And for the second week in a row your Grand Prix winner is: the Safety Car! No, not really. The safety car can’t win. That would be absurd. But it was the second race in a row that finished behind the safety car.
The race was in Malaysia, and it was at 5pm local time again. Do you know what that means? Well, let me give you a hint. Malaysia has a tropical climate and it’s monsoon season. What happens in the early evenings in tropical climates, especially in monsoon season? It rains. Hard. Way to go Bernie Ecclestone for once again sacrificing driver safety for the convenience of European fans.
But at the beginning everything was going fine. Jenson Button was on pole for Brawn GP, Jarno Trulli’s Toyota was second and Brawn GP’s Rubens Barrichello rounded out the top three. Fernando Alonso had spent the weekend sick with a fever and an ear infection, but he managed to qualify 10th. Then he moved up a spot because Sebastien Vettel had a 10–spot grid penalty that bumped him down to 13th place.
Nelson Piquet Junior qualified 17th, after spending the weekend shooting his mouth off about how he planned to outqualify Alonso. Shut up and drive Nelson.
Anyway, it was a cracking start. Alonso went from P9 to P3 in the first corner, but he couldn’t make it stick and spent the rest of the race dropping back.
Everybody was waiting for the rain to start. The sky looked ugly. The first cars made their pit stops and stuck with dry weather tires. All except Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. He went to full wet tires, but there was no rain! Did he know something the rest of us didn’t? I was hoping yes because wet weather tires won’t last long on a dry track.
The rain finally started on about lap 22. And then oh the confusion! People were diving into the pits for tires. How hard is it raining? Do you go for the intermediate tires or the full wets? The field seems to be split. The rain stayed light for a while, and the teams on full wet tires came in for inters.
I had another bad moment coming back from a commercial break. Once again there is a Renault bounding across the kitty litter. But this time, oh no! It’s Alonso! He managed to hold it together though and get back on track. I doubt junior would have been able to manage that.
And then all hell broke loose. The rain started absolutely pouring down. There was so much water on the track I think boats would have been more appropriate. Cue the safety car! The light was awful; I don’t know how the drivers could see a thing.
They skated around behind the safety car for three laps and then they red flagged the race. That means everybody stops and lines up on the grid in their race positions.
Now everybody sits on the track in the pouring rain and waits. And waits. And waits. It’s still raining and it’s getting dark. There is no way they can restart this race. But I don’t get to make the decision to call the race.
This, ladies and gentlemen is where the TV announcers earn their money. Sitting around talking about nothing waiting out the rain delay.
After about 30 minutes of waiting around they called the race. Button ended up the winner, with BMW’s Nick Heidfeld second and Toyota’s Timo Glock was third. If I’m not mistaken that was his first podium so congratulations to him and all our podium dwellers.
I’m sure I missed some very important bits, and I urge you to find more accurate information at a real Formula 1 news site.