Malaysian Grand Prix – Race

It may be 5:00 in the morning, but I’m awake for the Malaysian grand Prix! (See
my notes on practice & qualifying.)

Grid: JB, JT, SV, TG, NR, MW, RK, KR, RB, FA, NH, KN, LH, HK, SBo, FM, NP, GF, AS, SBu

JB leads everyone away on the formation lap

Grid re-forms … and the lights go out – we’re off!
JB passed in to Turn 1 by NR
HK is off into the gravel
JB passes FA – back up to P3

02/56: NR, JT, JB, FA, RB, KR, MW, TG

03: Fastest lap for JB 1:38.345
SBu pits for new nose
RK stopped off track

04: JB f/lap 1:38.217
RB takes P4 from FA
SV passes LH for P10

05/56: NR, JT, JB, RB, FA, KR, MW, TG
NR f/lap 1:38.041

Oh, that’s an improvement – TSN are showing adverts alongside the BBC coverage (split screen), so the TV won’t fall behind the live timing info.

06: SV pushing NH for P9

07: Pit-car radio for JB says heavy rain expected soon

09: RB f/lap 1:37.948
NH runs a little wide and SV passes for P9
LH passes NH too

10/56: NR, JT, JB, RB, FA, KR, MW, TG
JT f/lap 1:37.887

11: NR f/lap 1:37.660
BBC report gathering clouds – surely everyone will try to delay their pit stop to see what happens with the rain
KR passes FA for P5

12: JB f/lap 1:37.579
JB now just 1.1sec behind JT, who in turn is 3.0s behind NR

13: MW passes FA; FA takes P6 back but loses it to MW again

14: SV pits – first to stop – 10.7s stop – has to take another set of slick tyres – he’ll be back when it starts to rain

15/56: NR, JT, JB, RB, KR, MW, FA, TG (LH P9)
JB f/lap 1:37.555

16: NR pits from P1 – 9.7s stop – rejoins in P4
Part of the track is looking like a downpour is imminent

17: MW pits from P6 – 9.1s stop

18: JT pits from P1 – 9.8s stop
RB f/lap 1:37.484
JB set new fastest sector 1 and sector 2 times

19: JB f/lap 1:36.641
Ferrari getting wet tyres ready for KR
KR pits from P4 – 11.1s stop – yes, he takes wet tyres – bit of a gamblw

20/56: JB pits from P1 – slick tyres – rejoins well ahead of NR
KR is well off the pace – unless it rains this lap, Ferrari’s gamble is losing them lots of time

21: RB pits from P1 – slick tyres – 9.4s but slow pulling away

22: Long camera shot shows very dark clouds hovering over the circuit
KR still 3s/lap off the pace
Rain clearly visible on the on-car cameras now
FA runs wide, across the gravel but finds his way back to the track
LH off track too but he recovers

23: Live timing chart turns red as everyone pits right down to KN in P13
Pit-car for KR – he says his tyres (wets) are “completely destroyed”

24: Post-pit order: JB, NR, JT, RB, NH, MW, LH, FM
LH reclaims P6 from MW
MW runs wide but rejoins and continues attacking LH

25/56: JB, NR, JT, RB, NH, MW, LH, FM
MW pulling away from LH now

26: SV passes KN for P11
MW steams past NH to take P5

27: RB takes P3 from JT
RB glides past NH for P2

28/56: NH pits from P3 – intermediate wet tyres
RB runs wide – loses 2 places as TG and MW pass him

29: RB pits – inters – will JB need to pit for them too, and probably lose P1?

30/56: Yes, JB pits – 6.2s stop – inters
MW pits, as does FM
JB all over the wing of TG and takes P1

31: TG pits – full wets
BBC report big thunder bolt struck the grandstand – lost power momentarily
Most people taking on full wets just after the Brawn cars went to inters

32: JB pits again – that’s stop #4 – full wets – rejoins still in P1!
Heavy downpour; lots of standing water
Safety Car deployed

33[SC]: Red flags out – race is suspended
Cars will line up on the grid in race order
Some drivers out of their cars
Rain still coming down in buckets
There will be a 10 minute signal before the restart (assuming there is a restart)

If the race is not restarted, then the order on the lap before the red flag was: JB, TG, NH, JT, RB, LH, NR, MW, FM, SBo, NP, FA, KN, KR

Some drivers (e.g. LH) are still in their cars – it must be like sitting in a very cold bath

MW (a GPDA (Drivers’ Association) director) is chatting with some of the drivers, presumably to see what they think about restarting

The forecast is that the rain will continue for another half hour

BBC ask MW what he thinks will/should happen – SC can’t go fast enough for the tyres & brakes to warm up

If the race is not resumed, half points will be awarded because they haven’t completed 75% of the race distance

Lightning still visible and the rain continues to hammer down

BBC interview FA – he hopes the race is over because visibility is terrible

There’s only about 40 mins left until the race time limit – that clock doesn’t stop even though the cars are parked

There is a small patch of blue sky but BBC said daylight will start to fade in the next hour even without the rain clouds

Looks like some drivers are getting ready for a restart – there’s only about 30 mins left on the clock

JT tells his team that the drivers feel it’s too dark to race

An FIA official is striding up and down the grid, making sure the cars take their right position

BBC ask McLaren what’s happening – they say no news yet

Are the FIA going to try to get it to 75% distance (another 12 laps) so they can get full points?

Apparently cars from P3 downwards (i.e. everyone but JB & TG) will set off 90secs before the Safety Car, presumably so they can unlap themselves

20 mins left of the 2hr limit, and no 10 minute warning yet, so less than 10 mins of “racing” left max

KR is out of his overalls and enjoying a choc-ice! Mind you, he was down in P14 with only AS behind him

LH is getting out of the McLaren – he’s sat there since the red flag

AS’s car is at the pit lane exit – he was in the pits when the red flags came out

Ferrari say KR’s car had a KERS problem; they’re seeing if it can run with KERS turned off

12mins left of the 2hrs; NR told by his team still no official word of restart

Official confirmation: the race will not be restarted

JB wins his 2nd successive race – a great result for Brawn GP … but don’t forget that the FIA are meeting soon to decide on the legality of the diffusers

It’s only half points, but the provisional result is JB, TG, NH, JT, RB, LH, NR, MW.

Hold on – the FIA timing chart has been updated – the provisional result is now JB, NH, TG, JT, RB, MW, LH, NR. (Good news for NH and MW)

Maybe some of the delay in declaring the race over is because the FIA were trying to work out exactly where everyone was at the end of lap 31 because almost everyone was in the pits.

JB stands on the top step of the podium

Looks like the Brawn GP mechanic had wet gloves – he dropped the bottle of champagne and it broke

Next race: China in 2 weeks (April 17-19).

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