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F1 2009, Round 2 - Malaysia // A red flagged race sees half points handed to the drivers

Published by Christine

This article was originally written for BellaOnline, but is republished here for posterity.

The Malaysian Grand Prix was approached with some excitement, as we'd seen a great season opener, that really didn't match up with what we'd expected. The Brawn GP boys were really, really fast, and they didn't let up when we got to Sepang.

Jenson Button took pole position in qualifying, but it was to the back of the grid that we turned our attention. Both Ferrari drivers posted a lap in the first session of qualifying, and then returned to the garage to wait it out. They assumed that their laptime would be fast enough, but the track conditions just got better and better. Gradually the pair slipped down the order, until Massa found himself 16th and out of qualifying, with nothing he could do about it. Räikkönen only just managed to slip through in 14th.

Race day dawned, and we found ourselves looking at an ominously dark sky. The race got underway with the only two retirees of the entire afternoon out on the first lap. Kovalainen spun off before completing the first lap, whilst Kubica went nowhere off the line, and had to stop off track as his car caught fire. The BMW driver later said he'd had engine problems around the formation lap as well.

Button had a bad start and had been overtaken by Rosberg, but as pit strategies and tyre changes played out, the Brawn GP driver got his lead back. The rain gradually made it's way in, and Glock found himself on the right tyres at the right time, and able to storm his way through the field, overtaking wherever possible.

Then, the rain came fully, and the race had to be red flagged. We'd only completed 32 laps which wasn't quite 75% race distance - the amount required to hand out full points to the finishing order. Therefore, teams and drivers lined up on the grid, waiting to see if the race could be restarted. Mark Webber canvassed the drivers opinions and all seemed to think it wouldn't get going again. Eventually, the time ran out. The clock keeps going even when a race is red flagged, so the two hour limit was upon us and the race was won. Button took his second victory, albeit at a standstill on the grid. He was joined on the podium by Heidfeld and Glock.