finish. Judging from the first two races we might have Webber’s replacement lined up waiting.
- Di Resta
- Petrov (lapped)
- Glock (lapped)
- Kovalainen (lapped)
- Maldonado (retired, 54 laps)
- Pic (lapped)
- Karthikeyan (lapped)
- de la Rosa (lapped)
- Kobayashi (retired, 46 laps)
- Grosjean (retired, 3 laps)
Onwards to China
So it looks like Ferrari aren’t so weak after all, and we might see a rejuvenation in China, from Alonso at least. Hamilton looks consistent and has been a bit unfortunate these last two races so hopefully he’ll get a little bit more luck in China too. I’m sure both he and Button will both do well this season with such a beautiful and pacey car. Red Bull look to be struggling slightly, but I have a feeling they will come back to win their fair share of races.
Will it be a lock out again? I doubt it. Just look at the results today- only Force India had two cars in the points, and if I had to pick one, they’re probably the only team in the top ten that I’d rule out of getting any wins. It should be much more tight this year with the midfield really pushing so much closer to the big teams, and the big teams falling behind. Perez looks promising, and Button. Alonso performed magically today too, so his credentials could be shown this season. Lets hope he gets rid of that silly bit of hair under his lip though.
My prediction is a win in China for Button, with Vettel and Webber behind him. Maldonado up in the points too, and hopefully a strong showing from Raikkonen. More than anything, however, I hope China will be as good as Malaysia. It may have only been the second grand prix in the season, but it’s going to take some beating.