It is now 1800 hrs ( 6.00 pm). The Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang has just ended. I’ve not seen the write up as yet but I’ve seen the event ‘live‘ a short while ago. The race ended just after 1730 hrs or so.
It was a 1 - 2 finish for the Red Bull team. On the podium was the winner Sebastian Vettel with his team-mate, Mark Webber in second place and Nico Rosberg from Mercedes-Petronas in third.
The event did not have the high drama of the Australian Grand Prix last week in Melbourne when there was a skirmish ( was it a minor pile-up? ) as early as the first turn and some minor crashes along the way.
In this race, Vettel had pulled away right at the first turn from his team-mate who held pole position. By the 8th lap it was Vettel, Webber, Rosberg, Suttil, Hamilton in that order. Kobayashi was out of the race at Lap 9, followed by Schumacher at Lap 10.
At lap 13, the positions remained . At this point the Lotus F1 team was not anywhere in the running. They were at positions 17 ( Jarno Trulli) and 20 ( Heikki Kovalinen)
Hamilton tried his best to make his impact. In fact at Lap 33 he recorded the fastest lap at 1.37 secs but remained at 7th place. A consolation for the Lotus F1 team however was when Trulli managed to jump to position 15 at Lap 36.
At that point it was 1708 hrs and it was a very clear sky. They had talked about the rain, but the expected rain did not come. It was a clear day right until the race ended. Apparently, the heat was scorching when the race began. Vettel the winner had mentioned at the post-race briefing that he was profusely sweating. Contrary to what we had expected he said he was praying for rain. ‘It would at least cool things off’.
At the closing moments, at Lap 55, the last but one, sparks and smoke spewed from Fernando Alonso’s car and he was out. It was good fortune for the eventual winners . They chalked up good points without Alonso. Alonso who ended with zero points in this race was the winner in the season-opening Bahrain Prix and 4th in Melbourne.
As for the Lotus F1 team, they met their target of completing the race. It was a switch this time. Trulli who did not complete the previous two races came in position 20 eventually. His team-mate Kovalainen went out of the race at Lap 21.
The unhappy Tony Fernandez twittered some unsavoury remarks during the course of the race, apparently. The CEO, Riad Asmat and and the reserve driver Fairuz Fauzy took it within their strides. ‘We would have to check on the hydraulic systems of the cars before Shanghai, the next stop’ they said.
However, it is not bad for Malaysia, not bad at all. In fact it was good! No, I’m not talking of the Lotus F1 team. I’m talking of the Mercedes-Petronas team. They achieved the 2nd runner-up position. It is a podium position. Isn’t that something?
In fact at the post-race briefing, Rosburg mentioned proudly and clearly that he was ‘happy to achieve a podium finish in Malaysia, the home of Petronas”. Of course, that’s something to be proud of!