The Malaysian Grand Prix Report

I do so love back to back races.  But before I can tell you about the race, I have one other important piece of news for you.  Fernando Alonso appears to have gotten himself tattooed.  See:

Mmmmm

But I digress.

Hamilton was on pole again, and Button was second.  Michael Schumacher started third, which was very exciting.  Alonso qualified ninth, but Kimi Raikkonen had a grid penalty so he actually started 8th.  This was an improvement over last weekend.  Last weekend he was much farther back.

Here is a quick geography lesson.  What happens in Malaysia late in the afternoon?  Yep, that’s right, it rains.  And yesterday was no exception.  About 8 laps in it started pouring buckets, and the safety car came out.  La la la, we did a few laps behind the safety car and then:  Red Flag.  So for an hour we sat and watched the drivers standing around.  This is not compelling television.  It is my humble opinion that they should change the start time back to it’s original, earlier start time so they can get the race finished before it starts raining.  But the muckety mucks at FOM do not listen to me.

It finally stopped raining and they restarted the race.  All the cars were on wet tires now, and this became tricky as the track dried out and the tires started to get chewed up.  More rain was in the forecast so all the engineers were telling the drivers to take care of the tires and make them last until it started raining again.  But the rain held off and everybody eventually came in for slicks.

Oh, look at that, lightening just beyond the circuit.  Dammit.  (sorry mom).  Well, fortunately the rain stayed away.  Alonso was winning at this point and I was about having a heart attack because Sergio Perez was slowly reeling Alonso in with his Sauber.  Then his engineer came on the radio and told him to preserve the position.  It has been a long time since a Sauber has come in second.

Of course that message has the tin hat brigade up in arms, saying it was team orders, and that Perez was told not to pass Fernando.  Sauber buys their engines from Ferrari, so the conspiracy theory du jour is that Sauber was told to back off.  Not bloody likely.  Reeling Alonso in and passing him are two different things, and as we know Alonso is not easy to pass.

Anyway, Alonso won and that’s the important thing.  He is currently leading the world championship.  Wow.

The next race is in China in three weeks.  That is the only bad part about back to back races. It usually means a long break before the next race.  Sigh.

The Malaysian Grand Prix report

I like this track.  I really do.  And I don’t know why, it always rains here.  I hate when it rains during the race.  It makes me nervous.  (I have probably already said that).  But, this year it didn’t rain during the race.  No, instead it poured buckets during qualifying.  This is not any better.

Because of the rain and some bad decision-making in the Ferrari garage, Alonso ended up qualifying 19th.  Hideous.  But Ferrari wasn’t the only team that messed up.  Lewis Hamilton was right behind Alonso in P20 and Massa was right behind him in the second Ferrari, in P21.  Hamilton’s teammate, Jenson Button fared somewhat better, and managed to qualify 17th.   It was a Bad Situation for Ferrari and McLaren fans.

Meanwhile Mark Webber was on pole for Red Bull, with Williams’ Nico Rosberg in second and the snakebit Sebastian Vettel in third.

Vettel managed to pass Webber in the first corner and he never really looked back.  The big battles in this race were happening much further down the grid.  Massa passed Alonso at the start.  What the-?  Ah but we soon found out what the trouble was.  Alonso had a broken gearbox.  But would he let a little thing like that stop him?  No!  And do you know why?  Because Alonso is the man, that’s why.

Alonso gets by Button on the second lap!  Now he’s after Massa!  Meanwhile as the race goes on Hamilton is picking off drivers left and right in a truly impressive showing.  He was carving through the field like it was made of butter.  Meanwhile Masssa was stuck behind Jaime Alguersuari’s STR.  And of course, Alonso with his hobbled gearbox was stuck behind Massa.  Very distressing.

The race was actually very exciting.  This is what happens when you have top guys starting in the back for some reason.  Unfortunately it ended badly for Alonso when his engine went kablammo on lap 55 of 56.  Does that suck or what?  I kind of lost interest at that point.

The good news is Vettel finally managed to not only finish the race, but win it.  Mark Webber was second, and Nico Rosberg was third.  Yay Nico!

Hamilton probably had the drive of the race clawing his way up to sixth place.   Alonso technically finished 13th even though his engine blew up and Massa finished seventh.   But you have to sit in quiet awe at Alonso’s mad driving skills.  How many guys could have set the fastest lap of the race with a busted gearbox?  Not many, that’s for sure.

As always, please consult a reputable Formula 1 site for accurate and less Alonso-centric information.

The Malaysian Grand Prix report

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.