Monday, March 24, 2008

Another Stunning Race At Sepang - Malaysia

REIGNING world champion Kimi Raikkonen could not have chosen a better venue to spark a fight-back for Ferrari in the F1 World Championships.
It was at the Sepang F1 Circuit in 2003 where Raikkonen bagged his first Grand Prix victory and the Finn repeated the feat by winning the 10th edition of the Petronas Malaysian F1 Grand Prix in commanding fashion yesterday.
While Raikkonen romped to a trouble-free victory, winning the 56-lap race by nearly 20 seconds, his McLaren rival, Lewis Hamilton, endured a torrid afternoon.

Hamilton, winner of the season-opening Australian GP last week, finished in fifth place after a pit-stop mistake by his crew delayed him by nearly 20 seconds.
Polish driver Robert Kubica gave BMW Sauber their first ever podium finish in Sepang in second place behind Raikkonen. He finished the race in 1'31:38.155 and it was his career best performance in F1 thus far.
Heikki Kovalainen restored some pride for the battered McLaren when he fought his way to third place in 1'31:57.005 after starting from eighth on the grid.
But the day certainly belonged to his more illustrious Finnish compatriot, who was in a class of his own.
Raikkonen took the lead after the first pit stop from Brazilian team-mate Felipe Massa, who later spun off on the 30th lap.
Massa had started from pole ahead of Raikkonen and was in a position to give Ferrari a 1-2 finish but lost the back end of his Ferrari and spun off into the gravel.
Raikkonen had already built up a lead of four seconds by then and it was just a steady cruise home for the Finn.
Raikkonen’s win cut Hamilton's lead in the drivers' standings to three points after two races and the Finn, who seldom smiled to the cameras, had reasons to flash a big grin after the podium celebrations.
The victory was also Ferrari's fifth in Sepang and the first since Michael Schumacher won in 2004.
More importantly, Ferrari will see it as a boost to their championship aspirations after Raikkonen suffered from engine trouble and failed to finish the race in Melbourne. He was only classified in eighth place and picked up one point after Honda's Rubens Barrichello was disqualified for exiting the pit lane while the light was still red.
“For sure we had quite a difficult weekend in Australia when I didn't really expect to have such difficulties,” said Raikkonen.
“We were not 100% sure that things would be different here. We knew that speed wise, we would be fine, even in Australia the speed should have been fine. But everything worked perfectly here and we took it easy to make sure nothing went wrong.
“We saved the engine. It was a perfect job by the team to come back. But I would have been happier if Felipe got second but things went wrong.”
Massa said that he still did not know what happened to the car and said they would get to the bottom of the matter.
“I just lost the car completely when the rear came round suddenly,” said Massa, who was also on pole in the Malaysian GP last year.
Hamilton was not pleased with the outcome of the race despite finishing among the points. Also not helping his cause was the fact that his water dispenser failed to work during the race.

“I was very thirsty. We were in with a good shot for third place and then had trouble with the pit-stop. I pressed hard for fourth, I really wanted that point, but it wasn't to be,” said the Briton.
Sebastien Bourdais had some mechanical problems sending him in the gravel at the first lap.
And that concluded another very hot Racing week-end here in Sepang. I will upload my pics later today for your viewing pleasure.


kaushal said...

massa should had been the winner..
but, i am happy with the progress of force india team

F1Wolf said...

Am a bit jelaous here Bruno :-) . I went to Sepang for last 3 years, took a break this year and went to Australia instead … Definitely feels better watching the race from K1 stand at Turn 1 than from a pub sofa :-) ...

Hmm, Massa Massa, the car is no longer a playstation, he needs to understand that :-)

Stew said...

Ahh, nothing wrong in the back of Massa's car. He just lost it and doesn't want to admit he make a stupid mistake.